I am a beginner at yoga and I am wondering if there is a pose that helps eliminate fluid retention in the legs? Jenny, via email
Fluid retention can be triggered by an underlying disease or condition such as chronic lung disease, heart failure or kidney disease. Or it could be the body’s reaction to hot weather, an allergic reaction, a high salt intake or hormones during the menstrual cycle, so it’s a good idea to consult your doctor and try to discover the cause.
General good health is the key to eliminating fluid retention in the body, so a regular hatha yoga practice, along with a good diet is highly recommended.
A very simple yoga exercise to eliminate fluid retention in the legs is Viparita Karani (Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose). To get safely into the position, sit sideways to the wall, then swivel towards the wall, raising your legs up and at the same time lowering your back to the floor. If you like, place a bolster or cushion under your sacrum for comfort. Have your buttocks about 30cm from the wall (or further if your hamstrings are tight). Relax in this position for 5-15 minutes. To safely come out of the posture, bend your knees and roll to one side, then come up to sitting. It’s one of the simplest and most effective rejuvenation exercises there is!
To alleviate mild fluid retention, drink plenty of water, reduce your intake of salt and dehydrating drinks such as alcohol, tea and coffee, increase the calcium and vitamins B6, B5 and D in your diet and exercise regularly. Supplements such as evening primrose oil may help in the case of fluid retention caused by the menstrual cycle; seek advice from your doctor.