Yoga for Our Nature Artwork
Season 4 - Episode 8

Immune Booster

35 min - Practice


We focus on the lymphatic system and lymph nodes in this practice designed to boost the immune system while creating space and promoting better circulation.
What You'll Need: Mat, Square Bolster, Blanket, Block (2)


Read Full Transcript

Hello and welcome back to the practice. In this class we'll be focusing on the lymphatic system and the lymph nodes. I have in mind helping you do moves that create space and better circulation around where you actually have lymph nodes in your body, around the neck and the armpits, the belly in the groin area and through pumping actions, squeezing release actions, through inversions or gravity can help lymphatic fluid move back in towards the nodes which then can filter out the waste that hopefully this helps keep you healthy through seasonal transitions, stressed out times, if you're sitting dormant for long periods or if you get exposed to some chemicals. It's kind of nice to try to help support your limb system a little bit. So for this class we'll want a bolster two blocks and a blanket and to begin with if we'll put a bolster down to use underneath the spine and find a comfortable position where it's holding your ribs, supporting your head and allow your arms if you will to be out to your sides, maybe as high as your shoulders, legs comfortably stretched out to the floor in front of you and maybe have the arms out wide enough or maybe higher than your shoulder line so you might already begin to feel the opening of the nodes that are in the armpit area and maybe you know when you start to feel a little under the weather that this armpit area might get a little swollen and for some people we might feel at first in the throat area where we also have lymph nodes. So I always think if I have the thought that I might be sick that I just assume I'm a little bit under the weather and I try to take a little better care of myself, getting extra sleep, drinking lots of water, lots of vitamin C, things like this and also doing a little bit of more restorative like yoga or poses I'll show you to help relax my nervous systems to emphasize a parasympathetic nervous system and to try to linger in that rest and digest mode a little bit more. So while we're resting here is taking a few fuller breaths in and out. Anytime that you like to please adjust the angle of your arm higher up towards your ears or if that starts to feel stressful lower them down. Take just another couple of breaths just landing and allowing your body to rest for a few moments while you take care with slightly longer breaths, slightly opening those channels of the lymph nodes. So the next move that we'll make is to bend your elbows and bring your fingertips up to the front of your chest and from here we'll lift the elbows off the floor and start to let your elbows make circles out to your sides and just trying to feel smooth range of motion and notice this ball and socket like joint as you go around and round creating a little bit maybe of a tug through the armpit area where we have those nodes circling around and round and then so circulation can be helpful just through movement like this and then we can work a little bit with gravity as we take those arms just for a moment up and that squeeze release action will do in different shapes where we make a fist and squeeze your arms tight, fist tight and open your hands wide. Squeeze tight all the way up to the upper chest and relax the hands open. Squeeze tight and release. So we're working with gravity and the pumping action. One more squeeze and release. Let the arms stretch out to the side, circle them slowly all the way down towards your hips. Okay so then we're going to come up off the bolster and if you slide the bolster to a side and we're going to do a little bit of movement towards twisting. Okay so if we bring the knees in towards the chest and let your arms go out to your side maybe hands facing down and as you exhale let your knees fall over to the left side and turn your head over to the right. Come on back up to center. There's one more warm-up with your legs going to the left and your head turning to the right. We'll come back up to the center. When we go again to your right side with your knees we'll stay for a few breaths looking over towards your left hand and here we have the opportunity to work into the belly area where there's nodes, lymph nodes, left upper corner of the chest where there's lymph nodes and if we can turn the head to look towards the left fingertips we also get a little bit of stimulation and movement through the neck and through the throat. Come on back up to center. Let's go ahead drop your legs over to the left and turn your head to look over to the right and walking your hands far apart until you feel a stretch through your upper left, oh sorry, through your upper right chest. Knees falling and up to the side we get a little stretch down into your belly area and then staying long enough as we turn the head to feel maybe we get some movement action down through your throat and let's take it on back up to center. We take the arms now to the side of your body feet about hip distance apart and we'll work into bridge pose with your hips up in the air spine up off the floor stretch your knees forward and now we can target the lymph nodes in the front of the groin area as well as the stomach and all the way up through the neck and throat. So we're going to add in addition to this the pumping and release action with the technique Kapalabhati. So as you exhale do quick sharp exhalations you breathe through your nose and feel your diaphragm movement feel your diaphragm hitting the bottom of the lungs as you make these quick sharp exhales. So squeeze and release. Now in between we'll inhale take a big breath take your arms back towards your ears let your spine touch the floor for a moment and then again as we inhale lift your hips take your arms down to your side let your arms stay tucked underneath the shoulders come up as high as you're comfortable let your knees be stretching forward away from your chest and then begin our Kapalabhati that quick sharp exhalation through the nose try to feel your belly squeezing in on those exhales the diaphragm pumping up against the lungs on the exhales while keeping the height of the pelvis. Inhale big breath take your spine down let your arms flow all the way back towards the ears open up those inner arms then one last time hips up arms down at your side let your arms press into the floor keep the hips up and when you're ready one last round Kapalabhati quick sharp exhales try to find comfortable rhythm maintaining the height of your hips and that pumping and release action through the upper abdominal area. Inhale big breath come all the way to the floor arms flow all the way back towards your ears and stay here a breath and then we'll work with gravity again now to help move that limbs as we take the legs up in the air and your arms straight up above your shoulders and while we're here let's just make some little circles with your wrist and with your ankles going one direction and then go ahead and let your circles go the opposite way make it little circles simply keeping the legs up arms up so gravity can help move the fluids back down towards the lymph nodes in the groins and in the shoulder armpit area all right from here let's go ahead and hug those legs in towards your chest and we'll get ready to come on up off the floor and we'll turn around I'll turn around so you can face the front little edge of your mat and come to tabletop position so as you're in tabletop position if you curl your toes under and begin to drop the belly and chest toward the floor and look forward with your eyes open as we exhale we're gonna do our lion's breath to emphasize the front of the throat down into the neck area so as you exhale open your mouth wide tongue comes out towards your chin so you exhale keep the head hanging down and let your hips come up and back at the end of the exhale so we go into the inversion part and then let's bring the knees back down inhale look forwards exhale mouth opens let your tongue reach out towards your chin come on up into your downward dog opening the inner arms the quality of that inversion and helping to bring more blood again back down towards the heart arms the neck come on back down to your knees inhale lion breath exhale take a moment from downward dog to step your right foot a little closer to your left foot take your left leg straight up towards the sky with your hips squared for a moment and then we'll turn that left hip a little bit more towards the sky and as your hips begin to stock a little more reach strongly through that left heel until you feel a little bit more space and opening the front of that left groin some people might enjoy bending that top left leg and spinning the hip open more and we start to feel into that belly area into the front of the groin on the left and again that inversion quality really challenging this the shoulder area opening the inner arms come on back to center position and then put both knees down as you inhale look forward exhale lion's breath come up into your downward dog right at the end again knees down to the floor inhale look forward emphasize that movement for the throat lion's breath holding downward dog and the last time as we come down with the knees look forward inhale lion's breath and as we come to downward dog step your left foot closer to your right foot and then take that right leg up towards the sky it's parallel to the floor stay here if you wish or turn that right hip more open so you more clearly make space in the front of that right groin stretch along through the front of the belly we can emphasize that with your right knee bends and turn the belly a little bit more open towards the ceiling can really target that area to help promote a little bit more stretch so eventually again there's a little more circulation stretch out long through that right leg bring both feet down to the floor and bring your knees down for a moment walk the hands in give yourself a moment to shake out the wrist okay so the next one as we come down back to all fours knees apart in this way if we allow from here your left arm to float straight out to the side parallel to the floor we can continue moving the waist and turning the chest open on the inhale look up follow your left hand over to the right as you exhale at the side of your head touch the floor inhale wind on out reach out to the side or up exhale follow your left hand over to the right one more time inhaling opening that left chest and armpit exhale reach under and then stay with your head down on the floor scoot your shoulders as far away from your knees as you need to knees and hips stay stacked and take your right arm around your back for a moment reach around for your shirt your pants or your inner thigh and see if we can turn that right chest a little bit more open towards the wall in front of you to the right taking a moment just imagining that right long turning a little bit more towards the sky take one more moment or so where you are here and then we'll release out put your right hand on the floor press up and out and we'll stabilize that left hand under your shoulder and let your right arm reach out to the side and turn if you're comfortable to look more up then follow your right hand over to the left and the side of the head touches the floor inhale right arm swings out or up exhale follow your hand to the left head down and one more time inhale go up and then exhale releasing down okay now as we anchor the outer arm the side of the head your shins and your feet take the left arm around your back for shirt pants or inner thigh and while the neck is trying to find a comfortable place to be here roll open that left chest a little bit more towards the ceiling and try to imagine that left lung here is turning more towards the sky so like your lungs eventually would be stacked take one more moment here then release your left hand down towards your face and as we come on out curl your toes under bring your knees together then lift yourself up just so you can find out where your block is so if we need one or two blocks for Virasana and have us sit for just a moment and maybe we put the block back between your feet okay so if we can come into somewhat of a comfortable place enough now when you're here we do a little shoulder shrugs we go up and then exhale relax lift up and relax think of all these little lymph nodes in your neck throat area that we tighten and then release two more times lift up little shoulder shrug and release right and then let's make little tiny circles with the head neck and as your head circles around a few times just notice again that there's not a lot of popping cracking sounds and if there are we always try to reduce them but maybe making your circle a little bit smaller so relaxing jaw relaxing the belly as you move through those little circles different ways we can enhance circulation through those nodes in the neck let's lift your head now right on top of your spine so one of the other pieces I like is to take the left arm around the back slide your hand towards your outer right waist and take your right hand to your left hand and maybe hug the hand in closer to your waist pin it into your side now let your right ear drop a little bit over towards your right shoulder and then we can really open up this left side of the neck into the upper chest towards the inner armpits okay sometimes the first place your head lands isn't the best spot so we might need to lower your chin down towards your collarbone or turn your chin slightly towards your right arm you see if there's someplace in there that allows you to feel into this whole left side of your neck let's take one more breath in one more breath out lift your head on up and we'll take the hand position and slide it over to the left so it's pinned against your left waist that left elbow can stick up to the side this time let your left ear drop over towards your left arm or shoulder jaw relaxes eyes relax and notice is it best to drop the chin down towards the throat or turn your head slightly to the sides which one gives you most access here into that right side of your neck through your chest down to your inner armpit on the right side and slowly let the head come up and then release your arms down okay just go ahead and make a few little loosening up circles with your arms and shoulders all right so that's our portion sitting in a verasana so we can move the block out of the way and next we'll come down onto your belly so a bunch of those lymph nodes in the belly in front of the groin we're gonna target right now as we come on down and have both arms out in front of you so with your forehead facing the floor for just a moment now bend your left knee and as you reach back for your left foot with your left hand if possible we might take that foot and press it a little bit more down towards the outside of the left hip or the glutes until you feel some space some length at the front of your left hip or groin area if you're comfortable here we're gonna slide your left hand to the front of your ankle flex the ankle and now begin to lift your left knee and your right hand up and we come into a little bit more of a half wheel like shape a half dhanurasana and keep lifting that left knee lifting your right hand while the belly is pressing into the floor take one more breath emphasizing that left side of the groin the thigh right upper back and release take that left hand forward bend your right knee please reach back with your hand towards your foot and first maybe press the foot towards the back of the glutes or side of the hip and then press the front of the pelvic bones to the floor to really emphasize the opening at the front of the hip it might also feel a wonderful quadriceps stretch and if it's okay here we slide hand towards that right ankle flex that ankle and then as you lift your right knee it won't be a lot for most of us lift your left hand a few inches and try to keep pressing up through that right heel as you lift your left hand and then again noticing you're still breathing well as you continue to explore lifting right knee and left arm while keeping the belly on the floor and we're going to keep lifting the chest and reach your left hand back towards your right ankle sorry left hand back to the left ankle catch a hold of both ankles and now inhale and let your knees and chest lift pause inhale a little bit more lift your knees and chest pause either stay here or inhale a little bit more and keep the lift of the thighs lift of the chest and we'll go two more times a little bit more air in as you lift up opening wide through the chest stretching the front of the groin stretching into those arms until we're right at that very end point we'll slowly slowly work our way down put your feet on the ground hands beside the chest and then get ready to come on up and we'll head into downward dog walk your hands forward and lift your hips up and just take a moment to settle into that inversion and if we need to swing the hips a little side to side if you felt a little tight in the back after back bending release and exhale here you can take this last breath and downward dog and then walk your feet forward up toward the back of your wrist bend your knees so that you can easily catch hold of opposite elbow and with your knees bent let your body hang forward and down so it's not so much about stretching your hamstrings as it is allowing you to come into a partial inversion with your head lower than the heart and let gravity take those arms towards the floor shoulders towards the floor just take one more moment appreciating that quality of the partial inversion release the elbow clasp and come up the best way for you to stand right now if you grab a hold of a blanket and make your blanket into a little bit of a roll so we can rest the heels on this to maybe have a little bit more success in a squat so as we kind of target again now this front groin area when we come down toward the squats if coming down this low doesn't work for you come to where it works for you and when you come down let your arms come to the insides of your knees palms pressing together so as I mentioned the squeeze and release now I'd like you to try to squeeze your arms legs into your arms and press your arms out against your knees again squeeze your knees in and then relax squeeze your knees in your arms are resisting relax legs squeeze knees in and relax squeeze knees in and relax and you'll notice that your pelvis goes up and down as you're squeezing the legs in so we're creating some action all the way up into that groin area squeeze and release squeeze and release all right let's go ahead and come out of that shape and if we slide your bolster out of the way and find one block to start with we'll put that block in between the inner upper thighs so as you're standing this for a moment with your arms at your side and we'll do that squeeze and release with the block so you might not be able to tell what that I'm doing this but I'm trying to squeeze my upper femurs towards the block and then relax squeeze the upper femurs toward the block and relax squeeze and release again you might not see that I'm doing anything but I'm using my legs quite a lot relax through two more squeeze and release squeeze and release and we'll try that in a couple poses in just a moment so next one left foot forward for warrior one right leg back and we'll come back to that pumping action when your feet are stable on the ground bend your left knee take your arms up over your head over your shoulders and I'd like you to make those fists with your hands and squeeze your arms really tight all the way to the shoulder and then open the palm relax squeeze every muscle tight in the arm and then relax squeeze everything tight relax and again squeeze everything tight and relax one more squeeze tight and relax circle the arms down step your right foot forward step your left leg back for warrior one arms stretch up above the shoulders and here's that inversion gravity helps to move the fluids down and then squeeze and release squeeze the arms tight relax squeeze every muscle relax squeeze every muscle and relax now as we take the arms circle them back and down let's turn and face the long edge of your mat and try in our warrior two that's like now with your let's say right knee turning out first let there be again like you had a block a huge block between your thighs that you're squeezing in toward the groin and relax squeeze in and relax so I'll exaggerate so you can see my hips are moving as I engage my inner thighs and I squeeze in and they lift up toward my navel relax squeeze in and lift up so I can keep my arms out to the side palms facing slightly up squeeze inner legs relax one more squeeze and relax and now let's reverse the warrior with your left hand down and stretching longer through this right armpit area down into that right hip groin area and settle in to what would be your version of reversed warrior it's enough stretch and lift through that right arm to feel that opening through your armpit here one more letting gravity do its magic here come up and out turn your right foot in and turn your left foot out we'll bend your left knee and float those arms out to the side maybe higher than shoulders and then work the legs squeeze and release squeeze and release again you can see the hips are coming up and they drop down engage those muscles inner legs up towards the belly area relax squeeze release squeeze and now let's go ahead and relax and send your right hand down and reverse that warrior to and taking that left hand your version high enough up that you create again that stretch that opening through that left armpit so tending to the legs that gravity do its magic of taking fluids from the hand down towards the armpit take one more moment as you are here then come up and out turn both feet to face forward and then we'll bring maybe the feet a little bit closer together so you can tip forward more easily and come into our wide-legged forward bend slash downward dog so in that moment letting your feet stay wide the head drops between your arms and you might be on the fingertips you might be with flat hands or you might grab your blocks if that's best for you to touch the floor I'm gonna stay on fingertips today and this could be again a longer held inversion it doesn't feel quite comfortable enough put blocks underneath your head okay so we get the opening of the groin the legs we get the inversion quality without a lot of work in the shoulders it's a lot less work I hope you feel then when you're doing downward dog slightly easier variation let's take just a couple more moments just taking the inversion feeling the fluids moving maybe more towards the heart the throat the head walk the hands back in maybe get used to altitude shift as you come with your spine up parallel to the floor pause and then heel toe your legs and feet towards each other hands on the legs and we come up towards standing all right so that's a bunch of different shapes that target groins armpit neck area belly not the only ones for the limp but a handful of some good ones I hope let's use all of the props and coming to the floor with a blanket under your head and this would be a substitute for legs up the wall one that I use quite often we call that the stone hedge where we take the bolster on top of two tall blocks and when you have that in place we'll put the legs the calves up on top of the tall blocks on top of the bolster and then slide your blanket back and that's where we rest the heads got a little pillow here and so make yourself comfortable and again it's a lot a little bit like legs up the wall we get that inversion towards the pelvis of the abdominal area in this case it's also quite relaxing once your legs are up on the prop please settle into the pose and trying to receive the support underneath your body try let go of any muscular tension will actually come to a Shavasana so this is just a moment before Shavasana to let your nervous system calm down while doing a mini partial inversion trying to shift into that rest and digest part of your nervous system which is really helpful in maintaining the health of your immune system following the breath is a helpful tool to stay focused to stay present please follow the breath without changing the breath in any way just observe the breath if the mind feels a little bit restless or tired or fatigue unfocused come back to your breath and some days you might just choose to do this one pose longer or actually officially put your legs up against the wall one of the best poses we could do perhaps for our immune health to keep our nervous system calm and relax we use gravity to move fluids as we settle into an inversion and so I just wanted to give you a flavor again of some of the poses that might be helpful the last thing we'll do is take your legs off the bolster off the blocks and the legs feel too wide you can move the props or just leave them there keep the limbs spread open in this way and we're going to do a squeezing action one more time you make fists with your hands make every muscle in your arm tight lift your arms bring shoulders towards ears and then lift your legs and make every muscle tight squeeze squeeze squeeze and then relax into the floor let's try that again make everything tight fist arms tight lifted shoulders come up everything tight tight tight face tight and relax everything to the floor then last time squeeze fist shrug the shoulders to the ears lift everything every muscle super tight even your face super super tight and then relax at all and then a few fuller exhales just landing sinking back into support perhaps using this kind of practice as a way to decrease some stress and maybe as we decrease stress we might find it's actually easier to sleep after we do a little movement or exercise yoga and that getting good night's sleep is really helpful for that healthy immune system so may this practice be one of those steps to get you closer to rest with good rest we might sleep better aware of breath here as we relax wear a breath without controlling the breath taking just another breath as you are here when you're ready making little movements with fingers toes ankles and wrists to slide your legs back in closer toward the sit bones and turn over to a side watch where the props are and then come around and up rides and perhaps letting that blanket that was underneath your head underneath your hips just to come into a good seat for a moment and letting your hands rest on your knees and trying to sit up nice and tall if you take a moment perhaps just to close your eyes and take a few breaths in and out acknowledging again your effort that you put into your practice to take care of yourself and wishing you all much health in the seasons ahead thank you so much for watching namaste


Christel B
Perfect during recovery phase of the bug that is going around at work/school. Namaste.
Claudine C
Thank you, love this practice. 🙏
Ludmila K
1 person likes this.
Powerful practice. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.
Melina Meza
My pleasure, thank you so much for watching.
2 people like this.
Loved this practice, and absolutely loved the Stonehenge idea. :) Your cueing is so good I don't have to look at you. Thank you!
Elissa P
2 people like this.
powerful good. I'm feeling "under" today and this was just what I needed. Thank you for your expertise and guidance.
Linda D
loved this practice for the immune systemn
Fernando A
2 people like this.
Thank you Melina. I have been trying to do these practices daily... Great self-care practices. Very helpful in terms of my own teaching as well. Love the creativeness of the themes and the simplicity of the verbal cues. Great job! Namaste.
Kate M
1 person likes this.
Just perfect for the very beginning of a cold! Love your sequencing/cueing. Thank you, Melina Meza ! (Happy Holidays!)
Jennifer F
1 person likes this.
Thank you. Perfect for a sunny Seattle morning during these crazy times.
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