Role of yoga in diabetes

J Assoc Physicians India. 2007 Feb:55:121-6.


The science of yoga is an ancient one. It is a rich heritage of our culture. Several older books make a mention of the usefulness of yoga in the treatment of certain diseases and preservation of health in normal individuals. The effect of yogic practices on the management of diabetes has not been investigated well. We carried out well designed studies in normal individuals and those with diabetes to assess the role of yogic practices on glycaemic control, insulin kinetics, body composition exercise tolerance and various co-morbidities like hypertension and dyslipidemia. These studies were both short term and long-term. These studies have confirmed the useful role of yoga in the control of diabetes mellitus. Fasting and postprandial blood glucose levels came down significantly. Good glycaemic status can be maintained for long periods of time. There was a lowering of drug requirement and the incidence of acute complications like infection and ketosis was significantly reduced. There were significant changes in the insulin kinetics and those of counter-regulatory hormones like cortisol. There was a decrease in free fatty acids. There was an increase in lean body mass and decrease in body fat percentage. The number of insulin receptors was also increased. There was an improvement in insulin sensitivity and decline in insulin resistance. All these suggest that yogic practices have a role even in the prevention of diabetes. There is a beneficial effect on the co-morbid conditions like hypertension and dyslipidemia.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Body Composition / physiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Clinical Protocols
  • Comorbidity
  • Diabetes Mellitus / classification
  • Diabetes Mellitus / prevention & control
  • Diabetes Mellitus / therapy*
  • Exercise Tolerance / physiology
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Treatment Outcome*
  • Yoga*


  • Blood Glucose