New research from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), finds that yoga can reduce stress by decreasing inflammation in the body with as little as 12 minutes of practice a day for eight weeks.
The new study, published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology, looked at 45 caregivers for family members with dementia who were divided into two groups: one performed a 12-minute yoga practice once a day for eight weeks, while the other listened to relaxing music for 12 minutes once a day for eight weeks. Researchers focused on a type of yoga called Kirtan Kriya meditation, which involves meditation and chanting and originates from Kundalini yoga.
The researchers found that the subjects who participated in the yoga practice experienced a change in the response of 68 genes, leading to a decrease in inflammation.
Inflammation has been linked with a host of serious health problems, including heart disease, depression, and diabetes.
“This is encouraging news,” study researcher Helen Lavretsky, a professor of psychiatry at UCLA, said in a statement dated July 24. “Caregivers often don’t have the time, energy, or contacts that could bring them a little relief from the stress of taking care of a loved one with dementia, so practicing a brief form of yogic meditation, which is easy to learn, is a useful tool.”
In a previous study conducted by the UCLA researchers, Kirtan Kriya was linked with lower rates of depression and improved cognitive function when compared to other forms of relaxation.