Today is World Diabetes Day and I’m in Atlanta right now which for me is one of my homes away from home. I used to come here every vacation to be with my grandparents. My grandparents have long since passed but my family is still here. It’s been really special to reconnect with them and feel their support.
Last night while our extended family gathered around the dinner table one of my cousins told me she ran into a friend who had type 1 diabetes. She told him about me and how I was touring the country to promote my book.
She thought he’d be super enthusiastic about my project, but his reply stunned her, “Isn’t yoga good for everything? What’s so special about yoga for diabetes?”
His question isn’t new and I have to admit it’s been a challenge to address this on the tour. Why come to a specific class on yoga for diabetes? Why even buy a book on the subject?
Yes, yoga is great for everybody and there are no restrictions to practicing if you live with diabetes. But Yoga isn’t cookie cutter. You might think you’d benefit from a yoga class, but if the style isn’t right for your constitution you could be increasing cortisol and inflammation.
Understanding that there is a yoga that’s right for you is the key. That’s why whenever I want to individualize my practice and manage my health better I turn to the sister science of yoga, Ayurveda.
Ayurveda means the science of life and it’s been working with health and wellbeing for over 4,000 years.
Rather than seeing Diabetes as Type 1 or 2, Ayurveda looks at the way that diabetes is manifesting in the organs and tissues of the body. As such, It is seen as a condition of excess or depletion. Once the quality of the condition is assessed then the appropriate treatment is given.
What does that mean?
If you are dealing with depletion, lack of energy, digestive issues, insomnia or even nervous system problems going to a power yoga class, or a hot yoga class is going to reek havoc because it’s too heating and stimulating. It would be better to practice calming and rejuvenating postures, try some restorative yoga, sound therapy, breath work, yoga nidra, and consider a change in diet and environment.
If you are dealing with excess, then stimulation and purgative therapies to get the toxins out of the system are best. You’ll want to increase your circulation through active yoga practices, like power and ashtanga yoga, have regular massages, eat a lighter diet, consider scraping your tongue, and even have enemas and irrigate your nasal passages. The more you can reduce the inflammation in the system, the sooner your blood sugars will come back to balance.
Another aspect of learning about Ayurveda is listening. Listening to your body, your heart and the world around you.
Are you trying too hard? Frustrated and feeling burnt out? Ayurveda recommends going for a walk, practicing gratitude or even being of service to someone else in need.
Feeling spaced out, flighty and confused or anxious? Then bringing more routine into your life, eating at the same time every day, massaging your feet with black sesame oil and doing something creative will occupy your restless mind.
Feeling lethargic, slow, unmotivated or even depressed? Be wild and spontaneous, call a friend, go out and dance and shake up your routine.
When you listen to your heart and approach each day afresh you’ll find that naturally without realizing it things get easier. It’s never going to be easy to manage diabetes, but you can take control of yourself and your habits and make each day the best yet.
Want to learn a simple calming meditation? feel free to check out my previous world diabetes day post here.
with great respect…