Maintaining Vitality in Winter

The weather is getting even chillier, the night time encroaching on the day earlier, the tree leaves continue to dry and fall away, and the winter solstice is around the corner.  I know I can already feel winter more in my bones.

The bones are part of winter, as is cold, ultimate yin, the direction of the north, element of water, and the organs of Kidney and Urinary Bladder.  It is a time of storage and slowing, but within the yin there is yang energy as well. The ming men fire is said to exist in between the kidneys, and it is the seat of our life force.  It is relevant to keep this area physically warm, and to maintain practices to stoke this fire, and warming foods to ensure the energy of the center (earth) is strong.  Think about foods that store energy under the earth – like root vegetables – and make your favorite sweet potato + kabocha squash soups!  It’s also even more prudent to limit the cold foods you eat this time of year – ie raw veggies / ice cream.

I found a wonderful qi gong video that is all about this strengthening of the root energy, and brings in interesting concepts such as the will (zhi in Chinese), as well as calling states of being and emotion into the heart center. Winter Qigong  It is a wonderful way to start the day and stoke the mingmen fire on a cold winter morning.

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