Winter is the season of rest and hibernation, and it is very important that we listen to our bodies and don’t overdo it during the winter months. Taking time to meditate, read and enjoy peace and quiet is a great way to help restore our Kidney energy and remain balanced.
Winter is the season of Water, the element governed by the kidney and bladder.
The kidneys are responsible for filtering blood, lymph, synovial, cerebral-spinal fluid, and interstitial fluids that carry debris released by the cells in detox and metabolism. They also store a substance referred to as jing, also known as the essence, which can transform into ‘qi’ and blood.
The kidneys are the source of primordial yin and yang, and therefore, an essential organ for the production of fundamental substances required for life activities.
The kidneys generate our desires, libido, creativity, and generosity, and govern birth, growth and reproduction. They rule the bones, spine, and bone marrow; and ears and hearing are also controlled by the kidneys.
They provide digestive fire for the Spleen and warmth to the Heart. Our kidneys generate the brain and nervous system, thus a strong connection to our sympathetic (kidney yang) and parasympathetic (kidney yin) nervous systems.
Declining kidney energy (jing) is what causes our hair to grey and our bodies to age.
Bones are associated with the kidneys and so any issues relating to our bones, especially our knees are typical presentations of imbalances in the kidney energy.
Responsible for storage and excretion of urine from our bodies passed down by the kidneys, the bladder utilises the Qi (energy) from its paired yin organs the kidneys.
Lifestyle Tips For A Healthy Winter Season
- Meditation is brilliant in winter. It is the most Yin time of the year ,hence the perfect opportunity to work with deep reflection due to the natural desire to hibernate in the cooler darker days. Some recommended meditation and breathing exercises include – Qigong, Guided meditations, Body scanning, visualisations, Square breathing, Alternate nostril breathing and Yin yoga
- Sleep is vital during winter! Aim to go to bed earlier and get up later.
- Put your phone and laptop away when you are going to bed.
- Keep warm!! Especially your lower back and knees. The kidneys are not a fan of the cold, and it is very common for our bodies to start feeling symptoms of lower back ache, knee clicking and weakness/aching when it’s cold.
- Hot salt baths are a good self care practice in Winter as salt is the flavour of the kidneys and water being the element.
- Yoga and Qigong are both perfect forms of exercise for the water element. Activating the breath, body and mind is very nurturing for our kidney qi. Yoga poses that will really help you through the winter or if you have kidney energy imbalances are sun salutes to help move any stagnant qi (energy) and increase spinal flexibility, folds such as Uttanasana and Pachimottanasana as they stretch the bladder and kidney meridians to clear any blockages.
- As mentioned previously, the kidneys are all about the bones which makes our spinal integrity and health a key part in our winter program and in general for longevity.
- High intensity activities like crossfit, spin classes, boxing etc. need to be limited. No more than 3 times a week for this kind of exercise during winter, or if you have a kidney qi deficiency. It will just put your adrenals into overdrive and by the time spring comes, you will not feel rejuvenated, but most likely burnt out. Start each season feeling energised!
- Winter is about the kidneys and water! Considering water flows, going with the flow in winter is the attitude we need. Don’t stress about things or be fearful of obstacles.