What is your blood sugar level? It is the measurement of concentrated glucose in your blood. Yogic science considers devitalization and improper digestive processes due to overeating, obesity and lack of exercise as some of the major causes of diabetes.
Another causative factor is stress. The pressures of the demands of modern working life and the sedentary lifestyle lead to mental and emotional disturbances. Stress leads to the activation of the adrenal glands, which secrete adrenaline (stress hormone) into the bloodstream. It is a powerful stimulant for the body to mobilize glucose.
HOW YOGA CONTROLS LEVELS
With yoga, we can literally enslave our body, thereby enslaving our mind to our will. It can repair and restore our cells, improve metabolism and digestion, generate more energy, heal injuries, and reduce numbness and muscle spasms. Yoga helps prevent serious complications in all parts of the body that may be vulnerable, such as the kidneys, eyes, arteries, heart, liver, nerves and joints.
Newly diagnosed diabetics are more likely to completely control diabetes with yogic practices and a supervised lifestyle. Yoga rejuvenates and strengthens the pancreas to allow your body to use your own insulin efficiently. This restores the pranic energy in the middle digestive tract.
WHICH POSE ARE BENEFICIAL?
Certain yoga poses resensitize muscle and fat tissue to the body’s own (endogenous) insulin. Yogasanas such as Mandukasana, Vajrasana, Pavan Muktasana and Paschimottanasana work wonders. Advanced yoga poses like Ardha Matsyendrasana, Sarvangasana, Halasana and Mayurasana are also good for those who can practice it. The Sun Salutation enhances pranic energy and also balances the metabolism.
WHAT BREATHING EXERCISES SHOULD I DO?
Pranayam like Kapalbhati and Ujjayi are helpful. Bhramari and Nadi shodhana help reduce stress and tension. Shatkarmas are cleansing, detoxifying and rejuvenating processes and increase blood flow to depleted and atrophied glandular segments of the pancreas.
CAN A YOGIC DIET HELP?
Along with yoga, healthy eating is an important part of diabetes management. Uncontrolled diabetes can increase the risk of developing heart problems. A healthy meal plan and being active can help keep your blood sugar levels in the target range. To manage this, eat a balanced diet, include physical activity, and take your diabetes medications at the same time each day. What you eat, how much you eat, when you eat are all important in maintaining your optimal blood sugar levels.
The key to diet is to choose from all the food groups.
Vegetables – Opt for non-starchy ones, including broccoli, carrots, leafy greens, bell peppers, and tomatoes. Starches include corn, green peas and potatoes.
Fruit – Include oranges, melons, apples, a slightly ripe banana, berries.
Grains – Choose whole grains like unpolished brown rice, khapli wheat, rolled oats, barley, and yolk.
Protein – legumes, lentils, peas, beans, nuts and seeds.
Dairy products – A2 cow’s milk and dairy products such as ghee, yogurt, paneer, buttermilk.
Herbs – One can consume neem powder once a day. Opt for bitter herbs with healthy fiber. Soak a teaspoon of fenugreek seeds in a cup of water overnight and drink it in the morning. Take an herbal tea made up of ginger, turmeric and cinnamon powder in the morning.
Eat foods that are good for the heart like avocado, olives, nuts and seeds, seed oils. Fill your plate with vegetables, complex carbohydrates such as unpolished brown rice, sweet potato, couscous, whole grains, followed by good quality protein from legumes, lentils and beans.
SLEEP IS KEY
Sleep is a very important factor. Sleep well for at least seven to eight hours. Simple Shavasana definitely helps you reduce your stress levels because your physical knots and tensions dissolve with gravity. When you do guided meditation with Yog Nidra in particular, when you move your awareness from tip toe to head or vice versa, moving through every inch of your body, breathing awareness, exhaling stress, you are releasing all your anxiety.
(Dr. Mehta has trained Bollywood superstars Akshay Kumar, Preity Zinta, billionaires, politicians, Miss World/Miss Universe contestants and Maharashtra police. A best-selling author, he was named a champion of the FIT India movement by the Sports Authority of India).