Winter is the height of Yin energy (quiet, still and deep). It is a time of rest, reflection and rejuvenation. In Chinese Medicine, winter is also connected to the element of Water and the Kidney + Urinary Bladder organ systems. The Kidneys are said to be the Foundations of Yin and Yang for the whole body as well as connected to growth, development, and reproduction.
Winter can be an excellent time to replenish Yin and maintain Yang to move towards a deeper sense of balance. In my experience, this year has been extra depleting. Stress plays a huge factor in this as well as probably not getting enough physical rest. I'm guessing that many of you are in the same boat. How does one replenish the Yin and Yang of the body? This could look like building in time to do activities that are rejuvenating and restful like journaling, meditating, and getting more sleep as well as getting daily exercise and connecting with your community.
A balanced Water element is reflected in a sense of being able to handle the ups and downs of life with clear, calm solidity. It is associated with the virtues of strength, courage and wisdom. A unbalanced Water element can manifest as low back and joint pain and increased fear, panic and anxiety. Some ways to support the Water element include the activities listed in the previous paragraph as well as eating more black/dark blue foods, drinking bone broth, balancing your salt intake, and doing Qi Gong or stretching to focus on your low back and keep your joints moistened.
I hope that you find some deep rest and rejuvenation this winter and also so fun!
Amy Daws is a trained Therapeutic Massage, Shiatsu, and Chi Nei Tsang therapist. She is interested in the way that these modalities can bring healing and joy to people's lives.