Yep… Im referring to Your Genes not your Jeans
I mean you should probably change your jeans every few days as well, but that’s a discussion for another time and another day.
You have probably been taught that the genes you are born with are yours for life. You excuse things like your angry behaviors, high blood pressure or your weight on your genetics. My patients often tell me that their illnesses are genetic, and because of that they can’t do anything about it. What if I told you that isn’t completely true? What if I told you that changing the way you think can actually change your life? That might sound like fantasy to some, but it’s true! I know, I know… now you feel like you’ve been living a lie, but it’s time to wake up!! Check this out… Research shows that those who practice Meditation/Yoga can “steer” their DNA, reducing inflammation and reducing their risks for diseases like cancer.
You may be asking how in the heck is that possible? Let’s break it down…
Our bodies have a sympathetic nervous system and a parasympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system (SNS) aka “fight or flight” response is activated by stressful situations. Historically this fight or flight response was needed for survival in the wild. For example, when being chased by an animal the SNS kicks in and all functions that are not needed for immediate survival (i.e digestion…) are shut down. Among other processes, the body speeds up, heart pumps faster, the muscles contract and the brain is more alert. Activating the SNS also triggers the production of a molecule called Nuclear factor Kappa b (NF-Kb), which is responsible for our gene expression. During this process NF-Kb activates genes that release cytokines. These cytokines are responsible for producing inflammation on a cellular level. During a life/death event this is actually helpful short -term. However, in modern day life this same sequence of events occurs due to every-day stressors (that weren’t present in our early ancestors lives). Things like traffic, work-related stress and finances trigger this same “fight or flight” response, causing the same cascade of events that lead to increased NF-Kb and increased release of cytokines. In fact, just thinking about that stressful situation you had earlier will cause the same cascade of events to take place. Most people in today’s society are living in a constant “fight or flight” state. This long- term “exposure” to these cytokines are linked to cancer, premature aging, mental disorders (including anxiety and depression) and other diseases.
On the other hand, it has been found that practicing yoga/meditation activates the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). The PNS, known as the “rest and digest” state, is the way that the body should be functioning normally. In this natural state, the heart rate slows down, blood pressure decreases and digestion takes place. Studies show that practicing Meditation/Yoga, specifically, reduce NF-Kb, therefore turning off the genes that release the cytokines, which in turn reduces the inflammatory response and therefore prevents premature aging and diseases like cancer. This is all happening on the molecular level! You can actually leave a molecular signature on your cells to regulate your own gene expression! Boom… and there you have it! Now all you have to do is start Meditating! Change your mind and you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the amazing benefits.