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Yoga Therapy for Common Ailments


Diabetes is a life style related condition due to an imbalance in handling a glucose load and is not a disease. It is one of the several life style related chronic conditions with an end result of complications that are related to early aging changes resulting in blockage of small and large arteries.
There are an estimated 100 million diabetics in the world of which around 70 million belongs to heavily populated developing countries. Today, the health professionals are bewildered by the rapidity with which diabetes with its associations such as obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, triglycerides are assuming epidemic proportions. This phenomenon is more prominent amongst Indians both in India and abroad (migront), which is attributable to the rapidly changing trends of globalization and demands on coping skills leading to enormous stress.
This year (2002- 03) is dedicated by WHO as the “Year of non-communicable diseases” to combat diabetes and heart diseases through life style change with special emphasis on physical activity. The four major aspects of such a life style change include regular physical activity, non-smoking, vegetarian diet and stress management.
Diabetes Mellitus is the full name of this disease. This is a condition in which glucose levels in the blood are much higher than normal and hence this condition is also commonly referred to as sugar disease. The defect in this condition is either your pancreas does not produce enough insulin or it produces sufficient insulin but the cells of your body are unable to use the insulin properly.

Sthiti: Táãásana

l Make loose fists of your hands and place them on the chest.
l Collapse and relax your shoulders.

Stage I : Slow Jogging
l Start Jogging on your toes slowly.
l Jog about 20 times.
As days go by, gradually increase upto 100 times.

Stage II : Backward Jogging
l Lean a little forward and increase the speed of jogging gradually.
l Start hitting the buttocks with the heels.
l Repeat this 20 times at your maximum speed.
l Then gradually slow down the speed.
l Do not stop.
l Continue and move on to slow jogging for at least 10 times.

How is stress related to life style?
The wrong life style that aggravates the diabetic state includes excessive indulgence in
1. Eating heavy spicy, oily foods and sweets;
2. Cigarette smoking, Alcohol, non-vegetarian foods, fizzy cool drinks;
3. Sedentary lifestyle with no physical activity;
4. Excessive sleeping or loss of sleep;
5. Emotional upsurges such as aggressive behavior, anger, fear, tension, worry etc. Stress is both the cause and the result of an erratic life style. Stress is a psychological state of emotional reactivity in which the person has no control over the mind in general. We can see that all these situations of life style mentioned above are due to lack of mastery over one’s cravings or desires or emotional reactions. Thus stress is the cause and the result of all the life style related erratic behaviors.

Are there research data to show the effect of stress in the causation of DM?
Yoga and Diabetes control
We carried out a research study along with Dr Dandona, the chief of the diabetology department of the Royal free hospital, London. where 21 NIDDMS who were taking oral antidiabetic tablets and or dieting were divided into Yoga and Control groups. The yoga group practiced Integrated Approach of Yoga Therapy, 5 days/week (90min classes) for 12 weeks. This study concluded that "offering yoga classes to NIDDM patients at a diabetic clinic attracted significant number of patients and led to improved glucose homeostasis as seen by decreased fasting blood glucose adn glycated hemogloblin in yoga group as compared to control group. ( J. of complementary med. Research 1992, 6 (2): 66-68). Similar observations have been published by Dr. Sahay of Hyderbad (1986 J.A.P.I 34(9): 645-8). An interesting observation of Dr Jobson (1991) was that once a week sessions of progressive relaxation training and biofeedback did not contribute to better control of diabetes. Dr Rice's (1992) observation of improved blood flow to the legs is a valuable research and provides a source of hope for person's who have had long duration of diabetes.

Stage III : Forward Jogging
l Lean backward a little and now as you increase the speed again, try to raise the knees higher and higher.
l Raise the knees forwards to reach the chest level.
l Repeat 20 times at your maximum speed.
l Slow down the practice coming back to the stage of slow jogging again.
l Continue slow jogging for a few rounds, count 10 times.

Stage IV : Side Jogging
l Gradually increase the speed taking the heels side ways.
l As the speed increases bring the heels as close to the elbows as possible.
l Repeat this movement 20 times at your maximum speed.
l Gradually slow down to come back to slow jogging stage.
l Keep jogging a few more rounds (10) and finally stop the practice.

l Increase the speed of jogging gradually and not too quickly.
l Try not to stop at any stage of the practice until you have completed all the 4 stages of jogging.
l Keep the fists on the chest throughout the practice.

How do Yogásanas help in DM?
Yogásanas are techniques to bring about very deep rest to different parts of body. This is achieved by performing the postures as per the two major hints given by Pataòjali. By definition yogásanas are postures that are maintained with ease and for some time (efmLej megKeb Deemeveced - Sthira Sukham Ásanam). In the first step of learning the final position of different postures, it is the surface (limb and trunk) muscles that are stretched or contracted to achieve the final posture. After getting to the final posture you move on to the second step wherein you relax all the unnecessary contractions by Òe³elveMewefLeu³e (Prayatna Ùaithilya-release of effort) says Pataòjali. In this phase when you pass your awareness to all parts of the body and check whether the muscles are all relaxed you may notice that many unnecessary muscles such as those of face, neck, back, arms and thighs were all tightened. Once you relax all these muscles except that set of muscles required to maintain the final posture, your practice will improve further. This reduces the energy expenditure and helps you to maintain for longer duration without exhaustion. At this stage, your attention has already shifted to the intra-abdominal organs. You may now move on to the third stage to experience DevevlemeceeHeefÊe (Anantasamápatti-expanded awareness) at the point of stretch or pain. You may visualize a feeling of expansion, diffusion and 'let go' without changing the final posture. This is similar to moving from Dháraïá to Dhyána. In the first phase your attention is completely focussed on to the point of pain (Dháraïá) and in the next phase you defocus or expand or merge in surrounding space and become one with the three dimensional awareness of the entire body resulting in effortless free flow of a single thought attention on the stretched zone (Dhyána).
In DM we use those ásanas which need to bring deep rest to the pancreas and release the práïa blocks. Hence the ásanas used under special techniques for DM either stretch, compress, or twist the abdominal area, so that you may bring your awareness to the pancreatic area, focus and then defocus to give very deep rest to pancreas.

Sthiti: Táãásana

l Stretch the arms straight above the head with the palms facing forward.
l Inhale and bend backwards with arms stretched above the head.
l While exhaling bend forward as much as possible.
l While inhaling come up and bend backwards and go on rapidly to forward bending with exhalation.
l Repeat 20 times with increasing speed.
l Gradually slow down and ultimately stop the practice.

l Start slowly and gradually increase the speed within your limits.
l You may also practice this while standing with legs apart when the arms will be moving between the legs.
l While bending forward do not let the hands touch the ground; swing them in the air backwards.
l Always bend from the lower waist.
l Make the movements free, easy and flowing.

l Reduces the fat from west, back, specially abdominal region and thus tones up that area.
l Increased flexibility of spine gives the generalized feeling of well being.