Diabetes Self-Management Articles

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Uniting Body, Mind, and Spirit

by Susan Shaw

Some classes include breathing exercises, and pranayama, or the art of breathing in yoga, may at first seem downright weird, especially with more experienced students making strange noises upon exhalation. Many new students feel awkward until they learn to do yoga breath correctly and to enjoy the deep relaxation that follows. Many classes include a meditation, which can also be very relaxing.

It is vital to keep an open mind; overcoming a feeling of awkwardness about an activity can, in fact, be one of the most freeing experiences. However, if a class seems to move too quickly or to consist mainly of postures you feel are too difficult for you, it’s probably a good idea to try another class to find a better fit.

If you’d like to explore yoga but aren’t yet ready for classes, pull tidbits from books and DVDs that you feel fit your personal needs. When using DVDs at home, watch the whole DVD first and take time to get familiar with the routine before trying to keep up with it. Sit quietly and breathe during poses that are uncomfortable, or do a favorite pose instead.

People with diabetes may at times have trouble finding the motivation to perform self-care, and the stress or guilt that ensues can lead to a negative outlook. Yoga can counter this, helping to fulfill both physical and emotional needs for people with diabetes. If done within your limits, it may feel so good that you can’t wait to do more. Learning yoga is like learning to live with diabetes: It asks you to commit to taking the best possible care of your body, and to seek help in this endeavor. People are waiting to help you learn to live in your body with gentleness.

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