Winter Wellness...

Winter wellbeing is all about finding your flow.

It’s about the element of Water: fluidity, hydration and a sense of emotional buoyancy.

Sometimes calm and peaceful with sunrays piercing the surface all the way down into transparent depths; sometimes murky and muddy, full of debris; other times, turbulence and rips disguised under a glass-like surface. A jagged waterfall spewing foam and sprays of ice-cold shards or a warm rock pool, gentle waves eddying and cascading around, over and under familiar stones and pathways.  However she manifests, water is always the source of life’s secrets, depths and hidden mysteries.

Water energy asks us to quieten amidst a cool, still Winter. This season of hibernation and reflection among many things, offers an opportunity to journey within, to experience the silence that comes with returning to our core resources. To the unconscious, subconscious, primal womb.

Peace of mind and stillness of body help us to ‘pool’ our energies and is symbolic of the rite of passage we call ‘death’, which is really just another moment woven amongst the cycle of life, much like the pause at the end of a breath, thought or feeling before it flows into the next. It’s the sinking into and acceptance, the accessing of deep wisdoms, ancient stories from this lifetime and others, that allows us to emerge refreshed and with clearer understanding.

The meridians of Kidney and Bladder are governed by these watery depths, the bladder channel being one of the longest in the body – running from the eye corners along the centre skull, down the spine and back legs to the little toes. (The stomach is the other ‘long’ one, running from the eye centres down the front lines of the body to the second toes).

Essentially these two water channels govern the way we move, structurally and energetically.

They relate to our physical constitution as well as our ability to eliminate wastes and stress from the body.  Bladder stores our memories, our dna and the stories of our nervous system; Kidney holds our inherited ‘jing’ that dictates our constitutional story.

Winter is the perfect time to address any skeletal and hormonal imbalances, especially chronic ones, because our stories, our past, are inextricably linked to the levels of buoyancy and resilience buried within our foundations. Our spine, our bones, our fluids, oil, salt and ph levels, hormones, blood and nerves, are all affected by what we carry around in our head, heart and spirit. How we hold ourselves, how we stand up for ourselves, whether we are treading water or going under emotionally – we have it all there in our language – layers of patterning that either supports us, or not.


This is the season to nourish our’ jing’, our genetic makeup, by feeding our kidney & bladder organs & restoring balance to their meridians.  It is a time to rest, to warm the body’s core & consolidate our reserves of energy.  A meridian specific practice will target areas of weakness in these organs & channels.  It will help release fears, stress & insecurities; draw warmth, courage & positive energy into the lower back, sacrum and pelvic floor where our reserves of blood and hormones pool and circulate; as well as build physical & mental stamina & restore energetic integrity to the Hara/belly. You can alleviate physical stress because the kidneys and adrenals are the pulse point of our ‘flight-fright-freeze’ responses – when we balance the flow of our stress hormones we can more effectively recover and rebalance from shock, trauma and stressors of any kind.  Plus we can improve the way the body receives, absorbs and distributes tension, allowing for homeostasis to return more easily and quickly to our whole being.


To attune mentally to winter requires focus, patience & a willingness to look at yourself. It requires discipline & commitment to the process of releasing old thoughts, belief patterns & psychological scars.  When we harness our mind rather than being governed by it, we are able to experience ourselves in flow, balanced & settled. When you increase your ability to sit still and be with yourself without need for constant distraction, denial or fear of what you’ll find, freedom comes more easily.  Creating space between thoughts and establishing honest connection to our inner world, allows our intuition and our innate ability to listen/hear ourselves to evolve.  A knowing comes: what is good for us, appropriate, and self-sustaining.


Winter is the time to refine and expand your spiritual essence by meditating & going deep within, finding your courage to look at & release, patterns & beliefs that may not serve you anymore. Seeing what parts of the story are yours and which aren’t. By being still & listening to yourself you can receive great insight & healing, allowing you to emerge into spring renewed & invigorated.  This is why winter is traditionally associated with hibernation, retreat & reflection – it is the best time of the year to take stock of who you are, where you’ve been & where you’re headed. Find your spiritual warrior, your drive and discover your truth and purpose.


Taking the time to nurture yourself during the cooler months with warming foods will also help restore balance and flow to your body, mind and spirit.  Regulating fluid hydration is crucial for brain and organ function as well as helping to keep us on an ‘even keel’ both mentally and emotionally.  Foods that maintain the fluids in our body help to strengthen nervous system function and nourish mineral balances for lasting hydration and energy.  All types of kelps/seaweeds, sustaining soups made with beans, miso, legumes and lentils, porridges of brown rice, oats, barley and millet are suggested.  Avoiding dairy, breads, sweet fruits and excess sugar and salt will serve to nurture your kidney and bladder energies and help clear your digestive system for resistance to winter colds and flus.

Fear, anxiety and depression are also common imbalances that tend to rise during winter. Fear stems from the kidneys, anxiety from the bladder, depression from the central nervous system. By clearing and aligning our Kidney and Bladder meridians and making the organs themselves strong and functional, we can quickly and safely restore balance, warmth and a sense of emotional courage. You can feel strong and brave and buoyant. You can have a clear head, be receptive, energized and motivated to clear your inner stories, express your sexuality and follow your creative drive. Allow your mind and body to flow with whatever comes up, trusting that each challenge is just another opportunity to release, heal and learn more about yourself.  Breathe deeply as you practice your yoga, be aware of each shift however subtle and remember to be gentle and in the moment.

And as you settle down deeply into your physical structure and direct your focus inwards you will begin to experience the ebb and flow of the water element that supports all life, in yourself.


Denby x

(All information copyright denbysheather/breathingspaceyoga2012)