Your lymphatic system is a very important part of your overall health - helping transport white blood cells throughout the body (and lymph fluid) as well as removing cell waste to be disposed of. Your lymph system is part of your immune system as well as detoxification. The lymphatic system lies underneath the skin and runs throughout the entire body; however, the lymph nodes (where lymph gets renewed) are located mainly in the groin, lower pelvis, shoulders, upper chest and neck areas.
In this practice we help drain the lymph fluid back into the nodes and stimulate the nodes for lymphatic health. I also offer some daily practices you can add to your life to help keep your lymphatic system running optimally. Enjoy!
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Hold: 2 minutes each stretch/side
#1 Turn your head to one side and bring the same side fingers to your chin to help softly turn it a bit more. Take 8-10 breaths and switch sides.
#2 Take your hands, interlaced, to the base of your skull with thumbs touching the bones at the base of the skull. Allow elbows to point forward and bring chin to chest with gravity (no pushing or pulling, just the weight of your arms/hands and gravity). Take 8-10 breaths and release.
Feet Up the Wall (Vipariti Karani)
Hold: 5-7 minutes
Head over to a wall or the end of the bed. Lie down and begin to swing your legs up the wall/sofa/bed. Your hips can be at the wall or up to 6" away. Rest your heels on the wall and take your arms out to the side or rest them on your belly. Focus on your breath - extending it longer and longer. Feel your entire body softening and the support of the wall and the floor. When you are ready to come out, rest bottoms of the feet on the wall with knees bent into chest and slowly roll to the right. Rest on your right side for a few breaths and come up very slowly.
Cleopatra's Lounge | Cat Pulling It's Tail
Hold: 2-5 mins/side/pose
#1 Take a block and place a blanket or towel over it at whatever height you feel will be comfortable. Come onto your side, legs outstretched, and take your underarm over the block/blanket combo and rest your elbow on the other side. Allow your side body to soften to the floor and feel heavy. After a few breaths, take your top arm up over your head and rest it on the side of your head for a full side body stretch. You may not feel a lot in this pose but it is working! Breath, have patience and allow the pose to work. To come out, take the top arm alongside the hips and then to floor and take a few breaths on your back to settle.
#2 Take your bottom forearm to the floor to lift your body up. Take your top leg out in front bent or straight and the take the bottom leg back behind you. Grab hold of your bottom foot with your top hand pressing the foot into the hand to open the shoulder and chest. Stay here for time. To come out, release bottom leg and come back onto your side. Proceed to the second side with Cleopatra's Lounge and Cat Pulling It's Tail side 2.
1/2 Heart Melting Pose | Child's Pose (see below)
Hold: 3-5 minutes/pose/side
Come onto hands and knees (blanket underneath for comfort if needed). Begin to drop your belly down towards the floor keeping hips directly over knees. Start to walk your hands out in front of you (wide if that opens your shoulders more). Take your right hand and cross the forearm so you can rest your forehead on top of it or a block. Take your left arm out straight overhead or at an angle to the left. Allow your back to lengthen and your chest to drop - stretching your side body, shoulders and chest. Breathe deeply into the spine and chest (engage navel if this is too much on your lower back). To come out, engage your core and begin to lift, walking your hands back towards your knees. Take Downward Facing Dog for 5-8 breaths - bending one knee and the other. Continue to the other side with the left forearm bent under your head and right arm outstretched in front.
Hold: 3-5 minutes/pose/side
Bring your big toes together and knees apart slightly (bringing them closer together opens the front thighs more). Keeping your hips low to the heels (prop with blankets or blocks if needed), allow your torso to drop forward, resting your head on your fists or hands or the floor. Allow your head to be supported fully with the weight on the space between your eyebrows. This will bring some softness to your whirling thoughts and quiet your mind (hold here for 2-3 minutes). Use a block for your head if needed for comfort.
Hold: 3-5 minutes +
Take a rolled blanket underneath your shoulders and come onto your back taking the bottoms of the feet together. Start here allowing the shoulders and upper back to fully release and open. Take your arms up overhead or out to sides (even interlacing them if comfortable). Breathe into the inner legs, chest, upper back and shoulders. To come out - stretch your legs out straight for 5 breaths then bend knees bringing the bottoms of the feet flat. Take a few breaths here before continuing.
Supported Bridge Pose (Salamba Sarvangasana)
Hold: 3-5 minutes
Press through your feet and lift your hips rolling the blanket down to underneath your hips. Stretch your legs out straight, heels on the floor and toes pointing upward. Take your heels onto the block for support or the floor if that is comfortable (if this is too much you can keep knees bent with feet on floor). Enjoy the gentle backbend and hip opening. To come out, bend knees, lift hips, and pull the blanket out from under you. Rest on the floor for 5 breaths.
Supine Windshield Wiper Twist
Hold: 3-5 minutes/side
Come onto your back. Walk your feet as wide as your mat and allow the knees to drop over to the left side. Turn your head to the right and take your arms out wide. Allow gravity to pull the knees to the ground and slowly release lower back tension. You can take the left heel onto the right thigh for a deeper pose. Come back to center and switch sides.
Hold: 5-10 minutes
Bend your knees and place your feet on the floor about mat distance apart allowing your knees to fall into each other. Slide your shoulder blades underneath your body, and take your hands out to the sides, palms up. Take some deep breaths, coming back to the 3 part breath - first in the belly, then in the chest and finally the collarbones - and extend the exhale even longer. Allow yourself to sigh a few times and let it all go! Take a 6 count inhale, 6 count exhale, 6 count hold at the bottom of the exhale for 3-5 rounds. Focus on your breath and let go.
I have been "playing" and experimenting with yoga, aromatherapy and healthy living since my late teens - researching, testing, reading, investigating, and learning anything that would make my life - and the lives around me - better naturally.
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All rights reserved by Aprille Walker and The Yoga Ranger Studio 2014-2018 (copyrighted material)