In this newsletter:
- Winter: rest and retreat for the Kidneys
- Qigong course at Breathe : starts Fri 9th Jan, 10-11am
- January offer: recommend a friend and you both get £5 off your next acupuncture treatment
- Exercise: warm the kidneys
“In winter all is hidden. Winter is the season of retirement into depth, because of the cold outside. At this time you must not disturb or disperse the yang (Fire, active) energy so that you can allow the yin reserves to be re-established within you.”
Winter: a time for stillness
The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine
After decades of fighting through the inertia of the dark winter months, I am finally listening to millennia of Chinese medical knowledge by succumbing to a winter retreat to a quiet Swiss valley.
In our fast-paced, 24/7 culture, we often race through the quiet of winter and fail to nourish ourselves for the year ahead.
Winter is the season of retreat and rest, when the Yin (night, female, cold) is now dominant and Yang (day, male, hot) energy moves inward. The trees have lost their leaves; the animals hibernate through the long, dark winter days. Winter is a time of stillness and quiet, amplifying any sound there is. The ability to listen clearly at this time of year is sharpest… not only listening through conversation, but listening to your own body and comprehending its needs, as well as having a deeper understanding of yourself and your interactions with others.
Water element: Kidney
Winter is the season related to the water element and the organs associated are the Kidneys and Bladder, both of which are sensitive to cold. The Kidneys are considered to be the gate of life, storing our essence, regulating reproduction and development, fluid distribution and our longevity is directly related to the health of our Kidneys. The emotion
associated with the Kidneys is fear.
In our lives, the health of our Kidneys can be seen in our hair and experienced through the sense of our hearing. Hair loss, premature graying or split-ends all signal Kidneys that could do with a boost. Bone marrow is linked with the Kidneys as are problems with the knees, lower back and teeth. Many ear problems can be linked to the Kidneys and the health of our Kidneys directly impacts on reproduction and sex drive.
Imbalance in Water element
How to keep healthy and joyful in winter
Practice self-acceptance: fear freezes us so that we feel stuck and hopeless, but observing our fears without judging them can liberate us from the stagnation that fear sows. We need to learn the gentle art of “witnessing” to ourselves without judging ourselves. Rather than attempting to overcome our fears, we can learn to recognize and accept them. Self-awareness and self-acceptance burns and thaws our fears so that we become “unstuck” and can move on healthfully.
- Lower back pain—chronic or acute
- Knee pain and weakness
- Problems with urinary retention
- Fatigue and shortness of breath
- Vertigo or dizziness
- Sexual problems
- Anxiety and excessive fear
- High blood pressure and/or occipital headaches
- Inflexibility and resistance to change
Listen and recharge: Listen to your body, and take time to replenish your reserves, which will be needed during the surges of spring. Winter is a time to recharge.This is a time of receiving, not doing. Be patient.
Keep a journal: As winter is a time to go within, your inner being comes closer to the surface in winter. Keep a journal and record your feelings, thoughts, and dreams: donʼt analyze them, just record them. Look at them again later and see if the images convey an inner message to you.
Nurture yourself inwardly: Imagine that the ideas and images that have been planted and are germinating within you. Nurture these images of hope, but allow them to grow and develop within you quietly and naturally, just as plants grow.
Nourish yourself: Eat warm food and drink lots of water; winter sucks the moisture out of your body. Foods that nourish and warm the Kidneys are: black beans, kidney beans, broths cooked with bones, lamb, chicken, walnuts, chestnuts, black sesame seeds, dark leafy greens.
Keep warm: Prepare for the weather, and dress accordingly. Chinese medicine says that the neck and shoulder areas contain the “Wind” points through which pathogens can enter, so keep these areas protected; wear a scarf and keep your neck covered.