Practical Advice for Winter from the Yellow Emperor’s Classic
1)In winter, get plenty of rest, more than your normal amount. Cast away Puritan guilt and Cowboy pride about getting by on lack of sleep. Leave martyrdom to the religious fanatics.
2)In Winter cultivate meditative lifestyles, do Tai Qi or Yoga in a warm sunny room, meditate every morning for 15 minutes or more, be kind to your friends and loving to your family. Winter is dominated by the water element, and water is soft.
3)Conserve your sexual energy a little more in winter, depending on your age and constitution. Sexual energy is a deep energy of the kidneys; semen in men and menstrual fluids and breast milk in women are pure essences manufactured from the energy of the kidneys and blood.
If you have excessive monthly bleeding, this is treated with herbals and acupuncture. If you breast feed, make sure you nourish yourself well. If you are male, conserve your semen by transforming sexual energy into love energy, moving the energy from the lower body to the heart. The books by Mantak Chia give more information about that.
4)Stay warm. Don’t go out into the cold after bathing, and don’t go outside with wet hair. Stay in a little after bathing. So rushing out the door right after a morning shower is a really bad idea. I had one asthma patient report great improvement in her symptoms after stopping going out with wet long hair, which her grandmother had always advised against.
5)Generate heat with thermogenic foods and spices. Slightly heavier foods, like more lentils and oils if you are a vegetarian, and a little more flesh if you eat meat. All the warming spices are good, according to your constitution. Ayush brand Pro Kapha and Pro Vata Spice and Pro Kapha and Pro Vata tea are delicious and appropriate for this time of year. I like to start my day in winter with hot black tea, mixed with milk boiled with saffron, ginger, clove, cinnamon, and cardamom.
6) Avoid cold foods, especially in winter, like iced beverages, cold fluids from the frig, salads, raw foods in excess, ice cream, frozen yogurt. Forget the protein shakes and smoothies, but if you have to have them make them room temp, or figure out a hot version. How about hot soy milk, protein powder and banana with flax and a dash of honey or agave nectar?
7) Hot cereals are great, and hot soups greater–they warm you up and stimulate secretions in the nasal passages and lungs. It is very smart in winter to make soups using sea vegetables, which provide minerals like potassium, calcium, and iron, and iodine, as well as carotene and fiber. Foods from the sea are said to strengthen kidney Qi. Seafood soups in moderation are great, as fish and shellfish have the strong energy of the sea, which re-enforces the kidney energy.
Copyright Eyton J. Shalom, M.S., L.Ac. San Diego, CA All Rights Reserved, Use With Permission Ayurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diego https://www.bodymindwellnesscenter.com