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.
In this exercise the lymphatic system is activated by vigorous movement and powerful breathing. The pad at the base of the little finger is a reflex point that empowers the communication center of the brain.
In this exercise the powerful movement of the arms, coupled with the forceful breath, is similar to a martial arts exercise. The "snapping back" movement activates the lymph and breast tissues.
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.
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