Washington: Yoga may be better than traditional exercise for strengthening the immune system and may also help change gene expression, a study has claimed.
The researchers have written that the data suggests that previously reported effects of yoga practices have an integral physiological component at the molecular level, which is initiated immediately during practice, and may form the basis for the long-term stable effects, Discovery News reported.
In other words, the yoga glow that people feel after they roll up their mat may be the 111 genes that changed expression while they were deep in their practice.
The research team did the experiment with 10 participants who gathered at a yoga retreat for a week.
The study participants practiced yoga for the first two days, spending two hours moving through postures, breathing exercises and meditation; then shifted to spending time in nature walks and listening to music for the next two days.
When the scientists analyzed blood drawn from the participants before and after each session, they found that yoga changed the expression of almost triple the number of genes in immune cells that the nature walk did, 111 vs 38.
The study has been published in Pacific Standard.