Mindfulness practices such as yoga and meditation can have a positive influence on cellular health and aging. While more rigorous research needs to be done to further validate this, existing research indicates that yoga can be hugely beneficial for healthy aging. Consider adding yoga to your lifestyle as part of a holistic preventative approach to age-related diseases.

The biology of aging

Our bodies are made up of chromosomes, which in turn are composed of DNA and proteins. At the tip of these chromosomes lie telomeres, which are sequences of DNA and proteins that play a crucial role in maintaining the integrity of chromosomes. They prevent the degradation and fusion of chromosome ends during cell division. As we age, telomeres gradually shorten, which hastens the process of cellular aging. This shortening of the telomeres is connected to aging, age-related diseases, and even cancer. Therefore, telomere length (TL) is a recognized marker of healthy aging and susceptibility to age-related diseases. Lifestyle factors such as psychological stress, anxiety, depression, diet, obesity, smoking, and sleep, can also impact TL. 



A literature review published in September 2023 examines a number of studies that look at mindfulness practices and their impact on telomere length and cellular health in general. Some studies found that certain types of meditation, like loving-kindness meditation, might actually help keep telomeres long and healthy. But other studies didn’t find any significant impact on telomere length from meditation. One study even found that practicing yoga could lead to longer telomeres and lower stress levels. Overall, these studies show that the relationship between meditation and telomeres is pretty complicated and depends on a lot of different factors, like the type of meditation and the people involved in the study.


While there is emerging evidence suggesting a beneficial link between mindfulness practices and TL, there is a notable gap in understanding the optimal dosage needed for clinical impact. This review scrutinizes various methodological approaches and outcomes across studies, highlighting research gaps and emphasizing the need for meticulous research to establish effective interventions. Ultimately, though, it underscores the potential of yoga, meditation, and mindfulness practices in enhancing overall well-being by mitigating age-related diseases through their influence on TL. The review advocates for further studies to unravel the most effective strategies for positively impacting TL and promoting holistic health.


To learn more about the literature review and further research needed, head over to our summary at Yoga Activist: https://yogaactivist.org/about/development/thanks/141-2/the-benefits-of-yoga-and-meditation-for-cellular-health-and-aging/

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