Ho-ho-ho Rejoice in the knowing that when Winter is officially here on 21st Dec- at winter solstice with the shortest day light of the year – half of it passed already in Chinese cosmology where it is the heart of winter (winter started Nov 7th in 2018)
Winter is the end of the year cycle and is often associated with death in our belief systems. the earth is exhausted and needs to rest, it is often frozen and seem inactive. But the ekement winter is associated with is the water element. Water is the strongest and deepest of all. It is the basis for yin and yang (opposite and complementary forces or energies) Life depends on water and water is the source of life. The earth can be frozen on the outside but the seeds lies deep within and will grow in the spring.
The organs associated with Winter and Water are the kidneys and bladder, they deal with filtering, purifying and discarding the fluids in the body. In Chinese Medicine we say kidneys store our parental gift of vitality, we cannot get more, we can only look after it like a saving account. when we exercise / rest we produce interest, when we are stressed we waste the capital. Kidneys give us our primary vitality and they govern bones, bone marrow and our spinal cord. their health manifest in our ears, hair, teeth. In the modern world winter solstice is a time for social and family celebrations and often excess of foods and drinks and emotions that will bring stress to the body. Luckily there is time before and after to help respect the season in our body. Here are a few tips on how to accompany the season :
drink : kidneys need to rest a lot to work well so we stop drinking way before bedtime (ideally 2 hours) and we start the day by awakening our kidneys with warm water before eating food. we try to drink plenty of water outside meals and early in the day. drinking alcohol will deplete the kidneys (they wll have more work and it usually makes us more thirsty) and drinking during meals will only compromise digestion by dampening the system and preventing us from mastication. A French tradition to have herbal tea before bedtime is a good warming one and ok for some but watch for the darkening under the eyes and the need for the loo in the middle of the night…
eat : winter is the best time for long slow cooked meals like stews (where various foods cook together in liquid and are said to get along better, reconcialed in water). good foods include Miso, Seaweeds, kidney and black beans, mushrooms…
sound : listen to sound to stimulate the kidneys and experience the benefits of silence. silence is where sound comes from and where it will return. low frequency sounds (cello, drums) will stimulate the kidney energy and silence will allow them to rest and recharge.
time of day : the time of day when the kidneys and bladder are more active is mid-late afternoon (3-7 pm), if it is a time when one is more tired, why not take a little break – earlier to prevent or when tiredness is felt – to acknowledge tiredness and rest, rather than getting an adrenal stimulation to keep going on our reserve.
posture : each season has a posture and the winter is standing up like a tree, time to work on one’s posture. Building from grounded feet up : Feet hips width apart and parallel on the outside (to open the sacral region), pelvis slightly tilted forward, knees unlocked, shoulders loosened, head naturally sitting on top of the neck with chin tucked in and imagining that the point on top of the head is subtly aiming for the heavens. like a tree we are standing proud and relax between heaven and earth and we are ready for gentle exercise. There are a few excellent chi gong exercises to reinforce the kidneys and bladder, ask your Sound Shiatsu practitioner.
stress : the adrenal glands sit on top of the kidneys and are ready to release cortisol in the body in response to danger, real danger is rare yet tiredness, overwork, fear, overstimulation keep the stress response active. good ways of lowering cortisol levels include sleep, gentle exercise, relaxation (getting out of the fight and flight mode and into the relaxation mode which allows all systems to work and repair)
fear / courage : the emotion associated with kidneys is fear (when we experience a big fear our bladder can suddenly let go). Unless the danger we face is too strong – which is seldom – we do not need to be fearful. the positive transformation of fear is courage and bravery, taking a good step back before facing our fears or lack of energy and going forward !
Stimulation of the sole of the foot and Kid 1 point with a good posture standing on the ground will make it easier to be courageous, imagine the drums making soldiers tap their feet in rhythm to walk fearlessly.
get a Sound Shiatsu session : to help with the change of the energy around us and accept and go with the flow, and to enjoy a long attention to the back and release tensions on the neck, shoulders, rib cage and lower back…
To summarize Sound Shiatsu tips for the Winter : It is a time to save our vital energy and protect our kidneys, experience on drinking at appropriate times, rest in silence or in soothing sound to balance with the festive season, eat slow cooked and nutritious food, and work on our posture to prepare for Spring…!!