Here is a wonderful article from Ling Gui International Healing Qigong School about how to take care of your self at this time of year as the weather begins to cool. I want to add one bit of advice to this that is good to pay attention to year round. Did you know that from 3 a.m. to 3 p.m. your nervous system is in sympathetic dominance and from 3 p.m. to 3 a.m. your body is in parasympathetic dominance? In terms of your digestive system, that means that you have the most digestive juices in the morning and supports the old adage: “Eat like a king at breakfast, a prince at lunch and a pauper at dinner.” Eat your biggest proetein meal before 3 p.m. when your digestive energy greatly decreases and this practice alone will greatly support your health and vitality. When you do overeat or eat late in the day, support your digestive system by taking digestive enzymes and/or Chinese herbal formulas such as Bao He Wan.
Winterize Your Earth Qi
The earth qi is related to our spleen and stomach. Beginning with Winter, the weather gets cooler and the cold Qi increases our gastric acids and gastrointestinal contractions, making digestion challenging. Meanwhile, with cold weather our appetite increases and we want to eat more. All this taxes our spleen and stomach system. In Chinese medicine our abdomen is considered our second brain, as digestion slows down our thinking becomes blocked. This increases our negative emotions, especially anxiety, depression, fear, and worry.
How do we winterize our Earth Qi?
1. Think less and slow down your daily activities/lifestyle.
2. Eat warm and cooked foods, especially high fiber whole grains. Avoid cold and raw foods. Eat a little honey each day to enhance digestion.
3. Go to bed early and get up late.
4. Take in winter sun often.
5. Take a 30-45 minute walk per day in nature.
6. Heat sea salt until warm and wrap into cotton fabric. Place the fabric on your navel until it cools down.
7. For Qigong practice, stand with feet parallel to your shoulders. With both feet, grasp the earth several times throughout the day. This movement opens all of the jing-well points, for promoting the spleen/stomach function.
A smooth spleen/stomach function can preserve kidney yang for the upcoming deep winter.