Yoga and Diabetes

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Yoga and Diabetes 1I was going to call this post “yoga for diabetics”, but I decided against it because there are no specific yoga poses that are targeted at diabetics. People who manage diabetes can actually do any kind of yoga, any position and any discipline. I often do yoga videos that I find on YouTube because it’s convenient, or I go to a yoga class at my gym. Either way I usually combine it with other flexibility training that I have been taught over the years in various dance classes.

Yoga and Diabetes 2The benefits

I don’t do yoga for the strength element; I do it because I NEED to stretch, although I do get stronger as a result of the practice. I stretch because when I have been exercising a lot, especially weight lifting, my muscles get really tight and I find it uncomfortable. Yoga just loosens me right back up. It also has a psychological benefit for me. It makes me feel relaxed, almost like a movement meditation and it gives the feeling of accomplishment when I can reach a new position with ease. Other benefits include improved circulation, ease of migraines, better sleep and it can also help fight off food cravings.

Yoga and Diabetes 3Different Levels

Although I am fairly strong and supple, I am not yet a yogi master. However, I have held my own in a few of the more difficult classes so I would say I’m advanced with lots of room for improvement. Levels range from beginner, intermediate, advanced and expert. I would suggest that most people should start at beginner’s level, but if you are already quite active and consider yourself a fairly flexible body you could potentially go to an intermediate class. Most teachers are happy for you to work at your own pace as yoga is more about listening to your own body, than trying to compete with the rest of the class.

Yoga and Diabetes 4Basal

To avoid those pesky exercise related hypos/hypers we have to look at the basal insulin. My basal for yoga is usually set with a 40% decrease, but this can vary depending the exercise that I am combing with the practice. I usually do an hour pole practice before yoga which is quite physically challenging. However, if I doit on its own with no prior exercise my body reacts to it like it’s a very gentle exercise, similar to walking. For a first timer I would start with a 20% decrease of basal and then go from there.

The results you get from this type of training will obviously be very dependent on your commitment to it and how often you practice. If yoga is your main source of exercise I would say go for three times per week to begin with and then adjust as you see necessary. I would definitely recommend trying, even if you feel a bit nervous about it. Your body is an amazing and it should be explored.

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Happy Yoga.

Rowena x

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