When you think about maintaining healthy organs, your mind may immediately go to the major organs like the heart, brain, lungs, and stomach. However, one oft-ignored organ, but equally important, is the kidneys. The kidneys play a huge role in expelling bodily waste, producing hormones that manage blood pressure, regulating pH levels, and even maintaining proper level of plasma to regulate blood flow to other organs. These are all important for health, but did you know that the less commonly known function of the kidneys is maintaining proper energy flow in your body? In honor of National Kidney Month, let’s talk about what the kidneys do in creating your body’s ideal energy state.
According to East Asian medicine, every major organ in the body is associated with one of five elements that work harmoniously together. The kidneys are linked to the energy of water and work to bring cool energy to the head to make you think clearly. Do you feel tired often? Does your lower back hurt? Do you have frequent headaches? Does your skin have a charcoal-ish black undertone? Do you have dry mouth and nose? These are all signs that qi energy in your kidneys is stagnant.
The concept of Water Up, Fire Down
explains our bodily energy flow and consumption in a way that’s easy to understand. Fire energy, or ‘hot’ energy, is the energy produced from an amalgamation of the food we eat and the breath we take. This fire energy moves down the front side of your body, and from there, the kidneys play the important role of transforming it to cool water energy to move up along your back and into your head. This flow of Water Up, Fire Down is decisively controlled by the kidneys and are what balance your system’s energy
to make it optimal. When your energy is out of balance, it means the kidneys are not transforming the fire into cool energy properly due to stagnation caused by stress, diet, and tension. Without the kidneys’ role in the process, all of the hot fire energy remains in your head, leading to clouded thoughts, unexpected emotion or other discomfort and poor energy. Think about it intuitively—do you feel better when your head is hot and body is cold or when your body is warm and your head is cool? A cool head and a hot abdomen are seen as the ideal energy balance that keeps your body and mind healthy, happy, and peaceful.
How can you check if your body is in Water Up, Fire Down state? Sweat and saliva in the mouth are direct signs that cool, water energy from the kidneys are properly flowing to your head. Any active movement that leads to sweat that cycles the hot energy will activate your kidneys and allow them to return to their function in creating water energy to cool your body and move fire energy. Exercise, specifically yoga, is great for tending to this in a non-stressful way. Through a concentrated, slow, burning process, you can sweat it out and get your kidneys back on track. We recommend you try out our yoga course Body & Brain Yoga With Dawn
, which specifically works to create Water Up, Fire Down in your body. It’s great for both beginners and experts in yoga, and can easily be done from the comfort of your home.
The kidneys are organs that people often ignore unless a direct problem arises in them, but paying more attention to your kidneys’ well-being can drastically change your mood and energy levels, which ultimately change your day-to-day life. Remember: energy regulates everything, and the kidneys regulate energy. So, the next time you’re feeling off-balanced or not in control of your energy flow, remind yourself of the importance of your kidneys and Water Up, Fire Down.