I want to show you a simple and effective diabetes recovery strategy to bounce back after any blood glucose swing that no one is talking about at the doctor's office.
One way to define resilience is by our ability to return baseline whenever there's a deficit.
When it comes to building diabetes resilience, it is essential to apply recovery strategies to recuperate the energy lost so that you can go back to life feeling more vibrant, present, and capable.
For instance, if you are running high or just experienced an intense low, there's an invisible after-effect from those extremes. It taxes our neuroendocrine responses, alters perception, performance, and vitality for hours even after numbers have returned to normal.
Not feeling your best because of the wear-and-tear on our body's adaptive responses can make you depleted and moody. Over the longer duration of diabetes, it can give rise to anxiety and depressive symptoms, negativing impacting quality of life.
There's no cure for diabetes, so no matter how well you've got it under control, we're all going to have moments like these.
So it is best to apply strategies during and after these episodes to give our bodies and minds a chance to reset.
One of the main tools that I use personally and prescribe for my clients is a regular yoga nidra practice.
Yoga nidra means "yogic sleep," but another way of looking at it is "sleep with a trace of awareness." The practice helps individuals create a supportive state of deep physical, mental, and emotional relaxation. In the state of yoga nidra, there is simultaneous relaxation and detachment, resulting in a profound reset on all planes of one's being.
Yoga nidra is scientifically proven to reduce stress and anxiety, lower blood pressure, reduce A1c levels in T2D, decrease depressive symptoms, and improve sleep.
Studies have also shown that yoga nidra interventions improve feelings of happiness, enthusiasm, being more alert and inspired, active, having clarity of thought, control over anger, and self-confidence (1)
In the attached link, you can access a free yoga nidra for diabetes.
You'll learn how to:
Yoga nidra for diabetes healing
Listen to Meditation Preparation
I want to show you how to prepare for meditation and do so successfully. Last week I reached a personal milestone: 1,008 consecutive days of meditation. Although I've meditated regularly for over a decade, I've never fully committed to a daily sadhana (practice).
It was not for lack of interest; I knew the benefits of meditation.
But I did not understand exactly how transformative a daily routine would be versus something I "fit in" a few days a week.
The results of my daily sadhana are not only perceptible on my face, but in every aspect of my life. I've achieved great things over the last 1,008 days, wrote a book for diabetes, brought my A1c levels down consistently under 6.5%, and gracefully navigated through significant challenges and losses.
I share my story with you to encourage you to do the same and I want to show you how.
It is a no-brainer that meditation is beneficial; however, many do not know how to practice, or they have tried only to give up after a few days, weeks, or even months later.
To those people, I ask, "Are you preparing for meditation"?
Most likely they aren't.
Just as you would warm up before exercise to avoid injury, maximize performance, meditation also requires preparation.
Otherwise, it can be an uncomfortable and fruitless endeavor.
Complete meditation practice trains the mind to turn away from worldly distractions, become established subtle aspects of awareness, and eventually transcend all objects to abide in the one, eternal truth.
On a more practical level, meditation helps us look at ourselves from a different perspective, overcoming obstacles, making better choices, irradicating stress, and receiving more joy from life experience.
Let's be realistic; we do not always have time to do all the physical and breathwork to prepare to sit. Because of this, people often skip practice altogether.
I want to show you how to prepare with a quick and easy method to maximize your meditation experience.
The sages knew that the way to enter the state of meditation was to use the breath to still the mind.
It is a process called prana dharana.
Prana—the vital force—travels in the body on the wave of the breath. Dharana means concentration in Sanskrit. The breath sensitizes the mind to prana, and thorough attention, allows the mind to perceive what is otherwise invisible.
When you meditate on the breath, you notice that the breath's jerkiness and strain correspond with mental distractions.
According to Swami Rama, "Those who do not want to practice pranayama can still practice meditation, but without breathing awareness, a deep state of meditation is impossible."
A Practice to Prepare for Meditation - Prana Dhanana
Steps of meditation prep:
Watch the video now.
During my many years of study, this simple wisdom was the #1 lesson my teachers aimed to instill within us and me in you.
The way you feel is known as your energetic condition. Think about it like this. If you feel tired, the dull-heaviness of lethargy will impact your actions and thoughts. The same if you feel overwhelmed or sad. It's not to say these emotions are incorrect; they are not a permanent state.
If change is in constant flux, then we have the power to influence its direction.
When a person lives this, she is a sva-tantriya—one who is self-mastered. She can live in a chaotic world and be above the turbulence, not by spiritually bypassing, but by being in charge of her energetic condition.
The power to change how you feel is YOURS. By knowing this wholeheartedly inspires action in all of your decisions and alters the trajectory of your life's purpose.
The best, most impactful way to change how you feel is through conscious breathing exercises. The breath trains your nervous system to turn on and off on command, purifying the mind from distractions and fear, granting you discernment. It is the chief operating guide linking all neuroendocrine responses, perceptions, and actions.
I want to give you the tools to influence how you feel on the regular. Let's face it if a glass of wine or a handstand were enough; we'd all be enlightened.
Check out this simple instruction for nadi shodhana--alternate nostril breath. I most often see people doing it incorrectly, and in this short video, you'll learn how to do it efficiently, maximizing your benefit.
It is one of my absolute favorite breathing practices to create BALANCE. Krishnamacharya would practice 108 rounds of nadi shodhana every day, breaking it up into three practices of 36.
There's a missing link in diabetes care; it's a strategic rest.
"Sure I rest," you may say, but let me assure you I'm not talking about sleep, although it will help you sleep better. Creating a ritual of rest is an essential pillar in upping your diabetes health game. In this video, I'll go over in more detail why and how!
Here's why it's important:
-Helps to reduce the perception of stress & stress hormones, making you insulin resistant.
-Improves your discernment, i.e., clarity of mind to adapt to diabetes' changes or rewire your habits.
-Gives you the power to bounce back. Whether that is recovery from an undesirable BG fluctuation or the ability to build a reserve of extra energy.
It's not a secret. You know you should be doing it, but for many reasons, you're not.
-time- we have less and less of it
-prioritization - there are so many things to check off your to-do box. It's the last on the list.
-lack of direction - you know that breathing, meditation, and relaxation are essential, but you do not know how to do it.
If you've been living long enough with type 1 diabetes, you know that it's simply not enough to exercise your body, eat nutrient-dense foods, and take the proper amount of insulin.
It is my mission to help as many people with diabetes as possible learn how to not only PRIORITIZE self-care but also CREATE it for themselves.
Want to learn more + experience it for yourself? Join me on September 29th at 5pm MST for a free masterclass + mini practice: The Diabetes Rest Ritual.
Can't make it live? No problem. We'll send you the recorded practice if you sign up.
Talking Yoga Therapy, Diabetes, and Breathing
"On this episode, I sit down with Evan Soroka. Simply put, Evan is a bright soul in the darkness that we are all experiencing right now. In this conversation, Evan shares details of her early childhood in NYC and how her family moved to Colorado so her dad can follow a passion for a creative life. She talks about the beginnings of her life with type 1 diabetes during a 24 hour wilderness survival experience, and how yoga ultimately entered the picture and changed her life. Evan is fascinated with exploration, internal and external, and we go deep in this conversation. We discuss the intricacies and interconnectedness of yoga therapy, the breath, and the mind. We talk about Evan’s definition of the meaning of life and the importance of not wasting our one beautiful opportunity to make the most of our time on this planet."
I travel with my husband to spend time with his family for Thanksgiving. It is a multi-day celebration that is joyful, yet without self-care strategies, it can be a diabetes disaster.
The holidays get a bad rap as a difficult time for blood glucose levels, but they don’t have to be. There is nothing inherently unhealthy about the food we eat during Thanksgiving.
What is problematic are the cultural behavioral norms which support all-day snacking, larger meals and sedentarism. Couple this with the added stress of being in close quarters with beloved family members and suddenly Thanksgiving is taking you for a wild diabetes ride.
It does not have to be this way. In this video I will address my top behavioral and self-awareness recommendations for diabetes management during Thanksgiving.
A core component of yoga therapy and diabetes care is self-awareness. Self-awareness with diabetes is our ability to discern how certain behaviors, whether it is over-indulging, lack of exercise, or stress from a family dynamic, affect how we feel, think and act. When we are aware of what causes us to feel negative, we can implement new and positive behaviors to improve our quality of life.
The formula for a healthy and joyful holiday season is unique for everyone with diabetes. In this video, I will go over my top strategies for improving self-awareness and implementing healthier behaviors during the holidays. These tips will allow you to flow through the season without the typical BG rollercoaster and emotional upheaval that can occur when we are in close quarters with the people we love most.
When I switched to a new Medtronic 670g a few years ago, I hated it. It was so unfamiliar, and my old pump I knew like the back of my hand. I was overwhelmed by every nuance from its fancy features, to its size and weight. There were many times when I wanted to give it up, go back on my old pump, but a part of me persisted and gave it a chance.
Now, nearly two years later, I love my Medtronic pump and would not change it for the world.
It is funny how attached we become to our devices. They are, after all, a relationship. When we change that relationship, it is reasonable to mourn what you used to have rather than looking forward to what you will have; in my case, a much-improved HbA1c.
Yoga talks about change as a cause of suffering. We suffer because we think everything is going to stay exactly the same. Cognitively we know that a new pump or cgm will be of benefit, but because it is so new, we resist embracing the changes wholeheartedly. We may in fact reject the new pump as faulty because it is not the same as the old one.
The resistance to change with diabetes technology is a source of overwhelm and distress. In this quick yoga therapy inspired video, I will go over my top tips and strategies for overcoming the transitional woes, so you can LOVE the pump (or CGM) that you are in and move forward with your life.
Today is a day of celebration. It’s world diabetes day but also it’s my mom’s 70th birthday. I want to invite everyone who has diabetes, at least for today, to celebrate diabetes. Think about how a diagnosis has molded and shaped you into the incredible being that you are!
It’s true, diabetes is no picnic but that does not mean that it all has to be negative.
If it weren’t for diabetes I would not be:
Thank you diabetes for offering me an opportunity to see you in a positive or negative light.
My gift you you is a yoga therapy practice for the heart and circulation. Heart disease is the number one killer of people with diabetes. It is of the utmost importance that we not only take care of our heart with diet and exercise but also through therapeutic practices like this one.
Please leave your comments below! How has diabetes made you the person you are today? What can you celebrate?
I'm embarrassed to admit that I still struggle with night time hypos. Ever since I was a kid, nighttime highs have messed with my HbA1c and damper my otherwise perfect endo visit.
Correcting for hyperglycemia at night is challenging too. It is like my body does not absorb the insulin until I wake up and start moving, often plummeting low within minutes of waking up. Then you begin playing the catch-up game, all day all night weeks on end. Its why so many of us get burnt out on diabetes.
So what to do? Yoga teaches us that if you want a different effect, you need to change the cause. I did not know the source of my night time
highs, so I came up with a lot of hypotheses:
Incorrect bolus to carb ratio
I have tried so many things over the last 21 years that worked for a while but then stopped working. Until I tried this latest thing and….IT IS WORKING. I do not want to jinx it or claim this to be the fix for everyone, but it has been working SO WELL for me. I have to share it with you. I have not had a single night time high in two months, and subsequently, I have avoided a lot of lows too.
Check out my tips about how to actually do this with type 1 diabetes. My biggest tip is skip it if you are going low! BG comes first.
It is mental health awareness month, so I thought that I would take the opportunity to talk about it as an essential pillar of diabetes success and what you can do to improve your mental health right now that you might not already be doing.
We all know how stressful the unpredictability of diabetes can be. What works one day, doesn’t the next. It seems like at times despite our best effort, we still get it wrong. There are so many moving parts to ‘stay in balance’ that our mind takes a beating. Life is stressful enough without diabetes but then you couple it with highs and lows, alarms, needles and annual deductibles suddenly you have got a great recipe for chronic stress.
If you live with diabetes like me, it is essential to prioritize your mental well-being. I want to share with you how I have been able to reduce my diabetes related anxiety for good with yoga therapy.
It is not news that yoga and meditation are an effective way of reducing stress and improving self-awareness. Given this fact it would be healthy to assume that the practice of yoga and meditation would be beneficial for reducing diabetes stress.
You may be practicing both yoga and meditation but what you might be forgetting to do is this one very simple thing: seated breathing.
It seems so simple, it is most often overlooked. But let me tell you it is the most important tool in your self-care toolkit.
The breath influences the mind just as the mind influences the breath. When you are shocked, you gasp for air, and when you are relaxed, you take a long sigh of relief. The feeling of the breath is indicative of the mental state.
Simply inhaling and exhaling in a comfortable way activates the parasympathetic nervous system eliciting a calm and relaxed feeling in the body and mind. Regular daily practice allows the mind to slow down so you can start to see the causes of your stress and do something about it.
Evan Rachel Soroka