Finding Some Yin

I havent ever had such a hard time sitting down to write a post since i started this blog as this one.  Its been hard for me to even sit still.  The mild weather this winter shouldnt let us forget about the season.  During this time of the year,  nature is in her resting season,  quiet,  withdrawn,  deep in the earth and the roots preparing for spring.  This is the time of the year to rest, reflect and replenish yourself.  Through Taoist principles and Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is the most Yin time of the year.

The concept of Yin and Yang can be very complex,  but its symbology makes up everything within us and in the universe.  They represent fundamental opposition and depend on each other because they are in a constant state of turning into the other.  Winter is the most Yin of the year because Yin represents cold and the moon as Yang represents warmth and the sun.  There is Yin and Yang as the seasons change and also in each day. The most Yang time of the day is noon and Yin represented at Midnight. Nature abides by these cycles and man,  as a microcosm of this universe also needs to in order to stay balanced and healthy.

Nourishing ones Yin aspect is most important in the winter.  Our Yin energy nourishes the blood, it forms the foundations from which our Yang energy can move from.  Having less Yin can make a person fatigued,  weak and have a lower resistance to stress.

How do I nourish my Yin? The answer moves us a little bit deeper into the very foundations of ourselves.  The organ most associated with Yin energy and winter is our kidney.  Our kidneys,  and the water element it represents are the most important aspect needing nourishment during the winter.

Water is the essential medium of your body through which all things pass.  This fluid of life is important for functions like the circulation of blood, which carries heat and nourishment throughout the body; the lymphatic flow, which helps to process and eliminate wastes and provides your ability to fight off infections and other foreign agents; and for the flow of urine, saliva, sweat, tears and sexy fluids.  

Keeping hydrated and moist is very important during the winter,  it helps keep the kidneys working our water element and keeps the chill out of our bones.  The windy cold winter months can leave you achy.  Thats because the kidneys are also associated with the bones themselves.  Our deepest instincts and family heritage lies in our marrow and our bones.  When you "feel something in your bones" its pure instinct.  It comes from something that has been already written in your DNA and has been passed down to you.  Nourishing your Yin also nourishes this instinct.  The "jing" which lives in the kidneys,  is the original source of energy.  The energy that is passed down from your parents.  Its only made once,  during conception and is used throughout our lifetime.  When women go through menopause and men start to lose their vitality,  the kidney source is becoming depleted.  

People who have deficient water energy find it difficult to slow down, relax or rest, with an inability to reflect clearly.  This deficiency is often seen more in the winter time when resting and reflecting is more important. This can leave us "blue" emotionally,  another aspect of the water element, with the bones feeling achy and our energy down.  

Besides staying warm and hydrated,  you can nourish your Yin and your Kidneys with simple foods, practices and oils.  Cook whole grains and warming foods like soup using root veggies and warming spices like garlic, ginger and turmeric in your diet.  Eat lots of brown rice, barley, oats and BEANS especially in the winter.   Eating fish, and drinking Miso, and eating seaweed (i know, ew)  also nourishes the water element.  

You also need to take special care of your activity level in the winter.  Sleep more,  take it easy,  even in your exercise regiment.  Meditation, yoga, Tai Chi and Qi Gong are all exercises that help nourish the Yin within you.  Breathing exercises help create more Qi or Prana.  

Frankincense is the number one oil for Kidney Qi.  It calms the mind and promotes deep breathing and helps deliver lung Qi to the kidneys and deepen the breath.  Juniper Berry oil promotes the lymphatic system and aids the Kidney Qi as it purifies.  But also,  any oil based on flowers nourish your Yin when worn and bring more grace into your life.  Wearing jasmine,  lavender or rose can calm the mind and nourish stillness during the winter.  Geranium nourishes the liver and kidneys.  Bergamot works directly with the nervous system and is great for balancing hormones.  Clary Sage is wonderful for deepening your meditation practice and Ylang Ylang  slows down rapid breathing and the heart rate. 

The Kidneys and the water element rule over the emotions.  Both water and the emotions are unpredictable.  When flowing, all is well; but when blocked or stagnant, great pressure can develop or disease can set in.  Kidneys,  water,  and the emotions are all ruled by the yin principles,  the moon,  the deep and the dark.  
Take care of yourself this winter by nourishing your Yin and set some time aside to just be still.  Its harder than you might think. At least it has been for me.