A new study finds that regularly practicing yoga and meditation can do more than just improve your immediate health and mood.
The study, suggests the two can actually change the genes in your body that are connected to poor health and depression. It finds that doing yoga and meditation suppress inflammation, which boosts the immune system and fights off infection or injury in the body.
“Although most genes showed small or moderate effect sizes individually, a general pattern emerges: pro-inflammatory genes and pathways get downregulated,” the study explains.
Lead author Ivana Buric, a PhD student in Coventry University’s Brain, Belief and Behaviour Lab in England, says her team was surprised to see that different types of mind-body techniques had such similar effects at the genetic level. “Sitting meditation is quite different than yoga or Tai Chi,” she said in an email, “yet all of these activities—when practiced regularly—seem to decrease the activity of genes involved in inflammation.”
By choosing healthy habits every day, we can create a gene activity pattern that is more beneficial for our health,” she said. “Even just 15 minutes of practicing mindfulness seems to do the trick.”