Can an ancient exercise system that originated in India help people with chronic diseases like diabetes feel better and function more effectively? More and more, the answer appears to be yes.
Yoga synchronizes various postures (asanas) and breathing methods (pranayama) to help release tension and produce a state of physical and mental peace. In addition, yoga can help lower blood pressure and reduce body-wide inflammation. Here are some simple moves to get you started.
As with all exercise regimens, check with your healthcare team before you begin.
Lateral neck stretch
Goal: to release tension and increase circulation in the neck
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart, arms by your sides, with your chin facing forward and level.
- As you inhale, bring your right arm up and over your head, gently clasping the left side of your head.
- Draw your head to the right to gently stretch the left side of your neck.
- Inhale and exhale to release tension.
- Return to starting position.
- Repeat the move using your left arm.
Goal: to increase circulation and release tension in the shoulders
- Stand with your feet slightly apart to help you maintain balance.
- As you inhale, bring your left arm up to shoulder level.
- As you exhale, draw that arm across your body to the right, with your palm facing away from you.
- Fix your gaze over your right shoulder.
- Inhale and exhale several times while in this position.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
Goal: to build strength and endurance in legs and arms
and tone the abdomen
- Stand with your feet 3’-4’ apart, toes pointed forward.
- Turn your right foot 90 degrees to the right, so that your right heel is aligned with the instep of your left foot, the toes of which should point slightly toward the right.
- Keep your hips and shoulders in alignment.
- As you inhale, raise your arms slightly above shoulder level, palms facing down.
- Bend your right knee; keeping it directly above your ankle.
- Arms should remain strong but relaxed; shoulder blades should draw toward each other as you focus your gaze down the length of your right arm.
- As you again inhale and exhale, straighten your right leg and release the posture.
- Return to standing position and repeat the move using the left leg.