Let us look at the scientific evidence for yoga in medicine, particularly among diabetic patients.
In Type 1 diabetes, the ability of the body to produce insulin is impaired. It is due to damage or destruction of the insulin-producing organ pancreas. Such patients require insulin regularly to prevent hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). Type 1 diabetes is often inherited. Type 1 diabetes patients need external insulin lifelong.
A systematic review of articles and studies on the role of yoga in medicine shows that its’ practice helps in weight control, reduction of blood pressure, blood lipids, and blood sugar. (Yang, K., 2007; Youngwanichsetha, S. et al., 2014)
Yoga and standard physical training exercises both have a positive impact on individuals who have diabetes. It helps reduce oxidative stress and bring about improvements in antioxidant profiles. (Gordon, L.A., et al., 2008)
Diabetic individuals who performed pranayama felt a sense of well-being in 7 to 10 days of practice. Demand for insulin and other diabetes control medicine dropped. In this trial, four pranayama types were practiced for 30 minutes, followed by 10 minutes of resting yoga posture called Shavasana (a dead person pose posture). (Sahay, B.K., 2007).
In addition to breathing exercises, eight forms of physical activities – (Yoga asana)- have been observed to benefit diabetic patients. These exercises were practiced daily for 45 minutes, followed by relaxation exercises like Shavasana (Deadman pose) and Makrasana (Crocodile pose).
The Yoga asana practiced were Dhanurasana (Bow pose) and Ardha matsayendrasana (half spinal twist) helped control diabetes optimally. Halasana (plow pose), Vajrasana (sitting posture with feet under your hips, Bhujangasana (Cobra pose), and Naukasana (boat pose) were effective.
My research on natural solutions for diabetes informs me of the role of yoga in medicine; it is supportive of diabetes treatment and management and not a primary role. Yoga will help but not cure. To learn more about natural solutions for diabetes, you can check out this book.