yoga for diabetes

10 Yoga Poses for Defeating Diabetes

Research suggests that people with diabetes can reap some benefits from regular yoga practice. Here are a few poses to get you started.

By Emily Main


#1: Downward Facing Dog.

#2: Big Toe Pose.

#3: Triangle Pose.

#4: Western Intense Pose.

#5: Hero Posture.

#6: Half Lord of the Fishes.

#7: Marichyasana A.

#8: Marichyasana C.

#9: Fish Pose.

#10: Corpse Pose.

Type 2 diabetes is quickly becoming one of the most common, and debilitating, diseases in the United States. As more and more people develop diabetes, they’ve started turning to complementary and alternative therapies, such as yoga, to treat the disorder, but not all those therapies work. A study published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine last year analyzed all the available research looking at yoga’s influence on diabetes and complications of diabetes (for instance, kidney problems and high blood pressure) and found that, although not enough evidence exists to support the idea that yoga leads to long-term improvements, the authors did find that regular yoga practice led to short-term improvements in fasting glucose and cholesterol levels.

That’s not surprising, says Patricia M. Hansen, a certified Ayurvedic practitioner and lifestyle consultant in Denver who sits on the advisory board of the International Association of Yoga Therapists. “Yoga stimulates the organs, and that improves metabolic activities,” she says. “That’s going to make a person’s metabolism function more efficiently.”

If you’ve developed type 2 diabetes, yoga is definitely worth a shot, says Hansen. “While there is no one magical asana [yoga pose], there are many that would stabilize the digestion, absorption, and proper elimination in the body,” she says. But it’s best to find a certified yoga instructor in your area (you can find one online at and tell them about your condition as some poses can be harmful for people with diabetes; for instance, poses that involve crossing the legs may constrict blood flow to the legs and feet. “Any protocol for someone with diabetes must be personalized,” she says. “Each person is a unique book that must be read and responded to on an individual basis.”

Want to try it? To help you get started, we asked registered yoga teacher Susan Lewis, who leads classes at Rodale's company gym, to demonstrate a few poses that may be beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes. (For most poses, you can click on the title for more a detailed description.)

Published on: August 19, 2010
Updated on: July 11, 2013

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I concur.

I concur.

As difficult as it is to

As difficult as it is to write, the poses featured in this article are biomechanically dangerous, especially for a complex population like the diabetic one.
For example, the evidence is clear on chronic spinal flexion and working in reverse of healthy spinal curves.
I humbly submit that you should consult the evidence via a licensed medical professional who can speak to safe orthopaedic prescription of yoga postures for complex populations, before writing another article on yoga - especially since Rodale is such a respected source of information on organic and whole living.
This article is an example of the dangers of not integrating medicine with yoga, and vice-versa.

Wow! I didn't know that yoga

Wow! I didn't know that yoga can actually cure diabetes. I've been doing yoga on a regular basis and this article just convinced me not to stop.

Health and Wellness | Health Articles

Yoga is a by enhancing

Yoga is a by enhancing awareness, help people to give full play to the potential system of philosophy under the guidance of the movement system. Yoga posture is a use of old and easy to learn and improve the people physical, mental, emotional and mental capacity, is the way to achieve a form of exercise for body, mind and spirit of harmony and unity.

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Mindful watch on diabetes

I would be careful in posting such a broad statement as, "Yoga poses for defeating diabetes." These poses are not specific to any individual nor have they been proven to have any effect on "defeating diabetes". Therapeutic yoga can be applied if provided in a diagnostic manner, addressing a biopsychosocial model. I would caution the use of generalized statements in "treating" a pathology.
-a licensed physical therapist and certified yoga therapist (candidate)


“Yoga stimulates the organs, and that improves metabolic activities,” she says. “That’s going to make a person’s metabolism function more efficiently.”

Replace the word "yoga" with exercise.


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