The light has changed, casting longer shadows, as dusk arrives just a bit earlier each evening. We are moving into a yin time of year and nature is slowing down. Have you noticed the ducks flying south, bird songs are changing, and how gardens bow to frost? Nature is yielding to welcome winter and the introverted days of deep winter.
The concept of yin and yang are fundamental to Chinese Medicine. Our environment, our health, and social interactions revolve around the dynamic dance between yin and yang. Yin qualities are slow, quiet, dark, feminine, soft, and heavy. Yang aspects are just the opposite —yang is quick, loud, bright, masculine, and forceful. As depicted by the yin/yang symbol, nature finds balance by preserving a little portion of the yin within yang and yang within yin. An example is bright sunlight on a cold winter’s day.
You can cultivate health of body and mind this time of year by wholly embracing the yin and slowing down with nature. Yes, it’s okay to slow down! Our society dictates a rushed daily rhythm where slowing down feels unnatural and out of sync. In contrast, you can follow nature’s lead by yielding to seasonal changes. Slowing down may take practice. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Nourishing the Yin
- Have a cup of tea and allow yourself to sit quietly.
- Light candles at dinner, eat slowly, and enjoy your food.
- Spend time journaling.
- Handwrite a letter to a loved one —putting pen to paper will cause you to be reflective. It will bring joy to the recipient and nourish their yin too. (Personal mail is so rare these days!)
- Take a mid-day nap on the weekend; it will feel so luxurious.
- Treat yourself to a restorative yoga class.
- Read a good book.
- Take a stroll in the woods. Be mindful of the bird songs, the smell of autumn, and the sound of your footsteps over the earth.
- Practice limiting screen time, or avoiding it all together after 6pm.
- Cultivate a thankful attitude —each day write down something you are thankful for.
- Stay hydrated and drink water at room temperature.
- Limit social engagements and spend time alone. It is so refreshing to have unscheduled time for yourself!
Ideally, you’ll create space to nourish the yin on a daily basis. Even if you only have ten minutes to set aside, you’ll begin to crave this time. Consequently, you may experience less stress, sleep better, and welcome restorative rest into your life.