We are currently in the season of Winter. The element associated with winter is water, and colour is blue/black. The organs linked to winter are the kidneys and bladder. Winter is all about going inwards, hibernating preserving energy, just like happens in nature itself, in preparation for the high energy seasons later in the year. Here are some winter facts you might be interested to know.
Winter season overview
The winter season is a time to go within ourselves and take time to replenish lost energy reserves that are traditionally used up during the build up to, and over the festive period. It is a time for slowing down and taking stock of where we are, and where we want to be in our lives. It is a good time to embark on a regular meditation practice, which can help to achieve inner stillness and peace. It is a time of hibernation, getting more rest, taking good care of ourselves, preserving our energy and staying in more.
Winter Element – water
The winter element is water, and is all about stillness and contemplation, but should also include gentle fluidity of movement as well. During winter our yoga practice should be tailored to suit the season, and during this time the focus is on working on the health of the skeleton and joint mobility, this is done via a more yin like form of practice where asanas (postures) are held for longer periods of time than normal, this is usually done alongside gentle flowing sequences.
Organs – kidneys and bladder
Each season has a pair of organs associated with it. In winter these pair of organs are the kidneys and bladder. The kidney meridian (energy channel) is found running up the front of the body. The bladder meridian runs down the back of the body. It is important to keep the kidneys warm during winter, they do not like to be cold. We often rub the kidneys during yoga practice in the winter season, as this creates heat and warms them up. We include lots of forward folds and backwards bends during the winter season, which work directly into the kidney and bladder meridians. For example scooping the water works directly into the bladder meridian as we reach down towards the floor, and open up the hamstring.
A time for meditation
Winter is the perfect time to practice meditation. With regular practice meditation can help us to become more relaxed, grounded and quieten and still our over active, forever chattering minds. There are various ways that meditation can be practised, for example there are various applications that can be downloaded to smart phones/tablets that provide guided meditations, this can be useful to begin with for anyone who finds it particularly hard to be still and quieten their mind on their own. Meditation can also be carried out focusing on or counting the breath. Another method is visualisation, eg burning candle, a beach, view from the top of a mountain.
During winter, as is the case in all seasons, proper nutrients are essential and it is important to eat foods that are in season, fresh and available from locally produced sources. Foods such as root vegetables and beans (aduki and kidney) are plentiful at this time of year. Eating lots of warming soups and stews will help to keep the body warm and happy during the coldest of the seasons.