Courtesy: NDTV.com

Yoga has long being touted as the one-stop solution to a healthy body, mind and soul. This ancient form of physical exercise works on different parts of the body to boost its overall function and well-being.

Amidst the stress of the regular activities our mind craves for peace and tranquility. To uplift ourselves physically, mentally and spiritually, most of the time we walk at the seashore or gaze at the soothing sunrise to attain temporary peace. But, it becomes more refreshing and reviving if we can take a break and opt for the soothing Yoga activities.

Now a new study done by researchers from Universities of Coventry and Radboud states that yoga can also affect molecular reactions in the DNA and prevent risks of certain ailments. Mind-body interventions (MBIs) such as meditation and yoga and can help reduce risk of depression and cancer by reversing the molecular reactions in DNA if practiced on a daily basis.

Practicing Yoga is not just key techniques to recline you. They can be chosen to channelize your mind, revive your soul and keep your body fit. It is in the coordination of the body, mind and soul, that the perfect state of composure can be attained. Yoga clubs the tempo of the body with the melody of the mind and the amity of the soul, to create the symphony of life.

Yoga is a group of physical, mental and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India. There is a broad variety of Yoga schools, practices, and goal in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Among the most well-known types of yoga are Hatha Yoga and Raja yoga.

Yoga gurus from India later introduced yoga to the west, following the success of Swami Vivekananda  in the late 19th and early 20th century. In the 1980s, yoga became popular as a system of physical exercise across the Western world.

Yoga in Indian traditions, however, is more than physical exercise, it has a meditative and spiritual core.Even today, people practice the ancient art of Yoga religiously as it brings out the best in the person. Usually the common man practices Yoga for curing specific problems and taking remedies against the illness.

Many studies have tried to determine the effectiveness of yoga as a complementary intervention for cancer, schizophrenia, asthma, and heart disease. On December 1, 2016, Yoga was listed as UNESCO’s Intangible cultural heritage.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) based in Paris. Its declared purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through educational, scientific, and cultural reforms in order to increase universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights along with fundamental freedom proclaimed in the United Nations Charter.

The word meditation carries different meanings in different contexts. Meditation has been practiced since antiquity as a component of numerous religious traditions and beliefs. Meditation often involves an internal effort to self regulate the mind in some way. Meditation is often used to clear the mind and ease many health concerns, such as high blood pressure, depression and anxiety.

Researchers from the universities of Coventry and Radboud, UK, through 18 studies featuring 846 participants over 11 years, revealed a pattern in the molecular changes which happen to the body as a result of the Mind-body interventions MBIs, and how those changes benefit our mental and physical health.

They explained the way that genes activate to produce proteins which influence the biological make-up of the body, the brain and the immune system.

When a person is exposed to a stressful event, their sympathetic nervous system (SNS),  the system responsible for the ‘fight-or-flight’ response is triggered, in turn increasing production of a molecule called nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kB), which regulates how our genes are expressed.

NF-kB translates stress by activating genes to produce proteins called cytokines that cause inflammation at cellular level, a reaction that is useful as a short-lived fight-or-flight reaction, but if persistent, leads to a higher risk of cancer, accelerated aging and psychiatric disorders like depression.

According to the study, however, people who practise MBIs exhibit the opposite effect, namely a decrease in production of NF-kB and cytokines, leading to a reversal of the pro-inflammatory gene expression pattern and a reduction in the risk of inflammation-related diseases and conditions.

Lead investigator Ivana Buric said that millions of people around the world already enjoy the health benefits of mind-body interventions like yoga or meditation, but what perhaps these people do not realise is that these benefits begin at a molecular level and can change the way our genetic code goes about its business.

‘These activities are leaving what we call a molecular signature in our cells, which reverses the effect that stress or anxiety would have on the body by changing how our genes are expressed. Put simply, the MBIs cause the brain to steer our DNA processes along a path which improves our wellbeing’.

Yoga is the Sanskrit term for Union. Many people believes that, the term Yoga refers to union between body and mind or body, mind and spirit, but, the traditional acceptance is the union between the Jivatman and Paramatman that is between one’s individual consciousness and the Universal Consciousness.

Therefore, Yoga refers to a certain state of consciousness as well as to methods that help one reach that goal or state of union with the divine.