Using Yoga for Depression

by Barb Perruccio & Britt Glassburn 07/28/2019

Most people simply think of yoga as a form of exercise or relaxation, but when practiced correctly, yoga can even change how your very DNA expresses itself in illnesses and depression. A review published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology, of 18 studies spanning ten years found that mindful exercises such as yoga, tai chi, and forms of meditation can both relax us and even push back on bodily reactions at the molecular level. They can switch on, or off, parts of our DNA that cause illnesses and depression.

How it works

Our bodies have both the normal nervous system and the sympathetic nervous system (SNS). Your SNS is the switch for your fight-or-flight mode, and when it flips on, your body releases all types of chemicals and hormones to help you ward off whatever threat there is. In the absence of stress, once the danger is gone, this system returns to normal, and all the extra hormones, chemicals, and proteins dissipate. But in modern life, human stress levels remain high due to increased cortisol and other factors in our bodies. The constant switching on of these mechanisms increases the body’s susceptibility to illnesses, cancers, and mental health challenges.

The basic breakdown is this: when the SNS activates, it releases a molecule responsible for controlling how genes express. When genes release proteins known as cytokines, they cause inflammation, which in turn, contributes to ill-health and disease.

Yoga and other mindful exercises appear to decrease the production of the inflammatory cytokines. Science Daily reports that these studies show a deposit of a molecular signature on cells that reverse the effects of stress and anxiety. 

Practitioners call yoga, tai chi, Qigong, and other mindful activities “Mind-Body interventions” or MBIs. The studies show that MBIs trigger the brain to push DNA processes along a different pathway, one that increases wellbeing rather than inflammation. In this way, MBIs re-wire our molecules to protect our mental health and even heal addictions. Cancers seem to proliferate in higher-stress, inflammatory situations, so reducing inflammation and stress appears to reduce the incidence of cancer in those that practice mindfulness.

While meditation and relaxation techniques also work in this process, the combination of both the mindfulness and the exercise decrease both the sympathetic response and improve other bodily functions, so if possible, doing both may have more benefit.

To learn yoga or join a tai chi class, visit your local health club, Y, or see if a community college offers courses.

About the Author
Author

Barb Perruccio & Britt Glassburn

BARB PERRUCCIO / MANAGING BROKER

I have been a Wash Park resident and investor for 20 years and a dedicated real estate professional for the past 14 years. I have a degree from Arizona State University from the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Graphic Communications in Printing Technologies. I worked in Sales in the Advertising and Marketing industry in Manhattan for 12 years, San Francisco for 2 years and chose to settle in Denver to raise a family. I now have 3 beautiful children and enjoy living and working in Wash Park!

As a Realtor in Colorado, I have leveraged my sales and Sr. Management skills to ensure each and every transaction runs smoothly. As a Certified Negotiation Expert (TM) in real estate and with over 33 years of sales and marketing experience, I am a strong negotiator and will negotiate diligently on your behalf.

Whether you are planning to buy, sell, build or invest in real estate, I have the knowledge to guide you through the process smoothly and take great care in providing the best and most professional service!  My goal is to build strong relationships in our community one person at a time.

BRITT GLASSBURN / BROKER ASSOCIATE

I have lived in the Denver Metro Area on and off since 1977 and have been investing in the Denver Home Market since 1993. This included doing fix and flips and owning rental properties. I have a degree from the University of Colorado in International Affairs. I have worked extensively in the Sales, Account and Project Management industry and enjoy helping people through the real estate transaction process. In 2014 I decided to obtain my real estate license and work as a full time broker associate. I am a Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist and Certified Residential Specialist. My goal is to assist you throughout the home selling and buying process as I have the necessary knowledge to provide you with the necessary information when purchasing a home! We are here to make the transaction as smooth as possible!