Your lymphatic system is an important part of removing toxins and waste from your body, as well as keeping you immune from pathogens in the body.
Lymph is a clear fluid that circulates throughout your body carrying white blood cells and and proteins as well as draining interstitial fluid from between the cells. Lymph channels draw this fluid from the limbs toward the chest where is drains into the circulatory system through veins under the collarbones.
As lymph makes its way around the body it passes through lymph nodes and these nodes contain collections of white blood cells that can destroy potentially harmful impurities or bacteria and viruses in the lymph.
There are three main ways you can keep the lymph moving and healthy with yoga.
Lymphatic fluid does not have a pump like the heart so the main way it moves is through movement. Getting the large muscle groups contracting and relaxing, like during a dynamic yoga practice for example. Yoga is great because in a sun salute for example, you are using your whole body. Good form is key to preventing injury when moving more dynamically.
Another way to move the lymph is twists as there are some major lymph channels in your abdomen and twisting causes a squeezing and soaking action around your internal organs. Here the muscles of the core must engage.
A third way to increase the flow of lymph from the lower body up to the chest is to use the power of gravity! What we call in yoga ‘inversions’ or going upside down! An inversion can be simply legs up the wall or another inversion that is appropriate for your body.
Here is a 10 – 15 minute practice to get this vital fluid moving!