Thursday, January 21, 2016

Immune Strengthening and Lymphatic Stimulation

A wellness formula 

For quite some time now we have been adapting our mat classes for the chair. This helps keep us out of the land of confusion since we teach both mat and chair weekly. Several of our students attend both sessions so they are reaping the benefits twofold. We practice the same routine for several weeks, allowing the body/mind to receive the most benefit. 

With the cold and flu season upon us we decided to tell a story of wellness. Our intention for the practice is to restore balance in our bodies and minds. The power of the word, Matrika Shakti. We must remember to speak that which we wish to create. May we be happy. May we be healthy. May we live in harmony. Be well our friends. 

This sequence strengthens the immune system and stimulates the lymphatic system. These systems help to keep us well. We open with a Lymphatic Cleansing Breath while holding Prana mudra. The lymphatic cleansing breath uses a ratio of 1:4:2. We inhale for one count, hold for four counts and exhale for 2. Retaining the breath allows the body time to absorb more oxygen and exhaling for twice as long as the inhale releases twice as many toxins as normal. Prana mudra stimulates acupressure points that strengthen the immune system. The thumb presses against the ring and pinkie finger tips, the index and middle finger are placed next to one another and held out straight. Begin and end with a deep cleansing breath. 

Mel holding prana mudra

Lymph moves through the body as we move and breathe, bringing nourishment to the the cells and removing waste. Commence by warming up the body with the first three movements of Pa Tuan Chin; upholding heaven with two hands, separating heaven and earth, and stretching backwards and forwards, which is said to eliminate 100 diseases. Followed by Dao Yin, a lymphatic self-massage. The lymph system is located in our connective tissue, close to the surface of the skin. The flow of energy through the lymphatic system and organs is stimulated as acupressure points are gently tapped. The body will feel comfortably warm when complete.  Pa Tuan Chin and Dao Yin are part of the ancient practice of Qi Gong. 

The practice is yin. Yin yoga is a quiet practice. The postures aim to increase flexibility throughout the connective tissue of the body. We hold them for three deep breaths. The gentle stretching and contraction helps flush out toxins and lubricate joints while releasing tension and areas of lymphatic congestion. 

As always be mindful of your moves. 

  • Deer pose & deer with a  side stretch; a hip stretch that gives us both an internal and external rotation of the hips. It activates the gall bladder, liver, kidneys, stomach and spleen.
  • Pigeon & resting pigeon; stretches the thighs, groins, psoas and piriformis. It activates the gall bladder, liver, kidneys, stomach, spleen and urinary bladder. 
  • Half butterfly/ side stretch/ forward fold; stretches the hamstrings, calves, spine and groins. It stimulates the kidneys and abdominal organs. 
  • Staff pose; improves posture and alignment
  • Windshield Wiper Legs; loosens the hips
  • Repeat all on the opposite side
  • Cat/Cow; brings flexibility to the spine and stimulates the kidneys and adrenals. 
  • Thread the needle; stretches and opens the shoulders, chest, arms, upper back and neck. 
  • Child's pose; reduces stress and fatigue. gently relaxes the muscles on the front of the body while passively stretching the muscles of the back. This resting pose centers, calms and soothes the mind. 
  • Puppy pose; stretches the spine, shoulders, upper back and arms.
  • Fish pose; stretches the front of the body, the throat, chest and intercoastals. It opens the lungs, improving breathing and strengthens the upper back as well as the back of the neck. 
  • Knees to chest; massages the lower back and stimulates the digestive organs.
  • Savasana; allows the body and mind to absorb all the benefits of the practice. 

Mahalo, we serve. 

Kathe and Melanie; tandem teachers