10 STEPS TO YOUR WINTER
As an Herbalist, one of my main obligations is providing relevant information and educating my clients. Not only is it critical to learn what works for you as an individual to prevent dis-ease, but it is also necessary to understand how we can simply align with nature. Understanding the basics of ancient healing systems, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine, is a great place to start, which I spoke about in my first blog.
Winter Solstice marked the beginning of Winter associated with the Kidneys, the Water element. Winter brings us to the heart of the Yin time, giving us the great opportunity for our deepest introspection and “checking in” with ourselves. The Kidneys are the foundation of Yin and Yang for the body and hold our essence from before we were born. Nourishing this organ system is key to vitality. Supportive Winter foods and herbs can be incorporated in your daily regime in teas and crafty food alchemy. A heightened state of awareness, indulging in self care and a personal yoga practice can be helpful too. Let’s make self care fun and exciting while being in tune with nature. Try something new during this time of restoration….
1. REST Listen to your body and it’s requests to rest. Sleep is indeed the best “medicine” for rejuvenation. I am a huge fan of the midday 20 minute nap, the results are amazing!
2. LIGHT YOUR INNER FIRE AND EAT SOUP! We can build the energy (Qi) of the Kidneys by eating warm, cooked foods. Avoiding salads and raw vegetables is a good idea, especially in cold climates. Bone broth infused with herbs, black sesame seeds, walnuts, kidney beans, sweet potatoes, garlic and lots of root vegetables are great foods for the Winter. The Kidney Yang, also known as the Adrenals, works as our inner “pilot light” and is directly related to heating our digestive system and also reproductive organs. In order for our parasympathetic system to function properly, it is important that this light continues to burn. The simple act of avoiding consumption of raw foods at this time of year can avoid many unnecessary health challenges. Soup is easy to make, inexpensive, warm, delicious and nutritious.
3. HEALTHY SALT Make certain you are eating healthy salt! Seaweed salad is quite delicious and there are many types of seaweed to experiment with. My salt preferences for daily food preparation are Pink Himalayan Sea Salt and Eden Foods Sea Salt. The “taste” of Winter according to TCM is salty and the color is dark blue or black. Have you tried making a black sesame seed gomasio with black lava Hawaiiain sea salt and schizandra berries? So many flavors and great supportive Kidney food! Request my recipe!
4. KEEP BOTH THE BOTTOM OF YOUR FEET AND LOWER BACK WARM Important Kidney/Urinary Bladder meridian points are located in these areas.
5. REDISCOVER YOUR HOME YOGA PRACTICE~EXPERIMENT & ENJOY At Winter Solstice, we welcomed back the light~now is a great time to practice Surya Namaskar sun salutations to honor both the light within and the energy of the sun. Balance your practice with both the yin and the yang and use restorative poses such as Sarvangasana, Supta Badhokonasana and Viparita Krani for nourishment and regeneration of the nervous system. Winter is also a focus time for backbends, forward bends and twists.
6. DO IT! Get out of your normal routine and start making healthy changes to parallel your intentions for the new year. Find your courage and challenge yourself by facing fears in a healthy way. Whether it’s experimenting with a new recipe, finding a new sport, workout or new asanas for your yoga practice, DO IT!
7. DRINK TEA! Nettles & Oat straw contain minerals which can help to soothe the nervous system. In the past few years, nettles has become one of my closest herbal allies. I include this mineral rich herb in my teas, syrups and after a large harvest, as a substitute for spinach in a nettles spanikopita. Yummy goodness!
8. SEASONAL CHAI I have also been enjoying my wonderful Autumn & Winter Immunity Building Chai full of flavor and yummy herbs to keep you immunity strong and your tummy warm and spicy. Contains Burdock root, Chaga mushroom, Astragalus root, Codonopsis root, Reishi mushroom, Echinacea root, Sarsparilla, dried Ginger, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Chen Pi (aged tangerine peel), Allspice, Pippali pepper & Nutmeg.
9. GARDEN THERAPY One of my favorite ways to get out of my head is to dig in the dirt! If you haven’t experienced the pleasure of planting a seed and watching it’s cycle into a flower, try it! Gardening is good therapy any time of year!
10. RELAX, REMINERALIZE, REVITALIZE & LOVE YOU! Trust your intuition and inner guidance. Use bath bombs, bath salts, magnesium chloride, oils, flower essences and essential oils. All of your inner work and positive attempts will set a great foundation for renewal and fun in the Spring. Spoil yourself rotten…you are so worth it!
I would like to invite you to treat yourself in 2016 with a membership to my new Seasonal Apothecary Club! SECURE YOUR SPOT TODAY!
If you are feeling out of balance, SCHEDULE A SESSION WITH ME and you can learn what herbs, foods and yoga poses are most appropriate for YOU! Customized formulas and lifestyle protocols are my specialty. And…I’d love to hear from you!