While every organ of the human body holds equal importance, there are a few organs which if the malfunction can cause serious problems. Kidneys are one of those vital organs. Shaped like a bean, kidneys are present in the vertebrates inside the retroperitoneal space. Their importance is due to the function they perform of filtering the blood by removing waste and urine and balancing the salts, water and minerals in the body.
Due to escalating levels of pollution, sedentary lifestyle and poor food habits, the pressure on the kidneys has risen manifold. Around 10% of people of the world’s adult population are affected by chronic kidney disease which is majorly caused due to hypertension and diabetes. In such a scenario, it is important to take good care of your this organ. Yoga emerges as the best way out as it enhances overall physical well being by strengthening the internal organs. Here is a list of asanas which if inculcated in your daily routine can help boost your kidney health.
1. Padangusthasana or Big Toe Pose
It is one of the beginner asanas in Yoga, necessary to master to perform other higher-level asanas. People who have just started doing yoga and did not have any major exercising schedule earlier might have a stiff body and might not be able to perform this asana. However regular practice can make you master the pose in no time.
To perform this asana, just stretch your hands up while standing straight and slowly bend forward and try to touch your feet with your hands. If that was easy, try stretching more until you touch your chin on your knees or chest on your thighs. This easy to do asana comes with major benefits as it can stimulate your liver, kidney as well as spleen. The follow-up poses of Padangusthasana are Utkatasana and Trikonasana.
Other Benefits Of Padangushtasana
- The asana gives a good stretch to the back as well as legs. It strengthens their muscles and makes the body more flexible.
- It helps improve digestion and fights problems like chronic constipation and gas pains.
- Padangushthasana improves blood circulation, especially directing it towards the head and helps cure problems like headaches and insomnia.
- Practice the pose carefully if suffering from any back or neck injury. It is inadvisable to do this asana if you are suffering from herniated or slipped disc.
- Do not overstretch as this might result in a sprain.
- Pregnant women are not advised to perform this asana.
2. Ardha Matsyendrasana or Sitting Half Spinal Twist
Ardha Matsyendrasana, a twisting pose, is not much difficult to perform and comes with vital benefits of maintaining healthier kidneys. Just like other twisting postures, this asana improves the circulation of blood which means more fresh blood passes through the organs than impure blood. Thus the asana reduces pressure on organs like kidney and liver.
Ardha Matsyendrasana is an easier version of Paripurna Matsyendrasana for people who find it difficult to practice the latter one. To perform this asana, sit flat on the ground and turn left (or right) leg towards the body with the foot placed close to the hip or thigh. Lift up the right (or left) leg, placing its foot on the ground on the outside of the first leg. Twist the body and with the left (or right) hand hold the left (or right) knee by crossing the hand over the raised leg. If this is not possible, just hold the raised leg’s knee with this hand. Place the other hand near the spine and twist the body as much as possible.
Other Benefits Of Ardha Matsyendrasana
- It strengthens the back and hips muscles and also makes them more flexible.
- It helps in releasing built-up toxins of the body.
- The asana is especially beneficial for women as it can help relieve menstrual cramps and improves the functioning of the reproductive organs by increasing blood flow to the pelvic region.
- The asana is not recommended for people with any kind of serious injuries in the back and with problems like slip disc and sciatica.
- Pregnant women must practice the pose carefully.
- Do not twist or stretch suddenly to avoid a sprained back.
3. Naukasana or Boat Pose
Naukasana works like a miracle on the abdominal region. It effectively massages the internal organs and is especially beneficial in strengthening the kidney. It also works on the liver and the pancreas.
To practice naukasana, first, lie down flat on the floor. Take a deep breath and exhale slowly while raising your legs and back, balancing your body on your hips. Keep the arms outstretched towards the legs.
Other Benefits Of Naukasana
- It strengthens the muscles of arms, thighs, shoulders and abdomen.
- The asana is quite effective in case a person wishes to get rid of their belly fat.
- The pressure that Naukasana puts on the stomach helps improve digestion and provide relief from chronic constipation and buildup of gas.
- Sometimes the naval centre shifts when the body suffers a sudden jerk. Naukasana can help shift the displaced naval back to its original position.
- It is not advisable for Asthma and heart patients to perform this asana.
- People suffering from joint problems and high blood pressure should refrain from this asana.
- Menstruating women should not perform this asana.
4. Ushtrasana or Camel Pose
Ushtrasana is quite beneficial for the kidneys as this asana directs blood towards the kidneys, flushing these organs with fresh oxygenated blood. It is also helpful in relieving the symptoms of kidney stone and also prevents them from relapsing.
To practice Ushtrasana, first sit in Vajrasana. Then stand on your knees by lifting up the body and create some distance between the legs. Begin by raising one arm, taking it behind and rest on your foot. Do the same with the other hand. Push the chest outwards and drop the head back. To come back to the original position, begin by bringing back each hand and come back to the sitting position.
Other Benefits Of Ushtrasana
- People in desk jobs end up with a bad posture which might be painful at later ages. Ushtrasana helps correct the posture and relaxes the back and neck muscles.
- The asana is an excellent one for people suffering from heart disorders as it reduces hypertension and improves blood circulation.
- As it greatly stretches the muscles of the neck region, Ushtrasana stimulates the thyroid glands and provides the much required hormonal balance.
- Ushtrasana can help you elevate spiritually as it provides a path to open the heart chakra.
- The asana must not be performed with an injured back and neck.
- If you are suffering from insomnia or migraine, you might consider avoiding this asana.
- The asana might be a difficult one for beginners, hence it is recommended to proceed slowly.
5. Pavanmuktasana or Wind Relieving Pose
Pavanmuktasana also helps in stimulating the kidney by directing the flow of oxygenated blood towards it also providing it with a good massage. To practice pavanmuktasana, lie down on a flat surface. Raise one leg, folding it from the knee and hug it close to the chest by interlocking your fingers around the leg. Inhale deeply and while exhaling, raise your head and try to touch your head or chin to the knee. Slowly come back to the original position. Repeat the process with the other leg too. Pavanmuktasana has several variations. It can also be done by both the legs at the same time. In another variant, both the legs are hugged close to the chest and the person is told to roll back and forth on their back. This apart from providing a good massage to the back also provides a massage to the internal organs.
Other Benefits Of Pavanmuktasana
- Pavanmuktasana is especially meant to help treat digestive disorders like constipation and gas pains.
- It improves blood circulation to the pelvic region and improves the functioning of the reproductive organs.
- Women with menstrual disorders must practice this asana regularly for some relief.
- Do not practice this asana if it strains your neck too much.
- People suffering from piles or hernia or undergoing any abdominal surgery must not do this asana.
- Pregnant women must practice the asana carefully, if possible under the guidance of a teacher.
6. Paschimottanasana or The Forward Bend Pose
Paschimottanasana is also considered a level 1 asana as it is necessary to master this asana to perform other higher-level asanas. However, if one can master this pose, Paschimottanasana itself has many major benefits. Since it stretches the body, especially the back greatly and also puts pressure on the abdominal region; it helps in massaging the internal organs of this region and improves blood flow to these organs. Thus this asana stimulates the kidney and reduces its pressure.
To do paschimottanasana, sit down straight with legs spread forward. Raise your arms and while stretching them to the maximum extent, bend forward until you touch your toes. If you are capable of bending more, try touching your forehead or chin to your knee.
Other Benefits Of Paschimottanasana
- The asana boosts metabolism and improves digestion.
- It helps improve the flexibility of the back and provides relief from backaches.
- It especially increases blood circulation in the spinal cord and thus strengthens the nervous system.
- It releases pain and stiffness of the hamstrings.
- Do not perform the asana if affected with a serious back injury.
- Pregnant women must avoid putting pressure on the womb.
- Never try bending to an extent you know is not possible for your body. Always take it slow and practice regularly for best results.
7. Baddhakonasana or Cobbler’s Pose
Baddhakonasana is also called Bhadrasana. Baddha means bound and Kona means angle which is why this pose is translated as Bound Angle pose in English. The pose improves kidney health and enhances their effectiveness by compressing them.
If you have flexible legs and hips, the asana is an easy one for you. To practice the asana, sit down on your mat with legs stretched outwards. Slowly fold them on the knees while joining the feet together. Bring the feet closer to the groin region and hold them with your hands. This asana is often used for doing meditation and the mudra usually used is the Anjali mudra. Some other variations to this asana are Supta Baddhakonasana and Tadasana.
Other Benefits Of Baddhakonasana
- It can help relieve sciatica pain.
- The asana reduces stress levels and makes one feel more energetic.
- It reduces stiffness in the body and helps improve posture.
- Baddhakonasana improves the functioning of female reproductive organs and can also help pregnant women in having a smooth delivery.
- People with injured groin or knee must perform the asana carefully.
- Refer to a yoga teacher if suffering from high blood pressure or heart disorders.
- Women should not perform this asana when menstruating.