Yoga Mail

By Leong Suit Wan

Diabetes is a disease related to impaired glucose tolerance in the body; glucose(sugar) is the source of fuel for the body. Diabetes is one of the most complex health conditions that causes metabolic imbalances involving the regulation and utilisation of insulin and glucose in the body. It is a disease afflicting the pancreas mainly and also the liver, intestine and muscles of the body. It is a chronic disease that requires major lifestyle change and constant monitoring. Diabetes has become a common disease for people of all ages. Countries are fighting hard to control the disease by educating the society about it.

Diabetes ranks as the second highest disease in Malaysia as per the reports produced by the Ministry of Health in Malaysia.

The number of diabetics is growing every year due to poor lifestyle and dietetic choices. Although medical technology has advanced, diabetes still remains as a chronic disease and if is not managed in the early stages, it can become not only fatal, but also an expensive disease to treat. Diabetes is preventable and treatable through diet, exercise and lifestyle changes. Exercise is very effective for the treatment of diabetes because it can considerably increase the insulin sensitivities and lower the blood sugar levels. Yoga is one of the most holistic methods and natural forms of exercise that can help prevent and manage diabetes both physically and mentally. Yoga has the ability to balance the endocrine hormones, massage and tone the abdominal organs, stimulate the nervous and circulatory systems, and reduce stress. Yoga postures aim at stimulating the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas gland.

Regular yoga practice can help reduce levels of sugar in the blood. At the same time, the blood pressure is lowered, reducing the severity of the symptoms and slowing the rate of progression of the disease. The possibility of further complications is also lessened considerably. Stress is one of the major reasons for diabetes as it increases the secretion of glucagon (a hormone responsible for increasing blood glucose levels) in the body. Consistent practice of yoga asanas (postures), pranayama and meditation helps reduce stress in the mind and protects the body from adverse effects. Relaxed and concentrated state of mind creates a calming effect on the nervous system which brings balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.

I would like to share some of the yoga asanas (postures) which can be practised by all at home to maintain a happy and healthy body. Yoga asanas help in harmonising the body, breath and mind, thereby contributing to the overall health of the individual.

Parivrtta Sukhasana (Twisted Easy Seated Pose)

Benefits: This asana helps to not only stimulate digestion, but also detoxify the digestive gland at the same time.

Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend/Stretch Pose)

Benefits: This asana massages internal organs located in the abdomen and enhances blood circulation to the abdominal region.

Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Spinal Twist Pose)

Benefits: This asana creates a good twist to the abdominal region stimulating the solar plexus. It helps optimise functions of organs such as the kidneys, pancreas, small intestine and gall bladder.

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Benefits: This asana relieves excessive gas in the stomach and intestine, and smoothens the elimination processes. It promotes deep core muscle activation and spinal nerve activation.

Vrikshasana (Tree Pose)

Benefits: Creates a sense of balance in the endocrine and nervous systems and enhances the endocrine signalling between the master hormonal glands and others.

Anulom Vilom (Alternate Nostril Breathing)

Benefits: This pranayama purifies the energy channels, thus calming the “over thinking” mind. It reduces stress in the mind and body.