By Emily Netburn    |   Thursday, 18 Jan 2018 11:56 AM

 The health benefits of yoga and meditation are well known – easing stress, lowering blood pressure, combatting depression and anxiety, reducing back pain, aiding those with asthma or arthritis, and even curing a hangover.

But the effects of these practices don’t stop there: A recently released study suggests that yoga and meditation, and activities like them, can actually undo the physical and mental effects of a stress, and reduce the risk of disease, at the genetic level.

This study, published in Frontiers in Immunology, explains that mind-body interventions (MBIs) including yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, Qi gong, tai chi, and more can suppress inflammation-promoting genes and genetic pathways.

The new research examined 18 previously published studies and found MBIs counteract inflammation and “the effects of stress on the immune system.”

This means that your vinyasa yoga or deep breathing techniques are actually decreasing the production of inflammatory proteins in your body, making you healthier in addition to keeping you relaxed.

Incorporating MBIs into your daily routine is easy to do, and there are plenty of options, ranging from intense exercise to simply deep breathing. Here are a few to consider:

Meditation. Styles of meditation vary, but all aim to calm the mind. Mindfulness meditation focuses on breathing, thoughts, sights, and sounds; concentration meditation places emphasis on the repetition of a word, like a mantra, or breathing. Websites like Live and Dare provide detailed descriptions of the many types and techniques of meditation, which can help you find the right one for you.

Tai chi. This traditional Chinese technique incorporates body movement as well as breath and attentional training to reduce stress. Practicing tai chi involves moving slowly from one body position to another in a continuous flow. Tai chi and similar techniques can be practiced anywhere, and have even made their way into workplaces as a way of stress management and a sense of community.

“MBIs cause the brain to steer our DNA processes along a path which improves our well-being,” says Ivana Buric, lead author of the new study and a Ph.D. student at Coventry University in England.

“By choosing healthy habits every day, we can create a gene activity pattern that is more beneficial to our health. Even just 15 minutes of practicing mindfulness seems to do the trick.”