How Yoga Affects Chronic Stress and DNA Expression

What’s This Research About?

It’s widely accepted that yoga is associated with reduced stress and general
improved well being. There have been studies on how yoga affects inflammation
levels but this study wants to get at the mechanism behind it. What is happening
on a molecular level? How does yoga impact inflammation markers and gene expression?

This study examines yoga’s effect on levels of three inflammation markers
(TNF, CRP and IL6) and how it affects DNA methylation of those proteins
(whether they are expressed or not).

TITLE: Preliminary indications of the effect of a brief yoga intervention on markers of inflammation and DNA methylation in chronically stressed women.


PUBLICATION: Translational Psychiatry

DATE: November 2016

AUTHORS : Harkess KN, Ryan J, Delfabbro PH, Cohen-Woods S

DNA Methylation: DNA methylation is an epigenetic change that has a role in regulating gene expression and is studied due its potential effects on a wide range of conditions and diseases. Methylation is part of a larger field of science – epigenetics.

DNA methylation occurs when DNA expressions (not the DNA code itself) are altered by epigenetics. Factors such as nutrition, environment, experience, exercise, and aging affect methylation – whether the genes are turned “on” or “off”.

Inflammation: a protective biological response to potentially harmful stimuli. Inflammation is a stage of the biological healing process. It becomes a problem when it becomes chronic.

Cytokines: substances that are secreted by cells of the immune system. They have an effect on other cells. The three cytokines they analyzed in this study were interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumour necrosis factor (TNF), and C-reactive protein (CRP). These are some of the inflammation markers that can be measured and analyzed.

Wait-list control: a group of participants included in a study that is assigned to a temporary waiting list that later receives intervention after the active treatment group. It is not an active control group which would receive a placebo treatment. It is not considered to be as reliable as active control groups however it is often used in psychological studies.

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By |2017-05-24T20:47:52-04:00May 22nd, 2017|Conditions|0 Comments

About the Author:

I've acquired many yoga and movement science certifications in order to get a modern understanding of the body and how we move. I started the Yoga & Beyond podcast and co-authored the Exposing Yoga Myths book series in order to share that perspective. Turns out there's a large audience hungry for this kind of information! YMR is the next step in that process of bringing modern science to yoga education. I also teach group classes, private sessions, and lead continuing education workshops for movement professionals. I have a straight-forward (no BS) approach that combines yoga with other movement disciplines to help clients be strong, restore mobility and feel energized. Rather than the typical fast and furious yoga "workout", I emphasize mindful and practical strength in movement. Learn more about Ariana.