Time for Hibernating
On the first day of winter, a friend closed an email with this, “The light begins!” How fitting for the darkest night of the year. While here in the Northeast, we are still waiting for more typical winter weather, we expect more seasonal weather in the coming weeks. Striving to consciously incorporate practices that connect me with the natural world, like how I eat, exercise and spend my free time, here is some of what I’m planning on making time for this winter.
Changing up some routines
While I do like the festivities and gatherings leading up to Christmas, I can’t wait until the quiet of January and February. We celebrate my son’s birthday. He and his friends are here indoors more and spend time playing video games and eating pizza. I had a small victory today in fixing a mis-threaded sewing machine and so finally I’ll get cracking on some winter quilting projects. We are fully returned from living outside all summer to enjoying the coziness of our living and dining room, playing games with neighbors on Saturday evenings, and having more time to read, contemplate, and nap. No more mowing until at least mid-March!
Winter Foods that Warm our Hearts and Core Temperature
When I think of winter foods, I usually think of things like potatoes, squash, apples, nuts, citrus fruits, wild game, root vegetables, and baked goods made with winter spices. While it’s possible to get any number of summer fruits at the grocery store any time of year these days, there are good reasons we think of these other kinds of foods as winter foods. Root vegetables, potatoes and apples can be preserved in their raw state well into winter. We think of oranges because beginning in the late 1800’s citrus became available from Florida and California, in season! For a more in depth account of this phenomenon, visit Dave’s Garden post on the whole topic.
And as for the spices, there are some spices that have certain chemical compounds that raise our core temperature. Chinese Medicine has identified these types of foods for centuries. Among the warming spices are those that go in the traditional “pumpkin pie spice blend:” cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg. Mulling them in wine, adding them to coffee or hot cocoa, putting them on applesauce, all makes for winter deliciousness, but helps keep us warmer from the inside out. For more spices and food that raise core temperature, read this article in Natural News.
Highlights of winter time outdoors include the challenge of identifying trees in winter. I got myself a winter plant ID book for Christmas that uses twig details as the key to winter identification. There will still be some traditional working out in my garage gym, but most traditional workouts will be among friends at my local Crossfit gym. Most to look forward to however is skiing with my two best friends from growing up. There will be some winter hiking as well, and the truly enjoyable walks in the park with my best friend, Mario, who prefers cold and solitude to the company of any other dog.
Yoga Postures and Chinese Medicine
And finally, over the past months I’ve studied Dao Yin Yoga with Sifu Chik Mason from Spiritwind Internal Arts. It’s been my introduction to Chinese Medicine, specifically by means of studying Taoist yoga postures and how they correlate with energy meridians and organ function. Taoist Yoga is very much in tune with the natural world and there are specific postures that related to each season. To my delight there is even a fifth season, Late Summer. In winter, attention is drawn to the kidneys and bladder. So I’ll be focusing on postures specifically targeting the meridians that support those organ functions.
In all regards, winter is a time for some interior focus, and I am looking forward to it.