Winter Greetings from the Baltic Sea! It is auspicious that today, the last day of autumn, we have had our first snow to welcome in the winter. According to Chinese cosmology, winter will officially begin tomorrow, November 7, 2014.
Winter and Water
Winter is the season represented by the Water element. Water symbolizes darkness, mystery, wisdom, and rejuvenation. From the Daoist perspective, Water is the primary element – the place from which all life energy begins. For these reasons, winter is the time for recharging our vital Qi and is the best season for our internal cultivation practice.
Time to Tonify and Cultivate
In China, we have a common saying – DongLingJinBu 冬令進補, which means ‘take the tonic during winter.’ Even young children know that during the winter season we must take special care to replenish our stores for the next annual cycle. To do so, we eat deeply nourishing foods every day and regularly supplement with tonifying Chinese herbs – even if we are already feeling healthy.
For Qigong and martial arts practitioners, we additionally emphasize the importance of DongLianSanJiu 冬煉三九 – dedicating yourself to daily practice during the coldest period of winter.
Are you ready?
In order to enhance my energy and strengthen my inner power, I practice Qigong and/or martial arts every morning. I have found it is extremely beneficial to continue my outdoor practice during the coldest months.
I remember a specific Qigong workshop I taught during the winter of 1994, when I was still working as an engineer in China. I guided over 100 students through a special outdoor Qigong practice in freezing temperatures (and with plenty of snow on the ground). We practiced for almost 2 hours straight. Although some students were a little intimidated at first, by the end of our session everyone felt that it was the most amazing and invigorating Qigong experience they had ever had.
Are you ready for the challenge?
Dry Metal and Cold Water
Of course, each winter has its own unique features as well. Compared with last winter, in most parts of northern hemisphere it will be much colder this year. Unlike last year, I do not expect that we will experience a mild winter here in the Stockholm area. Like many places, we will encounter some heavy snowstorms and experience the Dry Metal and Cold Water (ZaoJin HanShui 燥金寒水) cosmological Qi.
Balancing the Effects of ZaoJin HanShui 燥金寒水
This Dry Metal and Cold Water Qi will generate more physical and mental challenges to those who have health issues related with skin, lung, large intestines, heart, gallbladder, and/or kidney.
Besides a dedicated daily Qigong practice, sour, pungent and bitter flavored foods will help support your good health and strong Qi during this winter season. Over the next few months, eating sorghum regularly will be especially beneficial for your heart health.
Stockholm, Düsseldorf and Aberdeen
Before Karin and I completely submerge into our personal Winter Internal Transformation retreat, we will continue to support our Qi-friends’ winter cultivation this month by finishing up our weekly class series in Stockholm and offering two weekend workshops – one in Düsseldorf, Germany and the other in Aberdeen, Scotland. We hope some of you can join us!
Planning ahead for 2015 and 2016
Of course, we are also preparing an exciting variety of workshops and training programs in 2015 and are beginning to put our 2016 schedule together. For your convenience, we always keep our website’s training schedule up to date!
Tonifying Qi from Karin and I,