Yoga is a very ancient discipline born in India more than 5000 years ago and nowadays widespread all over the world. Science is focusing its attention on yoga in order to verify and understand its effects on body and mind and its ability to prevent, treat or attenuate several disorders or illnesses, such as hypertension, anxiety, back pain or digestive problems, just to mention a few. But yoga seems also to be able to bring benefits in case of type 2 diabetes thanks to the exerted action on brain, psyche and endocrine system. This is the result of a review published recently in the journal Endocrinology and metabolism by an Indian team (Raveendran et al, Sep 2018).
Type 2 diabetes is characterized by an insulin resistance or the produced insulin isn’t enough, it is the diabetes typical of the mature age and its incidence is destined to increase from 425 million people with type 2 diabetes in 2017 to 629 million foreseen for 2045. Dietary habits and lifestyles may be used to counteract this condition and, according to the study that collects several scientific researches, also yoga may contribute to keeping under control this type of diabetes and its complications. First of all, yoga acts on the mind by developing awareness, concentration and calm and helps keep at bay eating disorders. Then, yoga is formed by asanas, or yoga poses, and pranayama, or breathing techniques. Well, some asanas have proven to be able to act on insulin production. Like sun salutation that, when done in a brisk way, increases the require of oxygen and sugar and the brain is directly stimulated to produce more insulin. Also the breath of fire or kapalabhati has proven to be beneficial in case of type 2 diabetes. In fact, in this technique of breathing you should exhale vigorously by contracting the abs and inhale in a natural way, so the efficiency of beta cells of pancreas, that are the cells responsible for the insulin production, is improved. In addition to this, in general all the yoga pose that include a forward bending, such as plow or boat poses, massage and compress the pancreas, therefore stimulating the insulin secretion. Instead, yoga twistings, that are all the poses involving a torsion of the spine, improve the functionality of pancreas, help counteract stagnated impurities and abdominal fat while backward bends, such as cobra or arc pose, stimulate the energy production and fat burning, especially that on the waistline, a very important action in case of type 2 diabetes!