This approachable series was originally developed for a GOPIO (People of Indian Origin) conference presentation in November, 2010. The conference theme was Diabetes treatment and prevention. This sequence was conceived of as part of a healthy lifestyle program. While I can honestly say that I do not generally prefer teaching Yoga on chairs (I have gotten people who cannot imagine themselves sitting on the ground to do so easefully within 1 session!) this set effectively meets the needs of those who require this level of modification. Yet, it is a thorough Yoga practice, not too rigorous, but quite blissfully energizing if practiced with good respect for body alignment and even breathing.
When I researched Yoga programs for diabetes for this presentation, general suggestions mentioned stress release and utilizing Yoga postures which work on the pancreas. My own intuition and suggestions for clients emphasizes postures for all of the internal organs in balance with the pancreas so that the entire body/mind is relieved of stress and can work harmoniously. This set does that!
Another consistent treatment I use in working with people with diabetes is bowing. I may be the only Yogini suggesting “Yogic bowing” to alleviate symptoms of diabetes but the impact has been tremendous. Bowing practices have strengthened the systems and helped to alleviate symptoms of diabetes for several of my clients. I would be pleased to do a research study to explore how the repetition of pressure and release impacts the internal organs, encourages healthy blood circulation, and helps to balance hormonal secretion in the pancreas for Diabetes sufferers!
- The subtle energy dynamic is significant here -
* Our relationship to the elements of earth and air/sky may help stimulate our body’s ability to produce insulin?
* Bowing is said mystically to be good for the grey matter of the brain, which opens our innate intelligence!
* Bowing connects our earthly bodies to the Divine within us and therefore seems to trigger inner healing.
The approach of Yoga postures, breath and loving repetition given in this sequence has helped sufferers of Adult onset diabetes (type 2). Brought on by weight gain, the resulting insulin imbalance might be lessoned or even seems as if it can be corrected through a daily lifestyle which includes some great Yoga!
CHAIR YOGA FOR REJUVENATION:
A COMPLETE SET IN 7 STEPS to HELP ALLEVIATE SYMPTOMS of ADULT ONSET DIABETES
To prepare, please choose a comfortable seated posture. Place your self evenly and squarely on a chair so that you can be steady. Please take off your shoes and your socks for a more effective practice. The feet are placed evenly, parallel to each other. All breathing should be through the nose. Enjoy!
1. Seated Half-Moon Pose/ Ardha- chandrasana:
With long, even breaths reach your right arm up and over to the left side. Place the left hand on the side of the chair to help keep the hips grounded. Extend though your right waist. Draw your shoulders down onto your back away from your ears to open the chest and heart. After 8 – 10 breaths switch sides. Then close the eyes and relax or meditate for several breaths. Then close the eyes and relax or meditate for several breaths.
2. Shoulder shrugs:
Inhale to lift the shoulders up to your ears and exhale dropping them down. 1 or 2 minutes go at a good pace to alleviate upper back tension and massage the upper lymphatic system. To finish inhale both shoulders up to your ears and hold them there squeezing for a few seconds. Then drop the shoulders back down as you exhale and pull the navel in towards the spine. Sit tall and close your eyes. Take several breaths here to relax and feel the circulation throughout your spine.
3. Seated spinal twist/ Ardha-matsyendrasana:
Place your right foot up onto your left thigh in a half lotus posture. If that is too intense for your thigh or ankle you can sit with the right leg crossed over the left. Wrap your left arm around your back and turn your body to the left. Place the right hand on the outside of the left thigh to increase the twist. Allow each exhale to turn you a little more. After 5 – 10 breaths switch arms (not legs) and turn to the right. Do both legs. This posture will massage the lower belly and the internal organs to counteract stagnancy. To finish place both feet on the floor again. Spread your toes and close your eyes. Relax or meditate for several breaths.
3. Prayer pose stretch/ Namaste Mudra:
Place the palms together and stretch enthusiastically towards the sky. This is Anjali Mudra or Namaste Mudra and it harmonizes the body/mind. Kepp the posture steady and still. The Divine Hand Symbol, or Mudra is said to bring knowledge of the past, present and future. In 1 – 5 minutes you will be well rejuvenated. You may feel heat throughout the core of your being. This is a good sign.
5. Self massage:
Extend your legs out in front of you keeping the legs parallel to the ground. Use your open hands to “beat” your whole body for 1 or 2 minutes. Get every part, shoulders, thighs, waist, belly, navel, hands, everything. This simple exercise is good for your immune system and very good for your mood. To finish close your eyes and relax or meditate for a moment before moving on.
6. Seated twist (variation):
Cross your arms over your ribcage holding the opposite sides firmly. Inhale turning the face and body left. Exhale turning right. Close your eyes and keep going for 1 to 3 minutes. This has similar benefits to exercise # 3 and is also helpful for bringing your life- energy, prana, into the upper body, past the often tight diaphram muscle at the base of your rib cage. As we have heard of students feeling much better after practicing this series, perhaps this movement benefits hormonal absorption?
7. Chair forward bend/ Uttanasana:
Fold forward at the hip crease and relax your spine. Shake your head lightly. Extend your torso downward and let go of all tension. Stay for 5 – 10 breaths and then slowly roll up vertebrae by vertebrae. Repeat this several times. To finish, sit straight up and exhale completely while pulingl the navel back towards your spine. Then close your eyes and take several breaths here to feel your energy circulating throughout your body. Next, relax, or do some breathwork/ pranayama. Please drink lots of water.