According to Chinese Medicine, winter is the season of deep rest.
Depending on where in the world you live, your winter could range from mildly cool but still sunny days, all the way to frozen sub zero temperatures.
As China is a place that can get extremely cold in the winter, the wisdom that has emerged from China is very concerned with keeping the body warm, well-nourished and protected from the cold during this season.
In all of the ancient Chinese medicine texts, they speak of paying close attention to the sun; when it rises and sets in the day, as a way to adjust your own hours of sleep.
Winter is considered to be the season where we can best nourish the tissues, blood, yin and yang of the body. Another way of saying that, is to give yourself permission to eat more during winter!
Chinese medicine regards soups, stews, slow cooked meats, and other highly nutritious foods to be the best way to nourish the body. Winter is not the season to be restricting calories, or eating small cold meals such as cold salads from the refrigerator, or icy cold smoothies.
A slow cooker may well be your best kitchen tool this season. Be sure to include a good bone broth base, loads of vegetables and protein laden beans in your stews.
Some people find it harder to keep their hydration up in winter, as the thought of drinking cold or cool water is not appealing (especially if they know people that practice Chinese medicine who are always talking about how consuming cold foods and drinks is a big no no!).
So, it might be helpful to fill up a thermos of hot water in the mornings, and use that as your drinking water throughout the day to stay hydrated.
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Karina Smith is a Melbourne based Doctor of Chinese Medicine and Yin Yoga Teacher, Teacher Trainer & Educator. With a passion for women's health, through Yin and Chinese Medicine Karina aims to improve the health of her students, patients and clients.After years of dancing and its emphasis on performance, yoga was an unexpected beacon of self-care and restoration for Karina, where her relationship to movement shifted to something that was there to nourish her mind and body.
A year after commencing practice at the Australian Yoga Academy (AYA), Karina knew she wanted to do the yoga teacher training on offer there - and from thereon it has been a deep-dive into the rich offerings of this ancient practice.
Karina has now studied and taught yoga extensively - including two 350hr Teacher Trainings (AYA and Shantarasa Institute, India), studies under the renowned Bernie Clark and Paul Grilley, over a decade of teaching at numerous studios in her home town of Melbourne, and lecturing for The Australian Yoga Academy.
In 2018, Karina launched her own 50 Hour Yin & Functional Anatomy Teacher Training and continues to run this course. Karina’s love of Yin Yoga revealed a deeper fascination for human anatomy and led her to pursue Chinese Medicine. After graduating in 2019, she now runs her own clinic offering acupuncture, herbal therapies, moxibustion and cupping treatments.