Try these 5 yoga poses to help manage blood sugar levels  |  Photo Credit: iStock Images
New Delhi: Diabetes is a condition where the body does not produce enough insulin and it can be classified into two major types- Type 1 Diabetes and Type 2. India falls within the top 5 countries holding the second spot for the highest number of diabetes in the world. There are approximately 77 million Indians who have diabetes and it is estimated that one in every six people with diabetes in the world is from India.
In 2019, there were 463 million people worldwide diagnosed with diabetes. A common lifestyle disease, diabetes occurs when your immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas. Scientists estimate that Type 1 diabetes is caused by genes and environmental factors, such as viruses.
If left untreated, diabetes can take a serious turn over time. The excess amount of glucose in your blood can damage your eyes, kidneys, and nerves. Diabetes is also known to cause heart disease, strokes and even limb amputation. Pregnant women are at risk of being affected too, and in their case, it is called gestational diabetes.
Yoga asanas can prove to be very therapeutic to treat, manage and even prevent the onset of diabetes. Yoga practices control your body weight and blood sugar levels by positively affecting the pancreas and insulin functions. It is the pancreas located near the stomach in the abdomen that controls the body’s sugar levels. Follow these yoga postures and include them in your regular fitness routine and this can be very helpful for those suffering from diabetes.
You can start off by holding each pose for 10 seconds and gradually increase the duration and the number of sets that you can repeat.
Yoga poses that are beneficial to manage and treat diabetes
Half-Fish Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
Begin in Dandasana. Fold and place the left foot on the ground over the right knee. Fold the right leg so it rests on the ground with the right heel near the left pelvis. Take the right hand over the left leg and hold on to the big toe of the left foot. Exhale and twist as much as possible, turning the neck so the gaze is over the left shoulder and encircle the waist with the left hand with the palm facing outwards. Press the right arm against the left knee for an increased twist on the body. Keep the chest open and the spine erect. Right leg and knee is on the floor whereas the left knee should be close to the right armpit.
Sit with your legs stretched forward and bring the soles of your feet together by bending at the knees. Pull your heels closer to your pelvis. Gently push your knees down. Exhale and lean forward to place your forehead on the floor.
Lie down on your back. Fold your legs at your knees and ensure that your feet are placed firmly on the floor. Fold and place your palms on the floor on either side beside your head. Inhale, put pressure on your palms and legs and lift your entire body up to form an arch. Keep your neck relaxed and allow your head to fall gently behind.
Dhanurasana can be translated as ‘Dhanur’ meaning bow and ‘asana means posture.
Begin by lying down on your stomach. Bend your knees and hold your ankles with your palms. Lift up your legs and arms as high as you can.
Lie down on your back. Place your palms on the floor beside your body. Using your abdominal muscles, lift your legs up 90 degrees. Press your palms firmly onto the floor and allow your legs to fall back behind your head. Allow your middle and lower back to lift off the floor to enable your toes to touch the floor behind. Bend the arms and support the back as per their level of comfort. Hold the asana for a while
Yoga asanas stretch, twist and turn the lumbar and thoracic regions of our body, where the pancreas is located. These postures improve the production of insulin and lower blood sugar. Yoga techniques are known to have a major, positive impact on the parasympathetic nervous system. It reduces stress hormones which are a major trigger for diabetes.
Grand Master Akshar is a guest contributor. Views expressed are personal.