Learn about Diabetes and handle it at home

Updated: Jan 19

In spite of the tremendous progress made by science in the field of medicine, the world is still groping to find a lasting cure for almost all the major illnesses afflicting mankind, diabetes being one. The achievements, if any, in this area have been more toward alleviating the symptoms of an ailment than finding a wholesome cure for the same. The claim made here at the most is," will increase the life span", with no comment on the quality of this expected increase in the life span. Expunging the symptoms of an ailment doesn't equate with providing a healthy, fulfilling and a happy life.

Given the above scenario the only defense left with a regular mortal today is to arm itself with knowledge related to these ailments and the alternatives available for managing them. Yoga is one of the time tested, easy to manage, totally organic, always effective alternatives available to mankind today. Let us start with understanding the basics of Diabetes and figure out a Yoga plan which can save one from the daily pricks of an insulin jab. The information mentioned in this article is part of the curriculum of our yoga camp we conduct on diabetes in Bandra west, Mumbai and at our Yoga retreat near Chandigarh. These camps also include the information on how different yoga techniques work on the body to rid it of diabetes.

Face to face with Diabetes

Our diet basically consists of carbohydrates, protein, sugar and fats. Each cell of the body receives energy for its functioning from the sugar present in the food, but this sugar needs an agent to enter the cell. Insulin is that agent, which is produced in a gland called Pancreas situated behind the stomach. #Diabetes is the inability of Pancreas, complete or partial, to produce enough insulin required to convert sufficient amount of sugar into energy for the body cells to maintain their functions. This can spike the level of unused sugar in the blood to detrimental proportions, which can be life threatening.

Symptoms of Diabetes

The 3Ps

Polyuria - Frequent urination

Polydypsia - Increased thirst

Polydypsia - Increased thirsts and fatigue in spite of increased food intake

Bits on Diabetes

  • Diabetes can remain symptom less and go undetected for years; Urine and blood testing is the only way to establish its presence

  • Diabetes is of two types: Type I ( total absence of insulin,insulin dependent); Type II ( some insulin is produced but nor enough, non insulin dependent)

  • A majority of Patients of Type II diabetes can control their condition with diet alone,

  • 25 percent of diabetics are known to inherent the disease from their parents or relatives

  • 80 percent of the diabetics are in the age group 50 to 60 years

  • For every 20 per cent of excess body weight, the chances of getting type two diabetes are doubled

  • Women are more prone to diabetes than men, women can experience diabetes during pregnancy which goes away after child birth

  • Surgery, Physical or emotional trauma can beget diabetes

  • Diabetes can facilitate heart related issues, blurred vision, cataract, damage to retina,loss of vision

  • The patient experience environmental cold more intensely than normal people, the wounds, infections do not heal fast in diabetics

  • Nerve damage, impotence, damage to kidneys ( swollen ankles, puffy face, fatigue)

  • Itching caused by skin infections, urinary tract infections are common to diabetics

  • Nerve damage, impotence, damage to kidneys ( swollen ankles, puffy face, fatigue) is common to diabetics

  • In the absence of the availability of sugar the body starts burning fat to makeup for the energy deficit which produces harmful by products leading to conditions like diabetic coma or even death

  • Presence of 200 mg. per cent of sugar in the blood one hour after meals is considered normal sugar level for diabetics

  • Benedict's test and Diastix strips methods can be used to test urine sugar levels at home

  • Even when the pancreas are working normally, one can still have diabetes due to insulin resistance, insulin is there but unable to do its work

  • Obese people will have more of insulin resistance, thin people have deficiency of insulin

  • If the sugar is left uncontrolled, the kidneys, brain, heart and the eyes can die within 5 years span

  • High insulin levels can be dangerous to human body

  • One must get the blood sugar levels tested every 4 months in general

  • Smoking and diabetes is a lethal combination

Yoga Plan on Preventing, Managing Diabetes

"Accept that you have Diabetes"

Dietary Considerations in Yoga for Diabetes

  • Eat well-balanced meals which include maximum nutrients in a balanced form by following the tips for eating the right way

  • Break the over all daily food intake into smaller feeds, and spread them evenly at an interval of two to two and a half hours each through out the day

  • Eat at regular hours to avoid blood sugar level fluctuations

  • Avoid fasting

  • Practice good dental health as healthy teeth have been found to lower the blood sugar levels in the body

  • Eat with a relaxed, cheerful and positive state of Mind

  • High carbohydrate and low fat diet, as recommended by yoga diet, helps manage diabetes

  • Keep sweets out of sight to avoid developing craving for the same

  • Avoid taking alcohol as it contains empty calories adding to the overall calorie intake, there is also a risk of the routine of the diabetic going awry due to the intoxicating effects of consuming alcohol

  • Avoid non vegetarian food on account of its being high on protein, animal fat and low on fibre read a report from TOI on eating non veg food

  • Avoid eating papaya, chikoo, custard apple, mangoes and watermelons, a papaya which is less in sweetness content can be had though

  • Elaichi banana can be eaten by diabetics

  • A heavy meal at a single go is equal to a sweet meal

  • Include salad, leafy vegetables, in your meals, salad can impart around 200 benefits to the diabetics, eating the foods raw enhances the healing potency of the food

Fitness and Exercise for Diabetes

  • The non insulin dependent type of diabetes can be completely controlled by just diet and exercise (yoga)

  • Get a medical check up done before starting exercise

  • Introduce exercise slowly and gradually, start with very basic and less strenuous ones to the more taxing

  • Stop immediately if you feel unwell, sip on a fruit juice, soft drink or munch on a sweet fruit

  • Be consistent with your practice

  • Avoid sudden spurts of activity

  • Diabetics with other related medical problems must be treated for them before you start the exercise regime

  • Cover yourself after you are done exercising to avoid chill

  • Diabetics with other related medical problems must be treated for them before you start the exercise regime

  • Be in loose and comfortable clothing and foot wear

  • Compulsorily check the feet for any injury before and after the exercise

Why Yoga for Diabetes?

  • Yoga reduces overweight, help under weights to put on proportionately

  • It enhances blood circulation and lowers the cholesterol and triglyceride levels, doing away with any heart related issues to which diabetics are easy targets

  • It does away with the possibility of sudden swings in the blood sugar level which can invite diabetes by relieving emotional and physical stress, in some cases stress alone can even pose threat to one's life

  • Yoga increases the number of insulin receptors, lowering the blood sugar level

  • It enhances the absorption of glucose by the muscles in turn lowering the blood sugar level

  • Inclusion of Yogendra Rhythm ( Breathing pattern) along with asanas enhances the benefits of the same manifold

  • Yoga helps exercise every tiny gland in the body

  • Yoga completely harmonizes the Mind, Body and the Spirit

  • Yoga asanas are simple in technique, easy to perform and non tiring in nature, conducive to all age groups as yoga can immensely benefit even the seniors

  • Yoga endows maximum vital index on the practitioner in comparison to other exercises

  • Each Yoga asana has a health value attached to it, either preventive or curative for certain health conditions

  • In yoga the development of the muscles is balanced with the peak function of the vital organs

Points to be kept in Mind before you start a Yoga for Diabetes regime

  • Select a well ventilated, secluded place free of any distractions like smells, wind, moisture and insects

  • Practice Yoga on a mat, or a blanket, never on the bare ground

  • Follow proper guidelines for doing asana practice

  • Pay attention to the action, attitude, and alignment aspects related to the yoga practice

  • Establish a routine by practicing at the same place, at the same time daily, incorporate the principles of alignment in yoga in your practice

  • Condition, still the Mind by staying still in any pose with eyes closed, for a while, before you start the practice

  • Breathe only through the nose, the mouth should be closed throughout the practice

  • Avoid jerky breathing, keep it smooth, deep and slow

  • Yoga should be practiced early morning on empty stomach, or with a gap of at least 4 hours after the last meal if practicing at other times of the day

  • In case you miss the scheduled time try making up for it at some other time of the day in order to maintain the daily routine

  • While doing breathing exercises learn about and follow the tips for enhancing the benefits of pranayama

Complete Yoga Regime for Diabetes

Yoga Asanas:

Relaxation Techniques:

Yoga Kriyas:


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