Yes, Yoga Can Modify Your DNA

This article originally appeared on Yoganonymous.com.

Image via Vogue Archives

Image via Vogue Archives

Yoga promotes physical health, decreases stress levels, makes you less susceptible to chronic diseases, and helps improve your DNA function?! 

Yes, it's true. It has been scientifically proven that yogic mindfulness practices can alter your DNA functions in positive ways. These findings come from two separate studies conducted by researchers at the University of Calgary, and at Harvard University.

Chris Kilham, who is an advisor to herbal, cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies and a researcher at University of Massachusetts Amherst, did a deep dive on the subject in this interview with Fox News Health. Kilham states that, "we don't exactly know how [the DNA change] happens, but we [do] know that it happens."

The Harvard University study found that yoga positively changes your cellular metabolic functions. Meaning that it improves the way your body absorbs nutrients, and uses those nutrients to fuel and sustain your body throughout the day. 

The Harvard University study focused on on group that trained in mindfulness meditation and used a control group that practiced no mindfulness training at all. "After eight weeks, blood samples were taken from both groups. The meditation group showed changes in 2209 genes, a very far-reaching effect. The genetic changes observed included 1,275 instances in which genes were up-regulated (their activity increased), and 934 cases in which the genes were down-regulated (their activity decreased). Many of the genetic changes prompted by the yoga practice involved cellular metabolism. This is the capacity of cells to utilize nutrients and oxygen, and to generate energy. Those who practiced the yoga method showed improved cellular metabolism, and better cell function overall."

Additionally, the University of Calgary study found that yogic practices help extend life. So, when you take this information, and you add in the information found at the University of Calgary, you find that yoga practices improve your cellular metabolism (which decreases your body's ability to become sick or suffer from genetic degenerative problems later on), and also help extend the life of your DNA cells.

Kilham explains in his interview that these benefits, generally speaking, are only applicable to those who practice yoga regularly. He says, just like the benefits of physical exercise, these DNA boosting benefits will fade if your practice drops. 

 
Diya SenGupta