Best Yoga Question
Why is “legs up the wall” good for the immune system?
This is a really good question. All my texts on yoga says that legs up the wall or vipareeta karani prevent disease or strengthen the immune system, but they don’t go into detail about how they do this. In order to understand how legs up the wall is beneficial to the immune system, we will have to look at the immune system itself. Remember, that I am a Ph.D. in communications and cultural studies and not a medical doctor, so it is best to speak with your medical doctor about your immune system.
We have lymph nodes in our neck, armpits, and groin that trap bacteria, viruses and other foreign substances, that are then destroyed by special blood cells. Lymph flows upwards against gravity, so all day long when you are standing upright, it was to work extra hard to do its job. When you invert yourself with your legs up the wall, the lymph nodes can do their job with greater ease.
Going upside down also improves overall circulation which is also affected by the downward pull of gravity all day long. This can help bring fresh oxygenated blood to the organs of your immune system including your spleen which nourishes, generates and ripens your life force. Also fresh blood flow to your tonsils and thymus will help to stimulate the production of antibodies that help to fight infection.
Going upside down is an antidote to exhaustion and generally revitalizing. When we are in a constant state of fight or flight we are in our sympathetic nervous response. Coming to legs up the wall allows us to access our parasympathetic nervous system, which allows your body to rest and repair.
I hope this helps to explain why legs up the wall is such a great pose for stimulating your immune system.
If you want more great ways to stimulate your immune system try:
And we have a whole class series on our membership site called Yoga for Recuperation for when you actually are sick to bring you back to health: