Saturday, September 22, 2012

Nourishing Yin

 The topic of the month is nourishing Yin. So often in my practice, my patients ask me what is Yin and what is Yang? How do these principles apply to my treatment? How do I work with these aspects of Chinese medicine in my every day life?
These are very big questions with multi-dimensional answers. I am going to answer them from my own personal perspective. Please note that each practitioner of Chinese medicine will have their own definition and application of these theories...
Yin is the passive energy that is defined by contraction.  As the season shifts and we go into the darker days and cooler nights we are entering the Yin cycle within nature. The element is water, the organs are the Kidneys and the Bladder, the colors are black and blue. This is the time where we prosper if we simmer savory soups, make congees, roast root vegetables, drink hot herbal teas with Manuka honey, rest more, go in, sleep longer hours, honor the delicate needs of our bodies,  and nourish our deepest Essence on all levels.
My favorite source of inspiration for recipes and food suggestions for nourishing Yin is Paul Pitchford's  book Healing With Whole Foods. Yin foods tend to be more cooling, salty, descending in energy and by nature build blood and nourish fluids of the body.
Outside of Acupuncture and massage treatments, rest and seasonal diet modifications, creative activities   may also nourish Yin.
The balance between Yin and Yang will manifest as a more balanced Qi, or vital life force.

Yin is the energy that is governed by darkness, creative energy, passiveness, serenity, moisture, the seed, the quiet, cultivation of nutrition, the new beginning, softness, the feminine, our sweetest inner dreams that wake us up in the early morning where we say 'yes' before the day begins. 

Knitting, cooking, embroidery, wood work, meditation, resting by a fire, enjoying the close comfort of a best friend with tea, a nap under a special quilt, a rest in the warmth of the afternoon Autumn sun, the essence of the moon, a rich velvety congee,  a stew simmering  in a crock pot, the sweet smell of the most delicate flowers, the essence of earth, all speak to the energy of Yin. 

For me, the expression of Yin comes when I can take a beautiful picture of an opening flower, or seeing the sparkle of the sun light on water that translates into an opening of my Heart. Also,  being in the vastness of the open sea...with my camera, or experiencing a special moment in nature... touching the earth,
and  knowing that it will nourish me for a long while.

'The closer you can lie against the Earth, melting into the Earth, the better. You become nothing in order to be come something....Touching the Earth, you are able to reabsorb the vital source of energy  bequeathed to you by your ancestors.'

Thich Nhat Hanh

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