How Yoga Supports Your Lymphatic System

Your immune system depends on the healthy function of your lymphatic system. I like to call it the powerhouse of your immune system! Often through organ testing with my clients I see the result of an an imbalanced lymphatic system. This has prompted me to explore more around how we can support this critical piece of the immune system through diet and lifestyle. 

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What is the lymphatic system? 

It’s the body’s inner “drainage system”, meaning it’s responsible for clearing, cleaning and detoxing any threats to the body. Protecting the body from cancer cells, bacteria and infections. We have tons of lymph nodes and blood vessels throughout the body that help make this happen. The excess exposure of toxins, chemicals, pesticides, pollution and stress can cause the lymphatic system to be backed up and not work as efficiently.  

A healing and anti-inflammatory diet supports the lymphatic system. Foods including healthy fats, quality organic grass-fed meats, fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, fresh herbs, nuts, seeds, whole grains, beans, lentils, fermented foods, herbal teas and quality filtered water. While eliminating processed foods, conventional meats, processed dairy, refined sugars, caffeine, alcohol, and chlorinated water. 

Dry skin brushing is also an amazing way to stimulate the lymphatic system each day. Try dry skin brushing each day before you shower and make sure to always brush towards the heart (starting at the feet) in long sweeping circular motions. Choose a brush that has natural (not synthetic) bristles and a long handle so you can reach each area of the body. 

Aside from eating a quality nutrient dense diet, dry skin brushing, drinking plenty of quality filtered water, exercising could be one of the most beneficial ways of supporting the drainage of the lymphatic system. Yoga specifically is beneficial for the lymphatic system. Let’s break it down to four aspects of your yoga practice that can support lymph drainage. 

Twists

Twisting postures are extremely helpful with supporting the lymphatic system. Squeezing the organs and muscles stimulates the flow of lymph. I like to imagine that the body is like a washcloth. Twisting the washcloth to rinse the body and stimulate the release of fluid through the body. Try lunge twists, chair twists, seated twists and supine twisting postures. 

Inversions

Inversions are when the feet are above the head in any postures. This gravity effect on the body is extremely healing and promotes the flow of the lymphatic system from the toes down the body in a reverse effect. It moves around any stagnant or stuck used blood and drains the lymph. It basically restores the body fluid to the upper part of the body! Try legs up the wall each day for 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes before bed. 

Flow

A yoga flow practice encourages muscle contraction of movement, thus supporting the lymphatic drainage. Using a variety of whole body stretches from twists, to forward folds to inversions encourage this whole body muscle contraction movement. Sun salutations and a fun vinyasa movement practice will support you in this. 

Breath

Lastly, the powerful benefits of your breath help the lymphatic system to function optimally. Pranayama (deep controlled breath) allows you to stimulate good fluids more efficiently through the body and remove harmful toxins. This can be done on its own through a daily meditation practice and should also be a primary focus during your yoga practice. 

So there you have it. If yoga isn’t currently part of your exercise routine I encourage you to give it a try! There are countless studios and gyms that have classes along with online platforms like YogaGlo. Even a yoga class 2-3 times per week on top of a healthy diet, dry skin brushing and your regular exercise routine will allow for great lymphatic support! 

In health and many blessings, 

Stephanie xo