Winter: The most Yin time

February 17, 2019








Yin and Yang

Yin and Yang represent the pair of everything in our world, and are inseparable.  Without Yin there is no Yang, and vice versa. Earth follows the patterns of Yin and Yang with the changing of the seasons. Winter Solstice, the darkest day of the year occurred on Dec. 20, and it is the most Yin of all of the days of the year.  It’s important that we embrace our surroundings, as we will be within them more during the winter than in the other seasons.


The ancient Chinese developed a system of health that is simple in its essence, but sometimes challenging for Westerners to follow.  We see things as being steps in achieving goals.  Chinese medicine teaches us to live in harmony with nature and the seasons.  The seasons were named winter (water), spring (wood), summer (fire), harvest (earth) and autumn (metal): the Five Element Theory. 

Each season causes us to adapt our behaviors so that we can create balance between our bodies and our environment. The ancients tended to sleep longer in the winter and get up with the sun, wear clothing that helped them maintain & regulate their body temperature, and eat foods that were available to them during a given season.  In doing so, they were able to maintain their immune system and stay healthy throughout the year.

Personal Ways to Attune

As far as acupuncturists are concerned, winter is a time to get more sleep, take care of our kidneys, our ears, bones, to meditate, and relax the mind.  Because of its association with the element water, it’s a great time to drink more water, herbal tea, and soup.  Eating cooked root vegetables, black beans, kidney beans, bone broths, and dark leafy greens all honor our body’s need to nourish ourselves.

Lots of people love winter, feeling energized with the cold, and love to enjoy skiing, snowboarding and going on walks in the snow.  For others, however, winter causes them to want to stay inside and keep warm, and can cause some to feel a sadness or depression because of the lack of light and physical activity.

Clean and Organize… a Bit

Think about improving your environment by giving it a thorough cleaning.  Organize your life a bit, one drawer, shelf or surface at a time.  Don’t take on too much at a time if you are one who feels like staying inside and sleeping more than our culture thinks is appropriate.  Give yourself praise for the small things you accomplish every day, even if they seem miniscule.

A Place to Meditate


Find a place in your home where you feel completely calm and comfortable and use it for meditation.  It’s great if you have a whole room you can dedicate to meditation, but if you’re like most people, finding a small area within a room will work just fine.  Try to make it as free of distractions as possible: remove the TV, books, computers or laptops- anything that doesn’t support your need for solitude.  Consider using candles to light the room during meditation, rather than brighter ambient or task lighting.  New to meditation?  You do not have to sit in the lotus position for 20 minutes or more.  Research now shows that a few minutes a day can really help to reclaim balance in your outlook on life.

In conclusion

Rather than pushing forward during this Yin time of year, try thinking of yourself as a leaf floating down a gently flowing river, not able to determine your own destination... at least for a period of time every day. 

Need help creating a space to breathe deeply, meditate and relax?  Contact us through this website and we can talk about your needs this winter.  We can’t wait to hear from you.




     "Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished." -Lao Tzu

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