A review by the Frontiers in Immunology journal of more than 10 years of studies analysed the effects of yoga, meditation, Tai Chi, and mindfulness on our genes. It was concluded that these practices do not just help us relax and reduce stress, but they have the capacity to reverse molecular DNA reactions linked with poor health and mental health issues like depression.
The Link between Excessive Stress & Higher Risk of Diseases
When we are experiencing stress, our sympathetic nervous system turns on the fight-or-flight mode for our survival. Once the threat goes away, the systems in the body go to their normal state. However, today, the fight-or-flight mode is frequently turned on because of the numerous stressful situations we deal with on the daily.
This can have a negative impact on the overall health and well-being and elevate our chance for serious illnesses such as cancer, as well as mental health problems.
How Can Yoga & Meditation Protect Us?
When the sympathetic nervous system activates, the production of nuclear factor kappa B elevates. This molecule regulates the gene expression by turning on genes which make and secrete cytokines- proteins connected with inflammation and diseases. This is where yoga and meditation can help- research indicates that they can lower the production of the kappa B and cytokines.
Doing yoga on a regular basis and meditating leaves a molecular signature in the cells and averts the negative impact of anxiety and stress on the body through the shift in gene expression.
Be that as it may, further research is necessary so that the benefits and impact of mind-body interventions on the DNA are more thoroughly understood. Also, they need to be compared with the effects of other healthy lifestyle habits, including healthy diet and regular exercise.
Until then, take your yoga mat and start benefitting from yoga now! And, do not forget to have a shorter (or longer!) meditation session before heading out to yoga class. Your body and mind will thank you…
Want to learn more about yoga and meditation? Check out the videos shown below: