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Kidney, Liver, Spleen & Pancreas Vinyasa

September 1, 2011

Kidney, Liver, Spleen & Pancreas Vinyasa.

Through yoga we begin to develop an inner awareness that begins with the body by forcing us to analyse and persistently adjust our bodies within postures to achieve both balance in strength and poise in effort. This has the knock on effect of eventually chipping away at our mental inner space, creating a venue for self-reflection which is the path to spiritual insight and awakening. Often, in practice, we focus on the more obvious, external attributes and energy and attention remain, for the most part, within the limbs. Very many asanas have a profound and relatively undetected influence and benefit on the internal organs and workings of the body. With that in mind I have put together this vinyasa with the intention of drawing our attention to the inner space that comes before Inner Space. I would also like to dedicate the sequence, and the fruit of any benefit it may bring to others, to my mother who passed away of pancreatic cancer at age 46, in September of 1996.

Aidan John Walsh, RYT200 (

1. Surya Bhedana Pranayama (Passing through the Sun)

Sit in a comfortable seated position. Rest the right hand on the abdomen, fingers spread out, on the solar plexus region, central between the navel and the lower ribcage or sternum. Have the left hand at the ready with index and middle fingers pressed into the palm, at the face. The thumb and ring fingers will control the opening and closing of the nostrils. Begin to take deep, relaxing breaths, gradually stretching out the lungs. Constrict the throat gently if you are familiar with Ujjayi Pranayama, (Victorious). Exhale completely and then block the left nostril using the thumb. Inhale deeply through the right nostril. Block both nostrils and hold the breath briefly, as is comfortable. Then release the left nostril, keeping the right nostril closed with the ring finger, and exhale fully on the left. Continue inhaling on the right only, pausing and exhaling on the left for up to 21 complete breathes to activate the Manipura Chakra, (Solar Plexus), and heat the body.

2. Paripurna Pranamasana (Full Prostration)

Lie face down on your mat with the arms extended over head, palms together in Anjali Mudra (Prayer). Reach into the fingertips and point into the toes creating length through the body. As you breathe, bring awareness to the back, feeling the rise and fall with each breath. Try to be aware of any sensations within and around the organs contained inside the abdomen.

Take 5 to 10 deep breaths in this position.

3. Phalakasana (Plank)

Separate the feet to hip distance. Slide the hands below the shoulders with the fingers spread wide and the thumbs in line with the nipples. On inhalation, press down firmly through the hands, holding the rest of the body firm into plank position. Exhale and inhale deeply once more, holding in the pose. (Keep the knees down for an easier variation of the pose).

4. Chataranga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff)

As you exhale, bend the elbows until the upper arms are parallel to the sides with the elbows held in tight against the ribs. (If this pose is too strong, bring the knees down first but keep the tailbone tucked between the legs and the navel drawn in toward the spine).

5. Urdhva Mukha Svanasana / Bhujangasana (Upward Facing Dog / Cobra)

Inhaling, push the toes away, coming on to the tops of the feet. Straighten the arms lifting through the sternum, keeping the hips and knees hovering above the mat and look up. Draw the shoulders down and away from the ears.

For an easier variation, bring the hips onto the mat as you press forward with the heart and down with flat palms and the tops of the feet. Looking straight ahead, lift the crown of the head upward.

6. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog)

Exhale, tighten the belly and raise the hips upward keeping the arms, back and legs straight. Inhale to tilt the hips toward the feet making the tailbone the highest point. Exhale and relax the head, neck and shoulders by rotating the arms outward without moving the hands. Inhale pressing the chest towards the top of the thighs. Exhale pressing the thighs backwards and releasing the heels further towards the mat without relaxing the thighs. Inhale and tuck the chin to gaze at the belly button. Exhale broadening across the chest, back and shoulders. Hold for 2 more breaths.

Inhale lowering the hips with legs, arms and back straight, return to Phalakasana and repeat these four poses 3 to 5 times in sequence.

7. Vasisthasana (Side Plank)

Inhale to Phalakasana. As you exhale bring the left hand to the centre of the mat in front of you. Inhale and raise the right arm out to the side and upward focusing your gaze at the thumb, and reach into the fingertips. The inside of the right foot and the outside of the left foot will rest on the mat one in front of the other. As you exhale again, lower the right arm and replace the left hand with the right. Inhale raising the left arm out to the side and up, focusing on the thumb.

Repeat 3 to 5 times on each side.

8. Padahasthasana (Foot on Hand)

Inhaling, step or jump the feet forward to between the hands, arch the back and look forward with the fingertips remaining in contact with the mat beside the feet. Exhale, rounding the back and place each hand, or just the fingers, under each foot. Bend the knees to reach, if you must, but keep lifting into the hips once the hands are in place. Tuck the chin and gaze toward your belly button. Keep the legs strong but soften from the lower back releasing tension all the way from the tailbone to the base of the skull.

Hold for 3 to 5 deep breaths, again allowing awareness to rest on any sensations felt around the internal organs.

Exhale removing the hands from beneath the feet. As you inhale, place the hands on the hips and with a flat back and firm belly come up to standing.

9. Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide Leg Forward Bend)

Exhale, stepping out to the side along your mat, (one of your own legs length, the distance of the feet apart), and take the arms out to shoulder height. The toes should be turned in slightly with the outside edges of the feet parallel to the edge of the mat. Inhale deeply and straighten the back, puffing the chest out. Exhale and dive forward reaching to either side to take hold of the big toes with your thumb and first two fingers. Tuck the chin and pull on the toes to flatten out in the pose. Take care not to hyperextend the knees.

Gaze toward your belly button and hold for 3 to 5 deep breaths.

10. Utthita Parivrtta Prasarita Padottansana (Windmill)

Inhale to release the toes and flatten the back, placing the hands on the mat directly below the shoulders, knees slightly bent if necessary. Exhale bringing the left hand to the centre in front of you. As you inhale again, raise the right arm out to the side and up, gazing toward the thumb. Exhale to lower the arm and replace the left hand with the right. Inhale raising the left arm repeating the movement 3 to 5 times on both sides.

Inhale, place the hands on the hips and flatten out the back. Firm the belly as you exhale and come up to standing. Inhale, reach the arms out at shoulder height and exhale to return to standing at the front of the mat, palms at the heart in Anjali Mudra.

11. Ustrasana (Camel)

Either flow through an incomplete Surya Namaskara, (Sun Salutation), or just carefully come down onto your knees, in either case from standing or from downward facing dog, and bring the palms of the hands onto the kidney area just above the hips. Press the elbows toward each other behind you. Looking forward, inhale and puff out the chest. As you exhale lower the head back first, stretching out the throat, and moving down the back from the shoulders, begin to arch over. Press the hips forward ensuring they stay above or in front of the knees. Do not arch so far over that breathing becomes strained.

If comfortable release one hand at a time onto the heels and hold in the pose for 3 to 5 deep breaths feeling the warmth of your hands entering the body, (if you’ve come that far), and the pressure gently massaging the organs to release blocks and toxins.

Come out of the pose on an inhale, reversing the order of the way you entered, the last part of the body moving forward being the chin and head.

12. Balasana Variation / Supta Virasana (Child Variation / Reclining Hero)


Exhale bringing the big toes together and separating the knees to the width of the mat as you lower the hips down to sit on the heels. Inhale and place the hands on the mat well in front of the knees, look forward and puff out the chest. Exhale to lower the forehead to the mat and extend the arms out in front. If possible, bring the chest to the mat and rest on the chin looking straight ahead. Inhale to come out of the pose by walking the hands towards yourself.

Advancing students may wish to try an alternative. Exhale and bring the knees together on the mat separating the feet and sit down carefully between the heels. Inhale and bring the hands to the mat well behind the feet, puffing out the chest. Exhale to lower yourself carefully to lying down with the arms stretched over head. Inhale to come out of the pose using the elbows and hands to press back up to sitting.

13. Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge)

Inhale and cross the feet beneath you, sit back over the heels, or swing the legs around to the side, and place the feet on the mat in front of the sitting bones. Exhale and round your back as you roll down to lying flat with the arms extended forward and knees pointing up. Inhale, ensuring that the feet are hip distance apart and the toes are turned in slightly. Exhale, and firm the belly by drawing the navel in toward the spine. On your next inhale raise the hips and then each successive vertebra of the spine from the mat, bringing the weight over onto your shoulders, and reach with the chest towards the chin. Bring the arms in underneath you and interlace the fingers as you press the arms straight down, using them as a lever in the pose. Move the knees toward each other, though not necessarily touching, and imagine pressing the knees forward and away from you. Keep the feet flat and the toes relaxed.

Hold for 3 to 5 deep breaths.

Exhale to move the hands to flat beside the hips and lower the back down, again one vertebra at a time.

14. Halasana (Plough)

Inhale drawing the knees in toward the chest. Exhale, straighten the legs out pointing into the toes at 90°. Inhale bringing the hands under the hips, palms facing up. Support the spine with the hands as you exhale lowering the legs back over head until the toes rest on the mat. Then release the hands and place them palm down on the mat behind you with arms parallel. Press down into the shoulders to raise the hips and straighten the back. If the toes can’t reach all the way to the mat, hold the legs straight in a hover above you and press into the elbows as a focal point to lengthen and straighten the spine.

Hold for 3 to 5 deep breaths paying attention to internal sensations.

Exhale to roll down onto the back, bend the knees and straighten the legs out as the tailbone touches down. Inhale and raise the arms up at 90° to the mat in front of your chest. Exhale to engage the tummy and peel off the mat lifting to a seated position.

15. Paschimottansana (West Stretching)

Inhale to raise the arms over head and with the back as flat as possible, pivot at the hips moving forward. Take hold of the big toes or rest the hands on the shins. Tuck the chin and reach out of the hips into the crown with arms and hands relaxed.

Hold for 3 to 5 breaths. Inhale on return to sitting.

16. Parivrtta Janusirsasana (Revolved Head Knee)

Exhale, bend the right knee out to the side placing the foot high up on the left inner thigh. Inhale raising only the right arm over head, turn to face the right knee and place the left hand on the right knee. Exhale tilting to the left, reaching with the right hand toward the left toes. Turn the head to look up at either the arm or, if possible, the ceiling past the arm.

Hold for 3 to 5 deep breaths.

Inhale on return to sitting and exhale to lower the right arm and extend the right leg. Take one inhale and exhale to bend the left knee repeating the process on the left.

Inhale on return to sitting, exhale to lower the arm and extend the leg.

17. Lolasana / Tolasana (Dangling / Scales)

Inhale and cross the legs. Exhale and place the hands beside the hips, fingers spread wide. (Blocks under the hands will help to give height to the pose, if you have them handy). Inhale and ground the hands firmly, pushing down to draw the shoulders away from the ears. Look forward and exhale, engaging the tummy muscles to raise the hips off the mat as well as the feet, if possible.

Advanced students may wish to follow the same process but cross the legs in either Ardha Padmasana or Padmasana (half or full lotus) and gaze upwards.

Hold for 3 to 5 deep breaths and exhale to lower down.

18. Yoga Mudrasana (Yoga Seal)

Keeping the legs crossed, inhale and reach the arms out to the sides and over head. As you exhale, sweep the arms down to the sides and back, grabbing hold of a wrist behind you. Round the back and allow the head to fall while imagining pressing the tip of the nose into the belly button.

Hold for 3 to 5 deep breaths and inhale to return to sitting.

19. Savasana (Corpse)

Extend the legs and separate the feet to the width of the mat. Allow the feet to flop out to the sides. Use the hands and elbows to come down to lying flat on your back. Rock the hips to press the lower back into the mat. Move the hands away from the body and reach into the fingers, drawing the shoulders away from the ears. Tuck the chin to lengthen the back of the neck and lower your gaze behind closed eyelids. Focus on breathing only into the belly becoming absorbed in the massaging sensations around the internal organs. Rest here for at least 5 to 10 minutes.

Rise slowly to a comfortable seated position, using as little effort as possible, and spend a few quiet moments appreciating the wonderful mechanisms and organs of the body that quietly go about their work, sustaining us our whole lives. Surround them and yourself with love before going about the rest of your day.



Teaching Yoga: Mark Stephens: North Atlantic Books

Light on Yoga: B. K. S. Iyengar: Thorsons

Article by Aidan John Walsh, RYT200 (

Studio Venue – it’s yoga cape town (

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