This year the month of November has seen a national focus on diabetes. According to International Diabetics Federation (IDF), there were nearly 2.28 million South Africans living with diabetes. As is the case in most developing nations this number is expected to rise
Treatment for diabetes consists of three major components: diet, exercise, and medication. Proper diet and exercise are crucial for prevention and management, but chronic complications can inhibit physical activity.
Studies have confirmed the effectiveness of Yoga in the fight against diabetes, but not everyone can participate in traditional classes. Chair Yoga, a gentle practice using chairs for sitting or support, is gaining popularity with disabled and older participants – even those in wheel chairs. This alternative provides the benefits of Yoga without the risky physical challenges.
In Chair Yoga for diabetes classes, emphasis is placed on poses, breathing techniques, and meditation. Due to the fact that diabetics often have numbness or fatigue that affects balance or makes standing exercises risky, Chair Yoga is a very safe way to maintain health and prevent injuries.
Participants not only experience a state of well-being and improved mood, but they also target specific problems caused by the illness. While these mechanisms are still not completely understood, researchers have speculated that Yoga helps diabetics in the following ways.
Yoga for Diabetes Benefits
• Excess weight complicates diabetes, and Yoga helps to keep the pounds in check.
• By lowering stress, Yoga reduces the levels of cortisol, adrenaline, and glucagons in the body, which stabilizes insulin production.
• Muscle relaxation improves circulation – a problem for many diabetics – and enables the muscles to increase their uptake of insulin, reducing blood sugar levels.
• Poor circulation is common in diabetes; and Yoga pumps fresh oxygen into the blood stream, oxygenating the blood flow and cleansing the lymph system.
• Yoga postures that stretch or massage the pancreas may enable it to do its job more effectively.
• Yoga lowers blood pressure and cholesterol – two factors that make the treatment of diabetes more difficult.
At the same time, Chair Yoga students are likely to practice posturing, exercises, breathing techniques and what they learn about a healthy Yogic lifestyle at home.
Article from “Chair Yoga for Diabetes” by Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500