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Integumentary System, Energy and Ego

Entries in sweat (2)


Healing the Total Body: Where Western Anatomy Meets Eastern Spiritual Science

Healing Series, part 4 

Table of Contents:

Stoke internal fire

Sweat it out with clarity

Electrolyte balance

Best kept secret: Mysore Ashtanga yoga

Break down the ego

Find your truth

(back to the Healing Series)


Stoke internal fire 

With the bones aligned, the muscles supporting me, the next area of focus becomes energy I have within me to sustain my yoga practice day after day, followed by a healthy lifestyle throughout the day. In the end, my goal is vitality, not pain and exhaustion.

Pattahbi Jois says that the heat (tapas) will burn out all impurities, burning away Samskaras, patterns of conditioned behavior, spiritually, emotionally and physically.

Breath and bandhas 

Long even breathing is necessary to get the internal fire stoked from lower abdomen, up the Sushumna, to the rib cage. Adding to that is focused attention on the bandhas—the internal locks in the pelvic floor, lower abdomen and throat—which create the firm focus necessary to calm the Nervous System.

This calming is necessary in order to create the intended liveliness of the daily Mysore yoga practice. Mula bandha is an internal muscle engagement around the perineum, uddiyana bandha is at the lower abdomen and jalandhara bandha is at the chin while back of neck is lengthened. Each is intended to seal in subtle energy and tone muscles.

Burn out impurities 

Does this internal burning and holding undoubtedly lead to a more energetic life? Start with heat. Sweat can be one physiological reaction to indicate that the body is heated. Sweat is part of the Integumentary System, composed of the skin, hair, nails and other related glands.

Our skin is our biggest organ and is a self-repairing, protective boundary between the body and the external environment. The epidermis is the thin outer layer. The dermis is the second layer, which contains blood vessels, sensory receptors, fat cells and sweat glands—eccrine and apocrine. Eccrine sweat glands produce watery sweat that is important for maintaining temperature regulation and for excreting small amounts of sodium chloride from the body. Apocrine sweat glands produce the cloudy, white substance in which bacteria grow.