Winter is a time where the abundance of nature withdraws into the earth and nature seems asleep to our eyes.
According to Traditional Medicine, it is a time to ground oneself, to restore and build kidney chi. Kidney and adrenal energy is our driving energy, where we tap into that core energy that pushes us forward into life. We also hold our flight/fight response in these organs. Kidneys also eliminate fluids and waste from our body.
Our bodies are part of this holistic eco-system. So, how can we align with the seasonal changes, to be ready, with vitality and exuberance for the rising energies of Spring?
Do less and take time to just be. Our brain begins to hibernate, producing more melatonin (the sleep hormone). We feel lethargic and lack energy, get to bed earlier in the evenings and extend our time sleeping. This aids physical regeneration. Practice having rest times during the day too. I recommend not watching TV during these designated times.
It can be tempting to eat rich, fatty food to insulate you from the cold. Heavy protein and fat intake is not good and people can gain up to 4 kilos during the holiday months. Eat and juice leafy green vegetables, pumpkins and squashes; these are excellent for internal hydration and nourishment. Including some fats in your daily diet can pacify the rough, dry nature of the Winter’s dominant energy.
In Ayurvedic medicine, ghee (clarified butter) is recommended to cook with. Olive oil is another excellent choice, warmed over raw salads. Barley grain in soups and Adzuki bean casseroles strengthen the kidneys. Warming spices in food, such as cayenne, ginger, peppercorn and garlic, are beneficial. Sun Warrior protein powder in smoothies can give inner strength without the unhealthy side affects.
Physical activity is necessary all year round, so when it becomes cold, warm-up before exercise, and gradually increase the amount of exercise to avoid the cold. Try indoor exercises such as rebounding. 10 – 20 minutes of rebounding 3 days a week is excellent for pumping lymph, toning muscles and building stamina. It is also a safe, gentle, non-impact exercise. Yoga stretches and poses for 45 minutes twice a week is another wonderful indoor activity, and now with excellent DVDs to choose from, it could become a family fun time!
It is important to stay warm in Winter. Layer up clothes, with wools or silk next to the skin. Keep lower back and hips draft free. Brora.co.uk sell ethically produced Scottish cashmeres and other beautiful clothing. Also, while showering in the morning, apply a mix of body moisturizer and oil all over your body. Dr Hauschka Quince Body Moisturizer mixed with Blackthorn Body Oil insulates so well. Overexposure to dry, cold wind damages the skin, so moisturize hands and face with rich natural moisturizers, especially when outdoors. Burt’s Bees products give extra protection from cold weather conditions
This is an ideal time of year to be quiet and to have tranquil, non-seeking and less-doing times. Fears may come up, for releasing and healing, as we introspect. It is a time to hibernate, and to be comfortable with our deeper and darker side for reflection.
Be also with the seeding of new thinking for the New Year. There are many ways to retreat and places to go to if needed. Chrysalis retreat centre offers wonderful “Gift to your Self” day retreats in December and “Renewal” weekend retreats in January.
CUT OUT COFFEE AND STIMULATING DRINKS
Avoid caffeine, soda, alcohol and sugar; all of which do damage to the kidneys and adrenals and are dehydrating and stimulating on the whole body, showing on the face as dark circles under the eyes.
Drink warming ginger teas, birch teas and rooibos teas. The Yogi Teas range offer seasonal teas that warm and nourish. I particularly like their Cold Season tea. St Johns Worth teas and tinctures also aid in combating SAD syndrome that can occur due to lack of sunlight.
Remember that your quieter, more receptive presence is your beautiful gift this season, for yourself and for those in your life.