Out of the sudden it became winter. The mornings are cold and frosty. Nature sleeps, the leaves have slowly fallen from the trees and it's gets dark in the afternoon. Time to turn inwards, to do less, to recharge and enjoy a warm drink by the fireplace.
According to Chinese Medicine the winter season is energetically linked to our kidney and bladder energy. This is also referred to as the water element. This is the most yin and calm energy we have. The kidney system is in charge of our water metabolism, bones, brain, fertility, hearing, and adrenals (stress management). They act like a battery that keeps our entire body/mind working smoothly.
If we nourish the kidney/bladder energetic system in the winter, we feel energetic and can take on anything in the coming year. If the kidney energy starts to run low, our quality of life may become affected by illness and low energy.
Our kidney and bladder energy is nourished by warmth, sleep and rest. Nature shows us the way. Winter is the time to be still, to turn inward, to rest. Contrary to this natural rhythm of life our winter season is often the most active time of the year. Christmas preparations, finishing targets at work, and full social calendars take up a lot of our energy in this period where we would serve our body best by doing as little as possible. So ask yourself how can you downsize in the winter? How can you be more, rather than do more? How can your give your body the rest it needs to be able to go full-energy in the spring again?
Here are a couple of tips on how you can nourish yourself in winter:
1. Take A Break
It is best to follow nature and rest during winter with emotional and physical activity kept to a minimum. Instead of hard core exercise workouts, go for walks in the nature. Allow yourself enough time for rest and sleep. Go early to bed and rise late.
2. Eating warm
The water element drives on warm food and warm drinks, ideally for all meals. The best food for our kidneys come from the category of salty and dark foods. Think of bone broth soups, beans, soy sauce, eggplant, eggs, seafood etc. Here is a full list of foods that nourishes your kidneys.
The winter time is a profound time to turn inward and for internal growth and healing. The veil between the worlds is thin, and we can connect to our ancestors for guidance and healing. You can create rituals around the winter solstice and end of year that celebrate mother nature, your own internal development and the connection to our ancestors.
4. Meditation, and yin cultivating exercises
All yin cultivating exercises like meditation, Qi Gong or Do-In yoga are great to nourish our kidney energy system and are gentle workouts for winter time.
Here is a easy exercise for your kidneys:
March in Place: The exercise starts by standing up. Turn your attention to your feet. How does it feel when they touch the ground? Imagine your feet become very heavy.
Now start to slowly stomp your feet into the ground. Slow, but forceful. You can play with the speed of stomping. If you like, you can put on some music and turn this exercise into a stomp dance. With a smile on your face.
Do this for 4-5 min each day. This will activate the kidney meridian which starts at the sole of your feet.
You can also activate your kidney meridian by holding acupressure point "Kidney 1" for at least 1 min a day. You will find this point at the sole of your feet, 1/3 the distance of your foot between the long bones of your 2nd and 3rd toes.
It is the only meridian point at the sole of the foot and is a major energy vortex.
This point is often stimulated during meditation as this point will ground you.
You can also massage your ears as they are the sensory organ connected to the kidney. You can find an easy ear massage in my blog here.
Stay healthy and enjoy this winter season.