At yoga er helsefremmende, både mentalt og fysisk, er hevet over tvil. En sterkere kropp, økt kondisjon, større fleksibilitet og bedre balanse er blant de gunstige virkningene, og i tillegg påvirker yoga slikt som søvnkvaliteten, sexlivet, humøret, konsentrasjonsevnen og evnen til å mestre stress. Den åndelige siden av yoga skal jeg ikke gå inn på her – for det skal handle om det strengt vitenskapelige.
Det har seg nemlig slik at en ny, norsk studie – kalt Rapid Gene Expression Changes in Peripheral Blood Lymphocytes upon Practice of a Comprehensive Yoga Program – viser at yoga kan føre til umiddelbare endringer i det genetiske uttrykket. Jeg er ingen genetiker, og skal ikke påta meg å komme med noen voldsomme utlegninger (les gjerne YogaDork for en kjapp og grei oppsummering), jeg skal heller sitere noen utdrag.
Slik innleder forskerne utdraget av studien:
Here we have assessed possible rapid changes in global gene expression profiles in the peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) in healthy people that practiced either a comprehensive yoga program or a control regimen. The experimental sessions included gentle yoga postures, breathing exercises, and meditation (Sudarshan Kriya and Related Practices – SK&P) compared with a control regimen of a nature walk and listening to relaxing music. We show that the SK&P program has a rapid and significantly greater effect on gene expression in PBMCs compared with the control regimen. These data suggest that yoga and related practices result in rapid gene expression alterations which may be the basis for their longer term cell biological and higher level health effects.
Her forklarer de hvordan de gikk frem.
Participants took part in the following routine 4 days in a row from 6:30 am to 8:30 am: The first two days they practiced SK&P which includes gentle stretches (yoga postures), specific breathing exercises (pranayamas and SK), ending with a meditative experience (for detailed descriptions, see ). The sessions were led by experienced instructors in SK&P in a standard format. For days 3 and 4, at the same time period, participants went for a nature walk for 60 min and then listened to classical or relaxing jazz music in silence for 60 min in the same room where they had the SK&P practice. Immediately before and right after the interventions, 20 ml of blood was collected by venous puncture from each participant (8 times in total) and processed as described below.
Det bemerkelsesverdige er at endringene i genuttrykkene altså inntraff etter kun fire dagers yogapraksis. Etter fire dager fant forskerne endringer i hele 111 genuttrykk hos gruppen som praktiserte yoga, mot kun 38 endrede genuttrykk i kontrollgruppen:
As can immediately be seen, with the thresholds used, the number of differentially expressed genes in response to SK&P was 3-fold higher compared with that induced by the control regimen. Yoga intervention gave rise to 111 differentially expressed genes, whereas this number was 38 for the control regimen, and 14 genes were commonly affected by both yoga and control. Approximately similar number of genes were up- and down-regulated for the yoga regimen (54 up- and 57 down-regulated genes), whereas in the control regimen there were more down-regulated genes (15 up- and 23 down-regulated genes).
Dette er så klart ingen omfattende studie, og det trengs mye mer forskning for å virkelig grunnfeste dette som sannheter, men dette er interessante funn som bør lede til nærmere studier. Det er jo heller ikke første gang at forskning har vist at yoga har helseeffekter. Forskerne bak gen-studien skriver dette om effekten yoga kan ha på mental helse:
Recent research on SK and related practices (SK&P), which include yoga asanas, pranayama, SK and meditative components, has indicated significant effects on various aspects of the physiology and the psychology of the participants. For example, SK&P was found to have antidepressant effects in clinical settings and was comparable to the antidepressant drug Imipramine in its efficacy . Another study found significantly lower levels of blood lactate in practitioners of SK&P compared with the control group. Conversely, the levels of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase, and glutathione, three major defenses against oxidative stress, were all found to be significantly higher in SK&P practitioners compared with the control group .
Oppmuntrende, ikke sant?
Forskerne bak Rapid Gene Expression Changes in Peripheral Blood Lymphocytes upon Practice of a Comprehensive Yoga Program:
Su Qu (Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway)
Solveig Mjelstad Olafsrud (Department of Tumor Biology, Institute for Cancer Research, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway, Genomics Core Facility, Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway)
Leonardo A. Meza-Zepeda (Department of Tumor Biology, Institute for Cancer Research, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway, Genomics Core Facility, Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway)
Fahri Saatcioglu (Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo, Oslo)