Winter is a time of hibernation. It is a time of year when we naturally feel like snuggling up and staying indoors. Energy moves inwards during winter. It is a time of yin.
Winter corresponds to the Water element in TCM (five elements theory). The Water element involves the Kidney and Urinary Bladder meridians, which are considered more vulnerable and prone to imbalance during this season. So, winter is the time to give these meridians some extra love and attention.
The ability to listen deeply is heightened during winter's cold, silent months. So it is also a good time to rest, to meditate deeply, and to refine our spiritual practice. Let us explore 5 ways to attune and bloom to Winter.
Tip #1 - Rest and Self-Care.
In winter we need to dress appropriately in warm scarves, cosy coats, and layers. It is the time of year to make sure we keep our Kidneys warm - do you have memories of an elder advising you to keep your kidneys warm, during winter, when you were growing up?
Sleep is also important. With energy turning inwards and downwards, we tend to need more sleep in winter.
Tip #2 - Eat Seasonally.
In winter we need to eat foods to create warmth. Warming soups and stews are perfect for this. Get your slow cooker working for you regularly. Fill it with seasonal vegetables and a good quality source of protein. During winter, we want to cook foods longer, at lower temperatures, and with less water.
Spices that help warm the body are cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger.
Both bitter and salty foods promote a sinking, centering quality appropriate during winter. They encourage heat to move deeper and lower. Bitter flavours, such as good quality cacao, nourish and protect the heart-mind connection. Salty foods include miso, tamari, soy sauce, seaweed, and good quality salt. Always use salt with care.
Eat what is currently in season locally to you, as seasonal food is more easily available and optimally nutritious.
Victorian Winter Produce: Fruit - apples, avocado, grapefruit, lemon, lime, mandarin, orange, pear. Vegetables - beetroot, bok choi, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrot, celery, cauliflower, Jerusalem artichoke, leek, parnsip, potato, fenel, spinach, turnip. – Wonder Full Women. Attune & Bloom. Eat, Move & Meditate with the Seasons.
Tip #3 - Nourish your Kidney and Urinary Bladder Meridians.
Some of the ways we can nourish and balance our Kidney and Bladder meridians are through food (as mentioned above), body tapping along the desired direction of chi flow, movement, acupoint stimulation, and meditation.
The colour deep blue to black nourishes our Kidney and Bladder meridians. Seeing the colour, wearing the colour, and eating the colour (e.g. seaweed, black sesame, poppyseed, black beans, etc) all nourish these meridians.
Tip #4 - Meditate in a Seated Position if Possible.
With the drawing inward of energy comes an increase in resistance to meditation in the form of sleepiness and dullness. It is helpful to acknowledge this resistance, and adapt and attune by meditating seated and in the morning when feeling refreshed.
Please find links to some helpful meditation practices below, one offers background music and the other is without music-
* For those of you reading this on your phone, the suggested meditation links above won't appear, so try these links:
Tip #5 - Mindful Movement.
Mindful movement practices to nourish and keep ourselves warm during winter are important. Do you have a favourite form of movement? I find a yin yoga session and/or qi gong session sequenced to support the Kidney & Bladder meridians particularly helpful this time of year.
All the variations of Sphinx pose strongly nourish both the Kidney and Urinary Bladder meridians.
You can find more information and ways to attune to winter and nourish your Kidney and Urinary Bladder meridians in my book - Wonder Full Women. Attune & Bloom. Eat, Move & Meditate with the Seasons.
Do you have favourite ways to attune to winter? Please let us know by commenting below.
I wish you all the best with your practice.