Meditation and Yoga Can Actually Change Your Genes
From a young age, I knew that I wanted to create a world full of Health Heroes. These are people who make their health a priority and commit to achieving greater health and happiness.
Two of the best ways to achieve a healthier life are through movement and spirituality. Each is an important tool in your fight against disease and premature death.
Two of the most effective – and fun – ways to use these tools is through the practice of meditation and yoga. When you make them a part of your daily routine, you’re rewarded with improved physical and mental well-being. They not only transform and strengthen your body, but also sharpen and condition your mind. This makes them powerful allies to any Health Hero committed to living a healthy and fulfilled life.
And it gets better. In addition to the many health benefits that we already know about, new research is showing that these mind-body practices can actually change your genes.
Mind-body practices are causing you to change on the cellular level.
The way you live affects you right down to your genetic level. Your stress levels, social surroundings, nutritional habits, physical activity and overall lifestyle all contribute to your gene expression – or how your cells respond to their changing environment.
How you cultivate your mind is no exception. New research findings show that the benefits of mindfulness practices, including meditation and yoga, actually begin on the cellular level. Through these practices, you have the ability and power to change your gene expression.
More specifically, meditation and yoga can change how your DNA responds to stress. Considering that stress is a silent killer that creeps up on us and significantly elevates our risk for disease and premature death, this is especially exciting.
What actually happens?
When we’re exposed to a stressful situation, our “fight-or-flight” response is triggered. This response increases the production of NF-kB, which regulates how our genes are expressed and causes dangerous inflammation on a cellular level.
According to the research published in Frontiers in Immunology, people who practice mind-body interventions (yoga, meditation, Tai Chi, etc.) experience the opposite of what happens during the fight-or-flight response. There is a decrease in the production of NF-kB – a reversal of the inflammatory gene.
Basically, this means that meditation and yoga don’t simply relax you, but might actually have the ability to reverse molecular reactions to stress in your DNA that can lead to poor health, disease and depression.
You are not your genes.
Let’s mention the obvious. You can’t control everything that happens to you. You’re going deal with stress and health challenges. But when you take advantage of the power you do have, you give yourself every possible opportunity to live your best and healthiest life. And these new findings have created a power shift, putting some newfound power into your hands.
Use your power wisely.
Imagine how your life could change if you took advantage of every drop of power you have to transform your health – right down to the genetic level. How might committing to 10-20 minutes a day of meditation change your life? What would you do differently with improved health, less stress and anxiety, more focus and a greater sense of purpose? You’d probably be able to enjoy life in entirely new ways.
Be a Health Hero.
I encourage you to take advantage of the ability to alter your genes for improved wellness. The game is now changed, and you have more power than ever to transform your biology and heal your body. Take time every day to practice mindfulness, breathe deeply and commit to greater health and longevity.
In the August issue of Health Hero Magazine, we share the raw and inspiring story of the power of meditation and yoga and how it changed the life of Health Hero, Nikki Panfil in Healing Invisible Wounds With Yoga.
Make healthy living a part of every day.
The light in me honors the light in you. Namaste.
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- Make stress-reduction part of your daily routine. Take time every day for some heartfulness meditation, yoga, tai chi or deep-breathing exercises. Even a few minutes will be helpful, and 20 minutes is ideal. Not sure where to get started? Download my free 7-day Calming The Chaos audio series where I share 7 simple techniques to manage and eliminate daily stressors in minutes.
- Laugh. A good belly laugh lightens your mental load, lowers stress-causing cortisol and increases mood-boosting endorphins.
- Lean on your tribe. Talk to your loved ones and vent when you’re feeling overwhelmed. This act of sharing can help reduce your stress and anxiety and give others the opportunity to support you.