Yoga can change your genes

Yoga has been in the news a lot recently, and with good reason. A new study suggests that yoga and meditation can do more for you than just increase flexibility  or calm you down. It also has the potential  to reverse stress related changes in genes linked to poor health and depression. 

These genetic changes are mostly caused by inflammation in the body, which is the body's normal response to boost the immune system and protect against illness and injury. In today's high stress society however, this inflammatory response can become chronic, leading to problems with physical and mental health. Those that practised yoga regularly were shown to have fewer signs of inflammation and a reversal in the signs of chronic stress. 

Not only that, but experts at Boston Medical Centre have revealed results from a recent study that show yoga is just as good as physiotherapy for easing lower back pain, restoring normal function and reducing the need for chronic medication and painkillers.

This is a problem that affects 4 out of 5 people in the UK at some point in their lives and is currently the number one cause of GP visits. It really is time for yoga!

Want to know more? Read on for a handy yoga glossary of common terms you're likely to hear in class.

Yoga Glossary

1. Namaste - A common greeting in yoga classes, used to recognise we are all equal and to honour those around you sharing your practice. Literally, 'namah' means Salutation and 'te' means to you, spiritually it is recognised as 'the divine in me honours the divine in you.' This can be used at the beginning or the end of class as a sign of respect. 

2. Bowing In - We bow in to begin our classes at Good Vibes because yoga is all about being in relationship and connected to our minds/bodies and the world around us, including those that share our practice.

3. The 8 Limbs of Yoga - You will often hear these mentioned in class, but may not know what they are. They are the the traditional framework for our lives, with the first limb, the Yama's setting the ethical standards to which we should conduct ourselves in daily life, including our behaviours towards ourselves and others.The first Yama is Ahimsa, or non-harm, not only to others but to yourself too. This is often referenced in yoga classes as a way to better observe your practice and make sure you are treating your body and yourself with kindness and compassion.    

4. Ujjayi Breath - A traditional Yogic breathing technique, Ujjayi, or 'Victorious' breath can be both energising and relaxing. Created by breathing in and out through the nose and  gently constricting the opening of the throat to create some resistance to the passage of air, the breath should be both long and smooth. The sound created is often likened to the sound of ocean waves rolling in and out. By maintaining this breath throughout your practice, energy can be built to carry you through your flows. 

5. Bhandhas - Bandhas in yoga are the body's internal muscular-physical 'locks' that, with practice, one can intentionally engage as necessary. These are used to help maintain and control the breath and to increase strength and energy in the body during your practice. There are three main bandhas that you will hear teachers mention in class: Mula Bandha, or Root Lock; Uddiyana Bandha, or abdominal lock and Jalandhara Bandha, or throat lock. 

Now you know the terms, come join us on the mat to learn more about how to incorporate them in your practice.

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27 June 2017

Categories: Yoga Fitness London