Yoga and Meditation Can Change Stress Related DNA, Study Finds – Here’s How It Works

Meditation and yoga may be better for your health than just making you feel relaxed. A new study suggests these types of exercises can actually revise stress-related changes to your DNA that is linked to depression and poor health.

In a new paper published in Frontiers in Immunology, researchers analyzed studies from over a dozen of previously published studies, which studied the biological effects of meditation, yoga, breathing exercises and other mindfulness exercises.

As a result, researchers claim the studies showed that these type of exercises help support the expression of genes and genetic pathways that promote inflammation in the body.

NEW YORK CITY, USA – JUNE 20, 2016: People gather for a yoga class in Times Square to celebrate the Summer Solstice. Manhattan, NYC. (Life In Pixels /

Researchers in the study claim inflammation can temporarily boost the immune system, prevent infection and injury. However, a chronic inflammatory response can negatively affect the human body’s physical and mental health.

Long term stress caused by the environment and lifestyle can have real negative effects and certain traits can be passed on to future generations. Moreover, stressful events trigger the fight-or-flight response and lead to a chain reaction in stress-related changes in the body including activating genes that produce inflammation.

Yoga Meditation study
Wiang Chiang Rung, Thailand – December 23: Monks meditate in Wiang Chiang Rung in Thailand on December 23, 2016. ( Nukul Chanada /

The lead author of the study, Ivana Buric, a Ph.D. student in Coventry University’s Brain, Belief and Behavior Lab in England, says her research “opens the doors to the development and testing of the multi-level theory of MBI (Mind-Body Interventions).

That said, the research claims that further research is needed. These results need to be replicated in larger samples and with stronger research designs that control for non-specific effects of these practices and for as confounding lifestyle factors, such as sleep, diet, and exercise,” Buric added.