Bikram Yoga and the Lymphatic System


Bikram yoga is a style of yoga practiced in a room heated to approximately 105 degrees Fahrenheit and with 40 percent humidity. These heat conditions combined with the movements of Bikram yoga are extremely beneficial for the lymphatic system, which prevents diseases and bacteria from entering the body.

Bikram yoga poses such as Bow pose massage the lymph glands in the neck and endocrine glands.
(Thomas Northcut/Lifesize/Getty Images)

The lymphatic system comprises channels that transport lymph, a clear fluid that circulates around the body to the lymph nodes, which filter out cellular waste and harmful microorganisms. Lymph nodes are instrumental in removing interstitial fluid from tissues, facilitating the transportation of fatty acids to the circulatory system and helping the immune system fight infection by transporting antigen-carrying cells.

The lymphatic system relies on the contraction of muscle tissue and massaging of skeletal tissue around the lymph nodes to squeeze out and circulate lymph around the body. Bikram involves a lot of leg and arm muscle contraction, which is particularly effective in transporting lymph fluid, practitioners assert.

Several Bikram poses work the lymphatic system. Standing poses include Garudasana, or Eagle pose, and Ardha-Chandrasana, or Half Moon pose. Seated positions include Supta-Vajrasana, or Fixed Firm pose, and Dhanurasana, or Bow pose. Inversions also allow gravity to stimulate the lymphatic channels, encouraging flow of lymph fluid.

The primary job of the lymphoid tissue is to defend the body against infections, disease and the spread of tumors. It does this by circulating lymph around the body, which is activated during the practice of Bikram yoga, as the lymph nodes are massaged and white blood cells are produced, Bikram practitioners claim. Higher body temperatures accessed in the heated rooms that Bikram is practiced in allow these white blood cells to actively circulate around the body, improving the immune functions of the thymus, spleen, bone marrow and the digestive system, according to practitioners.

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