Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Meditative Practice Changes Our Genetics

James Keating's excellent site "Maajak" provides us with a link to this interesting article from Newsweek: How training your mind alters your DNA.
Here's a snip:

"the relaxation response alters which genes associated with the body’s response to stress are on and which are off. As Benson said in a statement, “we’ve found how changing the activity of the mind can alter the way basic genetic instructions are implemented.”
It’s being billed as “the first comprehensive study of how the mind can affect gene expression.” By “mind,” they mean mental practices such as meditation and prayer, which are among the techniques used by the 19 long-term practitioners of the relaxation response who were studied, along with 19 volunteers who had never engaged in such practices. After the latter went through eight weeks of training, the scientists compared before-and-after patterns of gene expression, finding that mental training alters the expression of genes involved in inflammation, in the form of cell suicide called apoptosis (which can keep damaged cells from forming cancers), and in how the body handles damaging free radicals.
It really is time to stop thinking of our DNA as immutable. Even thinking can change it."

(D.R.)- This news should be of great interest to those of us who practice martial arts that have strong internal meditative quality...
And let's take this a step further; if the power of thought can change our bodies, can it influence the world around us also?


BSM said...

I need to do more seated meditation. Once a week is not enough!


Steve Perry said...

Moving meditation works the same way, so I am given to understand, if one does it right.

Dojo Rat said...

Yes, I am thinking about Tai Chi, Bagua and Xingyi, of course.

Seated meditation leans towards detachment and trancending the body/mind.
Internal martial arts explore the intricate connection of body/mind. Slow precise movement with micro-adjustments, cool stuff!

Zacky Chan said...

I certainly hope science is on the way to answering this in the best way possible to that genre, but for us merely practicing, what does it mean to change your DNA? How could that manifest in our lives. Certainly if it is possible to alter your DNA, humans (practitioners of meditational excercises in your particular example) have probably done this before throughout history. But how does this manifest in our lives?!

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