Yoga to Boost Immunity

Immunity is the body’s capability to repel foreign substances and cells. The lymphatic system is an essential part of our body’s immune system because it circulates lymphatic fluid in our bodies, picking up bacteria and viruses and filtering them out via the lymph nodes. Lymph nodes also contain large numbers of white blood cells. When you get certain infections, the lymph nodes swell with white blood cells working to clear the foreign cells causing the infection.

 

Since the cells in our body are bathed in lymphatic fluid, fluid retention in the tissues suffocates the cells so that nutrients can’t get in and garbage accumulates. It is therefore essential to circulate the fluid.

 

Unlike our blood vessels, lymph vessels do not have an active pump like the heart.  The flow inside the lymphatic vessels is unidirectional because of one-way valves that keep the lymphatic fluid from traveling backwards but the circulation depends largely on forces such as muscle contractions and gravity. Therefore, practicing certain asanas is good for moving the lymphatic fluid around, which helps to get the nutrients in and the waste products out.

 

Broadly speaking, 3 types of asanas are good for our lymphatic system.

 

  1. Dynamic movement
  2. Twists
  3. Inversions

 

Here are examples of each type of asana :

 

  1. Suryanamaskara

 

This dynamic sequence involves muscle contractions which keep the lymphatic fluid moving through the body.

 

  1. Half Lord Of The Fishes

 

Twists stimulate the flow of lymph up through the core of the body by squeezing the internal organs and muscles and then allowing fresh fluid to soak back in as the twist is relaxed.

 

  1. Shoulderstand

 

Getting upside down allows lymph to more easily travel into the respiratory system where much of the toxins enter the body. This pose also stimulates the thymus gland, the main organ of the lymphatic system. Its primary function is to promote the development of T-lymphocytes which are responsible for activating certain immune cells to fight infection.

 

KSH

Jan-May, 200Hrs Weekend TTC