Therapeutic Yoga for Diabetes

momDiabetes took the life of my mother. It also prevented her from living life to its fullest.

One of my life goals is to help people, including myself, avoid the clutches of this dreadful disease that affects one in three seniors in San Antonio. Even sadder is we are seeing more and more children being diagnosed with “adult onset diabetes.” Even those that have their blood sugar levels under control are automatically at risk for other diseases.

Blood sugar management is one of my top priorities as part of my yoga therapy practice. Now, the D.R. Semmes YMCA, just a few miles north of the Alamo, is introducing Yoga Therapy workshops designed for diabetics and pre-diabetics. The sessions which begin the week of January 13, and continue through February, will go far beyond hatha yoga to include elements of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda.

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THE SUGAR DROP is a unique six-week series of therapeutic yoga, offered to anyone who has pre-diagnosed high blood sugar, including pre-diabetics, formerly known as borderline diabetes. THE SUGAR DROP will incorporate bodywork, meditation, breathing exercises and easy-to-incorporate lifestyle changes essential for treatment blood sugar imbalances.

THE SUGAR DROP participants can choose between a series of six-week morning, or evening practices designed to help attendees make subtle changes in their lifestyle to bring about positive results in their physical and emotional well being.

To ensure personalization within the series, workshops will be limited in attendance. The workshops are open to the public, with discounts for members of any YMCA.

me and fredWhile Western medicine relies on oral meds, or insulin, to “manage” blood sugar levels,  holistic approaches, including those I will use in THE SUGAR DROP, go to the root of the dis-ease (see my last two blogs for more on this).

“If you only address physicality, you won’t reach the cause,” said Chase Bossart, co-director of Yoga as Therapy North America (YATNA).  “Yoga Therapists can train people to alter their lifestyles to help them with specific issues, and at the same time, help them to have a healthier mind/body/soul for longer term.”

Gary Kraftsow, a yoga therapist who studied with one of the foremost yogis in India agrees it’s about lifestyle. “The basic principle of yoga cikitsa (therapy) is that diseases are symptoms of imbalance; and therefore, the orientation of yoga cikitsa is to restore balance.”

Clinical studies have proven that the multiple branches of yoga provide physical benefits for people with a wide range of health needs. Y:

Research has also proven that yogis have better balanced diets, and a five percent loss in body weight can reduce blood sugar levels. The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle conducted a study of 1500 overweight individuals, over the age of 50. Those who dedicated time at least once a week to yoga (regardless of the type of yoga) over a period of four years or more, were nearly 20 pounds lighter than those who did not practice yoga. The researchers theory was that the yogis had less stress and better diets than the others in the study.  Most likely because the practice of yoga generally brings about a more positive and healthy lifestyle.

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Therapeutic Yoga for Diabetes is a complementary support, not an alternative to other essential treatment plans, and participants will be required to have recent A1C readings. No prior yoga experience is necessary. For more information on yoga for diabetics, read http://thenamastecounsel.com/yoga-diabetics/. Contact me or the D. R. Semmes YMCA Welcome Center for more information, or to enroll.

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