Winter and the Water Element
In traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the winter season correlates to the water element. The water element is associated with the bladder and kidney meridians. It is represented by the colour black or dark blue and it’s direction is north. The taste associated with the water element is salty, smell is putrid, climate is cold and the emotion is fear/anxiety.
This is the most yin time of year and can be considered the end and/or beginning of the cycle.
It combines both death and conception. Consider how although plants may have died off and everything feels very still, as if there is no life, under the ground the plants, bulbs and seeds are slowly preparing themselves. There is life it is just buried deep, either within the plant itself or the ground. If you could see our fuchsia now, you’d think it was well and truly dead, yet in a few short weeks it will start to bud and life will be evident.
There is the least amount of day light during winter months with the winter solstice being the shortest day of the year (usually December 21st). Its the most cold and dark time of year and its not just the plants that are affected. Many animals in nature will hibernate. They withdraw and conserve their energy. Their metabolism slows down to facilitate their survival and in spring they awaken and go forth again.
Being a very yin time of year we will tend to draw inwards. You may find you feel more of a need to rest and reflect. You may also find that you feel more sensitive and emotional. Because of this winter is a time to conserve your energy and listen to your body. In modern life it is really easy to lose touch with the seasons and how they influence us. It can be tempting to think that we can just go, go, go without rest and recuperation. But in reality in order to remain fit and well, we need to honour the cycles of life including the seasons.
Out of balance the water element can influence a number of physical issues
These include our urinary tract, hormones (our adrenals sit just above our kidneys), low energy, infertility (our life force is stored in our kidney meridian) and bones. Due to the position of the meridians and their association with our bones, they can also be involved with back and neck pain. Emotionally when the energy is strong we feel confident and able to persevere, we can maintain our perspective. When out of balance we may feel fearful, anxious, overwhelmed and lose our ability to trust that everything will be ok.
To help maintain balance at this time of year listen to your body. Rest, stay warm, spend more time at home and take time to look within and reflect. Eat warming foods and consider gentle internal based exercise such as yoga or Tai Chi (both of which can be practised indoors).
Think you might need more help to get back onto balance? Get in contact to find out if I can help