Apparently, Yes. In a new study published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology, they came to the conclusion that mind-body interventions (MBIs), like yoga, meditation and tai chi can have an altering effect on our DNA. So the regular yoga practice and daily meditation you’ve been doing don’t just make you Zen – they’re changing you on the inside too. Regular practice of MBIs can reverse the molecular reactions in our DNA that leads to health problems, depression, anxiety and cancer and make us healthier and happier.

Now, talking from the scientific point-of-view, how can holding a tree pose change your DNA?
Well, yoga and other MBI practices help control a molecule called NF-kB, which is responsible for the anxiety, depression and other reactions we feel.

The published study was made up of 18 studies, 846 participants and was conducted over a total of 11 years. During which it was revealed that changes do occur, both mentally and physically, to the body when  a person regularly practices MBIs.

What is NF-kB?

When someone is exposed to stress, in any form, their nervous system activates and starts releasing a molecule called NF-kb. This molecule, NF-kb is responsible for the regulation of how our genes are expressed. When NF-kB is released, it produces a protein called cytokines that causes inflammation in the body. If this process continues over time, it can lead to a higher risk of health problems like depression, anxiety, accelerated aging and cancer.

How Does Yoga Affect NF-kB?

In the study, they suggest that people who practice mind-body interventions (MBIs) can actually reduce inflammation in their body. MBIs decrease the production of NF-kB, which in turn reduces the risk of inflammation and inflammation-related health concerns.

On a relatively small scale, all the downwards facing dog, deep breathing and meditation you’ve been doing have actually been altering your DNA to make you better physically and mentally.