Winter calls on the wisdom of the Water element… it’s the season of regeneration and repair.
Winter is the most Yin of the seasons, its a time to tune into your essence, the energy that’s stored deep down…. This essence is your Jing – the ‘Original Qi’ gifted to you from your parents, the energy that nourishes and supports the most vital structures of your body.
In honouring and nurturing this vitality within… you will have, upon arrival of Spring, all the resources you need to grow and bloom… just as in nature the trees boughs are bare and their essence is stored deep in the roots, resting and restoring itself.
During winter the body’s energy moves into a phase referred to as Old Yin and the Wei Qi(protective energy) retreats to the centre of the body, which can leave us vulnerable to germs and viruses. This is a time for mild – moderate physical exercise, it is recommended to shed just a little sweat, not too much, otherwise it hurts the Yang energy of the
body. You can stimulate your protective energy through dynamic Qigong practice, Yoga and Walking, as well as through stimulating and massaging the ears, kidneys and balls of the feet.
Take extra care to keep warm, coldness contracts the blood vessels and can exacerbate conditions such as asthma and other respiratory problems. Be sure to keep you feet, lower back, head and neck area covered and warm during this time. In Traditional Chinese Medicine the Water element is connected to the Kidneys and Urinary Bladder, along with the Adrenal Glands.
Yin translates to slowing down and radically reducing stimulation and busyness, its in stark contrast to our modern social culture of go-go-go…. Go to bed earlier and rise after the sun comes up if possible, cultivate your ability to adapt and flow, moving into a deep resting phase. The Kidneys are connected with the emotions of fear and feelings of stress… often during Winter the spirit can sink and depression increases. Turn
inward, conserve energy, collect your thoughts, practices of stillness or spiritual-based meditation would be beneficial during this time.
The foods of the winter season are salty, these foods encourage Yin and body fluids to rebuild, countering dryness. Salt and salty flavors help to cool the body and regulate moisture in the body. It is said that the flavor moves inward to the Kidneys and helps us to store strength.
Foods for winter should be cooked in a warming way, for longer periods using low heat and less water. This infuses foods with heat that helps to keep the body warm in the cold winter months.
Soups, broths, stews are recommended. Foods such as winter greens, squash, potatoes, root vegetables, cabbage, apples, pears, mushrooms, kidney beans, bone broths, lamb, chicken, walnuts, miso, seaweed, garlic, onion and wholegrains.
It is also essential to drink plenty of fluids, especially warm fluids such as warm water or tea.
Winter is a wonderful time to discover or re-discover Qigong as a physical movement practice and meditation practice. You can tap into regular free videos – Qigong Quickie’s via my YouTube channel Nicole Lee Qigong.
I share weekly classes, courses and workshops through my studio Chi Space in Balaclava (St Kilda, Melbourne) and online via Zoom at Nicole Lee Qigong.
Here’s a video that explains a little about Qigong…