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Yoga for controlling diabetes: 15 poses and their benefits

Team AckoMay 13, 2024

Yoga is known to promote weight loss, ensure heart health, and improve emotional well-being. Also, studies confirm the effectiveness of yoga for diabetes, as yoga asanas can help lower blood sugar levels and improve circulation.

This article talks about the yoga poses that can help in managing diabetes and improving quality of life.




How Does Yoga Help in Managing Diabetes

Yoga is highly beneficial for controlling blood sugar levels and managing diabetes. The breathing exercises and meditation in yoga help reduce stress, directly affecting blood sugar levels. The physical asanas help improve flexibility, circulation, and sleep quality. Yoga promotes weight loss, which is key to reducing insulin resistance. 

It also enables better functioning of important organs like the liver and pancreas. Doing just 15-20 minutes of yoga daily, including Surya namaskar, pranayam, and asanas for diabetes, can be immensely helpful.

Integrating Yoga with Other Forms of Exercise 

  • Combine yoga with aerobic exercise like walking, swimming, or cycling for cardiovascular benefits

  • Add strength training to build muscle mass and improve metabolism

  • Try circuit training workouts that alternate between yoga postures and bodyweight exercises 

  • Go for a walk or light jog to warm up before a yoga session

  • Take a few minutes after your yoga practice to meditate or practice pranayama

  • On alternate days, swap a typical yoga session with Tai Chi, Pilates, or stretch classes

Top 15 best yoga poses for diabetes

Here’s a rundown of yoga asanas that can aid in controlling diabetes when practised on a daily basis.

1. Dhanurasana

This pose helps improve digestion, strengthens abdominal muscle, and regulates the pancreas. To do this asana, lie down on your stomach, fold your knees, hold your ankles with both hands and lift your chest off the ground and pull your legs up. Hold this pose for 10 to 15 seconds.

2. Halasana

This asana stimulates your thyroid glands and helps manage diabetes. To do this asana, lie on the back, keep your hands on the sides around the hips, lift your legs and back, and roll all over the back. Touch your toes to the ground, keep your knees straight and hold this pose for 10 seconds.

3. Bhujangasana

This pose is known as cobra stretch, which stimulates abdominal organs and may lower blood pressure. To do bhujangasana, lie on your stomach, and place your hands on the floor/mat near your chest. Gently lift your shoulders and upper body. Make sure to bend your elbows slightly. Hold this asana for up to 30 seconds.

4. Adomukhi Svanasana

This is the downward dog pose that is effective in managing diabetes. It also helps regulate the blood flow to the brain. To do adomukhi svanasana, get on all fours. Keep hands shoulder-width apart and, similarly, keep your knees hip-width apart. Curl your toes and lift your knees off the floor. Straighten your legs and walk your feet 2 to 3 steps forward. Your body should form an upside-down V shape. Maintain this pose for 10 to 15 seconds.

5. Paschimottanasana

This asana helps lower blood pressure and is considered a good stretching exercise. To do paschimottanasana, sit on the ground and spread your legs forward. Bring your arms straight out and touch your toes. Deepen into a forward bend and try touching your forehead to your knees. Hold it for 10 seconds. Release your feet and get back to the seated position.

6. Kapalbhati pranayam

It is a breathing technique that enhances your respiratory system and boosts immunity. To do kapalbhati pranayam, firstly, sit in either padmasana or vajrasana and place your hands on your knees. Keep your back straight. Take a deep breath and exhale forcefully in short bursts and contract your abdominal muscles. Do two repetitions per second. 

7. Surya namaskar

Sun salutation is a well-known yoga technique that not only warms up your body but also controls blood sugar levels. It consists of a set of 7 different asanas and is completed in 12 steps, which are: prayer pose, raised arms pose, standing forward bend, equestrian pose, stick pose, salute with eight parts or points, cobra pose, downward facing dog pose, and then steps are reversed in the following order: equestrian pose, standing forward bend, raised arms pose, and mountain pose.

8. Sarvangasana

This asana improves thyroid glands and blood circulation in the brain. To do sarvangasana, lie on your back, and use your hands to lift your legs and back up. Maintain this posture by folding your elbows and holding your back with your hands. Stay in the position for 10 to 15 seconds, and then bring your back and legs down. In this asana, your body is balanced on your shoulders. 

9. Purvottanasana

It is an upward plank pose, that is also considered a full-body workout. It improves your respiratory system and strengthens your muscles. To do purvottanasana, lie in the seating position and keep your legs straight out in front of you. Draw your arms behind your hips and keep your fingers pointing towards the feet. Press your hands and feet to the floor and lift your hips. Straighten your legs and keep your feet pressed on the floor. Drop your head backward. Hold this asana for 15 to 20 seconds. Keep breathing and gently come back to the seating position.

10. Setu bandha asana

This bridge pose helps stimulate thyroid glands, lungs, and abdominal muscles. It also enhances blood circulation and strengthens the back. To do setu bandha asana, lie on your back, bend your knees, bring your hands towards the feet and lift your hips and back off the floor. Hold it for 10 seconds and get on your back by lowering your tailbone.

11. Viparita karani asana

It is also known as the legs-up-the-wall pose that slows your heart rate and controls sugar levels. You can do viparita karani asana in two different ways, with or without a wall. It is similar to sarvangasana, and all steps are the same but with a little variation. In this pose, you have to make a curve from your lower back, and your hips remain a little above the floor.

12. Pawanmuktasana

This yoga pose boasts many benefits, such as regulating bowel movements, strengthening abdominal muscles, improving mental health, controlling blood glucose levels, etc. To do pawanmuktasana, lie on your back, bend your knees and pull them close to the chest. Raise your head and touch your chin or nose to the knees. You can also do this asana by folding one leg at a time and then repeating it with another leg.

13. Mandukasana

It is a frog pose that helps you get relief from constipation and other digestive problems. This asana also helps control diabetes. To do mandukasana, sit in vajrasana (simple kneeling pose), make fists, and position them on either side of your navel. Bend forward and gently press your navel with your fits. Look forward, keep your back straight and hold it for 15 seconds.

14. Ardha matsyendrasana

This half-fish pose helps manage diabetes, improves digestion, and facilitates a better production of insulin in the body. In ardha matsyendrasana, your entire torso revolves around the spine. You can hold this pose for 30 seconds and repeat it on the other side. 

15. Savasana

This yoga asana is the corpse pose which is done at the end of the yoga session. It regulates blood sugar levels and helps lower blood pressure. It also calms the mind and central nervous system. To do savasana, lie flat on your back, keep your arms on your sides and focus on breathing. You can remain in this pose for 5 to 10 minutes to completely relax your mind and body.

Precautions and Safety Tips While Practising Yoga for Diabetes

  • Consult your doctor before starting a yoga practice, especially if you have complications related to diabetes

  • Practice yoga under the guidance of a trained yoga instructor

  • Check your blood sugar levels before and after yoga sessions

  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing and avoid restrictive styles

  • Stay well hydrated before, during, and after yoga

  • Use props like blocks and straps to modify poses if needed  

  • Avoid poses that require extreme twisting, backbends, or inversions if you have retinopathy or neuropathy

  • Stop immediately if you feel faint or experience pain, nausea, or difficulty breathing

How to Incorporate Yoga into Your Daily Routine for Maximum Benefit

  • Practice yoga first thing in the morning on an empty stomach

  • Take a few minutes during your lunch break for simple standing or seated poses

  • Do a few sun salutations and winding down poses in the evening  

  • Practice pranayama or meditation techniques right before going to sleep

  • Take yoga breaks during long sedentary periods like work or travel

  • Practice 2-3 times a week for maximum benefits

  • Invest 15-20 minutes daily towards self-practice at home on rest days

  • Try practising yoga outdoors in nature when possible for mental benefits

Be regular

Yoga asanas, when done on a regular basis, can help manage your diabetes and also improve your overall health. It is vital to check with your doctor before adding it to your routine. Also, make sure you practise yoga asanas under the guidance of a trained yoga instructor.

Also read: Create ABHA Health ID

Frequently asked questions

This section features some common queries and their answers pertaining to yoga for diabetes.


What are the benefits of yoga for diabetes?

Yoga helps rejuvenate pancreatic cells that stimulate insulin production, improve muscle strength, promote weight loss, and reduce stress.

Can yoga cure diabetes permanently?

Diabetes can be controlled, and you may not need medication if you continue doing yoga on a regular basis. But yoga asanas cannot cure diabetes on their own. 

Is kapalbhati good for type 2 diabetes?

Yes, kapalbhati can help stimulate the pancreas to produce more insulin. Further, this pranayam is helpful in reducing stress, calming the nerves, and increasing the metabolic rate. 

Can deep breathing lower blood sugar?

Yes, breathing exercises can help lower blood sugar. It also aids in reducing stress and promoting blood circulation.

How long should I practise yoga daily to see benefits for my diabetes?

Practising for 15-20 minutes daily, including poses like Surya Namaskar and various pranayamas, can offer significant benefits.

What precautions should I take when practising yoga with diabetes?

Consult your doctor before starting, monitor your blood sugar levels, and practice under a trained instructor. Pay attention to how your body feels during practice and avoid poses that cause discomfort.

Is it safe to do yoga if I have diabetes-related complications like neuropathy?

Yes, but you should avoid extreme poses and use props to modify poses as needed. Always consult with your healthcare provider and practice under the supervision of a qualified instructor.


Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. Please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.


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