Islets of Hope alternative and complementary treatment for persons with diabetes

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A  Few Kind Words About The Body in Balance Center

The Body in Balance center is owned and operated by an inspiring and remarkable woman for whom I have tremendous respect; Ann Bartlett, founder of the Body in Balance Center.

Ann began her training at Kripalu Yoga Ashram, Lenox, MA. During her time there, she learned that massage and holistic approaches to her own health afforded her more control over her juvenile diabates. Ann explained, "By taking a hard look at my own body's response, I realized I could help other people with similar issues."

In 1988, Ann attended The Pennsylvania School of Muscle Therapy for AMTA Swedish and Therapeutic certification and training in Pfrimmer Deep Muscle Therapy.  Her strong belief in continuing education in massage and integrative approaches to wellness has been a unique part of her practice.

Because of Ann's personal experience with Juvenile Diabetes, she divides her time between world-class athletes and working with clients (children and adults), who have been diagnosed with cancer, MS, Lou Gehrig's disease, fibromyalgia, and other chronic illnesses including diabetes.

Ann is a business owner living with diabetes and that qualifies her to advertise on our site for free.  But it is her passion for people and comprehensive training (plus, she's a really nice person)  that prompted me to pursue her  to advertise on IOH.

So here is an unsolicited shameless plug from me personally, to Ann.

Lahle Wolfe, Founder
Islets of Hope

If you are fortunate enough to live in the Northern VA area, and are looking for supportive therapies, contact Ann. (Tell her Lahle sent you).

The Body in Balance Center
300 S. Washington Street
Alexandria, VA  22314

We help You and Your Family Live a Happy, Healthy Life

Massage Therapy • Yoga Classes for Adults and Children
Immune Support for Children
Infant Massage

Washington DC
 Potomac, Silver Spring and Bethesda, MD
Northern VA

"I like to think I'm helping address everyone's potential, whether it be for speed, endurance or to feel better than when they walked in the door!" 
Ann Bartlett, Founder,
Body In Balance Center

Read Ann's personal story in our "People" section.

Studies and Articles that Support Yoga as an Adjunct Therapy for Diabetes

U of CA, San Francisco is conducting two studies on: Yoga, Meditation and Health: Pre-diabetes

Yoga and Diabetes: The effects of exercise and yoga on Diabetes - A Clinical Research

Diabetes Forum: Yoga and Diabetes

The Word "Yoga"

The word "yoga" - from the Sanskrit root yuj ("to yoke") - is generally translated as "union" or "integration." This may be understood as union with the Divine, or integration of body, mind, and spirit. One who practices yoga is called a yogi or in Sanskrit, a yogin (masculine) or yogini (feminine). These titles are sometimes reserved for advanced practitioners.

The word "yoga" may also be written, Joga, Ioga, Jooga, or Yôga.



Sources - Though edited for style and content, and the addition of diabetes inforrmation, much of the material for preparing this article came from

Van Vorous, Heather. First Year: IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), ISBN 1569245479. Yoga chapter excerpted with author's permission at Help For Irritable Bowel Syndrome (see Yoga for IBS section)


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Alternative & Complementary Treatments for Diabetes

Mini Site Index
How Can Yoga Benefit a Person With Diabetes?
Yoga Practice and Intention
Diversity of Yoga
Common Themes
Yoga as Exercise
Hatha Yoga
Yoga as Alternative and Complementary Therapy

people doing yoga

  A western style hatha yoga class.  It is estimated that
30 million people in the U.S. practice this form of yoga.

Yoga is a family of ancient spiritual practices that originated in India, where it remains a vibrant living tradition and is seen as a means to enlightenment. Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga, and Raja Yoga are considered the four main yogas, but there are many other types. In the West, yoga has become associated with the asanas (postures) of Hatha Yoga, which are popular as fitness exercises. Yoga as a means to enlightenment is central to Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism, and has influenced other religious and spiritual practices throughout the world. Important Hindu texts establishing the basis for yoga include the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Hatha Yoga Pradipika.


How Can Yoga Benefit a Person With Diabetes?

Yoga is considered a mind-body intervention that is used to reduce the health effects of generalized stress.

Yoga is believed to calm the nervous system and balance the body, mind, and spirit. It is thought by its practitioners to prevent specific diseases and maladies by keeping the energy meridians (see acupuncture) open and life energy (qi) flowing. Yoga is usually performed in classes, sessions are conducted at least once a week and for approximately 45 minutes.

Yoga has been used to lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and improve coordination, flexibility, concentration, sleep, and digestion. It has also been used as supplementary therapy for such diverse conditions as cancer, diabetes, asthma, AIDS.  (See CDC Advance Data Report #343 under "Sources" in our sidebar.), and irritable bowel syndrome (Van Vorous, 2001).

You can usually find yoga classes at the YMCA, private gyms, and through county-sponsored local programs.  


Yoga Practice and Intention

Modern yoga practice often includes traditional elements inherited from Hinduism, such as moral and ethical principles, postures designed to keep the body fit, spiritual philosophy, instruction by a guru, chanting of mantras (sacred syllables), quietening the breath, and stilling the mind through meditation. These elements are sometimes adapted to meet the needs of non-Hindu practitioners.

Proponents of yoga see daily practice as beneficial in itself, leading to improved health, emotional well-being, mental clarity, and joy in living.  Because of the calming effects yoga has on the mind and body, it may play a key role in stress management and mental health in some individuals -- both important aspects in diabetes caer and blood glucose management.

The goals of yoga are expressed differently in different traditions. In theistic Hinduism, yoga may be seen as a set of practices intended to bring people closer to God - to help them achieve union with God. In Buddhism, which does not postulate a creator-type God, yoga may help people deepen their wisdom, compassion, and insight. In Western nations, where there is a strong emphasis on individualism, yoga practice may be an extension of the search for meaning in self, and integration of the different aspects of being. The terms Self-Realization and God-Realization are used interchangeably in Hindu yoga, with the underlying belief that the true nature of self, revealed through the practice of yoga, is of the same nature as God.  


Diversity of Yoga

Over the long history of yoga, different schools have emerged, and there are numerous examples of subdivisions and synthesis. It is common to speak of each form of yoga as a "path" to enlightenment. Thus, yoga may include love and devotion (as in Bhakti Yoga), selfless work (as in Karma Yoga), knowledge and discernment (as in Jnana Yoga), or an eight-limbed system of disciplines emphasizing meditation (as in Raja Yoga). These practices occupy a continuum from the religious to the scientific. They need not be mutually exclusive. (A person who follows the path of selfless work might also cultivate some knowledge and devotion.) Some people (particularly in Western cultures) pursue yoga as exercise divorced from spiritual practice.

Other types of yoga include Mantra Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Kriya Yoga, Integral Yoga, Nitya Yoga, Maha Yoga, Purna Yoga, Anahata Yoga, Tantra Yoga, Tibetan Yoga, etc. It is often helpful to check the teacher and lineage to be sure how these terms are being used. Another name for Raja Yoga ("royal yoga") is Ashtanga Yoga ("eight-limbed yoga"), but this should not be confused with the Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga developed by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, which is a specific style of Hatha Yoga practice.


Common Themes

Common to most forms of yoga is the practice of concentration (dharana) and meditation (dhyana). Dharana, according to Patanjali's definition, is the "binding of consciousness to a single point." The awareness is concentrated on a fine point of sensation (such as that of the breath entering and leaving the nostrils). Sustained single-pointed concentration gradually leads to meditation (dhyana), in which the inner faculties are able to expand and merge with something vast. Meditators sometimes report feelings of peace, joy, and oneness.

The focus of meditation may differ from school to school, e.g. meditation on one of the chakras, such as the heart center (anahata) or the third eye (ajna); or meditation on a particular deity, such as Krishna; or on a quality like peace. Non-dualist schools such as Advaita Vedanta may stress meditation on the Supreme with no form or qualities (Nirguna Brahman). This resembles Buddhist meditation on the Void.  


Yoga As Exercise

While yoga evolved as a spiritual practice, in the West it has grown popular as a form of purely physical exercise. Some Western practice has little or nothing to do with Hinduism or spirituality, but is simply a way of keeping healthy and fit. This differs from the traditional Eastern view of yoga. While it is not always possible (or even desirable) to completely separate "exercise yoga" from "spiritual yoga," this article seeks to concentrate on the former although both increased spirituality and physical exercise may both be of benefit to persons with diabetes or other chronic illness.

Yoga as exercise has evolved into numerous subdivisions and variations. There is some debate whether the term Hatha Yoga properly describes yoga as exercise, since the traditional Hatha Yoga system is a spiritual path in its own right.


Hatha Yoga

Over the last century the term yoga has come to be especially associated with the postures (Sanskrit asanas) of hatha yoga ("Forced Yoga"). Hatha yoga has gained wide popularity outside of India and traditional yoga-practicing religions, and the postures are sometimes presented as entirely secular or non-spiritual in nature.  In The West, hatha yoga has become popular as a purely physical exercise regimen divorced of its original purpose. Currently, it is estimated that about 30 million Americans practice hatha yoga.

Traditional Hatha Yoga is a complete yogic path, including moral disciplines, physical exercises (e.g., postures and breath control), and meditation, and encompasses far more than the yoga of postures and exercises practiced in the West as physical culture. The seminal work on Hatha Yoga is the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, written by Swami Svatmarama.

Hatha Yoga was invented to provide a form of physical purification and training that would prepare aspirants for the higher training that is called Raja Yoga. Yet many in the West practice hatha yoga solely for the perceived health benefits it provides, and not as a path to enlightenment.  


Yoga as Alternative and Complementary Medicine

Yoga when used as a form of alternative medicine is a combination of breathing exercises, physical postures, and meditation, practiced for over 5,000 years..  In India, yoga is a daily part of life. It is common to see people performing yoga in the morning or speaking about food diets and body therapy entirely based on Yoga or the Hindu healing system of Ayurveda.

A survey released in May 2004 by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine focused on who used complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), what was used, and why it was used in the United States by adults age 18 years and over during 2002. According to this recent survey, Yoga was the 5th most commonly used CAM therapy (2.8%) in the United States during 2002 (See CDC Advance Data Report #343, in the sidebar, table 1, page 8) when all use of prayer was excluded.


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  Page Updated 10/25/2006