Can Deep Stretching Change Your DNA? (maybe yes)
PHOTO: the practice of stretching can actually trigger beneficial genetic responses, creating a positive spiral of results.
The belief that our DNA is our “genetic fate” has been overturned by recent studies of epigentics. To understand epigentics, imagine your genes as thousands of different race horses and your epigenome as the person who decides which gates to open and which to keep closed when the gun goes off and the race begins.
Some horses run full speed ahead, others are left behind.
Some of us are born with dry skin and crackly-jointed horses for DNA while others have soft skin and smooth joints—but this too can change.
Since before you were born, right up until a moment ago, environmental triggers have turned your DNA on or off, allowing certain horses to run and holding others back… and all of this is affecting your physiology and biology profoundly.
Let’s take a look at how this impacts stretching.
Stretching exercises are believed to stimulate the production of gel-like substances called glycoaminoglycans (a.k.a. GAGs). These GAGs lubricate connective tissue fibers and keep them pliable.
So the act of stretching increases your potential and ability to stretch which means with practice, your current body can look and feel very different than it does today.
And the plot gets even thicker here:
In a Norwegian study (April 2013) of yoga students, “Yoga intervention gave rise to 111 differentially expressed genes,” and interestingly, yoga students showed a near-balance in up-regulation and down-regulation (turning on/off ) of different genes (suggesting a balancing effect).
In this way, yoga can open the gates for specific race horses (joint lubricators, antioxidants, and immune boosters) and close the gates for others. But sadly, just reading this message is not going to create any measurable results for you at all.
With that in mind, roll out your mat and do your yoga practice today!