In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Winter is represented by Yin energy, slower, colder, inward style energy and an opportunity to reflect on where we are in our lives, to replenish and conserve our energy. The Winter season sees us called to look into our depths, much like nature goes into a deep stillness in the winter months. We are called to surrender to the season and reconnect with our inner being, and to embrace the darkness within and nurture rest and restore.
Much like the seeds lying dormant in the cold hard ground and the bare branched trees, awaiting their metamorphosis in the Spring. The Water element represents Qi energy at its most consolidated and essential. Like the seed of a plant, it contains within itself the potential for growth. Water signifies the life force in its primal condition, and is responsible for fertility, growth and development. It relates directly to Will, drive and determination.
In TCM, winter is governed by the Water Element – Kidney and Bladder Meridians. According to the TCM philosophy, the Kidneys are considered the source of all energy (Qi) within the body and they contain our ‘Jing’ or life essence, the genetic foundation of the individual. The essence determines our constitutional strength and resistance to disease. It is precious, difficult to replenish and therefore is something to be carefully preserved.
The Kidneys store all of the reserve Qi in the body so that it can be used in times of stress and change, or to heal, prevent illness, and age gracefully. During the winter months it is important to nurture and nourish our Kidney Qi. It is the time where this energy can be most easily depleted. Our bodies are instinctively expressing the fundamental principles of winter; rest, reflection, conservation, and storage.
Apart from storing the essence, the other main role of the Kidneys is to control water. This we can more easily relate to when we think of the internal process of the Kidney in separating excess body fluids and waste products from the blood. When Kidney-Qi is weak, and fails to control water, problems such as water retention can occur.
In today’s often busy and stressful lifestyle, our Water element is often prone to imbalance, through stress responses with fight/flight, over-exertion, lack of sleep, cold weather, anxiety and excessive consumption of coffee and stimulants which will all deplete our Kidney energy. Have you ever noticed that when you are tired your willpower is weak? This is a common example of Water element deficiency. Other symptoms of water element deficiency you may notice are feeling fearful or withdrawn, lower back pain or weak knees, urinary problems, low libido, ringing ears, osteoporosis and bone disorders.
The highest expression of the Water element is Wisdom and Will. Wisdom is not your intellectual knowledge it comes from listening to our innate knowing and confidently knowing we can trust our Wisdom to guide and lead our way. To know our Wisdom and Will is to know our real self and can support us to manifest our potential (destiny) wisely. We are like gardeners in that we must make sure there is neither too much nor too little water or fertiliser, so that we achieve optimal growth in the long term.
So over the next month or so begin to focus on the connection to your inner self, cultivate that seed within you during this winter period, nurture, water, fertilise this seed of your divine essence in preparation to bloom with growth as we enter into Spring.
Give yourself some extra attention and love to nourish your Kidney Qi, eating nourishing warming salty foods, gentle movement like Tai-Chi or Yin Yoga and plenty of deep breathing and meditation will also be useful to cultivate the more internal aspects of the season and support the clearing from within. Take five minutes a day to sit still and just notice your breath, maybe journaling what you feel and what you notice, take a warm Epsom salt bath with lavender oil or sitting with your favourite cup of tea without doing anything are simple ways to support yourself and keep your Water element nourished.
This is the time to reconnect to our inner self, listen and lean into the whispers and guidance from within, giving our seed the nurture and space to bloom into the perfect whole and complete being we are. If you could use some support in working through releasing old patterns and beliefs, or shifting stuck or blocked energy, or maybe you are stuck in survival mode constantly in fight/flight, vigilant and alert - then reach out and let me help support you to become the best version of yourself...to nourish-awaken-glow from the inside out! 💛✨
Love and light,