Yoga is an ancient Hindu practice from India used worldwide for health promotion and stress reduction. It is one of a number of drug alternative approaches to lowering blood sugar levels in people who are pre diabetic or diabetic. Now a new 3-month study of yoga for people with the most common form of diabetes, Type 2, in which blood sugar levels are often extremely high, shows that yoga can help lower blood sugar and improve other measures of health.
In specific, this study of 123 diabetics demonstrated not only that blood sugar control was better, but the yoga-treated individuals also lost some weight (lower BMI) and improved in several blood tests for oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is a by-product of metabolism in the body that can produce cell-damaging free radicals, accelerate aging and cause complications of diabetes.
There are many forms of yoga that you can start to learn. Some programs are even set up specifically for older people and people with physical disabilities. So, while you may think of very strenuous postures that you may see in people practicing yoga, these are not the whole story. The yoga program for elders is called "Silver Yoga" or "Chair Yoga" and is very gentle and easy to learn. Yoga, like other health promoting practices, does not require any particular religious or spiritual belief, nor does it impose any ideas on you that are contrary to your own beliefs. Rather, used in a secular way, yoga simply promotes re-balancing of the body and your energy to allow the body to unwind from stress and change the demands on your body.