Kidney – Yoga Therapy of a critical organ

Kidney – Yoga Therapy for Kidney ailments

Acknowledgement – School of Yoga is deeply grateful to Dr. V. Sivaraman for his collaboration of Yoga Therapy for Kidney ailments.

Kidney anatomy

Kidney anatomy

School of Yoga explains: Introduction to the kidney:

  • Kidneys are part of the urinary or renal system and consist of the kidneys, ureter, urinary bladder and urethra.
  • The urinary system performs excretion and regulation. In fact, the activity is centred on the kidneys, making it the centre of the urinary system.
  • 22 % of the heart output or blood flow goes to the kidneys where waste from metabolism is removed and excreted as urine. This not only cleans the body, but also regulates its functioning.

So, this shows the importance of healthy kidneys.

School of Yoga explains: Mechanics of the kidney:

  • The kidneys are 2 bean shaped organs which are placed on either side of the spine, high in the abdominal cavity, somewhere in the centre of the torso towards the back.
  • The primary function of the kidneys is filtration of blood. The renal artery brings blood which has waste products, into the kidneys and the renal vein takes back cleaned blood.
  • Cleaning of the blood is achieved by;
  1. Removal of waste / toxins, mainly urea and uric acid from the body.
  2. Regulation of electrolyte balance such as sodium, potassium and calcium.
  3. Regulation of acid-base homeostasis by regulating -HCO3.
  4. Osmoregulation – Controlling electrolyte balance, hence blood pressure.

The waste thus removed is excreted through the ureter into the bladder and urethra.


Kidney physiology

School of Yoga explains: Physiology of kidney:

The kidneys come under the influence of the circulatory, nervous and endocrine system.

The parameters which affect the functioning of the kidneys are;

  1. Electrolyte balance – such as sodium, potassium and calcium. Calcium is a critical for building or remodelling of bones. Hence, the health of the parathyroid determines the health of the kidney. Control of calcium is done by the parathyroid which is situated in the neck around the oesophagus. This regulates the amount of calcium in the blood.
  2. Aldostrone hormone: is a steroid hormone generated by the adrenaline glands which regulate the amount of sodium and potassium and impact the amount of water retained in the arteries and therefore blood pressure. The adrenaline glands are situated above the kidneys.
  3. The kidneys process approximately 1000 – 1200 ml of blood per minute, which means that the entire blood volume of the body is processed through the kidneys at least 250 – 300 times a day. In fact, humans have approximately 5 litres of blood circulating in the body. It is generally more in males than females. This volume is regulated by the kidneys and is generally impacted by age and obesity.
  4. Fluid balance – The amount of water in the blood determines various factors such as homeostasis, pH of the blood, electrolyte concentration etc. The kidneys are critical in ensuring this capability.
  5. Metabolism – The concentration of -HCO3 + sugar and urea levels are byproducts of metabolism. Hence, the kidneys cannot be viewed in isolation, but in conjunction with the health of the heart, lungs, pancreas and the endocrine system.

School of Yoga explains: Impact of other organs

Kidney and other organs in the torso.

Kidney and other organs in the torso.

The kidneys are dependent on many other organs for health and vice versa. The quality of blood coming to the kidneys determines the ability of the kidneys to filter it. Similarly, the quality of blood leaving the kidneys determines the overall health of the other organs. Consequently, this determines the health of the body, underscoring the key role played by the kidney.
Some of the organs which directly affect the kidneys are (not all are covered):

  1. Heart: Blood is the only fluid which reaches every part of the body carrying oxygen and nutrients for proper functioning of the various systems of the body. Thus, blood pressure impacts the quality of cleaning. Therefore, chronic high blood pressure will impact osmosis and reduce the efficiency of the kidneys.
  2. Lung efficiency: CO2 and water vapour is removed from the body through the lungs. The CO2 in the blood plasma is converted to –HCO3, is regulated by the kidneys and critical for control of pH of the blood. So, healthy lungs help the kidneys maintain acid-base balance.
  3. Pancreas: The pancreas plays a critical role in regulating blood sugar. Chronic diabetes can damage the kidneys. Therefore, healthy kidneys require control of blood sugar.

School of Yoga explains: Solutions to a healthy kidney

Solution to any circulatory illness depends a lot on lifestyle, age and hereditary issues. So, the solutions are not necessarily in order of priority, but some or all may apply to the practitioner;

  1. Body weight – Keeping within the recommended weight range is possible only through strict diet and exercise regime. Consequenty, this automatically ensures a healthy heart, liver and pancreas.
  2. Vegetarian diet – Meats produce acids which need to be excreted by the kidneys. Also, vegetarian diet is more alkaline, and this reduces the load on the kidneys.
  3. Lung function – Pranayama is a very important element in overall plan. This ensures greater oxygen supply to the kidneys, ensuring their health.
  4. Hypertension – Even when the person follows a good diet, it is possible for hypertension to increase blood pressure to a point where it affects critical organs such as the kidneys (which receives 22% of all blood supply). Asana, pranayama and meditation play a key role in reducing stress, counteracting the effects of prolonged exposure to adrenaline and cortisol.
  5. Blood Sugar – Prolonged exposure to high sugar levels in the blood impact osmolarity. Hence, a healthy pancreas is critical for the functioning of the kidneys.

School of Yoga explains: The asana plan for a healthy kidney:

  1. Beginner – 3 months – all asanas to be performed slowly and after OK from doctor.
  2. Intermediate – 3 months – all asanas to be performed only after improvement is detected and after OK from doctor. Estimated time – 30 mins
  3. Final – all asanas to be performed only after substantial improvement is detected and after OK from doctor. Estimated time – 45 mins
Asana Beginner Intermediate Final
No Time frame 3 months 3 months thereafter
1 Padmasana 3 minutes 3 minutes 3 minutes
2 Tadasana 2 2 2
3 Trikonasana 2 3 3
4 Padahastasana 2 2
5 Veerabadrasana 2 2 2
6 Bhujangasana 2 3 3
7 Shalabasana 2
8 Dhanurasana 2 2 3
9 Majriasana 1 2 2
10 Pavanamuktasana 2 2 2
11 Arda-halasana 2 2 2
12 Sundara Vipareeta karani 5 minutes 5 minutes 10 minutes
13 Sarvangasana 5 minutes
14 Matsyasana 1 x 10 counts
15 Sethubandasana 1 x 20 counts 1 x 30 counts 1 x 50 counts
16 Nadishuddhi pranayama 5 x 2 cycles 5 x 2 cycles 5 x 2 cycles
17 Kapalabhati 20 x 2 cycles 40 x 2 cycles 50 x 2 cycles
18 Shavasana 5 minutes 5 minutes 5 minutes
19 Meditation (sit in silence and focus on the breath) 10 minutes 10 minutes 10 minutes

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Editor at School Of Yoga
School Of Yoga is a single point resource for all aspects of Classical Yoga practise. We try to achieve this by placing Yoga's traditional methodology in front of the reader and eliciting his or her experience. We value everyone's Yoga experience and would like you to share and enrich other practitioners so that everyone benefits.
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