#7: Charging the Kidneys
Recommended Repetitions: 12 to 24, or more
Movement: This is Kidney breathing with the hands on the lower back and a pelvic tilt.
Man Purpose: Builds energy in the Kidneys, bringing more vitality to the body.
Main Qigong Principle: Open and charge the Gate of Life.
Description of the Physical Movements
Place your palms on your back, over the Kidneys. The location for the Kidneys is higher than most people realize. In general, each Kidney is half-beneath the lower ribs and half-covered by the soft tissue of the big spinal muscles. Consult a good anatomy book for accuracy. (I recommend Atlas of Anatomy by Netter.)The fingertips will point inward and down slightly to the circular place on the back of the body known as the Gate of Life. This is a dime-sized area located on the spine exactly opposite the belly button.
Inhale: Pelvic tilt forward with a bit of a squat back and slight knee bend. The lower back will push backward. Lean the upper body just a bit forward to compensate for the squatting back. It is important that the tailbone moves forward, not backward. This ensures a flattening of the lower spinal vertebrae, which helps open the flow of blood, lymph, and Qi to the Kidneys.
Exhale: Release into a neutral position, standing normally, hands still on the back.
Modifying the Posture
Some people have a little difficulty with amount of the stretch on the joints for the basic posture of Charging the Kidneys. If you cannot reach all the way back comfortably, it is okay to modify the contact. You could practice with just one kidney at a time. Let’s say it is the left kidney first. Place the left hand over the kidney on the back, and the right hand in front of the kidney on the abdomen. Turn the torso a little to the left to bring the right hand over the right abdomen and relieve any strain on the left arm and shoulder.
Another method of modifying the posture is to place both palms on the abdomen, in front of the kidneys.
Your focus is on the lower back, especially where the Kidneys are located. By putting your awareness there, you will draw energy and consciousness to the Kidneys, helping these oft-depleted organs to recharge.
Feel the Kidneys fill with life force energy. On the inhale draw the Qi to the Kidneys.
On the exhale, send the Qi into the kidneys. You’ll know you are getting it right when the kidneys warm up and feel more lively and full.
Back Pain Can Disappear
Chronic Low back pain can disappear with proper breathing practices. I’ve seen it happen for people, when they do a practice called low back breathing. This exercise of Charging the Kidneys is similar to the previous exercise, Charging the Center, except the breath is focused more to the lower back area, rather than the lower abdomen on the front of the body.
Push the Lower Back Backward
On the inhale, tilt the pelvis forward while bending the knees a short few inches more. The bending knees give room for the pelvic movement. The pelvic tilting pushes the lumber spine backward, bringing stretching and all-important movement to that over-tensed area of the body.
Strong or Weak Kidneys
Weak Kidneys make you cold, tired, susceptible to illness, pale, fearful. Strong Kidneys lead to vitality, bodily warmth, warm hands, haleness and heartiness, courage, and wisdom. The Kidneys are also thought to feed and strengthen all the other internal organs. With weakened Kidneys, or Kidneys emptied of Qi through illness, lifestyle factors, or overexertion all other organs suffer, as does your health.
Strengthening the Kidneys is always good to do, and the whole body/mind benefits.