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DIABETES MANAGEMENT THROUGH YOGA

pancreas produces insulinDiabetes is a disorder of metabolism—the way our bodies use digested food for growth and energy. Most of the food we eat is broken down into glucose, the form of sugar in the blood. Glucose is the main source of fuel for the body. After digestion, glucose passes into the bloodstream, where it is used by cells for growth and energy. For glucose to get into cells, insulin must be present. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, a large gland behind the stomach. When we eat, the pancreas automatically produces the right amount of insulin to move glucose from blood into our cells. In people with diabetes, however, the pancreas either produces little or no insulin, or the cells do not respond appropriately to the insulin that is produced. Glucose builds up in the blood, overflows into the urine and passes out of the body in the urine. Thus, the body loses its main source of fuel even though the blood contains large amounts of glucose.  Diabetes is associated with long-term complications that affect almost every part of the body. The disease often leads to blindness, heart and blood vessel disease, stroke, kidney failure, amputations and nerve damage. Uncontrolled diabetes may complicate pregnancy.  Birth defects are more common in babies born to women with diabetes. In absence of proper utilization of sugar the patient begins to develop various physical ailments like frequent urination, excessive tiredness, loss of weight, blurring of vision, general weakness and skin disorders.  Chronic  diabetic patients may suffer hypertension, kidney and eye disorders. There are three types of diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes: The immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. At present, scientists do not know exactly what causes the body’s immune system to attack the beta cells, but they believe that autoimmune, genetic, and environmental factors, possibly viruses, are involved. Type 1 diabetes occurs equally among males and females but is more common in white races of European countries. Type 2 diabetes: This is  associated with older age, obesity, family history of diabetes, physical inactivity. About 80 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight. When type 2 diabetes is diagnosed, the pancreas is usually producing enough insulin, but for unknown reasons the body cannot use the insulin effectively, a condition called insulin resistance. After several years, insulin production decreases. The result is  glucose builds up in the blood and the body cannot make efficient use of its main source of fuel. Type 2 diabetes is more common in older people, especially in people who are overweight and occurs more often in African and Asian  population. Gestational diabetes: Some women develop gestational diabetes late in pregnancy. Although this form of diabetes usually disappears after the birth of the baby, women who have had gestational diabetes have a 20 to 50 percent chance of developing type 2 diabetes within 5 to 10 years. Maintaining a reasonable body weight and being physically active may help prevent development of type 2 diabetes.

Management of diabetes:

People with diabetes must take responsibility for their day-to-day care. Much of the daily care involves keeping blood glucose levels from going too low or too high. Healthy eating, physical activity and taking insulin are the basic therapies for diabetes. The amount of insulin must be balanced with food intake and daily activities. Blood glucose levels must be closely monitored through frequent blood glucose checking. People with diabetes also monitor blood glucose levels several times a year with a laboratory tests. At least 65% of those with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke. Managing diabetes is more than keeping blood glucose levels under control—it is also important to manage blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Smoking cessation can also help lower risk of stroke.

Yoga, ayurveda and diabetes:

According to ayurveda, diabetes is the result of  pitta and kapha imbalances.   This is difficult to say whether there is complete cure to diabetes through ayurveda and/or yogabhyasa. Each person is an individual and will be in different stages of the disease. However, whatever the stage of the diabetes, ayurvedic and yoga  assist in the healing process.  Diet plays an important role. It is very important to be sure to have plenty of bitter taste each day. Your diet should include dark green leafy vegetables, turmeric and fenugreek. In addition to the using fenugreek (sonuf) in cooking, you may also soak one table spoon of fenugreek seeds over night and eat them the next morning. Guggulu, turmeric, bitter gourd and the seeds of kalajamoon have curative properties. Research shows that these most commonly available herbs actually assist restoration of  the pancreas. These blend are available as Chandraprabhavati and Nisa amalaki. I have found Madhurakshak very useful - it contains karela, neem and jamun extracts. Dosage varies depending on several factors. Before you take any ayurvedic medicines, consultation with qualified doctor is imperative. I should say, the situation is irreversible. There is hope at the end of the tunnel - genetics or even a minor operation to replace or even grow your own pancreas - perhaps after some 50 years. Experiments on mice have proven successful.  Until then, just do not run for a cure to all pandits, hakims or doctors, including those food programmes on internet. Take it easy - when you get old, you can not digest fat and carbs also, you can not run more than 20 mtrs and you can not lift more than 5 kgs though you may be lifting 50 kgs long back!  All the therapies can only control diabetes but 100% cure is not in sight. Best thing is to spend extra sugar in the blood - jog, run, jump, do yoga!

Yoga and management of diabetes:

Yogic system of treatment consists of i) regular practice of certain postures, called asanas, ii) breathing techniques, called pranayama, iii) proper diet management  and iv) meditation.  Not only for diabetes for any treatment these are the yogic treatment methods.  Initially for a period of 3-4 weeks, the patient may not find any improvement through yoga. Thereafter, yoga starts giving permanent and irreversible results.  People around 40-50 years find relief by that time.  For juvenile diabetics (i.e., below 20-25 years), the results could appear after a year or so. 

Yogic treatment restores the normal functioning of pancreas and other glands in the body.  When the glands begin to function properly, pancreas gets activated again and results in normalcy of body functions.  Following asanas are selected for diabetes treatment.  It is not necessary that one should all these but should select whichever suitable to them, depending on time available, age and body ductility.  It is imperative that all the asanas ( minimum of 5) should be repeated three times.  The yogic practice may be done either in the morning or evening in empty stomach. Regular practice is needed.  Before starting yoga, one should do some warming up exercises (I need not have to go into this, as these are the same you did in your middle and high schools).  Though yoga has its own warming up exercises, to learn along with specific asanas would be burdensome to the learner. If you live in Bangalore, you will find these asanas very easy. After all, you have performed most of them hanging to bus-bars!

Recommended yogasanas for diabetes:-

Yogasanas How do I do this?
Ardhabaddhapadma paschimoottanasana
Ardha baddhapadma paschimoottanasana: Stretch both legs in sitting position. ring one leg near to stomach and press against the abdomen. If possible, you may try to hold the toe using other hand. Now, breath out and bend forward holding (or trying to reach) the out stretched leg. Do not strain but do it slowly and slowly. Take the lead from  Atelji. Follow the great leader! Achieving the final position is not the goal but attempt is. Hold it until it slightly lessens the pain and come back to original position by releasing the outstretched and and folded leg. Relax for a minute and repeat 2 more times.
ekapadagalavasana
Ekapada galavasana: This is one of the balancing asanas. You should not perform this asana if you have weak wrists. First, sit on the floor and bend a leg and using this leg as a support between hands, lean forward. Now, take in the breath and slowly push forward to achieve the final position. Remain in this position for few seconds and come back to sitting position. Take care not to push further more lest you should hit the ground nose down like the first rocket of ISRO!
shalabhasana
Shalabhasana: Lay down on the floor, your stomach down. Bring two hands together and clasp. Let thehands be close together and now take in full breath. Putting all the body weight on the wrists, lift both legs - not bending at the knees. Got hurt? Oh sorry, I should have told to remove your punjabi steel rings and marwadi gold rings.
padahastasana
Padahastasana: Stand straight keeping your legs at comfortable distance with each other, say one or two feet. Now, breath out and bend forward keeping both hands on your legs for support. Slowly reach towards the floor, if possible your feet! Keep the knee junction locked. Hold it for some time and come back to standing position. You may not be successful in the first attempt. Try two more times. Do not stand near the wall if you are living in government quarters. The wall may collapse in case you loose physical balance and hit the wall. Due to heavy penal recoveries, you may loose mental balance too!  Take care.
suptaveerasana
Suptaveerasana: This is an easy asana for diabetes. Sit on the floor keeping your both legs to the sides- not too far. Now bend back and come to laying position. Breath slowly and stretch both hands. Automatically, there will be tremendous pressure on your stomach, pulling inside. Repeat two more times. If you are not able to keep the legs side ways, you can keep a pillow and try to sit down on it. Forget this asana until you master keeping the legs side ways.
adhomukhamatyasana
Adomukha matsyasana: Sit on the floor cross legged the bottom portion up (padmasana). If it is not possible, you can squat on the floor (swastikasana). If you have studied in rajapraja schools of AP, you know what I mean. You never sat on desks till you entered college. Bend forward and lay down stretching your hands. There is external pressure on the stomach. Why did you purchase that costly stomach heating sauna massage belt? Repeat two more times.
Urdhwaprasarita padasana
Urdhwa prasarita padasana: Easy to explain. My God, it is difficult to perform. Stretch hands upwards in laying down position. Take in the breath and lift both legs joined together and hold within your tolerance limit. Now, you feel worms crawling in the stomach. Come back to laying position and breath out. Repeat two more times. Now onwards, you can throw away your tele marketed pulsator belt. Some people lift the legs after breathing out. This will cause severe cramps in stomach and  is a wrong practice.
chatushpadasana
Chatushpadasana: Stand on the ground keeping both legs half to one meter apart. Resting your hands on legs bend forward. Now walk on all fours without bending hands and legs! Your thighs press lower abdomen over and over again. Repeat two more times. Do you know that four legged animals do not suffer piles? As men and monkeys walk on two legs keeping back bone erect, the stomach weight collapses on lower rectum. Chatushpadasana keeps lower abdomen, bladder and kidneys in order. If you master this asana, you have bright future in Congress. Indiraji saw that every Congress MP is proficient in this asana!
mahamudra
Mahamudra:This is similar to Ardha baddhapadma paschimoottanasana and is  easy to perform. It is self explanatory. Just remember that you  need not have to care whether you breath in or out. First keep your hands on the knees and inch by inch progress towards toes, but the legs be stretched straight. Repeat two more times. When you get used to retain this position for say one minute, then when you bend forward breath out and pull in the stomach.
urdhwa dhanurasana
Urdhwa dhanurasana: Lay down keeping your hands and legs pulled towards the body, i.e., folded. Now, take in the breath and push the stomach upwards. You need not have to make the legs and hands straight. Push the stomach upwards as far as possible. When you achieve the final posture, breath out. Before coming down to normal position  take a full breath. You do not loose physical (or mental!) balance, though this posture looks challenging your balance. Problem is to push stomach upwards!
bhujangasana
Bhujangasana: The picture itself explains the method. Take care to keep the legs together as they try to fly away from each other. It is not necessary to make the hands straight but desirable. Breathing? Anyway, you are still breathing after so many yogasanas! Thank God! Still have some strength? Repeat two more times.

Pranayama:

Suryanuloma: Breathing slowly through right nostril (pingala) only 10-20 times.

Bhastrika: Fast single time forceful breathing in through right nostril and expelling rapidly 6-8 times through the same nostril. Fast single time forceful breathing in through left nostril and expelling rapidly 6-8 times through same nostril. Finally, same procedure is done with both nostrils for 6-8 times (repeated 3-5 times).

Dhyana:

There is no panacea. No yoga, ayurveda nor any top most doctor can cure unless God is willing to cure. Every doctor and therapist does his duty but the cure is in the hands of God, Almighty. Regular meditation helps. The natural significator for diabetes is Shukra. You can recite any shukra related mantras kavacha etc., You can also recite Mahalaxmi Asttottara. If you have your natal chart (janma patrika or jataka), you locate the significators of the 6th house who cause the diseases. Remedial measures to those planets will help.

Limitation: Yoga is only effective management of body functions and is not a cure by itself.  So, the patient should not ignore his medication.  If there is malfunctioning of body organs, yoga will infuse health into the body.  If it is case of handicapment wherein the organ has a cyst or is damaged in an accident, yoga can not help.  No yogic practice can make an amputated leg to grow!   

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