Book Review: Yoga for Diabetes

Yoga for Diabetes

Admittedly, I am one of those people who has a hard time following through with things. This is true in both my personal and professional lives, and is something that I struggle with on a daily basis. I tell you this to explain how much Yoga for Diabetes, by Rachel Zinman, is changing my life.

I’ll briefly take you back to my first experience with yoga: I had been running fairly consistently for about eight months, training for a 5K. I am not a runner, and even when I was running, I knew it wasn’t really my thing. I ended up with a twisted sacroiliac joint and Achilles tendonitis.

Enter: yoga. My best friend and I stumbled upon a new yoga studio while we were shopping for running shoes. They had a beginner’s course coupled with a free membership, and we promptly signed up. That is where my love story begins. I was hooked from day one, and for about three years I practiced yoga at that studio 3 – 4 times per week. I even had a job there cleaning, and checking people into class. I was fully immersed.

Then I moved, and basically stopped practicing yoga. And I missed it, which is why I was so happy to receive Yoga for Diabetes. It has helped me remember that my own journey with fitness and diabetes is just that: my own.

Yoga for Diabetes guides you through finding out how yoga fits into your life and your goals. I appreciated how easy it was to read the book and not focus on diabetes, but yet have all my questions answered. You won’t find dose adjustment recommendations or blood sugar goals, but what you will find are the deep benefits of yoga on our lives with diabetes.

My favorite part of Yoga for Diabetes, circling back to my annoying personality trait of never following through with anything I plan to do, is that it’s helping me find validation for the way that I function. Rachel encourages us to find our dosha. She describes our dosha as an individual constitution made up of environmental, societal, and genetic factors. In yoga, your dosha is made up of a combination of elements. For example, the Vata dosha is a combination of space and air.  Everything from your skin type to how often you are thirsty to your speech pattern is accounted for when identifying the dosha that is strongest in you.

The second half of the book includes yoga poses. There are pictures of each pose and clear, easy to understand descriptions of how your body should feel, as well as the benefits that each pose will provide you. Although I already had a fairly solid understanding of how to do these poses, I found the explanations about the benefits extremely helpful. Sometimes I forget how great my back feels from stretching my legs. (For the poses that are difficult, variations are included.)

Rachel gave me some amazing suggestions on how to fit yoga into my life in a way that will truly benefit me. She suggested I set up a yoga “studio” in my house that is a permanent space, because a barrier I have to practicing is that I prioritize other things, then I don’t feel like putting in the effort to get my mat, blocks, etc. organized, and I skip it all together.

I have never doubted the benefits of yoga in my life, so when I read this book, it wasn’t because I needed to be convinced to do yoga, but, rather, I needed some guidance on how to fit it back into my routine. I am a better person when I’m practicing yoga regularly. My emotions, sleep, and blood sugars all benefit. My weight is more stable, my body feels more comfortable to me, and I know it’s great for my long term health. Rachel’s book has been the light I needed to get back into a practice that I’ve been needing so badly.

I signed up for a year of yoga online. I have my mat and blocks in the living room. My goal is to find a routine that involves regular practice 2-3 times per week, and I know that I’ll be able to get there. Understanding and integrating yoga on the level that Rachel walked me through in her book was the first step back on a journey I know and love.

Abby Bayer
Abby Bayer

Abby Bayer has had type 1 diabetes for 19.5 years. She is currently working as a certified diabetes educator in state that she deems far too cold. Her current hobbies include making up conversations between her cats and not finishing crochet projects.

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Augie De Blieck Jr.
Augie De Blieck Jr.
6 years ago

I just started a few months ago as a way to just stretch my body out, and I can’t stop. The trick, I think, is in finding the right system to practice in. I found a good instructor on with 15 minute routines that I can fit into my day easily enough. It doesn’t get into all the woo-woo stuff that I’m not interested in — just straight up inhale/exhale, stretch here, reach there. The greatest part is, for my body, I’ve found that the yoga keeps my blood sugar down without crashing it. Treadmill time leads to low… Read more »

6 years ago

A doctor suggested yoga and there’s a weekly morning class in the park nearby. I found yoga to be a great way of exercising without really, well exercising. Well depending on the instructor and their routine. I need to start doing it again.

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