People associate yoga with relaxation, decreased stress levels, Los Angeles moms, and improved flexibility. The lymphatic system isn’t typically discussed in relation to yoga, but proper lymphatic health is crucial for immune function. You may be familiar with lymph nodes, but the lymphatic system travels throughout the entire body. Engaging in specific yoga poses to boost lymphatic health is much more affordable than fancy products.
What Is The Lymphatic System?
The lymphatic system is in constant communication with the immune system. In addition to eliminating toxins and waste from bodily tissues, the lymphatic system signals an immune response within those tissues. If it detects foreign invaders or harmful microorganisms, the immune system is notified to send an inflammatory response. This communication helps ward off infections, potential threats, and even certain cancers.
How Can Yoga Support Lymphatic Health?
The lymphatic system does not have a pump to promote waste elimination; rather, you are the pump. This means that any movement can help you avoid toxin accumulation in the lymphatic system. Certain yoga poses, combined with regulated breathing, can help stimulate the circulation of lymphatic fluid, while simultaneously decreasing stress levels. Inverted poses, in particular, allow improved lymphatic flow to the extremities and torso. Aside from the poses, controlled breathing (specifically pranayama) promotes the circulation of beneficial fluids. Try the following poses to improve lymphatic flow.
Extended Triangle Pose:
Stand sideways on your yoga mat and extend your feet out as far as you comfortably can. You should ideally take up the majority of the mat. Point your left foot towards the front of the room and your right foot should point out to the side. Engage your abdominal muscles as you reach toward your left ankle with your left hand. If you can’t make it that far down, rest your left hand on your shin or above your knee. Extend your right arm up and hold this pose for three deep breaths. Repeat with your right leg as the front leg.
Legs Up The Wall:
Passive inversion helps to improve circulation to the upper body, helping to relieve tension in the legs and lower back. Start by sitting on the floor with your right shoulder, hip, and thigh against the wall. Slowly lay your torso on the floor and pivot your body to swing your legs up the wall. Your butt should be near the wall and your legs resting on the wall. Extend the arms to a “T” position and rest here for five minutes, breathing deeply.
Bridge pose works to stimulate lymphatic movement in the torso, and the slight inversion gently compresses the lymph nodes in the neck. To begin, lie flat on your back and bend your knees so that the heels of your feet are near your butt. Make sure your feet are at least shoulder-width apart. Place your arms by your sides for support, engage your gluteus muscles, and press up. Your feet, shoulders, arms, head, and neck should be the only body parts on the mat. Squeeze your gluteus muscles to keep the body steady in the apex of the pose. Remain in the pose for five deep breaths before lowering your hips to the mat.
Supine Reclined Twist:
Twists help to stimulate lymphatic flow via mild compression. Through the twisting motion, the connective tissues become more liquid, breaking up the viscosity from sedentary lifestyles. The more liquid in the tissues, the easier it is for lymphatic fluid to flow. From the starting point of Bridge pose, extend your arms out to the sides to form a “T,” and let your knees fall to the right side. Your left knee should be on top of your right. Take 5 deep breaths and then repeat on the left side.
This pose helps to strengthen the abdominal and lower back muscles, but it also works to rejuvenate areas of the lymphatic system near your chest. If you experience post-nasal drip, this is an excellent pose. Lie facedown on your mat with your arms by your sides. Take a few breaths in this position before lifting your arms and legs off the mat, engaging your glutes and lower back muscles. Bend your right leg toward your right hand and grab the outside your shin. Do the same with your left leg. Lift your chest and arch up like a bow. Hold for three deep breaths and then relax. Repeat two more times.