The common misconception behind yoga is that you have to be flexible to do yoga. That is very far from true—yoga is so much more than bending your body like a contortionist. Yoga means “yoking,” which is bringing something together. Connecting your body with your breath, your mind with your body, and your spirit with your soul, practicing yoga is yoking the whole systems of the body together to become more harmonious. Moving your body in and out of asanas facilitates movement in the cardiovascular, respiratory, and lymphatic systems, helping detox the body and cleanse the mind. The lymphatic system plays an integral role in the body’s immune functions and is your first line of defense. Our bodies are meant to be resilient—it is our traditional lifestyles that get in the way. Yoga is known to prevent disease, make you more mindful, and provide you with the tools for longevity living.
Boost Your Immune Function
Yoga does everything from improving digestion, balancing neurotransmitters, lowering blood pressure and blood sugars, improving circulation, and improving your mood, among other extraordinary benefits. One of the most important things yoga improves is the lymphatic system. This system plays a dramatic role in the immune functions of the body and is our first line of defense against disease. We have to manually pump the lymph through our system through movement, and the flow determines our immune response.
Think of the lymph as the body’s sewage system, helping to rid toxins, pathogens, and waste from the cells. If you sit all day and get little movement, the lymph stays stagnant and collects this waste causing a buildup and lowering your immunity. Lymph not only helps kill pathogens like bacteria and viruses and create white blood cells, but it helps facilitate the absorption of fats and fat-soluble nutrients in the digestive system. What are some symptoms of a lymphatic system that is unbalanced? You can see inflammation in the joints, nutrient deficiencies, skin conditions, digestive disorders, headaches, sinus infections, excess weight, chronic fatigue, and increased risk of injuries and illnesses. The flow and movement of the outside body help the flow of the organs and detox system in the inside body. It’s time to stop thinking yoga is only exercise—in fact, yoga is a healing workout that helps assist with vitality in all the organs.
Flow and Food
From mat to table, how does yoga yoke your flows to your food? Just as yoga trains the mind to be more mindful and connected, it trains the body to do the same. You may find that on days you do yoga, you crave healthier foods, drink more water, and make clearer eating decisions. When you do movements that help push the lymph, you ramp up your digestion. Therefore, you are better able to absorb nutrients, push out bacteria and buildup in the digestive system to help eliminate bloat, and move fluids out of the tissue to reduce swelling. The most important benefit is what it does for the mind. It makes you calmer and more relaxed and can significantly improve stress, anxiety, and mood disorders.
You don’t necessarily have to attend a yoga class to receive these benefits. Yoga can be done at home, at a desk in a chair, or even deep breathing when in your car. Yoga can be done anywhere, at any time, and every day! Some simple stretching or movement and deep breathing are enough to help you relax the body, move the lymph, and learn to let go so your body will flow!
Betsy is a Licensed and Registered Dietitian as well as a Certified Diabetes Educator, Integrative and Functional Medicine Nutrition Therapist, and owns 4 Elements Yoga Naples. She specializes in nutrigenomics, gut health, food sensitivities, detoxing, inflammatory diseases, and longevity living. She also understands the importance of living a mindful life and incorporates her background of mindfulness and yoga teaching to her practice. Betsy is a professional speaker and advocate for healthy living and is available for individual consultations, group programs, and speaking engagements.
To learn more, visit: www.healthyconceptsconsulting.com, www.yoga4elements.com, email: email@example.com or call 239.297.8844.