By: Lisa M. Wolfe
A healthy lifestyle, which includes exercise, is important in the fight against diabetes. Yoga can complement such a lifestyle and help to keep diabetes under control.
Yoga is a safe, inexpensive, non-impact form of exercise that improves cardiovascular health. It also encourages weight loss, which can improve insulin sensitivity.
Everyone from children to elderly people can participate in yoga.
Easily incorporated into everyday life, yoga requires no equipment. You should wear comfortable clothing, to allow freedom of movement, and leave your feet bare.
The best atmosphere for practicing is in a quiet room, perhaps with soothing music and candles if you like.
The benefits of yoga carry over into all aspects of life. The mind remembers the quiet breath and will return to this breathing when a stressful situation presents itself. This conserves energy, making more of it available for living your life the way you want. The increased sense of self-awareness gained by listening to the body in the various yoga poses should help you feel more in control of your health and well-being.
Take care of your mind and body, and enjoy your journey through yoga!
Recommendations for Yoga Beginners
- Work with your physician before beginning this or any exercise program.
- Always monitor blood-glucose levels.
- Start with simple movements before progressing to compli-cated poses.
- Practice either in the morning or in the evening, but do so before meals.
- Perform movements slowly and smoothly, avoiding heavy muscular activity.
- Focus on the breath, as a means of learning to focus the mind for managing stress.
- Practice poses in a relaxed manner, without exertion.
- Take time for quiet at the end of each session.
Strike a Pose
The following descriptions of yoga poses are introductions. You should seek a qualified yoga instructor to guide you into actually performing the poses.
Hold each pose for 5 to 10 complete breath cycles (a complete inhale and exhale through the nose). Focus your mind on the breathing.
Begin on your hands and knees, with your fingers spread like stars. Turn your toes under, straighten your legs and extend your hips toward the ceiling. Press your chest toward the tops of your legs, and relax your neck by shaking your head “No.” Press your heels toward the floor.
From the down dog pose, step your right foot up between your hands. Turn your left foot so that the toes are pointing to the left. Bring the right hand to the right ankle, and extend the left arm toward the sky. Look up toward the left hand. The stretch helps to rejuvenate the body and clear the mind. Repeat on the opposite leg.
This pose brings balance. Standing tall, shift your weight to the right leg. Bring the arch of the left foot to rest on the right ankle, the calf or the inner thigh. Extend your arms toward the sky like branches of a tree. Concentrate on a focal point. Repeat on the opposite leg.
Lying on your stomach, reach back with both hands to grasp both ankles. Inhale and lift your chest and knees off the floor. Look forward and squeeze your shoulder blades together. This back extension stretches the spine, in opposition to most daily life activities.
Lie on your back, legs extended onto the floor, arms at your sides with palms facing up. This is a final relaxation pose, to calm and relax the mind and body. Close your eyes. Feel the relaxation travel down the body, from your head and over your torso, opening the hips and finishing through the feet. Spend a few moments of quiet here, listening to your breathing and clearing your mind.
Lisa M. Wolfe is a freelance fitness writer and fitness instructor. She has 13 years of experience in the fitness industry. She can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about yoga, you can contact these groups:
American Yoga Association: (941) 927-4977 or online at americanyogaassociation.org
Yoga Zone: (800) 264-9642 or online at yogazone.com
YogaFit Training Systems: (888) 786-3111 or online at yogafit.com