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Can Yoga Change Our Genetic Makeup?

Yoga Wellness Educator. Certified to teach Hatha Yoga, Meditation, Pilates, Reiki. Yoga Therapy Foundations program. I love to write.

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When you practise yoga, you are working on the muscles of the whole body, not only on one or more specific muscles. Yoga affects how you stretch with appropriate movements. It can affect your muscles and joints, all the cells of your body, and how these cells function alone and together.

In the past, science claimed that human genetic makeup is unchangeable and that we cannot influence or change our genes. Genetic makeup is the complete set of genes of an individual.

Modern science says that although genes are unalterable, you can influence them and switch them on and off with your actions. Epigenetics science studies changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than altering the genetic code itself.

The Myofascial Musculoskeletal System

The skeletal system includes your bones, cartilages, ligaments, and other connective tissues that stabilize or connect your bones. The skeletal system also supports the weight of your body. The bones work together with muscles to support the position of the body and to produce controlled and precise movements.[i]

Genetic inheritance is not as fixed as first believed. What you eat, the traumatic experiences you might have gone through, the type of yoga you do as physical activity, and the meditation you practice, all influence your genes by switching them on or off.

The Role of Yoga

When you practise yoga, you work on the muscles of the whole body, not only on one or more specific muscles.

Tom Myers, the cartographer of the Anatomy Trains model, came up with the concept of Change The Body, Change the Mind.

According to T. Myers, “Yoga is the earliest organized attempt to … change the body, to change the mind about the body, to change the body about the mind, … those two things interacting.” Twenty-first-century yoga is not all about stretching, it is about living in your body fully. The yoga that was created for the sages of the past cannot be the same yoga that works for the hyper-electronic modern age.

When you exert an influence on the body’s connective tissues by stretching and releasing them, you could be unblocking the areas that the cells occupy to give them the most appropriate space. The connective tissue then starts to act properly.

Connective tissues include fibrous tissues, fat, cartilage, bone, bone marrow, blood, and lymph. They often tie organs together, hold organs in place, cushion them, and fill space.

If the connective tissue is twisted, compressed, or overstretched, then the influence on how the cells work could be damaging.

Stretching the muscles in yoga in an optimal way is important because it creates the best space for cells.

If the body cells are too crammed in a constricted space, they might form a tumor or get sent to the liver for recycling.

If the body cells are too stretched, they will not find enough of other cells to work with. The body cells would then reproduce to cover the gap.

In either case, having the cells crowded or overstretched is not the best way.

Our perception of the environment is what controls our genetic activities.

— Bruce Lipton, author of The Biology Belief

Interpreting the Environment

Bruce Lipton, a cell biologist, gave a talk at the EarthKeepers Summit on December 20th where he talked about The Biology Belief.

According to B. Lipton, the environment controls the expression of the cells. The brain —our chemist— interprets the environment and sends its signals to the cells to adjust their biology to complement the environment. The cells cannot see the real world, but they must adjust their behavior. He said that you create your life through your mind and your spirituality.

You adjust your biology incorrectly if you have a misperception. It is the belief in your mind that interprets the world. The brain translates that belief into the chemistry that is released in the blood which controls your behavior that will deal with the interpretation.

Perception is:

  • Awareness of the elements of the environment through physical sensations;
  • A quick, acute, and intuitive cognition; and
  • A capacity for comprehension.

Love releases growth hormones into the blood; that is why we talk of the glow of love. Fear protects us by shutting off the dopamine, the growth processes, and the function of the immune system.

Lipton said that quantum physics recognizes spirituality. “Where is spirituality? There is an identity in the cell that distinguishes each individual cell. This individuality is picked up from the energy field and interpreted by the brain which transmits its signals to the cell. These perception units give identity and allow you to control all your cells because they have receptors that respond to your consciousness."

The self-receptors receive the self. They are the outer surface of the self taking signals from outside the cells. Think of a television with an antenna that downloads signals from the field, or the spirit.

Quantum Physics refers to the field, the invisible forces that influence the world. Ancient wisdom talks of the spirit.

Winter Solstice / Grand Conjunction

The winter solstice this year occurred on December 21st at the same time as the Grand Conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter. The Grand Conjunction is an astronomical alignment that profoundly changes life on earth. The last time humans saw such close conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn was in the year 1226.

Jupiter and Saturn are known as the Markers of Time and are associated with epoch-making social change when they coincide on their orbital travels. The importance of this alignment is in the power that these two planets have on life on earth. Their power on earth is magnified when they are aligned.

B. Lipton says that energies coming from the planets influence us through our receptors and are aligned with the fact that humanity is facing extinction due to human consciousness and activities.

Saturn is about change that could lead to greater insight and awareness through sorrow and hardship. Jupiter is about growth, expansion, and creating anew.

We are building a new world. Lipton invites the world to change behavior and consciousness now that will lead to a metamorphosis. The current upheaval is forcing all of us to genuinely consider changing the way we live on our planet and start creating love and harmony.

Summary

In doing any safe form of yoga, you are working to create an even tone of the whole body.

Yoga can affect your muscles and joints, all the cells of your body, and how these cells function alone and together.

By raising your level of awareness and reaching higher levels of consciousness, you can change your behavior to help you build your chosen destiny.

Reference

[i] Cleveland Clinic website.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Comments

thoughtsprocess from Navsari (India) on August 31, 2020:

Thank you so much for sharing benefits of yoga. So interesting article.

Liliane Najm (author) from Toronto, Canada on August 29, 2020:

Thank you Bhattuc for your comment.

Epigenetics says that although genes are unalterable, we can influence them and switch them on and off by way of your actions. When we switch on or off, we alter the impact on our health and well-being. This is what we want.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on August 28, 2020:

Interesting article. The relationship between exercises including Yoga and the genetic disposition is a matter of great research and requires deeper studies to be undertaken by the scientists before coming to any conclusion. At the same time the fact remains that exercises including Yoga are beneficial for us in many ways.

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