Winter and Kidneys

winter snow

Chinese Medicine, and certain forms of qigong, are both based in part on the model of the Five Elements. The Five Elements as a model gives us a way to model the world and ourselves. The elements of Chinese medicine are: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water.  Each element is associated with certain organs in the body. Each element is also associated with a particular season. So as we go through the year, each season brings its own challenges and opportunities to our body and our emotions.

Winter is associated with the element of Water.  The organ system that is most challenged by the cold of Winter is the Kidneys.

In Chinese Medicine, the Kidneys are an extremely important organ system. They are seen as the root of all of the Yin and Yang energy of the body, and many people think of the Kidneys as being our bio-electric batteries.  The kidneys store Jing, the vital essence that is the basis of our material physical being. You can think of Jing as being the matrix that defines our physical structure and vitality, including our genetics.

In Chinese Medicine the Kidneys are associated with our whole urinary system and our reproductive systems. They are also associated with our bones, our teeth, and the brain. That is why when we "click" our teeth in the Acupressure set, we say we are stimulating the Kidney energy!

The color of the Kidneys is Blue or Blue-black. We can use this color in meditations to tonify or strengthen our Kidneys.

In Qigong we say that each organ system came into this world with certain specific virtues or emotions, sometimes called Pre-natal or "congenital virtues".  As we move through our lives, we encounter a reality that is often jarring and painful. In response, we learn "acquired emotions" as a way to cope with the hurt, rejection, and fear we experience in this life. These negative acquired emotions often become a stronger force in our lives than those of the deeper, nurturing congenital virtues.

The prenatal virtues of the Kidneys are those associated with the element of water: wisdom, understanding, clear perception and perseverance.

The acquired emotions of the Kidneys are fear, loneliness and insecurity.

One of the goals of Qigong practice is to transform the acquired emotions of each organ system back into its Prenatal virtues. When we strengthen the energy of the Kidneys through Qigong, we develop the courage to gain wisdom and understanding from the very things that cause us fear.

To keep our system balanced, tt also helps to live in harmony with the tone of the season. Winter is a time of stillness, or rest. It is a very Yin time. In the winter, the sun comes up later and sets earlier.  This is our cue to try to get more restorative sleep in the wintertime.  It is a time to reflect, to turn our energy and awareness quietly within.

I hope after the busy holiday season that you will each have the occasion to sit back and reflect on your being in a way that is comfortable, intended, and fulfilling.