Yoga at its core is the practice of achieving mind, body and spirit unification for the ultimate goal of spiritual enlightenment. However, numerous research studies have shown how the effects of practicing yoga can lead to improved physical and mental well-being. One such physical diseases which has been increasing exponentially is Type 2 Diabetes. It is characterized as high blood glucose level due to sedentary lifestyle habits and unhealthy dietary patterns.
There has been increasing evidence suggesting that regular practice of yoga can aid in curbing the pathophysiologic mechanisms of diabetes and manage its bodily complications. However, these studies only such a correlational and not a causal effect. Therefore, yoga practice is recommended for a type 2 diabetic after careful assessment by a licensed medical professional.
Asanas, also known as yoga postures, is one aspect of yoga which should be preformed with stability and comfort. Seated postures such as ardhamatsyendrasan, yoga mudra, and mandukasan help in improving pancreatic function while postures with forward bends massage and pressurize the pancreas and trigger insulin secretion. Also, twisting poses, such as vakrasan and ardhamatsyendrasan aid in massaging the intestines to prevent the stagnation of colonic contents.
For therapeutic benefits to be observed, asanas need to be held for around 30 seconds to 1 minute. A study done by Malhotra et al. (2005) illustrated the positive effect that yoga postures had a on glucose utilization and fat redistribution in individuals diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. In another study, its results indicated that yoga could increase the blood supply to muscles which may enhance insulin receptor expression in the muscles, leading to an increase in glucose uptake (Raveendran et al., 2018).
Malhotra, Singh, Tandon, & Sharma. (2005). The beneficial effect of yoga in diabetes. Nepal Medical College Journal : NMCJ, 7(2), 145–147.
Raveendran, Deshpandae, & Joshi. (2018). Therapeutic Role of Yoga in Type 2 Diabetes. Endocrinology and metabolism (Seoul, Korea), 33(3), 307–317. https://doi.org/10.3803/EnM.2018.33.3.307