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How yoga helps manage lifestyle diseases

Bonny Shah

Bonny Shah
19 June 2020

This article is authored by Bonny Shah. Bonny is a Registered Dietitian and a Certified Diabetes Educator.

In today’s time, we’re seeing an increasing prevalence of lifestyle diseases. Therefore, it is more important now, than ever, for us to consciously adopt a healthier lifestyle that not only helps our body remain disease-free but also helps contribute towards our well-being.

The lifestyle promoted by yoga is an effective one for helping manage and prevent lifestyle disease, as well as to attain a state of physical, mental, and social well-being. The word ‘Yoga’ itself is derived from the Sanskrit word “Yuj”, which means an act of union, of uniting, etc. The yogic way of life is a holistic approach that aims at maintaining harmony between our body, mind, and soul.

The many benefits of yoga and a yogic diet

Eat Breakfast

Stress plays an important role in inducing and worsening lifestyle disorders. With yoga, the imbalance of the autonomous nervous system (ANS), which underlies such stress-related disorders, can be corrected. Physical activity like surya namaskar, asanas, kriyas, and mudras are especially important in this regards.

Apart from these asanas, there are several basic yogic principles like diet, posture, breathing techniques, visualisation techniques, etc. that work together to help in the management of lifestyle disorders. Diet, especially, plays an essential part in this. Those who begin the practice of yoga without controlling their diet may not make much progress in yoga, and by implication, may not be able to reap its entire range of benefits. A yogic diet is rich in sattvic or pure food items, which include most vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, and mild spices.

- Yoga for Cardiovascular Diseases

A sattvic diet is a vegetarian one, and vegetarian diets have been associated with significantly lower levels of heart disease risk factors like high blood pressure and high LDL (bad) cholesterol. A diet rich in essential nutrients may also help in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. Turmeric, a spice that is included in the sattvic diet, may also help prevent cardiovascular diseases.

- Yoga for Obesity

Adopting the yogic diet also means learning the art of mindful eating. Since those who practice yoga are more in tune with their bodies, they may be more sensitive to hunger cues and feelings of fullness, which stops them from overeating. Additionally, cinnamon powder, which is a part of the sattvic diet, has been shown to have anti-obesity effects.

- Yoga for Hypertension

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A sattvic diet helps in controlling elevated blood pressure in people, and can also be used as a supplementary treatment for Hypertension. Since the sattvic diet advocates low sodium intake, it also helps keep hypertension in check. Several studies have found that yoga as a lifestyle that incorporates relaxation, meditation, breathing techniques, a proper diet, etc., has an antihypertensive effect.

- Yoga for Diabetes

A nutrient-rich diet goes a long way in benefitting type 2 diabetic patients, both physically and psychologically. Research indicates that diabetic patients who have adopted a wholesome diet have seen a significant decrease in their medication levels. Coriander powder, which is a superfood that is included in the sattvic diet, has been traditionally used to manage diabetes for patients Yogic practices may also help optimize glycemic control, and manage lipid levels and body composition.

The benefits of a yogic lifestyle are many, and extend far beyond keeping you disease-free. By adopting and internalizing the yogic practices, one also moves further along the path towards a physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually harmonious self, and holistic well-being.



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