Welcome to M.V Hospital for Diabetes, established by late Prof. M.Viswanathan, Doyen of Diabetology in India in 1954 as a general hospital. In 1971 it became a hospital exclusively for Diabetes care. It has, at present,100 beds for the treatment of diabetes and its complications.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Yoga and Diabetes

Is yoga an effective way to manage diabetes?

Research  studies conducted at  MVH  suggest that it can. So convinced are we of the benefits of this exercise on blood glucose levels that we have a yoga clinic  in the hospital for patients .

Regular practice of yoga reduces stress,  promotes weight loss , induces muscular relaxation, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels  all of which are extremely important  specially for people with diabetes . As a result, diabetic complications take a longer time to occur and they are less severe.

Asanas, pranayamas and meditation form the core of Yoga.

Asanas are movements (or postures) which help to tone and build muscle, and stretch and massage internal organs and glands. They help people with diabetes by making the pancreas work more efficiently and by improving blood circulation and thus increasing the absorption of glucose by the body cells.

Pranayamas are breathing exercises that can be done anywhere and at any time. They improve blood circulation and increase energy levels. They also reduce stress and improve the endocrine functions of the body. They strengthen the lungs, calm the nerves and gradually harmonize the activities of the organs of the body.

Meditation and relaxation techniques are absolutely essential for people with diabetes as they help relax the body and mind, improve the way the body functions and increase energy levels. They are useful in stress management.

What to do before you start your routine…
  • Your stomach should be empty. Do not wear shoes or socks.
  • Practice early in the morning in a clean and airy room in calm, quiet surroundings. 
  • Exercise for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Inhale and exhale deeply. Use your abdominal muscles to take in and push out air from your lungs. Do not hold your breath. 
  • Exercise on a yoga mat or on a folded blanket.
  • Wear loose clothes so that you can do the asanas comfortably.
  • Exercise at a slow pace.
  • Leave all your cares at the door of the yoga room. Your mind should be free of thought.
  • Do your exercises regularly as your body can turn stiff if you stop for a period of time and you will have to start from the beginning.
Consult your doctor before you begin any exercise.

Warm up before you exercise by doing neck, shoulder and body stretches as it loosens the muscles and makes your body  more flexble.

Surya Namaskar prepares the body for the asanas. It is a set of twelve positions performed continuously one after the other. Each position stretches the body in a different way and also regulates the breathing. When practiced daily, it makes your spine and joints flexible and keeps your waist in shape.

Asanas can be done in the lying down, sitting or standing positions. Here are a few examples of asanas for people with diabetes.

Lying down postures:

1. Uttana pada asana

Lie on your back. Inhale and raise both your legs in three steps- first to 30°, next to 60° and finally to 90°. Hold the position for 10 seconds. Exhale while lowering your legs.

Repeat 5 times.
This pose reduces obesity and abdominal disorders and increases blood circulation to the pancreas thus stimulating it.

2. Pavanmuktasana

Lie flat on your back. Place your hands by the side of your body. Inhale raising both your legs, bend your knees and hold them tightly with your hands.

While exhaling, bring your thighs close to your chest. Hold this pose for 30-40 seconds.

Repeat 3-4 times.  
This pose makes your abdominal muscles, liver, spleen and pancreas strong. It helps prevent constipation.

3. Dhanurasana

Lie on your stomach. Bend your knees. While inhaling, stretch your arms backward and hold your ankles. Hold this pose for 10 seconds. While exhaling, release your ankles and carefully return to the original pose. 

Repeat 5 times.    

This pose makes your kidneys, your back and your thigh muscles strong and is very good for diabetic control. This pose reduces fat on your waist. It stimulates the pancreas and so helps control diabetes.

Sitting postures

1. Pachimottasana 

Sit on the floor, legs together, extended in front of torso. While exhaling bend forward and hold your toes. Hold this position for 10 seconds. While inhaling, come back to sitting position slowly.

Repeat 1-2 times.    

This pose relieves stress and mild depression. It stimulates the liver, the pancreas and the kidneys, improves digestion and prevents obesity. It tones the complete spine.


Sit in Virasana. Bend your body forward till your forehead touches the floor. Straighten both your hands and bring them above your head with your palms together. Hold the pose for 30 to 60 seconds. 

Repeat the pose 2 times.

This posture reduces tension. It also reduces fat around thighs and calves.


Sit in the ‘vajrasana’ position. Fold your palms into fists and place them on your lower abdomen. While exhaling, bend forward. Hold the position for 10 seconds. While inhaling, return to original position.

Repeat 10 times.  

This pose relieves stress and mild depression. It stimulates the liver, the pancreas and the kidneys, improves digestion and prevents obesity and is good for people with diabetes and dyspepsia,

Standing postures


Stand with your feet apart. Stretch out your arms to the side. While exhaling, bend sideways and touch your right foot with your right arm. Hold this pose for 10 seconds. While inhaling, slowly return to the original pose.

This pose helps people with diabetes and dyspepsia.

Pranayama  - breathing exercises


Inhale slowly and breathe out vigorously and wait for a second after each action. Abdominal muscles and the diaphragm are used to put pressure on internal organs. This helps to purify the nasal passage and lungs, throws out foul air from the lungs, activates the spleen, pancreas and abdominal muscles and improves digestion.

A word of caution : Consult your doctor if you have high or low blood pressure, and eye or ear complaints before doing this exercise.

Anulom Vilom Pranayam 

This has a calming effect on the nervous system and reduces stress. It also helps to create a balance between a person’s creative and logical thinking. 

Meditation  is the art of learning to control your mind and relaxing your body. To do this successfully, you have to focus your mind at one point and make it empty of all thought.

Tips for safe exercise
  • Learn yoga from a yoga instructor.
  • Highlight special health conditions – Inform your yoga instructor if you are pregnant or have had any injuries, heart condition, high/low blood pressure, surgery, or any other such special conditions.
  • Don’t compete – Enjoy the yoga exercises and do them gently according to your ability.
  • Stay within your limits – Know your limits and don’t go beyond your capacity.
  • Listen – Only you know best what is good for your body and wellbeing.
  • Be patient – You cannot master all yoga poses as soon as you begin. Start slowly.
  • Stop if you are tired.
The practice of yoga keeps weight under control and prevents or delays the onset of diabetic complications. It also improves the quality of life by reducing stress. 

Contact the Yoga therapist/physiotherapists at MVH for a safe and effective program for you.

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