Your kidneys are two bean-shaped organs located in your middle back. Their main job is to filter waste products and excess water from your blood, which turns into urine, passes through your ureter and stores in your bladder until you relieve yourself. A kidney stone comes from crystallized substances in the urine. While drinking water provides the best way to flush out your urinary system, yoga poses and breathing techniques can help keep your kidneys healthy.
Kidney stones are more common in men over 40, though anyone can get them. Increased risks for kidney stones include dehydration; a diet high in protein, sodium or sugar; obesity; digestive diseases; and urinary tract infections. When a kidney stone begins to travel into the ureter, you may feel pain in your sides, back, lower abdomen or groin, or under your ribs.
Back bend poses can help with kidney stones. Avoid seated and standing forward bends.
Cobra pose encourages deep breathing and massages the kidneys. Lie on your belly with your hands flat on the floor on each side of your chest. Make sure your legs and feet are parallel. Inhale, lengthen your spine forward and lift your chest and head off the floor. Hold for a few breaths.
Camel pose improves your blood circulation. Kneel on the floor, lengthen your spine, open your chest and reach for your feet. Keep your toes tucked under and your thighs perpendicular to the floor. Hold for a few breaths.
Raised Foot pose strengthens your digestive system as well as your abdominal muscles. If you have high blood pressure or lower back pain, practice this pose carefully — or not at all. Lie on your back, inhale and raise legs to 30 degrees, then 60 degrees, then 90 degrees. Hold each position for 10 seconds, then exhale and lower back to 60 degrees, 30 degrees and back to the floor.
Legs Up the Wall pose regulates blood pressure and may help treat kidney disorders. Sit on a bolster or folded blankets placed along the wall and swing your legs up the wall. Your head and neck rest on the floor, and your arms out to the side. Rest here for five minutes.
Alternate nostril breathing oxygenates your blood and improves your circulation. First, inhale through your left nostril, using your thumb to close your right nostril. Close your left nostril with your right ring finger and exhale, then inhale, through your right nostril. Close your right nostril and exhale through your left. Repeat for four rounds.
Consult your physician before practicing these exercises for kidney stones. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience severe pain, nausea, vomiting, fever or chills.
- National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse: What I Need to Know About Kidney Stones
- Yoga Journal: Kidneys
- Yoga: The Path to Holistic Health; B.K.S. Iyengar