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The use of the  yoga therapy  for the treatment of chronic renal failure  has demonstrated its effectiveness, as a method that can improve the quality of life of patients, in some practical cases. In addition, there are group studies confirming the positive impact of yoga on the condition of patients with severe nephrology pathology.


Study #1

The dynamics of creatinine and uric acid secretion were measured in a group of 30 healthy men aged 17-20 years, who for 2 months regularly performed  asanas  and  pranayama  (padmasana, sarvangasana, halasana, ardha matsyendrasana, savasana and ujjayi pranayama) under the control of a teacher.

The study also included a second control group, similar to the first in age and gender composition, who did not perform the exercises.  yoga  , and during these 2 months regularly performed leg flexion movements. Both groups followed a vegetarian diet.


The level of blood urea was checked  and of  creatinine in urine, before and after the experimental period.

In the study group, which carried out  yoga exercises, there was an increase in the excretion of  creatinine  and urea  by the kidneys (the authors of the study suggest that this was a consequence of the increase in  glomerular filtration). In the control group, which did not perform yoga exercises, changes in creatinine and urea were not identified (Kesari, MG, Vaishvanar PS, Deshkar BV, 2006)


Study #2

Another research has been devoted to studying immediate results (within two hours) when it comes to changes in the acidity of urine  and creatinine excretion  after the 45 minute session of an 11 program  asanas  simple (the content of the program is not specified). The experimental group consisted of 22 people.

The control group did not practice yoga and occupied themselves with the practice of reading in a seated position. In this study, changes in creatinine excretion  within 2 hours after the practice were not detected. (Gore MM, 2006)

As you can see, the  yoga practice  has an influence on the renal excretion process  metabolic products of  proteins, but it requires long-term practice, the effects of which can be seen as the result of ordinary sessions as early as 2 months of practice, while in another study, immediate results (immediately after practice) were not observed.


A large number of studies in the  yoga physiology  is carried out on groups of healthy practitioners, which makes it possible to learn more about the effects of yoga, as well as to understand the logical principles of construction of the practice. However, using this data alone to resolve cases in the  yoga-therapy  would be erroneous, because the development of a disease in the organism creates other criteria and scenarios, which must be studied not by normal physiology, but by pathological physiology.


To identify and justify, in order to confirm the effectiveness (or ineffectiveness) of the  yoga-therapy  in the case of a specific disease, in general, there is only one way to do this research: to form a group of patients with the disease, apply a specific treatment to them (in this case - a  yoga-therapy method) and then to compare the effect with another group to which this method was not applied.


Study #3

The study presented below examined the effect of  yoga practice  on patients with chronic renal failure (CKD)  and undergoing therapy  hemodialysis.

The study included 37 patients on therapy with  hemodialysis system  and divided into two groups: one group performing exercises of  yoga for 30 minutes twice a week, and for 3 months, as well as a control group. 

The dynamics of the following indicators were measured: intensity of pain, fatigue, sleep disturbance, wrist compression force, biochemical indicators (urea, creatinine, serum calcium, alkaline phosphatase, cholesterol, triglycerides), and the number of red blood cells and hematocrit.

After three months, in the group that followed the practice of yoga, we recorded:
a decrease:


  • 37% pain

  • general weakness of 55%

  • 25% sleep disturbances

  • blood urea by 29%

  • 14% creatinine

  • 15% cholesterol level

  • and an increase in erythrocytes of 11%

  • and wrist compression force by 15% compared to controls 
    (M. Yurtkuran, A.Alp, K. Dilek, 2007).

This study asks a number of questions, such as:
- what were the biochemical parameters and other parameters of the blood at the origin
- whether they have changed from the standard or from the base
- if the original group was normalized on their biochemical state from the start?

Anyway - there is a better quality of life, less pain, quality of sleep, which is already a lot for people with a serious illness.


Study #4

Another study focuses on changes in the antioxidant system, the level of markers of  oxidative stress  who ensures the  endothelial dysfunction, and atherosclerotic processes  in patients with end-stage renal disease receiving hemodialysis treatment.


A group of patients receiving hemodialysis treatment was compared  and practicing exercises  hatha yoga, numbering 33 people, and a control group, numbering 35 people.


We studied different markers of  oxidative stress; after the experimental group practiced for 4 months (hatha yoga exercises), this group showed a significant decrease in oxidative stress, from which the study authors conclude that the practice of hatha yoga plays a protective role and prevention of damaging oxidative processes for patients with end-stage kidney disease. (Gordon L., McGrowder DA, Pena YT, Cabrera E., Lawrence Wright Mo, 2013).


It is possible that a balanced yoga practice may not only improve the current condition of patients with glomerular kidney disease, but also improve the outlook – which are:

  • slow the progression of chronic kidney disease

  • help avoid dialysis or kidney transplantation

  • increase the life expectancy of hemodialysis patients, etc. .


However, these hypotheses require a quantitative database, and then its analysis and systematization.









  1. Kesari, MG, Vaishvanar PS, Deshkar BV “Effect of yoga-asanas and pranayama on urea clearance and creatinin clearence – value”, Yoga Mimamsa, April-July, 2006

  2. Gore MM  "Immediate effect of asanas on urinary pH, acid excretion and creatinine", Yoga Mimamsa, April-July, 2006

  3. M. Yurtkuran, A.Alp, K. Dilek “A modified yoga-based exercise program in hemodialysis patients: A randomized controlled study”, 2007

  4. Gordon L., McGrowder DA, Pena YT, Cabrera E., Lawrence-Wright MB “Effect of yoga exercise therapy on oxidative stress indicators with end-stage renal disease on hemodialysis”, 2013

Author: A. Frolov (Yoga Academy of  St. Petersburg, Russia)
Translated by: A. Papin

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