Using Yoga and Meditation in Diabetes Care

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When people with diabetes think of things that raise their blood sugar, they first think of carbohydrates. They often don’t consider other factors that can cause hyperglycemia, such as stress.

A holistic approach to diabetes management involves listening to patients talk about how stress and other factors affect their lies and diabetes self-management.

We will highlight 3 different tools and types of yogic meditation that diabetes educators can practice for themselves and recommend to their patients.

1.Meditation Apps – many patients love apps, and diabetes educators love recommending them as as tools if they can be helpful! Here are my top choices for meditation apps (all have free versions).

  • Calm
  • Headpsace
  • Insight timer

2. Yoga Nidra – this is a tantric yoga practice, meaning that it is a practice of the Buddhist and Hindu scriptures that originated in India. It allows for a deep state of relaxation and subconscious awareness known as a hypnagogic state. Nidra means sleep in Sanskrit, the ancient Indic language used in yoga texts. This yoga incorporates body scan meditations and guided imagery to induce the relaxation response and guide the individual into a state of profound relaxation. Studies have shown that Yoga Nidra leads to significant improvement in conditions including diabetes, PTSD, pain management, heart rate variability, and insomnia.

3. Mindful Eating Meditation – this involves connecting with our 5 senses. If we practice connecting with our 5 senses, we can be truly present. Mindful eating can hep you slow down, be present, and connect with your body.

Many patients with diabetes don’t initially make the connection between mind-body practices, like yoga and meditation, and managing diabetes. We as diabetes educators can plan an important role in teaching, guiding, and supporting patients interested in trying new self-management tools and approaches that fit their lives and needs.

By helping patients to have an experience, we can support them in exploring and embracing solutions that work for them.

Source: From Bliss to Balance: Using Yoga and Meditation in Diabetes Care
Ilene Cohen, MS, RDN, CDN, CDE, C-IAYT

First Published February 13, 2019

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