If you’ve resisted trying yoga thus far, you may want to reconsider and roll out a sticky mat – the only piece of equipment that’s required.
- Improve flexibility, strength and posture which may relieve symptoms of back pain and arthritis
- Manage weight and decrease stress, blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides thereby reducing risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease.
Recent research may add this to the mix: Better management of blood sugar for those with diabetes.
- A research review published in the journal, Family & Community Health (2008), found that practicing yoga regularly resulted in short-term improvements in fasting blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
- Results from a study published in the journal, Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders (2009), showed that 40 days of yoga practice improved wellbeing and decreased BMI (body mass index) and anxiety in subjects with type 2 diabetes.
Before you envision people in pretzel-like poses and think “I could never do that,” know that there are many different yoga class formats, from easy to advanced—and be assured that there is a format to fit anyone’s level of fitness and flexibility.
I’m not particularly flexible and what I want from yoga is relaxation, so I’m partial to a form of yoga often called “easy”, “beginners”, or “restorative” yoga. If you’re just starting out, look for classes for beginners. For class details, contact the facility or the instructor. If you have a medical condition, be sure that the class is led by a certified yoga instructor who has special yoga training in that area.
And, always start out slow and practice yoga safely. Check with your doctor before beginning any new physical activity.
This article in the January 2012 issue of Today’s Dietitian provides more information about how yoga may benefit individuals with diabetes and includes tips for choosing the right yoga class as well precautions for participation.