Embracing a Slower Pace for Boosted Energy

June 21, 2013


Winter is an important time to conserve and build your vital energy.

Saving can be boring; keeping funds piling up instead of enjoying them. My nanna was good at this, hiding chocolate mint cookies all over the house for a later discovery. Later requires foresight. I was reminded at a beautiful yoga workshop recently to ‘allow that which you have gathered to settle’. I definitely like using up that which I have gathered. If I have a bit of extra time or spare energy I generally use it up instead of depositing it to draw on later.

Nature is really good at saving things for later. If saving energy is like brewing coffee, leaving it to concentrate, then winter is the time for brewing your energy.  All the factors are there to encourage us to do this, if we can harmonise with our environment. The cold slows us down, less light makes sleeping-in even more enticing, heavy nourishing roasts warmed all the way to the bones takes time to cook and time to eat. Fighting the rest that winter demands is expensive on our energy. Stress is exhausting at the best of times, but winter in particular is a time to minimise unnecessary expenses that delve into our energy reserves.

In Chinese herbal medicine, winter is an important time to conserve and build our vital energy or Qi (pronounced “chee”). When the sun warms the earth and winter retreats, stored Qi propels us forward with the vigor of spring. It’s what draws buds to bloom and creativity to buzz. How much we have then, depends on how much we store now.

Conserving energy requires a measure of gentleness with yourself, and the expert teacher in this is water, the element of winter. We can obviously experience more of this element in winter, but it’s the qualities of water that become particularly magnified at this time. Chinese medicine explains the water element governs your ability to ‘be in the flow’. We notice water flaunting its flexibility by easily finding its path amidst all terrain, and always with the least resistance. It pools to rest when the space is provided, yielding to whatever the environment demands, then follows the path forward when it’s easy. I have a lot to learn from this sense of ease, and winter is a good time to learn.

I will savour my hot spicy chai (nanna would be proud), with feet up and enjoy each slow sip to make it last.

Peita Handel

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