A recent study conducted by the University of Oslo asked ten participants to attend a week-long yoga retreat in Germany. For the first two days, participants spent two hours practicing a yoga, including yogic postures, yogic breathing exercises, and meditation. For the next two days, they spent that same time period going on an hour-long nature walk and then listening to either jazz or classical music. “The researchers found that the nature walk and music-driven relaxation changed the expression of 38 genes in these circulating immune cells. In comparison, the yoga produced changes in 111.”
What’s the Big Idea?
Fahri Saatcioglu of the University of Oslo, whose team conducted the research, wrote in the study that “the data suggest that previously reported (therapeutic) effects of yoga practices have an integral physiological component at the molecular level, which is initiated immediately during practice.” Compared with wellness activities like exercise and listening to music, yoga’s impact was far more widespread, which indicates the practice “may have additional effects over exercise plus simple relaxation in inducing health benefits through differential changes at the molecular level.”