Ayurveda Meet Diabetes, Diabetes Meet Ayurveda: An Intro From A Yogi With T1D


Routine–we love to hate it, especially with a demanding disease like diabetes, which requires hyper-vigilance. No sane person would set their alarm to wake up during the night to check their blood sugar, diligently count carbs before a meal, or force themselves on the treadmill at 9 pm. But we do it, because without the effort, where would we be? The science speaks for itself.

So, how can we turn a ‘have to’ into a ‘want to’. This is where the sister science of Yoga and Ayurveda take center stage. The word Ayurveda means the science of life. As a traditional Indian method of healing, it uses the natural world to help us understand what creates balance and imbalance. 

Ayurveda works with the five elements; earth, water, fire, air and space. We have all 5 elements in our constitution but usually only two hold the limelight. The combination of elements are called Doshas. Vata dosha being the predominance of Air and Space. Pitta dosha is Fire with a small amount of Water. And Kapha dosha is the predominance of Water and Earth.

In Ayurveda, diabetes is classified by the Doshas. Vata, Pitta and Kapha diabetes. Kapha diabetes is treatable through diet and exercise. Pitta diabetes can be controlled with strict management where as Vata diabetes is much harder to treat and stabilize. My understanding after working with several different Vaidya’s (ayurvedic doctors) is that both Vata and Pitta diabetes deplete the nervous system. Whereas Kapha diabetes clogs the system and is a disease of excess.

But this post is not purely about diagnosis, it’s about what simple things we can do everyday to insert harmony and balance inside our lives no matter what type of diabetes we have. This harmony and balance is the power we can harness in our own diabetes management.

In Ayurveda, setting a regular rhythm is key. In our fast paced life its easy to ignore our natural rhythms. We go to bed late, wake up late, eat on the go, spend too much time on devices and work at odd hours. With a disease which is already depleting and or clogging our systems it’s doubly challenging and we feel pressured to get it right.

So how do we start? One step at a time. Here are three simple ayurvedic practices you can implement right now which are nurturing and soothing no matter what your constitution.

  1. Wake up before the sun rises and greet the day with gratitude. Rising before the sun means you will have more energy available to you throughout the day. At dawn the prana (life energy) is still low in the atmosphere and easily absorbed by the body. Perfect for Type 1’s who need to build energy. For Type 2’s it’s a great time for dynamic breathing or a beach walk.
  2. Sip hot water instead of tea throughout the day. Plain hot water is cleansing and eliminates toxins and also warming and nurturing. For Type 1’s it lubricates and soothes the nervous system and for Type 2’s it eliminates accumulated waste throughout the day.
  3. Give yourself a nurturing foot massage before bed. No matter what your type, massaging the feet before bed balances the nervous system and promotes sound sleep. In Ayurveda specific oils are used depending on your constitution. But to keep it simple – any plain massage oil or cream you use to keep your feet soft especially if you suffer from skin cracks or neuropathy. Make sure to massage the whole foot focussing on the pads of the feet, around the heel and achilles tendon and between the toes.

For more along the lines of today’s article, Yoga for Diabetes, how to manage your diabetes with yoga and ayurveda, aims to motivate people with all types of diabetes to include yoga into their daily diabetes management plan. CLICK HERE to learn more.

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