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How Yoga and Meditation Are Changing Your DNA

Posted by on Jul 31, 2017

Butterfly emerging DNABy Christina Sarich

You got those beautiful brown eyes from your parents, but you also got your ability to cope with stress (or not cope with it so well.) That’s o.k., because relatively new evidence suggests that your yoga and meditation practice are changing your DNA for the better.  Here’s how.

A study at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has confirmed genetic changes in test subjects following just a day of meditation. People who participated in the study showed reduced levels of inflammatory genes, indicating they had enhanced their ability to recover from physical stress, and that’s just the beginning.

Research from the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind/Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has also found that yoga and meditation can change our genetic expression.

When participants practiced meditation what researchers saw was the exact opposite of what occurs during flight or fight: genes associated with energy metabolism, mitochondrial function, insulin secretion, and telomere maintenance were turned on, while those involved in inflammation were turned off. These changes were confirmed with blood samples taken before and after mindfulness practices.

The effects were even more lasting and profound for long-term meditators.

Another study from Coventry University’s Centre for Psychology, Behaviour and Achievement (CUCPBA) shows even further positive implications from practices such as yoga and meditation. These practices can even reverse DNA damage.

The researchers explain that when a person is exposed to a stressful event, their sympathetic nervous system (SNS) — the system responsible for the ‘fight-or-flight’ response — is triggered, in turn increasing production of a molecule called nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kB) which regulates how our genes are expressed. But guess what helps to calm that fight-or-flight response? You guessed it.

Lead investigator Ivana Buric from CUCPBA stated:

“Millions of people around the world already enjoy the health benefits of mind-body interventions like yoga or meditation, but what they perhaps don’t realise is that these benefits begin at a molecular level and can change the way our genetic code goes about its business.

 

These activities are leaving what we call a molecular signature in our cells, which reverses the effect that stress or anxiety would have on the body by changing how our genes are expressed. Put simply, MBIs cause the brain to steer our DNA processes along a path which improves our wellbeing.

 

More needs to be done to understand these effects in greater depth, for example how they compare with other healthy interventions like exercise or nutrition. But this is an important foundation to build on to help future researchers explore the benefits of increasingly popular mind-body activities.”

In a world that is constantly reiterating the message that we are victims to our DNA (which we are not) it is refreshing to see new science which supports the divine plan – to give us practically infinite ways to change our realities – and even our physical, genetic expression.

Now imagine eating better, laughing more every day, and practicing yoga and meditation regularly. Imagine using the Soul Reprogramming Method. Imagine getting a little more exercise, and spending a few extra minutes in nature. Image spending time with people you love. Are you starting to see an entirely different version of yourself emerge, like a caterpillar coming out of its cocoon? This is the process of transformation we’re in – and our DNA will change to reveal creatures with wings.

“I dreamed I was a butterfly flitting around in the sky; then I awoke. Now I wonder: Am I man who dreamt of being a butterfly, or am I butterfly dreaming I am a man?” – Zhuangzi

This article, How Yoga and Meditation Are Changing Your DNA, is posted under a Creative Commons License. Please repost freely with attribution to the author, Christina Sarich, and a link back to Yoga for the New World.

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