Yoga for Diabetes

Article by Ray Cacciattolo

Diabetes can affect people at any age, leading to many complications like heart disease, kidney failure, blindness and even amputations. With the rising number of persons in Malta being diagnosed with diabetes, it is no wonder that the need for treating the disease is on the increase.

One way to keep diabetes under control is through yoga practice. Turning to yoga is an effort to keep this condition under control and improve overall quality of life. Yoga for diabetes provides unique benefits that can effectively restore the body to a state of natural health and proper function.

It has been scientifically proven that yoga helps to reduce the level of sugar in the blood and improve glucose metabolism; along with lowering blood pressure and keeping weight in check. Yoga practice can reduce the severity of the symptoms and slowing the rate of progression of the disease, apart from lessening the possibility of further complications.

A study published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, found that practising yoga regularly caused short-term improvement in fasting glucose. It has been discovered that direct stimulation of the pancreas by certain yoga postures revitalised its capacity to produce insulin. Yogic exercise has also been shown to reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels, both of which are often accompanying symptoms for diabetes.  In another study, it has been found that subjects who practiced yoga had an increase in measures of nerve conduction.

By integrating the mind with the body, yoga can relieve the daily stresses that often lie at the heart of diabetic symptoms. The stress we experience in our day to day lives can accumulate and lead to ‘emotional eating’, which in turn leads to obesity. Stress increases the secretion of glucagon (a hormone responsible for increasing blood glucose levels) in the body. The consistent practice of yoga can help reduce stress in the mind and protect the body from its adverse effects. This, in turn, reduces the amount of glucagon and improves the action of insulin.

Yoga can directly and indirectly have a great positive effect on diabetes. It increases willpower, self-confidence, strength and discipline, which can all be of a great help with weight loss and other health issues. For those looking for how to prevent diabetes or gain relief from the disease, adopting a healthy lifestyle that incorporates yoga for diabetes can offer a better way of life.

Ray Cacciattolo, founder of Functional Fitness Yoga (Malta), is a fully qualified Yoga Instructor (Yoga Alliance 2011), Pilates Instructor (National exercise & Sports Trainers Association 2007), Hatha Yoga Teacher (C.h. Dip. Yoga, Kevala Centre 2005) and Sport Yoga Instructor (National Exercise & Sports trainers Association 2004). Ray started the practice of yoga in 2001 to increase his fitness level. It immediately struck him that practice of yoga is highly beneficial on the physical, mental and emotional level. He highly considers yoga as a way of life, a means not just to get physically fit but also to obtain and maintain inner well-being, harmony and a deep sense of peace. It is his passion sharing the many benefits that yoga has to offer to every person, whatever the age, level of fitness and shape of the body. His teaching experience includes yoga with the visually impaired and blind persons and yoga in prison. He may be contacted at email; contact number: 79555574; website: ; fb: Ra Yoga Malta

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