After the end of Daylight Savings Time, most of us are well aware that we have entered a quieter time of year. In Chinese medicine, the winter is considered to be a more yin time. Every day has a balance of yin and yang, but in the winter, yin is more prominent. Yin is dark, nutritive, and restful, while yang is light, energetic, and active. As the winter is more yin in general, it calls for a calmer lifestyle.
For some of us, this is a welcome change -- but it doesn't mean we don't desire the aspects of yang, like warmth and activity, in these months. Here are three tips to finding yang and keeping your energy balanced in a yin season.
- Get outside at lunch time. Take advantage of the sun and light, both yang in nature, by getting outside mid-day when the sun is strongest. Use part of your lunch break to move outside to boost your energy and get some natural vitamin D.
- Watch your posture and breathe deeply. When it is cold, there is a tendency to pull your shoulders in and hunch to stay warm, but this limits your ability to take a deep breath and circulate blood to the extremities. This can make you feel more tired as your energy and blood are stuck and don't fuel your body as well. Find time to roll your shoulders and breathe in deeply to keep things moving.
- Use your diet to combat coldness. Paul Pitchford's Healing with Whole Foods reminds us that we can combat the colder weather by using herbs to provide dietary warmth. He recommends adding ginger, cinnamon bark, cloves, and rosemary into foods -- or using them to make a tea! Adding warming vegetables such as winter squash, parsnip, and mustard greens is another good suggestion of his.
CAROLE WYCHE, LAC
Carol is a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist, and a NCCAOM Diplomate of Oriental Medicine.