Telomeres and the Anti-ageing effects of Yoga

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Yoga has many benefits for the mind and body. More and more people are adopting Yoga in their daily lifestyles. Besides keeping our body flexible and supple, it also helps keep the mind calm and emotions well managed. A greater surge of energy and purpose fills our life, when we practice the age old Indian discipline of Yoga. Did you know that Yoga is also a great anti-ageing tool? Based on a research done on the anti-ageing effects of Yoga, it was found that Yoga improves balance, mobility, cardio-metabolic health and cognition. 

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Telomeres and Ageing 

Yoga and Meditation combined with a clean diet and lifestyle can reduce the fraying of telomeres, the part of our DNA that is related to ageing. Telomeres are like a cap at the end of a shoelace, which protects our chromosomes. They are like an ageing clock on every cell, which gets shorter each time a cell copies itself, reducing our longevity. Stress, smoking, poor diet and lack of exercise has been shown to lead to a quicker shortening of the telomeres. In her book, The Telomere effect, research by Nobel Prize–winning scientist Elizabeth Blackburn has shown that – 

“After four to six months of regular mindfulness practices, the activity of the enzyme that impacts the length of the telomeres, called telomerase, goes up 30 percent, and reduces their rate of decay.”

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When we choose to live more consciously following the practices of Yoga and mindfulness, we can alter the ageing process of our cells. By being in a healthy environment, we can choose to delay the onslaught of ageing. When we practice Yoga, we improve the energy movement in the body and also increase the oxygen intake through conscious breathing. Our body fat is also reduced and blood circulation improves, all of which have an anti-ageing effect. 

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Practicing Yoga also helps rebuild lost muscle mass, improves bone density, reduce joint pain and improve joint flexibility. It also improves our spinal health and builds our core strength. Our blood pressure is also balanced and we are able to sleep better.

“I don’t believe in age, I believe in energy. Don’t let age dictate what you can and cannot do”

– Tao-porchon Lynch, the world’s oldest yoga teacher.

This article is a part of a series on the Health Benefits of Yoga. Also read about Four Yoga poses to increase life span and Improving your immunity by practicing Yoga.

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