Evan Soroka considers yoga and diabetes management as complementary practices. A certified yoga therapist (C-IAYT) and owner of Soroka Yoga Therapy in Aspen, Colorado, Soroka has lived with type 1 diabetes since adolescence and says, “Yoga is my primary source of support for managing the everyday physical and emotional challenges of living with a chronic illness.”
Soroka’s Rise Above T1D Yoga Therapy Program and recently released book, “Yoga Therapy for Diabetes,” aim to help others achieve their best life not despite diabetes, but because of diabetes. Over the years, the daily practice of yoga has helped Soroka feel empowered in managing diabetes, and she wants to share this cost-effective, multidimensional strategy with readers.
Yoga Therapy for Diabetes
Divided into 12 chapters, the book examines the various challenges of diabetes including stress, hypoglycemia (low blood glucose), hyperglycemia (high blood glucose) and mental health. Chapters dedicated to the inner practices of yoga for diabetes, yoga therapy tools, and the role of a yoga therapist in diabetes care offer complementary strategies to empower people with diabetes. Soroka encourages readers, through practicing yoga, to transform the experience of living with diabetes, to “de-link” with the identification of “I am diabetes.”
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Growing up in Colorado instilled an inherent love of being active and a love of the outdoors in Soroka. She began studying yoga in her twenties to address a back injury and discovered that many of the practices she was learning were “breath centric,” which means using the different styles of breath to elicit unique physiological responses. She started to notice she could apply certain practices to diabetes challenges such as high and low blood sugars, and this awareness changed the way she saw diabetes.
“The result of this work is trust and self-empowerment. No matter what happens, I have the tools to help myself feel better,” says Soroka.
Originally planning the book as a guide for yoga therapists, Soroka, who has been teaching yoga for more than twenty years, expanded the concept to include people living with diabetes. The result is a work that is a balance of science and memoir. The inclusion of personal experiences creates an authentic and relatable voice. Illustrations of yoga positions are included throughout for visual learners. Together, the book and workshop offer a support strategy to enable people with diabetes to have greater self-awareness and understand how to adapt and respond to the day-to-day challenges.
Q&A with Soroka about the Rise Above T1D workshop
Diabetes Self-Management: Is this workshop available to yoga novices and more advanced practitioners?
Evan Soroka: Rise Above T1D is a therapeutic approach to yoga and applied specifically for type 1 diabetes, offering more profound practices for people of all levels.
DSM: What is the time commitment of this workshop?
ES: I offer short-form prerecorded content and a weekly live yoga practice on Zoom. Monday through Friday, a new concept is released on our membership site. That may be a short video, meditation or journaling exercise. The entire course is available for 12 weeks after our end-date, so you have a full 4 1/2 months to complete the program.
DSM: What can I expect to learn in this workshop?
ES: You can expect to learn how and why to apply yoga postures, breath work and meditation for type 1 diabetes health, backed by science and evidence-based research. Each week will have a different focus, from the foundations of yoga therapy to hypoglycemia recovery and transforming diabetes into the source for self-mastery.
· The comprehensive website Soroka Yoga Therapy offers a wealth of information and self-care videos with breathing exercises and yoga positions.
· “Yoga Therapy for Diabetes” can be purchased online.
· Readers can get on the waitlist for the next Rise Above T1D on the program’s webpage.