Yoga Exercises For Diabetes and Heart Problems

yoga exercises

Yoga can be an excellent physical activity for people with diabetes, high blood pressure or heart problems. It strengthens muscles and increases balance while promoting relaxation.

Although yoga doesn’t increase your heart rate to the same degree as running, it can still provide some aerobic benefits, Laskowski says. For example, poses that twist the body wring out venous blood and allow oxygenated blood to flow back in.

Child’s Pose

Child’s Pose is a gentle forward-bending pose that helps stretch the neck, back, shoulders, hips and thighs. It also opens the chest and lungs and promotes circulation in the body. It encourages conscious exploration of the breath.

If you can’t bend your knees to rest on the thighs, spread them wider and rest your torso over the knees instead. It is important to protect your joints in yoga.

It is important to avoid this pose if you have a shoulder injury, as it places strain on the rotator cuff muscles. A rolled up blanket or block under the sit bones can help keep you stable. This is an excellent pose for menstruating women because it provides gentle compression and can help ease cramps. It can also be used as a break between more active poses.

Downward-Facing Dog

Downward-facing dog (adho mukha svana) is one of the most common postures in yoga classes and is also known as “frog pose.” This popular posture warms ups the whole body, strengthens the legs and arms and stretches the back of the body.

The biggest problem beginner yogis have with this pose is having their feet the correct distance apart. Their feet should not be touching but rather about hip distance apart.

To increase the strength and challenge of this posture, try putting a block under your hands. This will reduce the angle of the wrist and allow you to lift your hips high toward the ceiling, elongating your spine. This variation is also a great way to ease up on the stress placed on your shoulders and wrists.


Four-Limbed Staff Pose, also called Chaturanga Dandasana, is pivotal in many yoga flows but can be challenging for beginners. The pose requires strong arms and thoughtful alignment—it is not a simple push-up. The muscles of the chest, back and front shoulders must all contract in this position to keep the body in a hover and prevent the elbows from splaying outward.

To strengthen the arms and shoulder blades for Chaturanga, try practicing at an incline to relieve some of the stress on the wrists and shoulders. Place a chair or kitchen countertop behind you and hold your hands by the back of the chair (or countertop) at approximately shoulder distance apart. Slowly lower the torso over the hands and draw the backs of the arms in toward the waist.

Warrior II

Often paired with forward folds, Warrior II strengthens the hips and core muscles as well as stretching the back leg muscles, inner thighs, groin and ankles. It also builds a sense of balance and steadiness, called sthira in Sanskrit.

Practicing this pose with incorrect alignment can strain the knee or ankle joint, so you should avoid it if you have any such injuries. For example, the front knee should be stacked directly above the ankle rather than drifting in toward the center of the mat or the little toe side.

Similarly, some teachers teach that the front knee should be bent to about 90 degrees. However, each body has a different expression in this pose; simply bend the front knee as far as you can while keeping it aligned directly above–not in front of–the ankle.

Tree Pose

Vrksasana, or Tree Pose, is a balancing yoga posture that challenges even the most experienced yogis. It combines the grounding of one leg representing the roots of a tree with the lengthening of the arms above the head building stability.

As with any balancing pose, it is important to move slowly into this asana and take the time to find your true balance. It is also beneficial to practice with a teacher to make sure that you are not over compensating at the first sign of wobble.

This pose works to stretch your groin and inner thigh as well as strengthen the small muscles in your ankles and feet. It is a great pose for anyone that wants to improve their balance both on and off of the mat.