Study finds that yoga decreases inflammation, reduces stress

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.

To learn more about Kundalini yoga's Kirtan Kriya, watch: