The Ancients called the kidneys “the great purifier” or “the engine of Chi.” Located below the lowest ribs on the back body, these bean shaped organs are like the reservoir of our Prana body: responsible for filtration of blood, lubrication of the tendons, ligaments and fascia, and the removal of water-soluble toxins. The kidneys hold the potential for greater immune response, maintenance of general vitality, youthfulness, creativity and sexuality.
In Chinese Medicine, kidney energy controls the Chi, or essence, and thus gives stamina and vigor to the entire body and mind.
The kidney meridian is the channel in which Chi nourishes the organ itself. It begins at the sole of the foot and curls around the inner ankle before ascending up the inseam of the back of the leg. As it reaches through the inner groin and pierces the perineum, it branches up either side of the spine and chest to end just beneath the collarbones.
The kidneys are our internal reservoir — this inherent resource we possess for vigor and vitality. Kidneys need deep rest to revitalize the system and to provide the luster and lusciousness we can possess: glistening eye doors, juicy joints, succulent skin, buoyancy of breath.
Practice this sequence of floor poses which organizes the skeleton in specific ways to awaken and enliven the connective tissue where the kidney pathway runs.
A Three Pose Sequence for Kidney Health Invigoration, Purification + Detoxification
Sphinx Pose (5 to 7 minutes)
I call this the fountain of youth pose because it compresses the sacro-lumbar region of the spine where it’s said 80% of Americans find most stagnation in the low back, and where the kidney meridian tends to get most congested.
+ Tops of feet on the floor, lengthen front of ankle joint and release through soles of feet.
+ Upper inner thighs engage, slight pull in the inseam will stabilize base of spine.
+ Pubic bone as the anchor point, press pubis into mat to create an anchor from which the spine lifts.
+ Navel lifts up and glides in toward the spine to engage the corset of the middle abdomen and protect lower back.
+ Sternum lifts and spreads, widening through the distal ends of the collarbones.
+ Base of skull pulls back and wide to prevent jutting forward of the chin and to protect the neck.
+ Crown of head lifts to refine your relationship to the upper realms.
Prana Pattern (Breath Activity): Inhale, pull the tissue behind the navel back towards the sacral plate; exhale, keep it pulled in and widen across the kidney band beneath the lowest ribs.
Floor Frog (5 minutes)
Flushing the inner leg line will lubricate the fascial planes where the kidney channel runs, eradicating obstructions, clearing the cobwebs and freeing undesirable mental objects from the mind stream.
+ Equalize weight through the femur heads as you externally rotate the thighs.
+ Tilt the pelvis forward to lift sacrum and settle onto palms or forearms.
+ Slight lift of kneecaps to engage the quadriceps and lengthen hamstrings.
+ Press through base of big toe — the “bubbling spring” of the kidney channel.
Prana Pattern (Breath Activity): Inhale into the root of pelvic floor to gather, exhale to distribute the Chi force swimming in and through the legs.
Supine Twist (5 minutes each side)
Spinal rotations are the most effective activity I know of to reset imbalances along the vertebrae. Additionally, because suggested healthy Chi moves in spirals, this spiraling of the spine promotes vitality of the Prana vessel. It filters, it rinses and it resets. The antidote to regularized turbulence of our day.
+ As the low body rolls to one direction, let the upper body roll to the opposite.
+ Pivot from the base of the ribcage and pull collarbones out of sternum.
+ Back of ribcage, base of skull, root of tongue all go wide and settle down to plug into the ground.
Prana Pattern (Breath Activity): Inhale to lift the root (the perineum; the mula) up towards the belly basin, exhale twist from kidneys.
Originally published in the Summer + Fall 2021 issue