From the Journal of Shifu Rinaldini: 1/19, 1:17pm

Okay, back to the article on harmonizing with the winter. And that is
what it is all about in a nutshell. In fact, the ideal is to harmonize
with all of the seasons as each season has a distinctive flavor about
them and being nature ourselves we want to be in sync with nature.
This wisdom was written about a long time ago in ancient China and one
of the pivotal works about the seasons and human harmony is the Huang
Di Nei Jing, called Nei Jing for short. The Nei Jing describes the
winter season as the time for “closing and storage.” This is all part
of the Yin and Yang and Five Element or Five Phase Theories of
Traditional Chinese Medicine. According to these theories, the summer
and warm times of the year are the Yang phases of the year, and cooler
and cold times of the year are the Yin phases of the year. This past
Winter Solstice was on December 22, 2013 which marks the peak day of
the Yin phase, known as the Greater Yin.

So what are some of the key things that we should be aware of in order
to stay in harmony with the winter phase? To begin, the Nei Jing
recommends very strongly that we “go to bed early and rise late. You
must wait for the rising of the sun.” P.17 (editing note underline
wait) This is to harmonize with the Yin and support the Yang which is
in decline in the winter. In other words, we must as the Nei Jing says
nurture our Yin energy by slowing down, getting extra sleep, and
turning our attentions to quiet contemplations and activities. Or, as
I would say, spend some time in silence and solitude during the
winter. Here is a long quote from the Nei Jing on the core principles
of the winter phase:

The three months of winter denote closing and storage. Water freezes
and the earth breaks open. Do not disturb the yang-go to bed early and
rising late. You must wait for the shining of the sun. Allow the
mind-will to enter into a hidden state as if shut in-not unlike
someone with secret intentions, not unlike having already made secret
gains. Avoid the cold and seek warmth. Refrain from sweating as it
causes the Qi to be carried away quickly. This is in resonance with
the Qi of winter and the Way to nourish storage. P 18

There is so much more in McCann’s article, I recommend getting back
issues of the Qi Journal to read it and his other articles on the
seasons. However, I don’t want to leave his article until I discuss
his recommendations for eating and drinking during the winter phase.
As you will guess by now, the key practice is to stay warm during the
height of the Yin phase. Staying warm during the winter is essential
for Kidney energy and thus what we eat and drink become vitally
important to our health and strength. So we need to eat warming foods.
These are foods that are energetically warm, not simply warm because
they were heated. Here are a few guidelines for winter warming foods:
most animal meats are warming, vegetables like yams, sweet potatoes,
garlic, ginger, squashes and root vegetables. Spices like pepper,
nutmeg, cumin, and fennel seeds are warming and great for digestion
during the winter. But wait, I really like what McCann recommends for
drinking. He advises to avoid the cooling Chinese teas like Green tea,
and suggests the warming dark processed teas, like the oblongs, black
teas, and puerh teas? And here is something that I really like to
hear, “Pu Erh is perhaps the best of these”:

This wonderful tea from Yunnan Province is traditionally made from the
leaves of wild deep- mountain tea trees. The leaves are harvested and
then put through a process of fermentation and aging, and some high
quality Pu Erh teas can be aged for 15 to 20 years or more. Not only
is this tea warming but it also encourages the inward movement and
storage of Qi that is desirable in winter. P19

As I read this article and write these entries, I have been enjoying
my High grade Tibetan Puerh tea.

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