The forces of winter create cold in Heaven and water on Earth. They create the kidney organ and the bones within the body… the emotion fear, and the ability to make a groaning sound.
~ Inner Classic
The winter has begun with us still immersed in a world wide pandemic. The change upon change continues and even the way we say hello and goodbye has been affected. It has been called ’a new normal’, and while we establish our days in different ways, the seasons continue to ebb and flow.
Winter, winter, with it’s shorter days and darker nights. It is an odd offering, a welcome invitation to go inward. Winter is the end of all seasons, and in traditional chinese medicine it is said to unify with winter we should emphasise the yin principle. That is, to become more receptive, introspective and storage orientated; one must cool the surface of the body and warm the body’s core. Cold and darkness drive one to seek inner warmth- physically, mentally and emotionally.
These are interesting traditional concepts, possibly even more so when teamed with the year that has been.
Isolation can be a form of coldness, connection a form of warmth. When looking at winter and the organs that govern this season, and the fact that whole world is experiencing a kind of emotional/spiritual cold or warmth, we might ask, how much is our body/mind/soul affected by these external elements?
The element of Water, and the organs system of the Kidney’s and the Bladder govern the winter season. Fear is coupled with Will as the emotional component of this system. Will and fear act in harmony to produce a healthy response to life choices, when they slip out of harmony we may notice that our fears are more prominent or our will diminished.
Harmony is our greatest friend and looks to provide the body with it's own unique blueprint or our own unique version of health, this enables the greatest sense of flow and joy.
Both salty and bitter foods are appropriate for winter since they promote sinking, entering quality which heightens the capacity for storage. Such foods also cool the exterior of the body and bring body heat deeper and lower.
Common bitter foods include lettuce, watercress, endive, turnip, celery, asparagus, rye, oats, quinoa and amaranth- citrus peel and roasted chicory are bitter too and can be made into teas.
Salty foods include miso, soy sauce, seaweeds, salt, millet, barley, plus any food made salty by the addition of salt (use discretion when eating bags of salty chips(little joke).
Movement, stretches, treatments, stillness and silence allow our bodies to connect to the principles of winter.