Diabetes & Yoga:
How tech can help to advance your yoga practice
Did you know that one out of six people with type 1 diabetes is affected by moderate to severe anxiety symptoms? Stress can affect your blood sugars. In some people, it appears to raise blood glucose levels, while in others it appears to lower them. The reason is not very well known.
From my own experience of living with type 1 diabetes for 23 years, I can tell you that stress impacts my blood sugar. It often tends to rise up when I am stress. I am not feeling the same when my blood sugar is in range compare to when it is not. With this perspective, I understand that we sometimes get tired of the blood sugar variation and that it can affect our mental health.
Yoga practice has great benefits for mental health and stress and can help you feel better.
Yoga is an old practice; current research puts it at somewhere between 5,000 to 10,000 years old. That does not mean that an authentic yoga practice can’t benefit from technology. Instead of keeping notes or watching clocks, you can concentrate on elevating your yoga practice with the help of technology and innovative yoga-specific tools.
Yoga is ever-evolving and incredibly beneficial — whether it’s helping you manage your diabetes by lowering your blood pressure and blood sugar levels or reducing the stress and anxiety you encounter on a daily basis. And no matter how basic or complex your practice, you can enhance it with technology and upgraded tools. The above suggestions can help you stay focused and determined to complete your yoga session, and can help you move on to the next stage in your practice.
Rely on a Good Smartphone
If your current phone is older or does not have enough memory or space for another app, chances are it needs to be upgraded anyway. Look for a new device that can keep you on track with your yoga goals and play a yoga video without interruptions. Android devices like the Samsung Galaxy S10 come with blue light filtering so you can watch videos more comfortably, and its wireless charging capabilities let you run your apps without needing to use a charging cord. If Apple is your thing, the iPhone 11 comes with good battery life and a powerful processor.
Start With Seven Minutes
Have you had a very tough day that leaves you wanting to take a nap instead of attending a restorative yoga class? Try doing only seven minutes of yoga instead. It’s an extremely short amount of time that passes before you know it, and there is evidence that seven minutes is all you need to feel yoga’s effects. Those who want to just keep their routine going on those down days can use a basic seven-minute routine to relax.
If you want to ensure you can relax as much as possible during those seven minutes, set a timer app to ring with a gentle tone at the end of the routine, so that you can concentrate on the yoga, not counting down the seven minutes. If you’re worried that seven minutes won’t be long enough to ensure you stretch adequately, use a yoga strap to help guide your stretches, even if you think you don’t need one at an intermediate or advanced level.
Set an Intention or Goal
Whether you’re in a regular class or are just doing those seven minutes, you should have a goal in mind or an intention for your session and for your practice as a whole. These don’t have to be fancy, but you set them for both your sessions and your practice.
A goal is a practical marker that you can work toward. Your goal for a session might be to stretch a little farther or stay on balance a little longer, while your goal for your practice as a whole could be to improve your general strength and health. An intention is more of a feeling or motivation. For a session, it could be to bring calm to your day; for your practice as a whole, the intention could be to create more inner joy. Use an app on your phone to track your progress toward goals and intentions.
Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
It’s very common to compare yourself to your yoga teacher or classmates. But yoga isn’t about competition! You have at least two strategies to combat comparison. One is a mantra; find one or write one yourself, and use it as your smartphone wallpaper. Stick that phone in front of you during your yoga routine and read that mantra over and over again as you go through your poses.
The other tactic is to give yourself a focal point to look at. Look at a chosen point on a wall or on your phone. Create a slideshow on your phone with different pictures or slides of mantras and focus on that whenever you can. However, make sure the place you practice is free from distractions; not only will this cause you to become unfocused, but clutter can also create additional stress and anxiety, as well as trap bad energy in your home.
If looking somewhere else doesn’t seem to help, and you’re in a restorative yoga class, try repeating the mantra while covering your eyes with a yoga pillow. These pouches filled with materials such as rice or flax seeds place gentle weight on your eyes to help relax you — and they’ll stop you from seeing others to whom you might compare yourself during class.