International Yoga Day: why it’s hard NOT to do yoga

Yoga is a 5,000-year-old discipline from India. It was developed as a practice to unite the mind and body. There are many branches of yoga. All yo...

Yoga is a 5,000-year-old discipline from India. It was developed as a practice to unite the mind and body. There are many branches of yoga. All yoga styles can help balance your body, mind, and spirit, but they achieve it in various ways. Some yoga styles are intense and vigorous. Others are relaxing and meditative. No matter which type you choose, yoga is a great way to stretch and strengthen your body, focus your mind, and relax your spirit. International Yoga Day is June 21st and we are recognizing the benefits and accessibility of incorporating yoga practice into your daily life or weekly routine. 

We know that exercising 150 minutes a week is a key component to maintaining physical and mental health, especially for people with type 2 diabetes. It is clear that yoga practice can help us maintain weight or lose weight. Diabetic patients are often encouraged by their health care providers to lose weight. Obesity can make diabetes more dangerous and difficult to maintain. While many people think of yoga as a slow, easy form of exercise, it can actually get quite intense depending on the type of yoga you want to practice. Many physicians recommend yoga for diabetes type 2 because it can help them transition with ease into a weight-loss program. Yoga also improves the quality and consistency of your sleep. Harvard Health Publishing writes, “Yoga is a gentle and restorative way to wind down your day. A national survey found that over 55% of people who did yoga found that it helped them get better sleep,” but did you know that yoga has a few unique benefits you might have not considered? 

Three Special Benefits of Routine Yoga Practice:

  • Increases mobility, strength, balance (posture and reduces risk of injury) - 
  • Practicing yoga on a regular basis improves the health of your bones while strengthening your spine and muscles. It also works the tendons and ligaments, making them less susceptible to breakdown. And, of course, yoga improves your flexibility. These yoga benefits work together to protect your body from injury. Yoga routines and poses also generally improve balance and agility. For both athletes and non-athletes, an increased sense of balance and agility can result in less injuries like trips and falls.

  • Less Stress, more happiness, higher brain function - 
  • The US National Library of Medicine published an article summarizing a study done on the Therapeutic Role of Yoga and Type 2 Diabetes and found that, “Chronic psychological stress can result in insulin resistance, hypertension, and an increased risk of cardiovascular events. Yoga effectively reduces stress, thereby helping diabetes control. Yoga practice in healthy volunteers was found to result in increases in wellness; reductions in stress, depression, and anxiety; improvements in the physical, psychological, and social domains and total quality of life; a feeling of balance; and a new outlook on life:”

  • Improved blood pressure - Yoga can benefit people with high blood pressure by improving and increasing the circulation in the body. By holding certain poses that restrict the body’s blood flow, yoga can potentially stimulate the body’s blood flow after the pose is released. Type 2 diabetes usually goes often associated with high blood pressure. As a result, yoga will help you maintain a stable blood pressure level. According to the results of research, people who practice yoga and relaxation exercises with breathing at least three days a week have a lower blood pressure than those who do not. In a study done to test the effect of yoga on blood pressure, the Mayo Clinic study indicated, “ that yoga is a viable antihypertensive lifestyle therapy that produces the greatest BP benefits when breathing techniques and meditation/mental relaxation are included.” 
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    Concerns versus Reality:

    You might think of excuses why you shouldn’t do yoga, or can’t do yoga. But, when examining common reasons why you might say it isn’t possible, you can see that there are always solutions to beginning and practicing yoga!

    ...it’s too hard - Remember that there are so many different kinds of yoga, varying from easy to difficult and everywhere in between. Starting a new hobby or activity means starting small and building it up over time. A 10 minute routine each day is a great place to start. You can gradually work up your routine to a 30 minute routine 5 days a week (this could be your 150 active minutes!). 

    ...it costs too much - Getting a membership to a yoga studio or class package can be expensive, but there are countless free routines online and in person in your community that can be found every day. For example, see below for a great beginner 30 minute yoga routine video brought to you by CuraLife.

    ...I don’t have time - Changing your schedule or “carving out time” can seem daunting, but it will become routine. Everyone has the same number of hours in the day, if doing yoga for 10-30 minutes a day could give you more energy and countless health benefits it is almost buying you extra time in a way. Think of it as an investment of time. 

    ...I’m too old / out of shape - It doesn’t matter what age you are, you can always begin yoga practice. Since it is low impact and versatile there are safe, fun, and engaging activities no matter what your current fitness level is. 

    If you’re ready to start your own yoga practice or want to try it out, please enjoy our Personal Yoga Training for the Curalife Community here.  Talia, a certified yoga instructor who curated a special routine for the CuraLife community, showing us the best ways to stretch while staying indoors. This special presentation for the Curalife team is just one of the many benefits of following and being a part of our community. For more information on living a healthy life with type 2, or supporting a loved one with type 2, join our Winning Type 2 Diabetes Together community group on Facebook. Happy International Yoga Day from our team!