The human body consists of eleven organ systems. These systems work together and influence each other. It’s not possible to make a clear distinction were one systems ends and another one starts, because they are so interconnected. By doing yoga we influence these eleven systems of the body.
The eleven systems of the body are:
- skeletal system
- muscular system
- nervous system
- endocrine system
- circulatory system
- lymphatic system
- respiratory system
- digestive system
- urinary system
- reproductive system
The skin is one of the largest organs in the body in surface area and weight. It consists of two layers: the epidermis and the dermis. It has three main functions: protection, regulation and sensation.
The primary function of the skin is to act as a barrier. The skin provides protection from mechanical impacts and pressure, variations in temperature, microorganisms, radiation and chemicals. The skin regulates aspects like body temperature through sweat. The skin is an organ of sensation. It contains an extensive network of nerve cells that detect and relay changes in the environment. There are separate receptors for heat, cold, touch and pain.
The skeletal system consists of bones and a network of tendons, ligaments and cartilage that connects the bones. It performs vital functions: support, movement, protection (brain, spinal cord), blood cell production, storage of minerals.
The muscles regulate movement of the skeleton and control the entree and exit of the digestive system. They assist in heat regulation, help the skeleton to be strong and protect our organs.
The brain, spinal cord, and nerves make up the nervous system. Together they control all the workings of the body and adjust where necessary. The brain regulates the activities of the body, the spinal cord brings information from all the different parts of the body to the brain and brings information from the brain to the different parts of the body.
The endocrine system is the collection of glands that produce hormones that regulate metabolism, growth and development, tissue function, sexual function, reproduction, sleep etceteras. The system consists of the pineal gland, pituitary, thyroid gland and parathyroid glands, thymus, kidneys, pancreas and ovaries (females) and testicles (males).
The nervous system does fast adjustments in the human body, the endocrine system does long term adjustments.
The heart pumps blood through the body and regulates blood pressure. The arteries transport blood through all parts of the body, the veins bring it back to the heart. The blood transports oxygen, carbon dioxide, blood cells, vitamins and minerals to different parts of the body and removes waste products. It also plays a role in regulating the body temperature and in defending the body against illnesses.
The lymphatic vessels transport lymph fluid (contains nutrients, oxygen, hormones, fatty acids, as well as toxins and cellular waste products) from peripheral parts of the body to the veins of the circulatory system. Lymph maintain the balance of the lymph fluid and they contain cells who help the body defend itself against pathogens. The spleen checks the blood on pathogens and initiates immune respons. Thymus is in control of white blood cells (which play an important role in the immune system).
The nose filters the air that comes in, warms it and records smells. The trachea (windpipe) transports the air to the lungs, filters and cleans it. The bronchi are an extension of the windpipe and the main passageway into the lungs. They have the same function as the trachea. The lungs are responsible for the movement of air. The exchange In the alveoli oxygen is absorbed into the blood and carbon dioxide, a waste product of metabolism, travels from the blood to the alveoli so it can be exhaled.
The salivary glands produce saliva, which make the food moist and help break it down. This forms the start of the digestion. Pharynx transfers food and moist to the esophagus, which transfers food to the stomach. The stomach temporarily stores food, releases acids and enzymes for the chemical breakdown of food and the churning action of the stomach break food down physically. Finally the stomach releases food into the small intestine in a controlled and regulated manner.
In the small intestine 90 percent of the digestion and absorption of food takes place. (The other 10 percent is taking place in the stomach and large intestine. The main function of the small intestine is absorption of nutrients and minerals from food and secretion of enzymes (partly stored in the pancreas) to break down the food. The liver secretes bile (stored in the gallbladder), needed for digestion and regulates the concentration of nutrients in the blood. The large intestine absorbs water and vitamins while converting digested food into feces.
The urinary system stores and eliminates urine, the fluid waste excreted by the kidneys. The kidneys make urine by filtering wastes and extra water from blood. Urine travels from the kidneys through two thin tubes called ureters and fills the bladder. When the bladder is full this waste product is removed from the body by urinating through the urethra.
The reproductive system is different in a female and in a male. It’s a collection of organs that work together for the purpose of producing a new life. The male reproductive system consists of two major parts: the testes, where sperm are produced, and the penis, who delivers the sperm into the vagina of the woman. The two major parts of the female reproductive system are the vagina and uterus and the ovaries. The last one produces the female’s ova, the first one acts as a receptor for sperm, the second one houses the embryo and helps it grow.
Six of the eleven systems of the body. Image by Interactimages