How Practicing Yoga Can Actually Fight Disease

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Yoga is major stress killer. Studies show yoga offers tremendous benefits in the area of stress relief, which helps in all other areas of the body.

Another study looked at 45 caregivers of those dealing with family members who had Alzheimer’s and found that there was actually a genetic response in those who practiced Kirtan Kriya Meditation, or KKM, a yoga practice that focuses mainly on chanting and rhythmic breathing. This study was published in an online edition of Psychoneuroendocrinology by Dr. Helen Lavretsky of UCLA.

This study divided subjects into two groups.  The first group did 12 minutes of KKM yoga daily, performed at the same time of day every day, for a period of 8 weeks. The second group merely rested with their eyes closed and listened to relaxing music for 12 minutes per day.

Researchers then compared blood samples that had been taken from the groups both before the test and at the end of the test 8 weeks later. Scientists found that 68 genes were responding differently in the group that did the KKM yoga, which resulted in reduced inflammation. Both groups were engaged in relaxing behavior, but the first group’s activity in one form of yoga, which stopped inflammation at a cellular level.

Caregivers were chosen for this study, as giving care to seriously ill family members is a significant stress factor and older caregivers reported very high stress levels, along with depression, and significantly higher levels of the biological markers of inflammation than those in the general population that are not primary caregivers. This study offers proof that yoga and/or meditation reduce inflammation and stress in the body.

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