What exactly is the lymphatic system?
The lymphatic system is a network of vessels and nodes that acts as a transportation and drainage system to cleanse and nourish the body. It filters, transports and destroys bacteria and toxins; brings protein to the heart, produces antibodies to fight illness, absorbs fat, and feeds cells with nutrients, minerals and vitamins. The state of the lymphatic system is directly related to the state of the immune system and in Ayurveda (yoga’s sister science), it is the first and most important system.
How does Yoga for Lymph Flow work?
Yoga for Lymph Flow is a practice specifically geared to help the flow of your lymphatic system. The pranayama (breathing) practices, gentle vinyasa flow (meaning, flowing or moving with the breath), and self-massage techniques become the pump needed to help this system work more efficiently.
For someone who’s new to yoga, what should they expect from your Lymph Flow class?
It’s a gentle class with a strong focus on activating lymph flow using muscle movement and deep belly breath. Students are encouraged to make the practice their own and to never physically push their bodies further than they feel comfortable. We focus on the neck, joints, and areas where lymph nodes are located, helping to release stagnation and direct lymphatic fluid back to the heart. We end the practice with a relaxing restorative pose (commonly known as “Stonehenge”), elevating our legs slightly to further encourage this flow. Students are also always reminded and encouraged to practice the breathing techniques throughout the week, pausing for 5-10 minutes once or twice a day.
How can working with the lymphatic system benefit our health?
The benefits of optimized lymph flow can include an ease in body stiffness, less headaches and migraines, increased flexibility, quicker healing, increased energy levels, relief in the area of an injury, decreased symptoms of carpal tunnel or tendonitis, reduced stress and tension, and the prevention or reduction of the symptoms of autoimmune disease, lymphedema, lipedema, and other illnesses and ailments.
What are some other ways we can support the lymphatic system?
Drinking plenty of (warm) water, swimming/water exercise, non-inflammatory diet, avoid tight waistbands and restrictive clothing, dry brushing, manual lymph drainage, sound healing/singing bowls, rebounding, tongue scraping, and Ayurvedic* treatments such as abhyanga and marma.
*To learn more about Ayurveda, click here