Winter Solstice is when the most dark happens, so, this is the biggest Yin to Yang transition time of year. Yin at its most dark, its most full. Then Yin transitions back to Yang, the light as more light each day begins to build. Yin and Yang is energy appears in nature as such: YIN: the moon, dark, quiet, female, earth, coalescing, substance, physical body, conserving, consolidating, winter, fall, direction is gathering in. YANG: the sun, light, loud, male, sky, expanding, movement, energetic body, passion, growth, summer, spring, direction is up and out. This time of year is considered YIN until March when we transition to spring. So, it is still a good time of year to conserve your Yin. It is a dark, more quiet time of year. Your Yang Qi needs to go deeper to be replenished. The animals know to hibernate and just sleep more. If we look at nature, we can follow what nature does, what the animals do. Sleep more, do less, conserve energy. When you learn to follow the seasons of nature, then nature can work for you. How does this happen? When you are more quiet in winter and store some reserves, then the springtime "Dis-Eases" do not come about: allergies, digestion troubles, cold hands and feet, can't wake up in morning. As the earth wants to bring Yang Qi to a deep level to protect and preserve (think of plants here staying quiet underground, not growing above ground), then, in the springtime, the plants and YOU are able to rebirth with energy. In the wintertime you are building YIN which is a very powerful, deep source of energy, it is solid and full of integrity.


  • Stay warm, keep covered, especially your feet and legs

  • Eat warm cooked foods

  • Eat root vegetables: carrots, yams, sweet potatoes, yukon potatoes, beets, horseradish root, parsnips, turnips, celery root, jerusalem artichokes, these things grow in the ground, they are rooted, so they help to "root" your Yin energy.

  • Prepare food at home

  • Cook in cast iron pan for iron nutrient benefit

  • Go to bed early (9:00 pm, no later than 10:30 pm)

  • Low light at night so melatonin kicks in naturally

  • Drink a glass of water first thing in morning to water your Stomach Qi

  • No screen time 2 hours before bed (coordinating this is a huge benefit for the rest of your life for a good nights sleep). This means no TV, no computer, no long phone time.

  • Hot water bottle on kidneys if you are feeling under the weather

  • OR, hot water bottle at feet and cold pack on forehead to bring "thinking fire in the brain" down so you can go to sleep.

  • During the day keep the lower body the warmest, two layers of clothes on legs, take off hat, gloves, then upper body jacket first if too warm.

  • Keep feet covered in the house, socks and slippers, this is where cold can enter and set up a vacation condo in your interior. Then, the cold visits to wreak havoc on your health.

  • It takes 3 days to catch a cold. You have these 3 days to notice you are going under and do something! Gargle with salt water, take elderberry syrup, go home, take a nap. Take a hot bath with menthol or Kwan Loong oil (oil of wintergreen), wrap up super warm, go to bed, maybe sweat it out, put that hot water bottle on the low back-kidney area to "root" your Lung Qi.

  • Wash hand and kitchen towels often.

  • Practice Qigong to build your Wei Qi

  • Solstice traditions are a time to gather together to help you transition to the next season and time of year. So:

  • Gather with friends and celebrate, this allows for a smoother, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual transition for all the parts that are you.

  • Expect less of yourself and others, do less, be less, buy less.

  • Be kind, be quiet, be thoughtful, move slower, observe.

  • Does your Qi need assistance? These acupuncture providers are awesome, I have known them for a long time: They provide community style affordable acupuncture. $20- $40 per visit.

FOOD AS MEDICINE 1. Eat more fresh ginger in the mornings, 1 or 2 slices after your meal, OR chop it up fine and mix it with your breakfast. 2. Mushroom soup, especially lions mane and shiitake mushroom help tonify the immune system. Add mushrooms to Chicken soup which boosts general Qi for the entire body. 3. Eat black beans, black sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, winter squash, barley, aduki beans. Honey, butter and mango help to nourish fluids in the body if you are feeling dryed out. 4. Oysters, clams, salmon. Any seafood is from the ocean. Ocean foods (water) nourish the Kidney Qi and Jing. Winter is the time of year to nourish the Kidneys. 5. Eat cultured foods: a bit of yoghurt, saurkraut or Kim chi with meals to create good gut organisms that enable you to have good digestion. Eat jicama as a before meal snack. This vegetable is a pre-biotic. It creates an environment in the gut where the pro-biotics can attach and grow and continue to work for you. 6. Water your Kidneys: Drink 3-5 cups of water at the best Kidney time: 3-5 PM in the afternoon. 7. Salt: use as a stay well practice by neti-potting and cleaning your sinuses AND gargle with salt water. The salt water pulls mucous and virus from the mucous membranes and flushes it out and away. I usually do this when someone around me is sick as a way to stay clear of lurking virus. Also, keep sick persons out of the kitchen. Hand towels can harbor a virus for 7 days, washing is good, but it is actually the dryer that heats and kills the virus after 30 minutes on a high heat setting. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

WINTERTIME READING The Hour of Land By Terry Tempest Williams A personal topography of America's National Parks. A manifesto on why wild lands matter to the soul of America. Terry Williams is one of my favorite authors. She has written several books, I have read them all. Her style of writing is thoughtful and she reaches deep into our connectedness with everything in the universe. A true gift to read. Secrets of Your Cells by Sondra Barrett, PHD Discover your Body's Inner Intelligence ~ a good biology discussion for the non-biologist! This book explains a lot of what happens, why and why not in the body on a cellular level. Very interested, not too scientific and easy to skip over areas that are while still understanding what goes on. The Healing Herbs of Edward Bach by Julian & Marine Barnard Guide to Bach flower remedies. Very useful for children and adults alike. As nature heals, there is discussion in the biological world about how sitting in front of a plant or herb that is healing is just as useful as ingesting said plant or herb. The "essence" of the plant can be absorbed through our own energetic field. I like this book for the illustrations and succinct descriptions for use each plant. Here is a starting place to understand how nature provides for us~ body, mind & spirit.

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