In August 2015, I went to the university student health center for an annual well woman's exam. The doctor informed me that I should get blood work done because I'm 25, and that women that age should start paying attention to blood glucose levels, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc.
It was free so I thought, why not? I did it and went on about my week. Then just four days after Labor Day, I received a phone call from the doctor and she said my blood sugar was really high and that I'm diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes Led Me to Yoga
I panicked. I knew that I would eventually have the condition given my family history, but not at 25. Some doctors speak differently than those in other helping professions, so she strongly suggested for me to go on medication despite my protests. I cried and cried after I got off the phone.
The days turned into weeks, and off I went to quarterly doctor appointments, dietitian appointments, and diabetes management class. And yes, I am on medication…even though I am on the lower spectrum of blood sugar levels as far as type 2 diabetes is concerned.
Throughout all this madness is when I gravitated more and more to my yoga mat, and here are just a few ways yoga helps me cope with diabetes:
1. Accepting Diabetes
What I mean by this is that I have come to accept that I have to live with it, but it doesn't mean it's a death sentence.
We don't really know some things until we go through whatever that thing is, and I had so, so many misconstrued notions about diabetes — particularly type 2 diabetes. I used to think just how horrible it would be if I was ever diagnosed with it and painted this ugly picture along with it.
Yoga helped me keep my mind open about diabetes, as well as other unseen chronic illnesses that people go through everyday without our knowledge. Not to mention, yoga has definitely helped me become more mindful about what I say or ask when people tell me about their conditions or situations.
2. Increased Awareness
Speaking of mindfulness, yoga has helped me become even more aware of what I put in my body. Not to an unhealthy point where I obsess over every single calorie, but just paying closer attention to my energy levels and moods after eating certain foods.
Yoga also helped keep my emotions and reactions in check, particularly when some people who don't have diabetes make snarky comments about it.
3. Appreciating How Far I've Come
It was almost like a slap to my face when I received that phone call, because I had already lost about 30 pounds up to that point over the course of two years. The sole purpose of starting my healthy lifestyle three years ago was to avoid developing type 2 diabetes, knowing it runs in my family.
Yoga helped me not to dwell so much on "maybe I should've done more" and instead focus on what I need to continue doing. I still have a long way to go in this winding, bumpy road, but I know that the mental fortitude that yoga has equipped me will help me live a balanced life.
Did yoga ever have an impact on your medical condition? Share in the comments below!