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Love your Lymphatic System
According to Live Science, “the lymphatic system is a network of tissues and organs that help rid the body of toxins, waste and other unwanted materials,” including a fluid that contains white blood cells that help fight infections. There are lymph nodes located around vital organs like your heart and lungs and in your armpit and near your groin area.
This internal system produces to kill bad actors in your body and prevent an infection in one part of your body from spreading to another. If your lymphatic system stops working, fluids begin to build up in your body and several different conditions can occur, including infections, swollen glands, blockages, autoimmune disorders, certain types of cancer, and lymphedema. Since the lymphatic system travels through so many parts of your body, it is essential to keep it in tip-top shape!
YOGA AND AND LYMPHATIC CIRCULATION
Yoga is widely celebrated for its muscle-strengthening and stress-reducing properties. One of its lesser known effects is its dramatic effect on lymphatic health, thanks to its role in increasing circulation throughout the body. By increasing circulation, the lymphatic system is better able to transport the good stuff inside of your body and, in turn, get rid of bad toxins. Translation: any type of yoga, by means of increasing circulation in the body, is good for the lymphatic system.
Any yoga pose that inverts the legs and lets gravity act on the lymphatic channels will be of particular help to lymphatic health. Postures that build up heat in the body and keep it moving are also preferred. This said, we’ve selected some of our favourite poses for you to practice in your daily life. No matter which you select, be sure to focus on your breath. Deep breathing allows for even better circulation, so aim for perfect breathing rather than perfect posture in all cases, especially if you are just beginning your journey.
1. Downward Facing Dog
This is much more than just a classic pose. Did you know? It actually builds strength throughout the body and improves the functioning of your immune system. To achieve this pose, plant your feet firmly at the bottom of your mat, and then do the same with your hands at the top of your mat so that your body forms an upside-down V. Bend, breathe, stretch, repeat!
Cat-Cow gets everything flowing with only moderate effort. Begin in Tabletop pose (your hands and knees firmly planted on your mat, with your toes pointed behind you). Next, arch your back like a cat, letting your gaze fall to the floor in between your outstretched hands. Next, curve your spine the other way, so that your body forms a U in the other direction. Your head should face towards the ceiling. Do this at least a dozen times, then rest in Child’s Pose to finish.
3. Standing Forward Bend
Gather two blocks before planting your feet firmly on the back of your mat. Spread your feet a little wider than hip-widths apart and then rest your head on top of the bricks. Stay here for several deep breaths.
4. Bridge Pose (a good option for those with achy joints!)
Lie down on your mat with your palms down. Bending your knees, pull your heels towards your fingertips. Then push down with your hands to lift your hips up, while you slide a brick lengthwise under your torso. Lastly, pull your shoulder blades in towards each other as much as possible so that you can feel your chest opening. Close your eyes and relax while gravity takes care of the rest!
5. Bow Pose
Try this pose when you have a lot of post-nasal drip flowing into your chest. Begin face-down on your mat – extra blankets are suggested for this one. Separate your legs onto the mat at about a hips-width distance. Take several deep breaths. As your release your breath, grab hold of your ankles so that your body is shaped like an archer’s bow. Continue to lift your thighs off the mat until you exhale and lower yourself back down to the mat. Repeat two to three times.
6. Cobra Pose
Cobra Pose is another ideal chest opener. Lie face-down on your mat and take several deep breaths. Place your hands, fingers spread wide, on the mat under your shoulders. Press your body into your mat and as you inhale, begin to straighten your arms. Except for your hands and the tops of your feet, let yourself rise off the mat. Keep your body tightened and engaged. Bend your head back slightly so your gaze moves from in front of you towards the ceiling. Hold this for your full breath, then come back to your mat and exhale. Repeat for a minute.
7. Extended Triangle Pose
Spread your legs wide so you take up the entire mat lengthwise. Your left foot should be pointed towards the front of the room; your back or right foot turned perpendicular to your front foot. Keep your abdomen tucked in. Put your left hand on your left ankle and hold on. Then, twist your right arm towards the ceiling and hold for three deep breaths. Now switch arms and hold for another three breaths.
This last but not least important pose lets gravity do the work so you can relax. Move your mat up against the wall, and place a blanket or two over top of it. Lie on top of the blankets with your buttocks against the wall and your legs going up the wall so that your body forms an “L.” Stretch out your arms so your torso and arms form a “T.” Challenge yourself to close your eyes here and lie silently for ten to fifteen minutes.
Other tips for better lymphatic health:
- Reducing stress via good posture, deep breathing exercises, regular stretching, yoga and pilates.
- Herbs are a great source for detoxifying the lymphatic system and helping to remove toxins.
- Try a natural herbal remedy like Lympatox, which eliminates toxins, cleans the organs and strengthens the immune system.