Fire Life

Regulate Blood Sugar Levels and Improve Digestion with Yoga!

By Claire Diab and Dennis Boyle

There are many yoga poses that help with the well-being of our internal organs and body. Seated Forward Bend is a simple and effective yoga pose that has proven to be beneficial for the pancreas and the internal abdominal organs and improve digestion. While practicing Seated Forward Bend, you are stimulating the pancreas, liver, and kidneys, which, in turn, arouses the hormone insulin to secrete. 
 
The pancreas is an organ located just behind the stomach and connected to the duodenum portion of the intestine. The pancreas is responsible for regulating our blood sugar levels and helps with the digestive process. The pancreas secretes a hormone we are all familiar with called insulin, which is the main component for regulating blood sugar levels. Insulin lowers the glucose in the blood. Without the ability to secrete insulin, glucose would build up in the blood, resulting in diabetes mellitus.
 
In Seated Forward Bend, you are stimulating the pancreas enough to cause the secretion of insulin. This leads to the secretion of insulin, which lowers glucose, therefore lowering the blood glucose level. Without insulin, our bodies would not have the ability to break down and process glucose. If you suffer from diabetes, yoga may help to lower your blood sugar levels by a significant amount.
 
You can practice Seated Forward Bend every day to begin to notice the benefits. Follow the instructions below. Enjoy! 
                  
 

Sitting Upright

Hands to Sky Pose    

Hands to Feet Pose

 

 

 

Breathe 3-5 breaths

Inhale, reach hands up

Exhale, hands to feet

          
 
Instructions:

  • Sitting upright, breathe in and out 3-5 times.
  • Inhale and reach your hands toward the sky. Lift your face toward the sky.
  • Exhale; bend forward from your hips. Bring your hands toward your feet.
  • Relax all the muscles in your face and enjoy (relax your head, neck, and shoulders). Breathe in and out 3-5 breaths.
  • Slowly and gently move your upper body slightly side to side.
  • Next, roll up one vertebra at a time like a zipper zipping up, extending your arms out to the sides (your head is the last to come up); reach your arms up over head, face toward the sky. 
  • Exhale; fold forward from your hips.
  • Repeat this wave-like motion, inhaling up/exhaling down 6-9 times.
     

Benefits:

  • Lengthens the muscles around the spine and back of legs.
  • Nourishes and massages the internal abdominal organs.
  • Regulates blood sugar levels by strengthening the pancreas.
  • Increases blood flow to the muscles and nerves in the face.
  • Improves digestion.

 Safety Tips: 

  • If your back bothers you, you can perform this pose sitting in a chair.
  • Avoid this pose if you have had recent abdominal surgery.
  • It is fine to slightly bend your knees when folding forward.

 

Claire Diab is an internationally recognized Yoga therapist. She is the director of the Yoga Program for the Chopra Center founded by Dr. Deepak Chopra and Dr. David Simon. She is an adjunct professor of Asian Studies at Seton Hall University. She is the author of several books and DVDs on Yoga including “Yoga For Firefighters.” 

 

 

 

Dennis Boyle is a retired fire director and acting chief with the West Orange (NJ) Fire Department. He was the recipient of the 1999 New Jersey Deputy Fire Chiefs “Fire Officer of the Year” award.