The cold winter months are typically the time of year when we rest and quietly reflect a bit more in order to conserve our energy for the burst of outward energy that comes in the spring time. In essence, it is a time for storage, and building up our reserves.
In Chinese medical theory, this time of year places emphasis on the water element, which corresponds to the Kidney and Urinary Bladder. The Urinary Bladder is considered the storehouse of emotions, and is one of the longest channels in the body, running from the head, down the back and legs to end at the small toes. Tension and held in emotions can cause congestion along this channel, which can lead to stiffness and pain. The Kidneys are perceived as storing the energetic life force; birth, life and death, or the cycle of transformation. The seat of willpower is situated here, generating ambition and the desire to do something with one’s life. Lack of motivation can reflect an imbalance in the Kidney energy. Both functionally and energetically, the Kidneys act as a complex filter to keep our system in perfect balance. Physically, they filter the blood and keep the blood and body clean. For example, the delicate water and acid-base balance in the body is maintained by the Kidney.
To help maintain a healthy Urinary Bladder and Kidney this winter, maintain your exercise routine, do not increase the level of activity (save that for spring and summer). Quiet activities such as playing cards and board games, meditation, and slow movement activities such as walking, swimming, yoga and tai qi are best in the winter. Eat cooked, easily digested foods such as soups and stews and root vegetables. Avoid over doing carbohydrates and meats as these cause too much internal heat production (inflammation) in the body. Also, keep warm, especially the lower back, belly and neck!