Embracing the Yin of Winter

Yin Seasons

From a Traditional East Asian Medicine perspective, we aren’t meant to keep the same schedule, pace, activity, or emotional focus throughout the entire year. Each season brings its own Qi and we shift, reevaluate, ebb and flow to align ourselves with the Qi of each season for health now and in the future.

Fall
Fall begins on September’s Fall Equinox. It is the season where we slowly ramp down from the faster paced, external expression of Summer into slower paced, internal focus. In this slowing down, we take time to harvest the fruits of our labors from the past year. We wrap up projects and reap the reward of our good work. We review our past year and decide what has been healing or productive or added value and we take the opportunity to let go of what no longer serves us. We simplify our schedule and commitments to gather energy for the coming winter. We start shifting our focus to inner reflection and inner work.

Ideas we might consider or implement:

  • Breathing exercises/Singing
  • Doing puzzles
  • Wearing a scarf
  • Going to bed earlier and getting up with the sunrise, which rises later and later.
  • Adding foods and that support our lungs:
    • Parsnips
    • Pears- especially good for a dry cough
    • Water chestnuts
    • Cauliflower
    • Lotus root
  • Shift our cooking style to cooked, warm meals.
  • Healing and processing our grief. Grief constricts our qi, so we focus on keeping our qimoving by allowing ourselves to cry, moving our bodies gently, breathing exercises, talking about it with a professional, and getting acupuncture. We find our unique, personal balance between feeling our grief but not holding onto it longer than is necessary to process it in a healthy way.
  • Examining our energetic/ spiritual boundaries.

Winter

Winter begins on December’s Winter Solstice. It’s focus is on nourishing, building up, and storing our resources. Winter invites us to consider how we are spending our time VS what our priorities are. This is the time for deep introspection and shadow work. Being such a yang dominant culture, both in our pace and what we value, it can be easy to overlook the gifts that rest and stillness bring. However, when we look at the yearly cycle, the amount we are able to rest and nourish and build ourselves in winter is directly proportional to how much energy we have to grow in spring, which affects the quality and quantity of what we can produce in summer, which is directly related to what is available to harvest in fall.

Ideas we might consider or implement:

  • Sleeping more. Going to bed earlier and getting up later.
  • Stay warm- especially feet, knees, low back, and neck
  •  Hydrate and moisturize
  •  Adding foods that support our Kidneys, that are hydrating and deeply nourishing:
  • Breathing exercises/Singing
  • Doing puzzles
  • Wearing a scarf
  • Going to bed earlier and getting up with the sunrise, which rises later and later.
  • Adding foods and that support our lungs:
    • Stews and soups
    • root vegetables
    • Lentils
    • Black beans
    • Shellfish and a little more meat- if you eat it Bone broth- if you eat it
    • nuts, seeds
    • dark colored berries
    • Whole grains, especially black rice and wild rice
  • Eating warm and cooked foods, limiting cold and raw foods
  • Listening for inner guidance
  • Finding moments of rest and stillness daily
  • Healing and balancing fear. When fear is in balance it can lead us to take action, it allows us to be appropriately cautious with risks, it motivates us to build up the resources we need to meet our needs.

Written By Theira Smith, LAc

Tribe, professional member, who believes in collaborating together to heal your body, emotions, and spirit through Acupuncture + Shamanic Work

Related Articles