36
HUMAN ANATOMY
The lymphatic and immune systems
work together to ght invaders. Acute
inammation can be a helpful result of
this internal war, such as when you have a
cut. However, chronic inammation is an
underlying cause of many major diseases.
SYSTEM OVERVIEW
Lymph vessels collect and drain excess fluid
from body tissues. They also carry immune
cells around your body. Evidence suggests
that yoga can help reduce chronic
inflammation and it may boost
immunity, helping you get sick less
often and less intensely. Your body
can heal itself, and yoga can help.
LYMPHATIC
SYSTEM
Tonsils
Help destroy bacteria
or viruses that enter
the nose or mouth
Thoracic duct
Lymph drains
back into the heart
through here
Axillary nodes
A concentration
of lymph nodes
under the arm
Spleen
Produces cells that
fight infection
Cisterna chyli
Collects lymph
from the lower
half of the body
Lymph node
Lymph is processed
and cleaned here
Inguinal nodes
A concentration
of lymph nodes
around the groin
Lymph vessel
Drains and
transports lymph
Lymphocytes,
specialized white
blood cells
Lymph
flows out
of node
Valve keeps lymph
flowing in one direction
Lymph node
These are checkpoints that screen lymphatic
uid for foreign invaders. The cleaned uid is
returned to your blood. Movement in yoga asanas,
particularly from sun salutations and inversions,
can help facilitate lymph ow.
US_036-037_Lymphatic.indd 36 28/09/2018 12:37
37
Damage to
cartilage
More cytokines
means more
inflammation
Yoga has been shown
to reduce cytokines,
including: IL-1beta,
TNF-alpha, IL6,
and IL10
Finger joint
inflamed with
rheumatoid
arthritis
T-cell
White blood cells
White blood cells are like warriors ghting
viruses, bacteria, and cancer cells in your
body. Fragments of the invaders, called
antigens, are presented so the warriors can
strategically ght using the right antibodies
and chemical messengers, called cytokines.
Communication is key—miscommunication
can lead to chronic inammation.
DENDRITIC CELL
These present antigens,
which the body
recognizes as a foreign
invader. They activate
T-cells to do their job.
MACROPHAGE
Hungry hunter cells
(see phagocytosis
below) that also release
cytokines to induce
inflammation.
B-CELL
A type of lymphocyte
that secretes antibodies,
which are proteins
specialized to fight
specific antigens.
T-CELL
A type of lymphocyte
that is activated to fight
by the presentation of
antigens. There are
many specialized types.
INFLAMED JOINT
A cascade of events can
lead to inflammation, joint
damage, loss of function,
and possibly pain.
CYTOKINES
These are inflammatory
markers that encourage
an immune response.
PHAGOCYTOSIS
Macrophages (white) patrol your body
on alert for invaders (red) to engulf
and eat, in a process called phagocytosis
.
INFLAMMATORY RESPONSE
Inflammation often involves heat, pain, redness, and swelling
due to a cascade of events where white blood cells fight invaders.
In an autoimmune disease, they mistakenly fight body tissue. For
example, rheumatoid arthritis (see below) can flare to cause local
inflammation and body-wide inflammation.
Macrophage
Inflammation
Blood
vessel
Healthy
cartilage
Lymph
node
Dendritic cell
Antigen
fragment
B-cell releases
antibodies
Cytokines
(inflammatory
markers)
Yoga and
inammation
Yoga seems to help attenuate
inammation by reducing the
stress response, which may
reduce your disease risk. A
review shows that yoga
practice reduces cytokine
count and therefore
inammation. Scientists
hypothesize that a long-term,
regular practice would be
most eective.
US_036-037_Lymphatic.indd 37 28/09/2018 12:37
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