One key factor that separates yoga from other forms of exercise is that in bringing attention to the breath as well as coordinating the breath with the movement of the body, yoga is a practice in mindfulness. It holistically supports our well-being by promoting a mind-body connection. In addition, it can help us both prevent as well as ease the symptoms of many common health conditions.
Research which has been conducted over the past 30 years has confirmed that the practice of yoga and meditation, in addition to a clean diet and lifestyle, can significantly reduce the fraying of telomeres which are the parts of our DNA that are related to ageing.
What Is A Telomere?
The telomere is almost like the plastic cap on the end of a shoelace which prevents the shoelace from fraying and so rendering the shoelace unusable (or difficult to get through a lace hole). In reality, the telomere is a cap at the end of our DNA which protects our chromosomes. The telomere is linked to our biological age. As it frays, or becomes shortened, our longevity decreases.
Telomeres naturally become shorter as we age and our cells replicate themselves. However stress, smoking, poor diet as well as a lack of exercise have been shown to lead to the shortening of the telomeres according to a quicker timeframe.
Research which was done by Nobel Prize–winning scientist, Elizabeth Blackburn, has shown that after four to six months of steady mindfulness practices, the activity of the enzyme which impacts the length of the telomeres (which is called telomerase) goes up by 30% and reduces their rate of decay.
The Mental And Physical Benefits of Yoga
Yoga, which results in the union of mind and body, has many noticeable benefits. In life, we often feel as though time is just slipping away from us, that there aren’t sufficient hours in the day, or that we’re constantly trying to “catch up.” However, when we practise yoga, we reinforce principles and practices that can help us to reverse the clock not just physically but mentally as well.
In yoga, there is a wide range of asanas, or postures, to choose from. One of the most vital postures, in our opinion, has to be mediation. A recently released study from the American Board of Anti-Ageing Medicine revealed that regular deep meditation significantly affects the production of three important hormones that are related to increased longevity, stress as well as enhanced well-being:
- DHEA, as well as
DHEA is known as the anti-ageing hormone. As we grow older our body generates less of it however when we practise yoga and meditation, we naturally give our bodies with this hormone and buffer our bodies from cortisol, which is the stress hormone.
Melatonin is the hormone which assists us with getting quality sleep. Increased melatonin, thanks to meditation, leads to increased well-being during the day as well as tranquil sleep at night.
With such a variety of physical as well as mental health benefits, yoga can assist us with embracing the passing of time and remaining happy and healthy with each new year.
Do you want to learn more about mind-body exercise? If you do then you should really become a Mind Body Specialist. Our course combines yoga, Pilates and life coaching training which will make you into a highly sought-after Mind-Body Specialist. Read more here.