Thursday, November 5, 2009

top 5 reasons yoga is great for hypoglycemics

I'm back! It has been a long time since my last post, but I have a good excuse. I have been taking an intensive yoga teacher training course, getting a 200-hour certification in Hatha/Kundalini yoga at Karuna Yoga, which is a wonderful studio if you are in the LA area. Between all the lectures and yoga classes and homework (!), (oh, and my regular day job), I haven't had time for much blogging, cooking, or even going to the farmer's market. But, I have lots of new ideas for posts.

I will get cooking again soon and post some new fall recipes, but I thought it would be appropriate if my first post back was about hypoglycemia and yoga. I believe that anyone and everyone can benefit from yoga - not just the fit and flexible. Practicing yoga can be as simple as closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths. Sequences and practices can always be modified, and should always be done with an awareness of what you need right now. In my personal experience, yoga has really helped me to manage my blood sugar better, and to feel healthier overall.

So, here are my Top 5 Reasons Yoga is Great for Hypoglycemics:

1. Yoga helps improve your energy while other forms of exercise may exhaust you. This is not to say that running, cycling, etc. are bad - in fact, they are great, but sometimes they are not what you need if you are having blood sugar problems.

2. Yoga enhances the functioning of the glandular and nervous systems, especially by decreasing stress hormones (cortisol, adrenaline) and increasing relaxation hormones. Being in the "fight or flight" mode triggered by an excess of stress hormones will interfere with the body's ability to use blood sugar efficiently. Here's a short article about yoga and diabetes that touches on this.

3. Yoga fosters greater body-mind awareness. If we can tune into our bodies, we are better able to sense when symptoms of low blood sugar are appearing so that we can do something about it. This awareness also helps us to realize which foods are making us feel good and which foods are making things worse.

4. Yoga postures help increase the circulation of blood, oxygen, fluids, and nutrients to organs throughout the body. When all of our systems are working well, the blood sugar stays balanced.

5. Yoga develops the focus and clear thinking that we need in order to stick to a sugar-free, white bread, white rice, white flour - free diet. It's hard! Some self control and mental discernment helps.

I'm sure I could come up with more to add to this list, but I don't want to be pedantic about it. Yoga is great - enough said! I am working on a practice sequence tailored to the goal of keeping blood sugar stable, and I will post that in the near future. Namaste ;)