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Winter in Chinese Medicine

Winter is the most Yin time of year in Chinese medicine. The darker months are a time of looking inward, slowing down, resting, wrapping up, keeping warm, and eating nourishing foods. 

 

It is a time when looking after our kidneys is important. In Chinese medicine each season is associated with one Yin organ and one Yang organ, the kidneys (Yin) and bladder (Yang) are associated with winter. 

 

Our kidneys store our ‘jing’ energy, much of which we have from birth and is harder to restore than ‘qi’. It is our deep reserve of foundational energy, roughly translated as ‘essence’, and linked to our constitutional strength and vitality. 

 

In order to live a balanced life, according to Chinese medicine, we need to live in harmony with the seasons. In winter this means eating nourishing, preferably local, foods such as dark leafy greens, squashes, black beans, kidney beans, walnuts, chestnuts, lamb, chicken, bone broth, and whole grains. Cooking slowly in a slow cooker is perfect. 

 

It is unwise to burn the candle at both ends, especially in the winter months, rest and sleep more than other seasons and keep alcohol consumption to a minimum. 

 

Activities should also reflect the season and focusing inwards is the theme for this time of year. Internal martial arts, such as tai chi, and related practices, such as qigong and meditation, are perfect for living a healthy and balanced lifestyle in winter. 

 

Personally I love wrapping up warm and taking my tai chi practice outside, or meditation indoors looking out over a frosty garden in the quiet of the morning (until the dogs decide it’s time I take them for a walk!)

 

White Crane Online can be your perfect winter companion: tai chi, qigong, and meditation courses and follow along classes to help keep you healthy and balanced throughout the colder season. You can join and learn the basics for free, and if you like it, subscribe and deepen your study by learning whole tai chi and qigong forms, such as White Crane Tai Chi, Eight Pieces of Brocade, Shibashi, Turning the Moon… and much more.

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