Improve Diseased Kidney Function with Yoga


By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.


“Yoga combines both physical and spiritual elements which helps restores the body and revitalizes the mind. Some of the poses in yoga can improve the over health of the kidney and improve kidney function. This is an important step for preventing kidney problems and for slowing the progression of kidney disease.” – National Kidney Foundation


Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is a serious and all too common medical problem that involves a gradual loss of kidney function over time. As a result, the body retains fluid and harmful wastes build up. This leads to feelings of fatigue, trouble concentrating, poor appetite, trouble sleeping, muscle cramps, swollen feet and ankles, puffiness around your eyes, dry, itchy skin, and need to urinate more often. It is not unusual for people to not realize that they have chronic kidney disease until their kidney function is down to 25% of normal. CKD can eventually lead to complete kidney failure requiring dialysis, to replace the work of the failed kidneys, or a kidney transplant. It is estimated that CKD is present in more than 26 million Americans. Without effective treatment, CKD can lead to heart disease and reduced longevity. There are, however, no cures for CKD and treatment focuses on slowing the progression of the kidney damage, usually by controlling the underlying cause.


Yoga practice has been found to be effective with treating a number of conditions that can lead to Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). These include hypertension, diabetes, and artherosclerosis. So, it would seem reasonable to test yoga practice as a treatment for CKD. In today’s Research News article “Effects of 6 months yoga program on renal functions and quality of life in patients suffering from chronic kidney disease.” See:

or see summary below or view the full text of the study at:;year=2017;volume=10;issue=1;spage=3;epage=8;aulast=Pandey

Pandy and colleagues recruited patients with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) and randomly assigned them to receive either treatment as usual or 6-months of yoga practice. The practice consisted of 15-20 minutes of poses, 10-15 minutes of breathing exercises, and 20 minutes of relaxation. Before and over the 6-months of treatment they measured the patients’ quality of life, blood pressure, blood urea, sodium, potassium, and creatinine levels. They found that at the end of 6-months of yoga practice there was a significant reduction of blood pressure, nonsignificant reduction in blood urea and serum creatinine, and significant improvement in physical and psychological quality of life in comparison to the treatment as usual group. In addition, there was a reduction in the need for dialysis in the yoga practice group.


These are encouraging results and suggest that yoga practice may be a safe and effective treatment for Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD).  The study, however, examined only a small number of patients and sufficient statistical power was not present to detect many possible effects. So, the study needs to be replicated with a larger sample of CKD patients. Also, it needs to be recognized that the study lacked a group who performed another light exercise over the treatment period. So, it cannot be determined if yoga practice is necessary for the benefits or if any light exercise would produce similar benefits. Regardless, it appears that the practice of yoga can help improve kidney function in patients with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD).


So, improve diseased kidney function with yoga.


“Yoga has been around for more than two millennia and has helped people everywhere overcome their medical conditions the natural way. While it is an effective method of keeping your kidneys healthy, yoga should not be used as a substitute for any medications that your doctor might have prescribed.” – India Times


CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies


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Study Summary

Pandey RK, Arya TV, Kumar A, Yadav A. Effects of 6 months yoga program on renal functions and quality of life in patients suffering from chronic kidney disease. Int J Yoga [serial online] 2017 [cited 2016 Nov 23];10:3-8. Available from:



Aim: To study the effect of 6 months yoga program in patients suffering from chronic kidney disease (CKD).
Materials and Methods: Fifty-four patients with CKD were studied and divided into two groups (yoga group and control group) to see the effect of yoga in CKD. Patients in the yoga group were offered yoga therapy along with other conventional treatment modalities, while the control group was only on conventional treatment. Subjects in yoga group were trained to perform specific yogic asanas for at least 5 days a week for 40-60 min a day. Regular monitoring of blood pressure, renal function, requirement of a number of dialysis, and quality of life (QOL) indicators were done. Fifty patients (yoga – 25; control-25) completed 6 months follow-up.
Results: In yoga group, a significant reduction of systolic and diastolic blood pressure, significant reduction in blood urea and serum creatinine levels, and significant improvement in physical and psychological domain of the World Health Organization QOL (as assessed by BREF QOL scores) were seen after 6 months. In control group, rise of blood pressure, deterioration of renal function, and QOL were observed. Poststudy comparison between the two groups showed a statistically significant reduction of blood pressure, nonsignificant reduction in blood urea and serum creatinine, and significant improvement in physical and psychological domain of QOL in yoga group as compared to control group. For subjects in yoga group, the need for dialysis was less when compared to control group although this difference was statistically insignificant. Except for inability of some patients to perform certain yogic asanas no adverse effect was found in the study.
Conclusion: Six months yoga program is safe and effective as an adjuvant therapy in improving renal functions and QOL of CKD patients.;year=2017;volume=10;issue=1;spage=3;epage=8;aulast=Pandey

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