Meditation has been credited with doing a lot of things – from helping us focus better, to relieving stress, and even helping us to be more compassionate, happy, and creative. A recent study has now proven that meditating and practicing yoga can also change our DNA.
Mind control, defined as meditating to change our thoughts, has now been linked to specific alterations in our DNA. In other words – what you think can override your inherited, programmed genes, and even heal the body. Findings recently published in Cancer by a Canadian group suggest that our mental state has a measurable physical influence on us – more specifically on our DNA.
The study focuses on telomeres, a region of repetitive DNA on the end of a chromosome which protects them from deterioration. During cell division, enzymes that duplicate the chromosome and its DNA cannot continue their duplication all the way to the end of the chromosome if telomeres are damaged. Additional research suggests that the longer and more healthy our telomeres are, the longer we will live.
The Canadian researchers found that when cancer survivors meditated or took part in support groups over a three-month period, their telomeres stayed long. Those who did not meditate on participate in these groups had shortened telomeres, which points to the possibility that their cancers could return.
The form of meditation that the 88 cancer patients used was from the Buddhist tradition, but essentially, it was a form of mind alteration that focuses on peace. Yoga was also practiced by the control group. All participants had their blood drawn and telomere length measured to confirm the results.
“We already know that psychosocial interventions like mindfulness meditation will help you feel better mentally, but now for the first time we have evidence that they can also influence key aspects of your biology,” said Linda E. Carlson, a psychosocial research and the lead investigator at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre, in a press release. She conducted the study alongside scientists from the University of Calgary.
These scientific findings confirm the work of PhD, Bruce Lipton, a cell biologist, turned epigenetics researcher who attests that our thoughts and environment can dramatically change our DNA. He attests that our cells are not controlled by our genes, though traditional science would have us think this is true. He says that traditional medicine is operating from an archaic view which doesn’t understand how biology really works.
Dr. Dean Ornish has also been able to ‘cure’ heart patients simply by helping them change their diet and lifestyles so that they have less stress in them. He has over 36 years of scientific studies to prove that these simple environmental changes indeed change our DNA.
These new scientific findings concerning telomere length are also supported by research conducted by Richard J. Davidson, founder of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds and the William James and Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison which found that those who participated in an 8-hour intensive mindfulness meditation showed a range of genetic and molecular differences, including altered levels of gene-regulating machinery and reduced levels of pro-inflammatory genes, which in turn correlated with faster physical recovery from a stressful situation.
The ancients who practiced yoga and meditation knew it could be a practical ‘cure all’ for any manner of disease – be it emotional, spiritual, physical, or physiological. There are millions of ‘miracle’ stories of yoga and meditation curing everything from diabetes to a broken heart.
If nothing else, when we practice mindfulness mediation and yoga, we uncover the pains that are causing us to feel disconnected to our Self – not the small self that is created by the ego, but the Cosmic Self which knows only ‘I am that.’ This simple phrase seen in Vedic literature and pronounced in Sanskrit as “So-hum” encompasses what our bodies and minds should always know – that we are One – only seeminglyapart from the Divine.
It is when we forget this truth that we start to become sick and diseased. The One is perfect in every manifestation. Sickness, according to yogic texts, is simply a distortion of this truth that we have come to believe.
It’s about time modern science caught up to begin to understand the efficacy of yoga and meditation to change our DNA – even the building blocks of our physical bodies are altered irrevocably by changing out thoughts and vibration.