One yoga therapist shares what she’s learned about yoga and genetics

As a psychotherapist and yoga therapist, Kathryn Templeton, MA, LPC, E-RYT 500, C-IAYT, has a wealth of insight into the links between yoga, health, and genetics. 

In this article Templeton shares how, from a yogic standpoint, “physical, emotional, and behavioral imprints (called samskaras) are carried from generation to generation. In Western medicine, these imprints are called ‘linked neural pathways,’ created from the repetition of behavior over time, or the intensity of a behavior or event.”

Templeton’s father had advanced Alzheimer’s disease and passed away before getting to know Templeton’s son. Yet some of his mannerisms live on through his grandson who, though never knowing his grandfather, has the same tendency to break into dance in an effort to lighten the mood in tense social situations. Templeton also offers an explanation for tendencies toward health challenges shared—but expressed differently—with her brother:  

“This idea of samskara can also be another lens through which to view tendencies toward alcoholism, depression, and anxiety. While my brother and I both share the same DNA, he has been the only one to have squamous cell cancer, degenerative spinal issues, and GI issues. Why? Epigenetics might suggest, as would yoga science and Ayurveda, that although these imprints are present in both of us, whether or not they become activated could vary due to our consciousness and attention to choosing different habitual actions.”

But how might we choose different actions? Templeton believes that the answer might lie primarily in cultivating awareness. “This means becoming conscious and making decisions based upon your internal locus of control—your ‘inner voice’—versus the habitual voice of our unconscious society (i.e., an external locus of control).”

You can read the full article here