Yoga’s benefits are often preached about. Whether it is used as a self-care practice or a means of exercise, yoga has consistent, demonstrated benefits for diabetes. A companion to yoga that is often less discussed is meditation. Meditation is, in part, a physical practice, but focuses more on your mind and its connection to your body. In learning to quiet both, you may be able to lower your blood sugar levels and blood pressure, both of which can lead to diabetes complications if left unchecked.
Meditation and the Body
Meditation is an important practice. It can improve overall health and well-being on several levels, ranging from the obvious (peace of mind) to the more obscure (increased body awareness). Peace of mind helps reduce stress levels, which can in turn improve quality of life, lower blood pressure, improve sleep quality, and improve digestion. Increased body awareness can be of help to diabetics and non-diabetics alike, as being more aware of your body could mean noticing small changes and potentially dangerous symptoms sooner.
Meditation is typically completed while in a seated position, with a small cushion as a seat. Ideally, meditation is completed in a quiet place, with little to no distractions. For some, meditation begins with only a few minutes, while others use meditation in hours-long stretches. Guided meditations are also available via in-person classes or online courses. Meditation practices typically include some form of breathing practice, which can help restore more effective breathing patterns.
Meditating for as little as 30 minutes, 2-3 times per week has a profound impact on stress levels and general body function, particularly in relation to stress.
Meditation and Diabetes
In one study, meditating for only 30 minutes once per week resulted in a distinct difference in both blood sugar and blood pressure. This result is powerful for men and women with diabetes, as meditation is a non-invasive, simple practice to add to a daily routine, and does not require any special skills, special equipment, or initial investment. Instead, meditation can begin in your own home, on your floor, with nothing but a pillow and your breath.
Through relieving stress and improving insulin response, meditation can improve both diabetes symptoms and general quality of life for diabetics without the risk of harmful side effects, a dramatic investment, or the expense of a practitioner.