When women get together to chat, the conversation often turns to health issues. It is not uncommon for at least one woman to confide that she is a breast cancer survivor or perhaps is in the midst of dealing with the disease. So how does yoga fit in keeping our breasts healthy? Breast health is maintained by the body’s lymphatic system.
In addition to helping your body fight infection, an active and healthy lymphatic system removes potentially harmful materials from the body’s tissues and cells. Lymph flow is dependent upon muscle contractions, which massage the outside of the lymphatic vessels, and breathing, which pulls lymph along with each inhalation. With its sensitivity to breathing and movement, it is easy to see how the lymph system responds to yoga practice.
The following simple yoga exercises stimulate the circulation of blood and vital energy through the lymphatic system. Feel free to practice these exercises and postures individually or as a set. The first two, Diagonal Stretch and Reach for Health, can be done either sitting on the floor or on a chair with the spine straight and the feet flat on the floor.
This exercise increases the flow of energy to the body and mind. Internal heat (called tapas) and energy move from the pelvic area upward through the heart center and balance the glandular system.
- While standing, bring your heels close together, or touching, and turn your feet slightly outward. Squat down, keeping your heels off the ground and bringing your fingertips to the ground with arms inside your spread knees. Straighten your spine as much as possible in the squatting position.
- Inhale and straighten the legs, bringing the head as close to the knees as you can. The fingertips remain on the ground and the heels stay slightly off the ground. Exhale and return to squatting position. Continue for one minute. Then relax.
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