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Yogic therapy for diabetes

March 25, 2008
India has one of the highest rates of diabetes in the world. Even Indians who have shifted abroad are susceptible to it, indicating that diabetes causes are either genetic, with behaviourally inherited triggers (dietary or lifestyle habits), a sedentary life-style and disinterest towards exercise in general.

However, regular yogic practice and lifestyle modifications that include yogic dietary habits can help control diabetes in the adult onset type of this ailment.

Where such changes complement a conventional medical treatment, the results can be dramatic. It is important to be proactive about this disease which can accompany or cause other problems like eye-sight failure, vulnerability to infections (especially of the skin and uro-genital system), circulatory problems, including heart ailments and high blood pressure.

Yogic therapy works by rejuvenating the main glands involved with diabetes, like the pancreas that is involved with insulin release. The stress glands also seem to be implicated, where a high stress level can overload the blood with high sugar as a response to stress.

By relearning the art of relaxation, by including regular meditation and calming pranayamas (breathing practices), this trigger can also be defused effectively with yoga.

Apart from the following practices for which instructions are provided, it is important to include other practices. These are pranayama (breathing practices) such as bhastrika (bellows breathing), kapalabhati (skull-cleansing practice), nadi shodhana (purification of energy channels) and bhramari (humming bee). Include surya mudra (explained in detail in our earlier special on mudras).

If there is an accompanying problem of blood pressure avoid bhastrika, kapalabhati and surya mudra since these tend to aggravate the problem. A regular practice of yoga nidra of at least ten-minute duration is a must.

Shameem Akthar, yoga acharya trained with the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center, Kerala, leads you through five yogic practices that help in management of diabetes.

Text: Shameem Akthar
Photographs: Jahnavi Sheriff
Catch more of Shameem's yoga writings and about her upcoming workshops at

Harmony Foundation recently published Shameem Akthar's book, Yoga for Silvers. To place an order, please write to:

(This article only attempts to enthuse readers towards yoga practice and complement your existing practice. Yoga is best learnt under the personal guidance of a teacher.)
Also read: Bending for health: Yogic backbends


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