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May 8, 2013

I haven’t done yoga in more than a week — and I can tell. When I’m doing yoga regularly, there’s a subtle shift in how I feel — overall and all the time. I sleep better and I’m generally more relaxed. I’m less likely to be cranky or snappish. I eat healthier. Yoga makes me a better person and I sometimes forget that until I’m not doing it for awhile.

So, it turns out that this whole feeling-of-well-being-and-healthfulness isn’t just in my head: A new study from the University of Oslo has shown that yoga practices can have an almost immediate impact on gene expression, particularly in immune cells.  The study’s authors note that yoga practices may be as effective, or even more so, than traditional exercise in inducing health benefits. (Good thing for me: I haven’t been running much lately.)

Yoga has, wonderfully, become mainstream these days, so many people have tried a class or two. If you haven’t — be not afraid! I avoided yoga for many years because of my too-tight hamstrings. I can still barely touch my toes. But this doesn’t matter. It’s all about getting on your mat and doing what you can do, that day.

More yoga stuff:

Ten best yoga poses for relaxation

Five yoga poses that make a bad day better

How to do a perfect downward facing dog

[Image via here]

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