Yoga Exercises for Swollen Lymph Nodes in the Neck

If you have a head cold or other viral infection, you may feel swollen lymph nodes on the sides of your neck. This is a positive reaction that signals your lymph nodes are functioning to fight off the infection. Other causes of swollen lymph nodes are exposure to bacteria and may result in more serious conditions. When you experience swollen glands, speak with your doctor before using yoga to relieve symptoms.

Three women doing yoga. (Image: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images)

Lymph Nodes

When your body responds with swollen lymph nodes, the swelling is a reaction to a problem within your body. You may experience pain or sensitivity to touch along the sides of your neck. You may also experience other symptoms such as a runny nose, scratchy throat or increased temperature. If you have signs of an infection, your lymph nodes increase the lymph production to fight the infection.

Lymphatic System

Your lymphatic system moves the lymph fluid throughout your body to remove the infection. Unfortunately, the lymphatic system does not work on its own the way your heart pumps blood. For the lymph fluid to move, you must move. The contraction of your muscles helps to force the lymph fluid throughout your body to clean your system.


"Yoga Journal" recommends inverted poses in which your head is below your heart to reduce the swelling of your neck glands. When the lymph fluid works against gravity, it flows into your respiratory system to bind with germs. When you return to an upright position, the lymph returns to the nodes to fight the germs. You can perform Standing Forward Bend by standing tall and then folding forward from your hips. Your legs remain straight as the top of your head hangs toward the floor. If you are able, place your palms on the floor; otherwise place your forearms above your knees to support your back. Remain in Standing Forward Bend for two to five minutes as you breathe deeply.

Downward-Facing Dog

Another inverted yoga pose to reduce swollen neck glands is Downward-Facing Dog. Begin on all fours and then straighten your legs to press your hips to the sky. In Downward-Facing Dog, your heels press toward the floor, your chest presses toward the tops of your legs and your neck is relaxed. Inhale and exhale through your nose as you maintain Downward-Facing Dog for 10 to 20 breaths.

Lion Pose

Lion pose strengthens the lymph nodes in your neck. Lion pose is a seated posture that begins with you kneeling with your feet behind you. Cross your right foot over your left and then sink your hips onto your heels. Your hands are on the front of your legs with your fingers spread like lion claws. Inhale and then open your mouth wide, stick out your tongue and press the tip of your tongue down as you exhale loudly. You may make a "ha" sound as you breathe out. Complete the roar two or three times before crossing your feet the other way and repeating.

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