Leafless trees, frosty mornings, frozen lakes and a low sun creates a magical wintry picture. There is a sense of stillness, that Nature is resting.
But below the earth’s surface, plenty is happening. Seeds are undergoing a vital process of recharge and restoration.
It is the energy of the Zhi, the spirit of the Kidneys (the organ of winter’s Water Element) that will encourage the seeds of potential to flourish and fulfil their purpose and destiny.
Before this growth, the seeds must be well rested or they may lack the energy for spring growth.
And so it is for us too. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), winter is the best season to slow down and conserve our energy. Inadequate rest during the colder months may leave us feeling depleted come spring time.
As I pleaded last month – we need rest, not resolutions! So if you’ve felt as resistant as I have to the incessant calls at the start of the year to plan, set intentions and envision your year ahead, it is because this is opposite to what winter energy calls us to do.
A fine balance of Yin and Yang
The Kidneys provide the driving Ki (energy) and will power (the Zhi) needed to overcome obstacles and accomplish our goals in life and live out our fullest potential.
This deeply nourishing Yin time of winter gives us the energy, vision, and will with which to emerge into spring – the more Yang season of growth, renewal of spirit, and fresh starts.
Anything that injures the Kidneys will also injure the Zhi. Chronic fearfulness, trauma, ongoing stress, penetrating cold, addictions, anxiety, working beyond one’s capacity and insufficient sleep all drain the Kidney Ki and the Zhi.
When the Zhi is imbalanced, the result is one of two extremes – either lack of drive or overdrive.
The last two years have created a perfect storm of conditions that will damage the Kidneys. Ongoing stress, fear and uncertainy of the pandemic may have caused many of us to feel far more depleted than usual. For this reason, resting over winter time is even more essential.
A winter’s rest
Avoid overextending yourself. A mindful balance of Fire (yang, activity, joy) and Water (yin, stillness, introspection) will give us a sense of flow, guiding us to move through winter in a balanced way so that we are not depleted ahead of spring.
When in balance, Water Element allows us to move forward with minimal effort. Actions feel easy and effortless, and are achieved with a sense of flow.
Signs of a Water imbalance: insomnia, energy levels, anxiety, forgetfulness, lower back pain or a sense of hopelessness about the future and the year ahead.
Shiatsu helps to re-balance your system and bring a zing to your Zhi. Choose to receive either in-person received from a qualified profession or via an online Guided Self-Shiatsu session.