Try yoga for diabetes
Diabetes, better known as the lifestyle disease, has reached epidemic proportions worldwide. An increasing number of people with diabetes mellitus are turning to yoga in an effort to keep their condition under control and improve overall quality of life. It is well known that regular practice of yoga can help reduce levels of stress, enhance mobility, lower blood pressure, and improve overall well-being.
The twisting and stretching in many of the yoga postures massages the pancreas and stimulates the production of insulin. Here are five yoga postures which will help diabetics as well as high-risk individuals.
Ardha Matsyendrasana (half spinal twist)
Sit with the legs stretched out in front of the body. Bend the right leg and place the right foot flat on the floor on the outside of the left knee. The toes of the right foot should face forward. Bend the left leg and bring the foot around to the right buttock. The outside edge of the foot should be in contact with the floor.
Pass the left arm through the space between the chest and the right knee and place it against the outside of the right leg. Hold the right foot or ankle with the left hand so that the right knee is close to the left armpit. Inhale and sit up as straight as possible.
Raise the right arm in front of the body and gaze at the fingertips. Slowly exhale and twist to the right, simultaneously moving the arm, trunk, and head. Use the left arm as a lever against the right leg to twist the trunk as far as possible without using the back muscles. Follow the tips of the fingers of the right hand with the gaze and look over the right shoulder. Breath normally and do not strain the back. Bend the right elbow and place the arm around the back of the waist. The back of the right hand should wrap around the left side of the waist.
Inhale and reverse the movements to come out of the posture and repeat on the other side.
This asana should not be practised by people suffering from peptic ulcer, hernia, hyperthyroidism, slipped disc, or sciatica.
Halasana (plough pose)
Lie flat on the back with the legs and feet together and inhale. Place the arms beside the body with the palms facing down. Relax the whole body. Raise both legs to the vertical position, keeping them straight together, using only the abdominal muscles. Press down on the arms and lift the buttocks, rolling the back away from the floor. Lower the legs over the head. Bring the toes towards the floor behind the head without straining, but do not force the toes to touch the floor.
Turn the palms up, bend the elbows, and place the hands behind the rib cage to support the back. Relax and hold the final pose for as long as it is comfortable. Breathe slowly and deeply in this position. Retain the breath inside and return to the starting position by lowering the arms with the palms facing down, then gradually lower each vertebra of the spine to the floor, followed by the buttocks, so that the legs resume their initial vertical position.
Using the abdominal muscles, lower the legs to the starting position, keeping the knees straight.
This asana should not be practised by people suffering from hernia, slipped disc, sciatica, high blood pressure, any serious back problem, or especially, arthritis of the neck.
Bhujangasana (cobra pose)
Lie flat on your stomach with legs straight and feet together. Place your palms flat on the floor, on the side of the shoulder, with the fingers together and pointing forward. Position the arms so that the elbows point backwards and are close to the sides of the body. Breath in and straighten the elbow and arch the back. The pubic bone remains in contact with the mat and the navel is raised to a maximum of three cm. Hold this position for a few seconds. Slowly release the breath and return to the starting position.
This asana should not be practised by people suffering from peptic ulcer, hernia, intestinal tuberculosis, or hyperthyroidism.
Dhanurasana (bow pose)
Lie flat on the stomach with the legs and feet together, keeping the arms and hands beside the body. Bend the knees and bring the heels close to the buttocks. Clasp the hands around the ankles. Place the chin on the floor. This is the starting position.
Inhale deeply in this position. Tense the leg muscles and push the feet away from the body. Arch the back, lifting the thighs, chest, and head together. Keep the arms straight. In the final position, the head is tilted back and the abdomen supports the entire body on the floor. The only muscular contraction is in the legs; the back and arms remain relaxed. Hold the final position for as long as it is comfortable. Slowly exhale and relax the leg muscles, and lower the legs, chest, and head to the starting position. Relax till the breathing becomes normal.
This asana should not be practised by people suffering from a weak heart, high blood pressure, duodenal and peptic ulcer, hernia, or colitis.
Paschimottanasana (back stretching pose)
Sit on the floor with the legs outstretched, feet together, and hands on the knees. This is the starting position. Inhale and relax the whole body.
Exhale slowly and bend forward from the hips, sliding the hands down the legs. Try to grasp the big toes with the fingers and thumbs. If this is not possible, hold the heels, ankles, or any part of the legs that can be reached comfortably. Move slowly without forcing or jerking.
Inhale and hold the position for a few seconds. Relax the back and leg muscles, allowing them to gently stretch. Keeping the legs straight, begin to exhale, and utilizing the arm muscles (not the back muscles), bend the elbows and gently bring the trunk down towards the legs, maintaining a firm grip on the toes, feet, or legs. Try to touch the knees with the forehead. Do not strain.
Breathe slowly and deeply in this final position. Hold the position for as long as it is comfortable and relax. Inhale and slowly return to the starting position. This is one round. Practice three to four such rounds. This asana should not be practised by people suffering from slipped disc, sciatica, or hernia.
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