Welcome to the darkest and coldest time of the year. It is the most yin time. A time of rest, recovery and recharging. The energy of winter is water energy. Water rules the Kidney and Urinary Bladder in Chinese medicine. The color is dark blue, and it is the Kidney is the deepest organ in the body. It is the deep, calm energy that is the darkness and stillness of the depths of the ocean. We transform the fear that plagues the Kidney into calm and quiet stillness. The water energy rules, the ears, bones and brain/nervous system, the fatty tissues in the body. It rules the reproductive system and joints along with the skeletal system. The weather of the winter is dark and cold, the kind of weather that makes one want to be inside and rest more, an appropriate reaction to the season!!
During winter months we can build and store our essence by having more yin practices. It is a good time for meditation, be more receptive and to refine ones spiritual essence. One’s ability to listen clearly can be enhanced during the winter time. The more one can quiet the mind, then the more one will hear.
Salty is the flavor of the water element. Salty and bitter flavors are good for the body in the winter. Salty has a a singing and centering quality which assists in the body’s storage abilities. Salt has the ability to cool the exterior of the body by drawing warmth inward. The cool surface helps the body to adjust easier to the colder environment. During the winter warm hearty soups, whole grains, roasted nuts, dried fruits, small dark beans and steamed winter greens are all appropriate foods for winter. Lettuce, watercress, endive, escarole, turnip, celery, asparagus, alfalfa, rye, oats, quinoa and amaranth are also foods that support the body during the cold white month. Bitter herbs that strengthen the Kidney in winter are chicory root, burdock root, horsetail and chaparral. Some nourishing sources of salt are miso, soy sauce, seaweeds, and millet. Do not overdo it with the salt, it can overwork the Kidneys. Balance is always important with the five flavors. Of course, seasonal foods are always best enjoyed, so rooted vegetables and wintergreens are perfect.
Remember that winter is a time of rest and storage. Many mammals spend most of the winter sleeping for survival reasons. Tune into the deep parts of the elf and take advantage of energy that can help support one’s meditation practice, inner spiritual growth and refining listening.