Settling Into Winter
by Carolyn Laney, BA, MCM, Dipl.Ac., L.Ac., CMT
“During the winter months all things in nature wither, hide, return home, and enter a resting period, just as lakes and rivers freeze and snow falls. This is a time when yin dominates yang.”
—Huang De Nei Jing, The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine
In nature, winter is the coldest, darkest, stillest, quietest time of the year. It is a time of resting, restoring, and conserving our energy or yang. Going to bed early and rising with the sun, which is later in winter, is a good way to restore your yang. Care must be taken to stay warm and avoid the cold. We should be covering our bodies and avoiding excess sweating. And mental activity should be calm, reflective, and subdued.
In Chinese medicine, winter corresponds to water in Chinese five-element theory. Water represents the concepts of:
Imbalances in the water element during winter are common and tend to manifest as:
Winter is a good time to nourish your body, mind, and spirit so that you may conserve your energy and be prepared for spring and all its new growth, warmth, and movement. Incorporating practices that balance the water element include:
Cuddle up with some herbal tea and a book and enjoy the time of rest that winter provides. Spring will be here before you know it. With ample rest and nourishment from winter, you will be prepared for spring and all its splendor.
Ni, Maoshing. The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Medicine: A New Translation of the Neijing Suwen with Commentary (p. 7). Shambhala Publications.
Saunder, Mary. Rhythms of Change: Reclaiming your Health Using Ancient Wisdom and your Own Common Sense. Hidden Needle Press.
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