Yoga Improves Lymphatic Flow, Maintains Physical Health and Cognitive Function

Written By Intan Ridwan

Photo by @PaulFroPhotography

Our body constantly produces waste and gunk that build up over time on the cellular level. The accumulation of toxins and debris can make the body feel stiff, swollen, heavy and lifeless.

Stagnant lymph or slow-moving lymphatic system can lead to swollen tonsils, recurrent sore throats, chronically enlarged lymph nodes, swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, and/or breasts, slow healing, and itchy rashes.

Lymph Massage and Skin Dry-Brushing help manual stimulation of the flow of the lymph, and so is a good diet choice. We should do our best to avoid inflammation-causing food like sugar, meat, refined flour, soda, coffee/tea, dairy products, eggs, and peanuts. Instead, eat various food that counters inflammation, such as vegetables, lemons and limes, avocados, beans, sprouts, figs, whole grains, and oils.

Hydration helps to keep all of the body's systems flowing smoothly. Stay well hydrated and drink at least 2L of water daily.

Yoga to Improve Lymphatic Circulation

In her Yoga International article, Dr Carrie Demers MD wrote that “Unlike the circulatory system, the lymphatic system relies on the intrinsic muscle contractions of the lymph channel walls and large muscle activity in the body.

Any muscular contraction helps move lymph along, but yoga is incredibly effective. Yoga's attention to the breath and the solar plexus region further distinguishes it from other forms of exercise. A lymphatic pump in itself, conscious breathing (pranayama) can help direct lymph through the deep channels of the chest.

Yoga twists, inversions, and flow practices get the lymph moving again, which alone can help restore your overall health by increasing the body's ability to remove toxins and waste and maintain immunity.” (1.)

Yoga to Help Maintain Healthy Cognitive Brain Function

The lymphatic drainage process from the brain, the glymphatic system, is a network of vessels that clear waste from the central nervous system, mainly during sleep. (2.)

Disruption to the work of the glymphatic system could contribute to some diseases of the brain and cognitive function.

Massaging the area around the ear, called Vagus Nerve Stimulation, can help train the brain to relax and de-stress. Doing this stimulation before bed, combined with Bhrahmari Pranayama practice, popularly known as Humming Bee Breath, these two simple yogic techniques can help you sleep better and maximise the brain's effort to clear out waste during the glymphatic process.

It all comes back to regulating our nervous system by reducing sympathetic nervous system dominance and activating the parasympathetic nervous system, all that yoga (and its breathing practice) promotes to our health. (3.)

Join Intan in "Yoga for Healthy Aging" on Saturdays 1-2:15pm


(1.) 5 Natural Ways to Relieve Lymphatic Congestion -

(2.) Understanding the Glymphatic System -

(3.) Your brain scrubs itself clean while you sleep. Has your concussion messed this cleaning (and your sleep) up? -

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