Science has proven that a meditation practice has the power to improve our health, both mentally and physically. But did you also know that meditation can actually change your DNA? Science is validating the opinions that shamans, gurus and yogis have had for years.
See this Visual MD post from Deepak Chopra about the effect meditation has on a person’s DNA.
The stress and strife of daily life have a direct effect on our health. Most dramatically, our very chromosomes are affected by stress. Telomeres are the end tips of our chromosomes, little caps that protect our DNA. Telomeres play an important role in cell division, and get a bit shorter every time a cell divides. In studies, subjects with inherently stressful lives—notably mothers of special-needs children and spouses of dementia sufferers—showed extraordinary wear and tear on their telomeres. The stress-induced disruption to their cells’ life cycle actually caused them to age faster. But an enzyme called telomerase maintains and repairs the telomeres, prolonging the life of our cells. Increasing telomerase is a way to slow telomeres’ unraveling. And guess how we can we do that? Meditation. An exciting 2010 study showed that people in an intensive meditation practice had greater telomerase activity in their immune cells than those who did not meditate. Scientists are working to gather even more information about how mindful awareness and other stress reduction techniques can help us live longer and more healthfully.
This study tells us, in short, that if we meditate, it leads to reduced stress and longer telomeres – allowing us to live longer, healthier lives. Read more from Deepak Chopra on meditation and your DNA here.