Value of yoga
I’ve never been one for yoga. My roommate has been trying to get me to go to a class with her for months, but I always tell her that I’m more of a cardio kickboxing type of girl. What can I say? I’d rather de-stress by punching and kicking the air than pose like a tree. However, I might now consider going to yoga after a recent study was released that claims yoga does much more than relax the body and mind; it can actually change the expression of genes.
According to a new study from the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind/Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, “elicitation of the relaxation response – a physiologic state of deep rest induced by practices such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing and prayer – produces immediate changes in the expression of genes involved in immune function, energy metabolism and insulin secretion.”
The study consisted of blood samples from 26 healthy adults who had never participated in relaxation response practices. The samples were taken before and after they completed an eight-week relaxation response course to see if there were any changes in the genes. Additionally, blood samples were taken from 25 adults who had four to 25 years experience with relaxation response practices. Those samples were taken before and after they listened to a 20-minute relaxation response CD.
Results revealed noticeable changes in the expression of genes, such as an increase in pathways involved with energy metabolism and a suppression of pathways that are known to have a significant role in inflammation, stress, trauma and cancer.