Lymph Drainage and Yoga
Going with the flow-
Lymph congestion is often one of the least talked about components of poor health, and one of the least addressed areas in chronic ill health.
Which is kind of crazy when you think about the issues it can cause or exacerbate.
Acne, skin complaints, digestive disorders, hair loss, weight gain, joint issues, migraines, headaches, depression, anxiety, cellulite, menstrual difficulties, hormonal imbalances, immune dysregulation, autoimmune type responses, mast cell activation, histamine imbalances, water retention…the list goes on and on.
Often, there will be an underlying, or multiple underlying causes to poor lymph flow, and while we may not always be able to afford to get to the root of them with all the testing and doctors visits required, we can, absolutely can, keep clearing the lymph.
It’s free. And not doing it is a little bit like not bothering to empty the rubbish bin.
Because I generally experience all of shit lymph flows bastardly downstream effects, I try to bring an element of lymph drainage to each of my classes and flows.
It’s why I tried the bean diet. To try to encourage bile flow. To try to get that toxic bile out.
It didn’t work, and I’m still swollen from it three months on, but you know, worth a try…… My stomach disagrees, it's not talking to me.
If you can tolerate beans, however, it is definitely worth a try, because our bile tends to recirculate if we aren’t feeling great and our body feels the energy may be better utilised elsewhere (like not sinking into a heap on the floor in tears), so doesn’t bother making new bile. I may have oversimplified the process there a tiny bit….
If you pause for a second and feel the space under you jaw, at the base of your skull, down the sides of you neck, under your arm-pits, on your inner thighs and groin, you may find a little tenderness.
Which is an indication that the lymph is backing up.
I was once asked why I teach yoga in flows. Bit aggressively, vinyasa can be a dirty word in the yoga community. The yoga community can be a scary place.
Why I don’t pause, hold poses for a long time or stop between each pose, and basically, why don’t I teach sensible hatha yoga?
Why vinyasa, why one breath per movement, why flow, why dance, why the movement??? Why the tapping, why the breath retention, why the kundalini elements?
What the fuck you up to Rebecca, hey?
I teach the yoga I do, because I want to heal. I began teaching myself yoga to heal my body. I now teach yoga so that other people can heal their bodies.
I've noticed that when ill and congested, toxic and carrying infections, the fascia sulks and tightens further in the longer, slower holds. That the ATP revolts and drains at an alarming rate when we're required to stand on one leg for an eternity, and the lymph stays resolutely stuck when there is a lack of flow.
I could not give a shit about the level I’m at, the level you’re at, or the poses we can do on one arm. I don’t care about the yoga label, or care what you’re wearing - don't even care if you have an awesome six pack.
I do care about how you’re feeling.
I do, really do, care if you can get up in morning, if you can function, think, interact, if you can heal yourself without relying on doctors. If you’re in pain, if you can laugh, if there’s anything left of you. Because often there isn't when we feel awful. We get lost.
And, in my experience, lymphatic drainage, waste removal, the general maintenance of our bodies, requires a touch of flow with life.
A few binders wouldn’t go a miss either….
The movements need not be great, strong or advanced, but they do require degree of rhythm. Because our bodies rely on rhythm to pump the lymph. The lymph cannot pump itself. It is entirely reliant on us moving. On us breathing deeply.
Sit or lie with me for a second.
Spine straight, nape of neck long, arms and legs relaxed and not at awkward angles, all aligned, all equal on both sides.
Inhale nose for 6 beats
Exhale nose for 6
Repeat x 3
Inhale nose for 6
Exhale mouth for 6
Repeat x 3
Inhale nose for 4
Exhale nose for 8
Repeat x 3 … you are pumping lymph. You can leave it there, that's awesome, or….
Do the entire sequence again while gently smacking your flat palm from under the opposite armpit down to the hip x 3 - swap sides
Tap the collarbone points
Tap over the lower back
Tap the heart center and then along the chest before tapping down the inside of the arm and up the outside. Move across the chest to the other arm.
Tap the whole torso, still breathing deeply, and then move to the hips, the pelvis
Tap down the outside of the legs and back up the inside
If you’re sitting, shake your hands, loosely, gently bring that shake into the arms, then the shoulders, then the whole body.
If you would like to stand, plant the feet, soles connecting to the floor, and gently shake and bounce everything you have. You can absolutely do this sitting.
Pause, still, lift the arms up over the head on an inhale, palms meeting in prayer
Hold the breath for 4
Exhale through the mouth as you drop the arms and resume shaking
Repeat x 3
Come back to the first breathing stage of the mini flow to slow the heart and calm the system.
If you would like to join me for a breathing class on Wednesday lunchtimes 12.30pm, I'd love to see you. The password is - 834656
If you'd like a soft, gentle seated and lying lymph draining flow on Sunday mornings 11am, designed to create energy, I'd love to see you.
The password is - 834656
And if you would like to try a stronger flow on Saturday mornings 11am, I would love to see you. The password is - 191255
Namaste beautiful souls