ARE YOU SURVIVING or THRIVING THIS WINTER?
It’s not always easy to stay motivated when the days are shorter, it’s colder, and the pace often slows right down. But, if you can keep on top of your health, vitality and mental wellness, winter can be magical. The winter solstice, or Matariki, is upon us. What better time than now to embrace some ancient wisdom on how to make the most of these colder months.
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"It is the life of the crystal, the architect of the flake, the fire of the frost, the soul of the sunbeam. This crisp winter air is full of it. " John Burroughs
The ancient Chinese developed a holistic medicinal system based on adjusting our routines according to the seasons, bringing balance between our bodies and the external world. Developed over thousands of years, many of these practices are still used today in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TMC). In this system, kidneys are the key to staying fit and healthily over winter.
Our kidneys are great multi-taskers. Fighting 24/7 to filter toxins and waste from our blood system, they produce urine and red blood cells, regulate our blood pressure and activate much needed vitamin D.
Here are some TMC tips for kidneys;
Keep your kidneys warm! Don't expose your back in winter weather, even after exercise.
Stay in harmony with nature for your dietary needs. If you use what’s in seasonand eat local produce whenever possible, nature will yield most of the essential vitamins and minerals.
Keeping hydrated in any season is vital but particularly for kidneys in winter. Kidneys need water to function and to dispose of the rubbish in our systems. In winter, stick to beverages that warm the body rather than cool it down. Room temperature water, herbal teas...red wine instead of white!
Ears have a symbiotic relationship to our kidneys. Look after your ears- keep them warm, protect them from loud noise and check out any hearing problems immediately! Problems related to ears are believed to be caused by poor kidney energy. Recent research by the Hearing Health Foundation shows there is an association between kidney failure and hearing loss as the buildup of toxins in the kidneys damage the nerves of the inner ear.
Fear is the emotion connected to our kidneys. If you are fearful and anxious, work on strengthening your kidneys through Tai Chi and QiGong exercises. Emotional problems can turn into physical ones if they are not addressed!
Exercise to strengthen the kidneys. QiGong and Tai Chi are strongly linked to TMC medicine so there are many exercises that gently squeeze, twist, massage and turn your body to activate resilience and strength of our kidney health.
Here’s a simple but amazing winter warm up;
For the majority of us, the ‘shortest day’ of the year won’t affect our daily routine and is unlikely it will take up more than a passing thought. But in ancient times, it marked probably the most important event of the calendar year. The shortest day and longest, darkest night symbolised uncertainty, hope, renewal and rebirth.
In today’s world it is a fantastic time of the year to meditate, rethink, rework and revitalise personal and work plans for the upcoming months. The slower energy of winter is the best time to work through processes methodically rather than with the flurry of activity that tends to encapsulate summer. While everyone else is hibernating, utilise the time to have some extra time for you.
Before the advent of electricity, people knew their survival was inextricably linked to the sun. We can turn on so many things in our lives with the flick of a switch but we can't turn on the daylight. Many of us struggle during the winter months and lack of vitamin D intake is directly linked to higher rates of depression and SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Make it a priority to catch some soak in some Vitamin D with winter sunlight, keep active and practice some deep breathing in some beautiful fresh winter air whenever possible this season. It will help both your mind and body!
Winter is the perfect season to reflect on how we fit into the bigger picture, to tune in with nature- to recalibrate, regenerate, regroup and practice some sun appreciation!