Is Yoga Good For Diabetes? Know the 5 Best Yoga Asanas for Diabetes!

Dr. Pakhi Sharma (MBBS)
Dr. Pakhi Sharma (MBBS)

General Physician | 6+ years

Asanas for Diabetes
Living with diabetes, hypertension or any other lifestyle disease is difficult and most often a lonely journey. With Phable, India’s no. 1 BP and Sugar Management Mobile App, you can use technology to take charge of your health. Also Phable’s one-stop-shop is here to help you manage your condition better.

Yoga is a holistic mind-body practice that can improve your physical, mental, and spiritual health. It involves various asanas which refer to a specific body posture or pose. 

However, is yoga beneficial for diabetics? Which are the best yoga asanas for diabetes? Get all your answers here.

Contents:
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    Yoga Asanas for Diabetes Patients: Is it Beneficial?
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    5 Best Yoga Asanas for Diabetes
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    Which is the Best Time To Perform Yoga for Diabetes Patients?
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    Which Asanas Should Be Avoided by Diabetics?
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    Don’t Have Time To Read?
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    FAQs
AD
MOAds_750x750

Yoga Asanas for Diabetes Patients: Is it Beneficial?

Diabetes is a chronic condition where your blood sugar levels are higher than normal. It occurs when your body is unable to produce (Type 1 Diabetes) or use insulin efficiently or both (Type 2 Diabetes). Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas and its function is to regulate your blood sugar levels. 

Though diabetes cannot be cured, the condition can be effectively managed with healthy dietary habits and regular physical activity. 

If you are looking for a low-impact physical activity that can help control your blood sugar levels, yoga should be your first choice. It involves various asanas that involve synchronised body movements along with breathing techniques.

Yoga asanas help relax your muscles, improve blood circulation and enhance the functioning of your organs. Practising yoga regularly can improve your pancreatic function and insulin secretion. It also improves insulin sensitivity and helps your cells use up more glucose so that your blood glucose levels are balanced. 

Yoga is also an effective way to maintain a healthy body weight. Being obese or overweight is one of the risk factors for Type 2 Diabetes. These factors, therefore, make yoga beneficial for diabetics. Regular practice of yoga asanas can prevent complications of diabetes such as nerve damage, kidney diseases, and heart diseases.

5 Best Yoga Asanas for Diabetes

Here are 5 yoga poses for diabetes:

1. Vrikshasana or Tree-Pose

This pose represents the steady stance of a tree. Vrikshasana helps strengthen the muscles, tendons, and ligaments of your legs. 

How to do Vrikshasana?

  • Stand straight with your arms on the sides. Balance firmly on your right leg and lift your left leg. Bend your left leg at the knees.
  • Place the left foot high up on your right high. Your foot should be placed flat and firm near the root of the thighs.
  • Once you are well balanced, take a deep breath and gracefully raise your hands above your head from the sides. Bring your palms together in a ‘namaste’ mudra.
  • Look straight, lengthen your spine and hold the position for 1 to 2 minutes while taking deep breaths.
  • With a gentle exhalation, bring your hands down and repeat the same steps by lifting your right leg. You can do 5 repetitions on each leg.

2. Dhanurasana or Bow-Pose

This yoga asana has been named after the bow pose the body takes while performing it. It strengthens your back and abdominal muscles. 

How to do Dhanurasana?

  • To start, lie down on the ground on your stomach with your feet apart in line with your hips and arms by the side of your body.
  • Fold your knees and arms backwards and hold your ankles with your hands. Slowly breathe in and lift your chest off the ground.
  • Pull your legs up and towards your back. Look straight and keep the pose stable while focussing on your breathing. Your body will now be curved like a bow.
  • Bend only as much as your body permits. Continue to take long breaths and exhale after 15 to 20 seconds.
  • Hold the position for a minute and then slowly bring your legs and chest to the ground. Release your ankles and relax. You can repeat the pose 3 to 4 times.

3. Paschimottanasana or Seated-Forward Bend

Paschimottasana stretches your lower back, hamstrings, and hips. It also helps tone your pelvic organs.

How to do Paschimottasana?

  • To start with, sit up straight and extend your legs in front of you. Keep your spine erect and toes flexed. Breath in and raise both your arms above your head and stretch.
  • Breath out and bend forward from your hip joint with your chin moving towards your toes. 
  • Extend your hands towards your feet and try to hold your toes with your hands. Make sure not to overexert and bend only as much as you can.
  • Remain in this position for a few seconds and take deep breaths. To release, slowly raise your head and come back to the starting position with your legs stretched. You can repeat this movement 2 to 3 times.

4. Phalakasana or Plank-Pose

This asana is a great way to strengthen the major muscle groups, while also engaging your neck and back. Phalakasana helps improve your blood flow, reduces stress, aids in digestion, and also corrects your posture.

How to do Phalakasana?

  • To start, from a standing position, lie down on all fours and place your palms flat on the floor. Spread your fingers wide apart and keep your hands straight shoulder-width apart. Now place your feet backwards 4 to 5 feet into a push-up position. 
  • Press into your palms with your arms straight. Keep your spine long and tuck in your chin slightly so that you are looking at the floor.
  • Tuck your tailbone so that your legs, hips, and torso are in one straight line. With your toes tucked in, push your head forward, while pressing your heels back. Hold this position for 40 to 60 seconds and take deep breaths. 
  • To release, fold your knees and get into a child pose or bend your elbows and lower down. You can choose either of the ways to get back to your starting position. You can repeat the pose 5 to 7 times.

5. Viparitha Karani or Legs-up-the-wall Pose

It is a relaxing and calming asana that helps improve your circulation and reduces the risk of swelling in the lower extremities. 

How to do Viparitha Karani?

  • Lie down with your back on the floor and your legs flat and straight up against the wall. With the support of your arms, move closer to the wall until your legs are perpendicular to your body.
  • Rest your head on the floor and make sure your pelvis is in a neutral position. Allow your hands to rest on your belly or beside your torso on the floor. 
  • You can close your eyes and take deep breaths. Hold the position for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • To exit the posture, gently fold your knees and push your body away from the wall. Turn to your right side, lie in the foetal position, and move to a seated position.
AD
MOAds_750x750

Which is the Best Time To Perform Yoga For Diabetes Patients?

It is advisable to perform yoga to control diabetes early in the morning. Performing yoga asanas with breathing exercises early in the morning on an empty stomach has been found to be beneficial in managing diabetes.

Which Asanas Should Be Avoided by Diabetics?

Although yoga asanas are highly recommended for managing diabetes, there are a few poses or asanas that should be avoided by diabetics, which are:

  • Shirsasana: Commonly known as a headstand, this asana increases the blood flow to your head. This can increase the blood pressure in your head which may lead to damage to the small blood vessels supplying your eyes. Therefore it is better to avoid inversion poses in diabetes.
  • Chakrasana: Chakrasana or the wheel pose is a vigorous pose that can increase your heart rate. In diabetics, an increased heart rate is associated with the risk of complications such as heart problems or stroke. Therefore, it is better to avoid chakrasana if you have diabetes.
  • Pincha Mayurasana: Pincha Mayurasana or the feathered peacock pose is another inverted asana that should be avoided by diabetics. It can increase the blood pressure in your head and cause damage to the small blood vessels, especially those supplying your eyes.

Don’t Have Time To Read?

  • Yoga is a holistic mind-body practice that can improve your physical, mental and spiritual health. It involves various asanas which refer to a specific body posture or pose
  • Regular practice of these asanas can strengthen your immune system and help prevent and manage various health conditions such as diabetes.
  • Yoga asanas help relax your muscles, improve blood circulation, and enhance the functioning of your organs. Practising yoga regularly can improve your pancreatic function and improve insulin secretion. Yoga also improves insulin sensitivity and helps your cells use up more glucose so that your blood glucose levels are balanced. 
  • Yoga is also an effective way to maintain healthy body weight. Being obese or overweight is one of the risk factors for Type 2 Diabetes. These factors, therefore, make yoga beneficial for diabetics.
  • The asanas that diabetics can practise include vrikshasana or tree-pose, dhanurasana or bow-pose, paschimottanasana or seated-forward bend, phalakasana or plank-pose, and viparitha karani or legs-up-the-wall pose.
  • Though yoga is beneficial for diabetics, there are a few asanas that you need to avoid with diabetes. These include shirshasana, chakrasana, and pincha mayurasana. These poses can increase the risk of complications in diabetes such as high blood pressure and heart problems.
  • Use the Phable Care App to consult India’s leading diabetologists, order medicines, book lab tests, integrate blood sugar monitoring and other devices to get real-time remote care from the comfort of your home. Also, check out our Diabetes Management Program which provides ‎360º care. Let’s treat diabetes together.

Frequently Asked Questions

The yoga asanas that are beneficial for diabetics include vrikshasana or tree-pose, dhanurasana or bow-pose, paschimottanasana or seated-forward bend, phalakasana or plank-pose, and viparitha karani or legs-up-the-wall pose. These asanas help lower your blood sugar levels by improving insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity.

Diabetes is a chronic condition that cannot be cured. However, it can be managed well with healthy dietary changes, stress management, and regular physical activity. With diabetes, yoga is the perfect low-impact activity that you can opt for. Regular practice of yoga asanas helps control your blood sugar levels.

Pranayama is a breathing technique that is beneficial for diabetics. It helps stimulate your pancreas and improve insulin secretion, thereby controlling your blood sugar levels efficiently. Kapalbhati Pranayama (skull shining breathing technique) and Anulom vilom pranayama (alternate nostril breathing) are the two among the few pranayamas that diabetics can practise.

Surya namaskar or sun salutation is proven to be a helpful practice in the management of diabetes. It promotes blood flow and improves the functioning of the organs including your pancreas, eventually aiding in the production of insulin (the hormone that regulates your blood sugar levels).

Paschimottanasana is a simple and effective yoga asana that helps improve your pancreatic function. It involves sitting down and bending forward to touch your feet. Paschimottanasana stretches your lower back, hamstrings and hips. It also helps tone your pelvic organs.

Walking is no doubt one of the best exercises to tone your body and improve your overall health. Yoga contributes to both your physical and mental health and is also found to be beneficial for those with diabetes. It helps improve the production and efficacy of insulin in the body. Thus, both walking and yoga can be beneficial for diabetics.

Sudarshan Kriya (proper vision by purifying action) is a yogic breathing technique that is useful in controlling your blood sugar levels. It is shown to improve the functioning of your nervous system and improves your blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

Dr. Pakhi Sharma
Dr. Pakhi Sharma, MBBS
(General physician, 6+ years)
An expert in obstetrics and medical emergencies, Dr. Pakhi Sharma, an alumni of Sri Devaraj Urs University of Higher Education and Research Centre, is a general physician working at Phablecare. She has 6+ years of work experience spread across gynaecology and obstetrics, family medicine, and medical emergencies at renowned hospitals and clinics.

Leave a Reply

Subscribe to Stay Healthy, with Lifestyle Tips Every week
CONSULT
Doctors on demand
ORDER
Medicines & lab tests
MONITOR
Vitals & treatments
For Doctors
For Partners
About
Blog