The Contaren Yoga Story

A Yoga-Based Program for the Management of Type 2 Diabetes

Contaren Yoga began as a sankalpa, or intention.

Sankalpa is a Sanskrit word संकल्प that means a conception or idea formed in the heart or mind, and a determination to fulfill a specific intention. It is the one-pointed resolve to do and to achieve an objective, as a vow or a solemn promise to oneself. And it makes one perform predetermined acts in order to actually achieve that promise.

During my 200-Hour Yoga Alliance Teacher Training at the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Center for Integrated Medicine, we were asked to write our sankalpa, or intention, for the year, and we were instructed to write it out as if it was already true and happening this very moment.

“I am enjoying perfect health and happiness and I am teaching others to do the same.”
       — My sankalpa written 09/22/16

While meditating upon my intention, I came upon the idea of creating a Yoga workshop specifically designed for people who were suffering from Type II Diabetes. I myself had been afflicted with severe Diabetes in the recent past and I was able to reverse the disease 100% by being mindful and aware of my body’s needs and by paying closer attention to my thoughts. It was a long process, it wasn’t easy, and I thought, “there must be a better way”.

Through my experience in the Yoga Teacher Training program, I quickly realized that this “healing timeline” could be dramatically accelerated for others if a formal program were created, utilizing Yoga as the tool to help people understand and appreciate the mind/body/spirit connection with regards to optimal health. Your own body speaks a special language that is designed especially for you and Yoga can help you to learn that special language so that you can begin to heal.

As I dug in to the latest scientific research on Yoga therapies for the treatment of Type II diabetes, I immediately knew that I was following the right path. An ever-growing body of evidence is revealing that Yoga is extremely beneficial to those struggling with T2D, with significant improvements being demonstrated in glycemic control (blood sugar), lowered blood pressure and oxidative stress, improved autonomic function, all resulting in the reduction of required diabetic medication being needed.

Positive clinical and metabolic changes in persons with Type 2 diabetes are being observed in as little as one practice session! And researchers have discovered that doing Yoga can not only alleviate the symptoms of diabetes, but also suggest that yoga therapy can prevent, treat, and sometimes reverse the effects of diabetes.

The evidence is clear. Yoga is a proven therapy for those trying to manage and control their diabetes.

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Contaren Yoga is Born

The word “Contaren” means “To count” or “To tell a story” and I felt that the name would be an appropriate hat-tip to Sage Patanjali and the 196 aphorisms of his Yoga Sutras, which outline the eight limbs of classical yoga. The Yoga Sutras are made up of threads of wisdom, strung together to tell the story of life and how to become well, to live fully, and to realize your divine potential.

For many of us, the suffering we are experiencing with diabetes today is a result of choices that we have made in the past. Through Yoga, we can change tomorrow’s story by taking steps to take care of ourselves today. As Patanjali himself has said, “future suffering can be avoided.”. (Chapter 2 v16)

This website is new and still in its infancy, but I hope to eventually provide many free resources for anyone looking to improve their health. Whether you currently suffer from type 2 diabetes or you are a Yoga teacher looking to add gentle diabetic-friendly sequences to your classes, I hope you find this information helpful.



Michael Johnson, RYT 200
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
“The mind is everything. What you think, you become.”
“Willpower is nothing but willingness to do.”
“The part can never be well unless the whole is well.”
“A wish to be well is part of becoming well.”


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