Nourishing Your Energy(Qi) with Yin Yoga During the Winter Months
by Elaine Parker
Winter is a time of stillness
When nature's energy has turned in during this most inward time of all seasons, it is a time of stillness and rest. If we look to nature the trees have dropped their leaves, the sap of the tree retreats to its roots, outward signs of life have disappeared and the landscape can be covered in snow. There is still work going on but it is internal. In this state of rest energy is collected and held in reserve. A time for internal work ( the essence of Yin energy) this season is a time to rest, to build our energy reserves, and gather strength for the year ahead. The Taoist( ancient Chinese) believed that beings should live in harmony with the natural cycles of their environment. Slowing down during this season allows us to reflect on our health, replenish and conserve our energy. In these ways we honor the wisdom of the season. The organs associated with the energy of winter, the Water element are the kidneys and urinary bladder. According to the philosophy of Chinese medicine the Kidneys are considered the source of all energy (Qi) within the body. They store all the reserve Qi so that it can be used in times of stress and change, to heal and to prevent illness. During the winter months it is especially important to nourish our kidney energy (Qi). In our modern world the two top things that deplete Kidney energy are Stress and Intense Physical exertion without proper rest.
Ways to Nourish your Kidney Qi/Water element
Slow Down Add more time for rest and self reflection. Allow quiet time to draw wisdom from your experiences. Make quiet time for reading, meditation, listening to beautiful music, and other soul nourishing activities.
Yin Yoga - a practice of stillness. Yin yoga clears energy blockages in the major energy highways( meridians) of the body. The heart rate is not elevated during this practice, there is very little energy expenditure. In Yin yoga so there are long holds in the postures when energy blockages are cleared from tension held in the body, the energy is used for healing and to to build the energy reserves.
Get plenty of sleep. When you can go to bed earlier and allow yourself to sleep later. Nourish yourself well with warm cooked foods and lots of waterKeep warm. If you participate in outside activities wait until the warmest sunniest part of the day during the cold winter months. Keep your ears, neck and shoulders protected along with your hands and feet. Keep legs covered- there are major energy meridians that begin and end in the hands and the feet and travel through the legs. The lesson of Water's wisdom is "The Path of Least Resistance" the water course way. This is the energy season to do less, not more.