This is a lovely 14-minute qigong exercise for the kidneys and their corresponding element of water by Mimi Kuo-Deemer: Yoga, Qigong and Mindfulness. In Chinese Medicine, Qigong exercises and their focus can change to reflect the season and its corresponding element in that season. Winter is the season when we focus on the element of water, which is associated with the yin organ of the kidneys. These exercises reflect this focus.
Chinese Medicine teaches us how we can conceptualize our bodies with the 5 elements (water, wood, fire, earth, metal/air) and how this concept shows us the interconnection, harmony, balance, and orderly flow. The use of cycles, such as the seasons, can be used to help guide our actions to stay healthy. In each season, there is a different organ system that is spotlighted, and with that. we can be guided to focus our actions on nourishing that organ system.
In Chinese Medicine there are 5 seasons; winter, spring, summer, late summer, and autumn. Each of those seasons are represented with a different yin and yang organ, and each of those yin and yang organs will have different needs. Winter is the season that helps us focus is on the element of water. When we think of water, we think of organs associated with governing water - our kidneys and bladder. This means that in the winter, we want to tonify and build up our kidneys, and in Chinese Medicine, the kidneys also include the bladder, bones, reproductive organs, adrenal glands, hair, and ears. So this means, winter is the time to nourish those parts of our body.
Winter in nature is cold, damp, and inactive, cold, and damp. What is happening in nature can help guide us as well. Winter is a time to rest, sleep, consolidate your Qi, and to be contemplative. It is the time to reserve and nourish your body with Qi to help you prepare for Spring which will be the time of new growth. Meditation, Qigong exercises, sleep, and certain food choices can help you fortify your Qi to maintain your state of wellness in the winter months.
There are certain foods that are often recommended to eat in the winter months to help build up your Qi in the winter season. Paul Pitchford, author of "Healing with Whole Foods" recommends these foods to nourish your kidneys in the winter months:
In addition, there are often the recommendations on what things to minimize because it can damage the kidneys or drain the Qi in the kidneys; especially in the winter months:
For me, the spring equinox is a time to get away and rebuild my energy. It is also a time to identify what changes I want to see happen this year, and then plant those idea seeds & nourish them with life force energy with the idea they will grow and flourish through the year.
This year I went to the giant redwoods, walked under those massive trees, sat, meditated, and just allowed the energy of the area to become a part of me. I then identified some ideas & concepts I thought would help create the kind of world I want to be part of and to live in. These were some of the ideas I planted this year for the celebration of spring:
This is a Qigong meditation to do for the spring equinox. The exercise will help you energize your body and revitalize your organs, particularly the liver.
From “The Way of Qigong” by Kenneth S Cohen