The Lymph System and Yawning & Stretching
Yawning and stretching may very well be one of the most important self-healing mechanisms that is built-in into our own body's dynamics. We've all seen how cats yawn and stretch, we've seen dogs do it and we may even have seen ducks do it or swans. But we humans are probably the only type of being on earth that doesn't really fully appreciate that self-healing mechanism that yawning and stretching actually is. If it is something we do, it's the kind of thing we prefer to do away from others, not necessarily in the closet but surely mostly only in the privacy of our bedroom or maybe our living room. (Gosh, it sounds like sex!)
We all know that yawning and stretching is catching... when someone yawns, doesn't almost everyone follow suit. It must be something we need, or why would we be doing it so automatically when we see others do it.
Although not generally known,
the most important function of yawning and stretching is
that their combined movements activate and mobilize our lymphatic system.
As most of us live quite a sedentary life (or should we call it a slouching life?) our lymphatic system - which is a system that doesn't have a pumping heart to move its fluids - almost entirely relies on physical body movements to circulate them. If we don't move, those lymph liquids don't move, they just don't get circulated well enough to be effectively discharged into our circulatory system to be transported to the various filtering glands where toxins and waste products are removed to be eliminated from the body via the kidneys and the urinary system.
(Incidentally, in the brain we have an enormous number of tiny red blood vessels or "capillaries". Those capillaries reach every part of the brain. But in addition to these red blood capillaries in the brain we also have as many white blood cell holding "pre-lymphatic perivascular structures". More on that later.
We know we should be quite mobile, we should move a lot, but we often don't - at least not without some resistance, some reluctance. Thus most people's lymph system or auto-immune system has gotten rather sluggish and slow. It is not for nothing that we get all kinds of sicknesses and diseases, cancer, fibromyalgia, colds, flues, chronic fatigue syndrome, mental fatigue, depression, schizophrenia, dementia, hives, shingles, etc.
This is not to say that "yawning and stretching" is a miraculous cure for any of that, but surely its energetic dynamic is what the body comes equipped with: to cleanse, heal and restore itself to full functioning in ease while undoing dis-ease.
The Brain & Cholesterol
The following notion is probably a new thing to most of us: the brain consists totally of brain cells - of course - but did you know that these brain cells are actually... fat cells... and did you know that these fat cells consist mostly of cholesterol!
Isn't that curious?
The same type of cholesterol that we have in our blood!
Although this cholesterol (when it is the bad kind) can clog the circulatory system, it is also the cholesterol (when it is the good kind) that is supposed to run freely through our circulatory system to reach our brain and tissues of the nervous system. That very same cholesterol that can be so bad for us, is actually indispensable for the proper functioning of our brain and nervous system.
Shouldn't we wonder why we have cholesterol in our blood and why our brain is mostly cholesterol?
Shouldn't we wonder about what the relationship is between the brain and our body's cholesterol, wherever it happens to be located?
Let's say you live a normal life, I mean a normal good life and everything is going quite fine. Nothing is really too stressful, you sleep well, you eat reasonably well, you even exercise regularly, you are in good shape and all that. Well, in that case, you do all your movements energetically, naturally and easily. In that case also, your lymphatic system is OK, your circulatory system is OK, your nervous system is OK, your muscles are OK, everything works OK. When that is the case, your brain rejuvenates itself by itself. Everyday it actually rids itself of old brain cells and everyday the lymph and the red blood system take great care to replace old brain and nerve tissue with new tissue.
Hm, come to think of it, could it be that that cholesterol in our blood is meant for that? Could it be that cholesterol is waiting in our veins, ready to occupy our head, to occupy our mind positively so to speak, instead of worrying us?
Too many people of course don't live that kind of good life! What really happens with most of us, is that at the end of the day we tend to say or think, "I should have done this...", "I should have done that...", or "I should not have done this..." and "I should not have done that..." Eventually we go to bed but we can't sleep - not right away anyway - and we find that our thoughts are going round and round in circles, circling inside our brain. Actually one could almost say that our brain's fat cells are being stirred in their container while having a hard time being replenished in due time!
People that are not generally happy - this could be you of course - people that feel too often somewhat low or depressed, people that have been traumatized, people that have been prevented or are stymied to live their life the way they'd like to live, their physical dynamic energetic state is falling short.
Let's say, this is about you. Let's say that you want to be joyful and playful but that you have almost given up. Let's say that it appears to be hard for you to simply be happy in this world, that you feel kinda' held back... if that is the case, could it be that your brain cells don't get replaced and rejuvenated often enough anymore. Could it be that why life seems to be the same old grind... the same old stuff?
Could be! Let's have a look.
The Lymph System and Cholesterol
For starters, perhaps you hardly yawn and stretch anymore, the circulation of your whole system doesn't work too well anymore and those brain cells... well, they just sit there. Could it be that those cells have gone bad, something like cooking oil turned rancid?
It may very well be that your brain cells' good cholesterol has turned into the bad kind.
Some centuries ago in Europe, when Renaissance scientists started to practice anatomy on human remains in order to find out what their internal organs looked like, they found, after dissecting the craniums of their specimens, that the brains of many (curiously enough often the remains of criminals and inmates from workhouses and asylums) did not reek too well, that they were "kind of smelly".
That should make one want to think afresh.
Maybe, although it is not a happy thought, we should think of it this way: if we are not living a happy and open life, a joyful and dynamically energetic one, could it be that our brain is on it's way to "going bad"?
Now, that - a brain going bad - that could be what makes us forget to sleep well, to think well, that could be what makes us forget and 'forget' to live well.
I suggest that, as our brain cells don't get reworked or replenished - meaning, if the "bad" cholesterol doesn't get filtered out by those white blood cell holding "pre-lymphatic perivascular structures"
(Click this line to read section 3.6 of a science thesis that deals with these structures.) - they turn bad, and it is then, so to speak, that the thoughts that are associated with those brain cells, go round and round in circles in our mind, keeping us awake, but not freshly awake and definitely not acutely and happily aware.
Let's see what we can do about it. I suggest that we've got it in us to get it right again; that it just something that can be re-awakened or re-activated again.
Click this line then scroll down to view a set of exercise videos and an extended treatment of this topic.
There are ancient texts on Kechari Mudra in the Gheranda Samhita, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika and the Yoni Mudra description in the Shiva Samhita are very familiar to me as the flow and bliss of amrita (soma, nectar) happened (and still happens) to me spontaneously (of course with plenty of silence and meditation). For me I did not have to do anything with my tongue. The effects of the Yoni Mudra are also spontaneous.