There is no parallel to yoga as a form of complete mind-body fitness routine. The poses or asanas may look weird but they have been designed in ancient times to not only develop your musculature but also your various systems and organs, including your kidneys.
Your kidneys detoxify your blood by filtering it and removing waste and excess minerals from it. They also have the additional function of maintaining the level of acid and bases, also known as homeostasis. Though yoga practice, in general, can help you keep your organs healthy, the following asanas are especially beneficial for healing and keeping your kidneys healthy.
1. Sphinx Pose
Lie face down on your tummy. Lift your kneecaps, connect your inner thighs, and press the tops of your feet firmly into the Earth.
Slide your hands back until your elbows are directly under your shoulders and press up onto your forearms. Press firmly into your palms (facing down).
Send your heart forward and play with the amount of intensity that’s nourishing for you right now.
Extend out of the crown of your head and create space between your ears and your shoulders.
Send your breath to any tight places and hold the pose for at least one minute, or longer if it remains comfortable.
2. Seated Half Spinal Twist
Begin seated on your mat with your legs extended in front of you. Bend your right knee and place your right heel as close to your right sit-bone as you can.
Then bend your left knee and cross your left foot over your right knee. Plant it on the floor so your left ankle is next to your right knee.
Reach your left arm behind you and place your palm on the floor. Then bend your right elbow and cross it over the outer side of your left knee. Keep your elbow bent, or if you can, hold onto your left toes.
Keep your left hand on the floor for stability, or bring your left arm around your lower back. Reach for your shirt, or if you can, hook your fingers on the top of your right thigh. Gaze behind you and over your left shoulder.
Continue pressing your right arm into your left knee, and use each inhale to lengthen the spine and each exhale to rotate further to the left.
Stay here for five or more breaths. Then release the twist, straighten your legs out in front of you, and do this pose with your right knee pointing up.
3. Cobra Pose
To start the pose, lie on your stomach and place your forehead on the floor. You can have your feet together, or hip width apart.
Keep the tops of your feet pressing against the floor. Place your hands underneath your shoulders, keeping your elbows close to your body.
Draw your shoulder blades back and down, and try to maintain this throughout the pose.
Draw your pubic bone towards the floor to stabilize your lower back, and press your feet actively onto the floor.
With the next inhale, start lifting your head and chest off the floor. Be mindful of opening the chest, and don’t place all of your weight onto your hands.
Keep the elbows lightly bent and keep the back muscles working. Take your hands off from the floor for a moment to see what is a comfortable, maintainable height for you. Keep your shoulders relaxed.
With exhale lower yourself back onto the ground. Take 2-3 rounds of inhaling yourself up into the cobra, and exhaling down to the floor. Then hold for 2-3 full breaths, and come back down.
4. Seated Forward Bend
Sit on the edge of a firm blanket with your legs extended in front of you in Staff Pose (Dandasana). Reach actively through your heels. Beginners should bend their knees throughout the pose, eventually straightening the legs as flexibility increases.
Inhale as you reach your arms out to the side, and then up overhead, lengthening your spine.
Exhaling, bend forward from the hip joints. Do not bend at the waist. Lengthen the front of your torso.
Imagine your torso coming to rest on your thighs, instead of tipping your nose toward your knees. Hold onto your shins, ankles, or feet — wherever your flexibility permits. You can also wrap a yoga strap or towel around the soles of your feet, holding it firmly with both hands.
Keep the front of your torso long; do not round your back. Let your belly touch your legs first, and then your chest. Your head and nose should touch your legs last.
With each inhalation, lengthen the front torso. With each exhalation, fold a bit deeper.
Hold for up to one minute. To release the pose, draw your tailbone towards the floor as you inhale and lift your torso.
5. Bridge Pose
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Extend your arms along the floor, palms flat.
Press your feet and arms firmly into the floor. Exhale as you lift your hips toward the ceiling.
Draw your tailbone toward your pubic bone, holding your buttocks off the floor. Do not squeeze your glutes or flex your buttocks.
Roll your shoulders back and underneath your body. Clasp your hands and extend your arms along the floor beneath your pelvis. Straighten your arms as much as possible, pressing your forearms into the mat. Reach your knuckles toward your heels.
Keep your thighs and feet parallel — do not roll to the outer edges of your feet or let your knees drop together. Press your weight evenly across all four corners of both feet. Lengthen your tailbone toward the backs of your knees.
Hold for up to one minute. To release, unclasp your hands and place them palms-down alongside your body. Exhale as you slowly roll your spine along the floor, vertebra by vertebra. Allow your knees to drop together.
6. Boat Pose
First lie down flat on your yoga mat, with your feet together and your arms on the sides.
Keep your arms straight and your fingers outstretched towards your toes.
Start inhaling and as you exhale, lift your chest and feet off the ground, stretching your arms towards your feet. Feel the tension in your stomach area as the abdominal muscles contract.
Let the weight of your body rest entirely on the buttocks. Make sure your eyes, finger and toes are all in one line. Hold your breath and remain in this position for a few seconds.
Now exhale slowly as you bring the body down to the starting position and relax. You can perform 3-4 repetitions daily but do not overdo it.