When we don't move, we can literally feel stagnant in our bodies. It's harder to be active during the winter months, and this isn't very good for our immune systems. We feel better when we move a little, so let's look at one reason why.
The lymphatic system is part of our circulatory system, it contains a network of vessels that drain fluids from the body’s cells and returns them to the bloodstream for filtration and excretion. This system carries a clear fluid, it looks much like water but contains other proteins and substances, called lymph.
Lymph contains lymphocytes and other white blood cells, it is very similar to blood plasma. This process in our bodies helps us get rid of waste and toxins. This important system can be hindered by many factors, such as, stress, chemical overload, injuries, food choices, age and lack of activity. When the system is functioning well it supports our cardiovascular system as well as our immune system, especially fighting against infections.
There are different ways to support the lymphatic systems in our bodies, and yoga is one of them. Here are some easy poses that will stimulate the lymph. You can do this at home, studio, even a quick break at the office.
Legs up the Wall // Viparita Karani
Sit your hips next to the wall, roll onto your back, slide your legs up the wall so the bottoms of your feet point to the ceiling. Your position should be as close to the wall as possible. You could use a pillow under your hips for more comfort if needed. Spend 5-10 minutes breathing deeply.
Downward Facing Dog // Adho Mukha Svanasana
From hands and knees, lift your knees and hips up and back. Your body will look like an upside down V-shape. Press your heels towards the floor, your chest towards your thighs, gaze to your belly. Take a few rounds of breath. This full body posture encourages full body circulation.
Bridge Pose // Setu Bandhasana
Lay down on your back, place your feet hip-width distance apart, soles of your feet on the mat, hand to your sides. Press into your feet and shoulder to lift your hips off the ground. You could even place a block or bolster under your hips for a more relaxed variation. Keep your hips lifted for 10 rounds of breath or 30 seconds to a minute if using a prop. This pose stimulates the Thymus gland (lymphoid organ) and improves blood circulation.