This is Winter: the season of cold in the morning and evening, and often warm at midday. This is the season of “cold to the bone” and “damp chill”. This is the season where some people find that the inside of their house is colder than outside – what the heck?! This is the season where some of us dream of merino wool socks, gloves with liners, a hat that covers our ears, and a coat that covers our rears. I think of this season as Flannel-Wool-Fleece because some days I just can’t get warm!
Winter is the season of the Water element. The Water organ system in acupuncture theory includes the Kidneys and Urinary Bladder. And more! It corresponds to the bones and ears, it governs birth, growth, maturation, reproduction, and aging. The positive emotion associated with Water is courage, and the challenging emotion is fear, and includes the Will to survive. It is the color blue or black, and a groaning voice. One may experience tremendous vitality and creativity, or exhaustion and depletion.
Here are three ways to protect and support your Water element organs.
- The Kidney channel’s first point is on the sole of the foot, near the center of the base of the second and third toes. If you have a tendency to run cold, then protect your Kidney channel with wool or silk socks. Wear wool slippers (preferably with arch support) around the house. Keep your tootsies toasty.
- Use the walking meditation below to engage The Kidney channel. The first point on the channel is on the sole of the foot and is called Bubbling Spring, and it has the potential to kick start your energy at whatever level is needed. It helps you connect with your internal resources.
- Keep your low back – your Gate of Life – warm as well. If you’re sitting, you can put a hot pack or heating pad on your lower back, and you can also put it under the soles of your feet, or alternate between low back and feet. I’m currently using moxa packs that activate with friction and stay hot for hours. Curious? Ask me.
Horseshoe Heel Walking is a walking meditation with the intention of grounding yourself as you move. You might want to try this barefoot inside first, so you can focus on the sequence by bringing your awareness to it. You can still reap the benefits by practicing it with shoes on. Bring your focus to the “horseshoe” of your heel. As you step down, focus on the back center (1), then on the inside and outside edges (2 and 3) evenly until the heel is fully placed (4), then push off at the center of the ball of the foot, towards the front (5). It happens quickly. As you focus your attention here, your foot and leg awakens. Your inner and back legs engage dynamically. As this happens, your pelvis shifts into neutral and your spine recovers its healthy curves as it naturally extends. As your spine lifts, your chest also lifts and expands, allowing deeper breathing. Deeper breathing refreshes the body, mind and spirit. Can’t get outside? Then walk around your space barefoot and explore the sensation on your feet, legs and everything else. Point #5 in the picture refers to Kidney 1. Center point #4 is referred to as “posterior” Kidney 1 in some acupuncture traditions. When I first started practicing this walking meditation, I found it distracting to listen to music or a podcast or an audio book. I had to just walk and pay attention. Focusing the mind this way is how it becomes a meditation.
Try it and please tell me what you experience!
Socks image by congerdesign at pixabay