We have all heard how yoga offers great benefits. But what is the science behind it? Meditation and yoga have been known for offering a wide range of immediate and long term effects on a person and now researchers are delving deeper into the metaphysical evidence. These practices have been shown to reduce stress, increase happiness, enhance learning, memory, and boost immune system functioning. However, the understanding of how exactly these changes occur has been elusive. Research has just come out that tells us practicing yoga actually changes you down to your DNA.
Researchers found that people, who do just three 60-minute sessions of semi-vigorous yoga per week, were 9 years younger on average than non-exercisers. These results showed much more than just a glowing face. The study found that these exercisers had much longer telomeres, or the aspect of DNA that acts as a marker for aging, than people who did not move as much. These results held for any type of exercise, but yoga goes a step farther than most, by detoxifying the body more efficiently, and stimulating and balancing the endocrine system, which among other things regulates aging, healing, metabolism and immunity.
In another study, participants were monitored before and after meditation, mantra (repetition of ‘sacred’ sounds), and mindful yoga practice. Participants were given blood tests immediately before and after 20 minutes of self-directed practice. Researchers looked at 22,000 different gene sequences to measure any changes. All participants showed measurable changes in the genes that researchers have identified as being responsible for relaxation (reduced cell energy production), aging, metabolism and insulin response. This initiation in telomere maintenance genes means that meditation and mindful practice may actually be repairing DNA. The data suggests that yoga and related practices result in rapid gene expression alterations, which may be the basis for their long-term microbiological and higher-level health effects.
This is just some of the groundbreaking research out there about yoga’s dramatic effect on the human body. It demonstrates that yoga has instantaneous and long-term positive effects on how our genes work and express. To feel these effects yourself, just step onto your mat and the Yoga by Degrees team will guide you through ongoing growth and improvement in health and well being.