A comprehensive list of articles about the principles of holistic wellness written by our practitioners.


By Marianne Kornaat.

Bears in winter go into a cave to hibernate but for us in Australia we don’t do quite the same. According to Chinese medicine, winter is a time of hibernation even if it may be in a different sense of not entering a cave but being more aware of stillness and quiet time. The Chinese say in winter one must go early to bed and rise up late - it makes sense - in winter it’s cold and dark so who really wants to get up in the morning?

We have yin and yang in Chinese medicine, in summer when the sun is bright and warm it is a time of yang. In winter yin prevails, cold dark and stillness, plants don’t grow much and lots of plants wither and hold their life energy in the soil waiting for spring! Australia doesn’t really get super cold, so you might be tempted to dismiss the fact it is winter but the point is that the yin energy still prevails and it is an especially good time for us to nurture our yin.

Nurturing yin means taking more time for oneself and for gentle gatherings connecting with close friends and family, cosy gatherings and plenty of warming and comforting foods. It is a time to be inside by the fire and enjoying warming soups or stews. Many cultures have the majority of their celebrations in winter, however because Northern hemisphere traditions have been transplanted here, this doesn’t count for Australia. The idea of Christmas in July really does make more sense season wise!!!
The organs of winter are the kidneys and bladder. Most organs need a balance of nurturing but for the kidneys you really can give as much nurturing as you want. Kidneys are considered the gate of life and vitality and our longevity is directly related to the health of our kidney qi. The older we get the more important it is to support them.

The emotion that goes with the kidneys is fear. So how do we support our kidneys? First of all, make sure that your lower back does not get exposed to the cold and our feet need to stay warm too. In winter it is best to delete the cold salads and nourish our yin by eating yin warming foods. All foods slowly cooked are yin foods and all foods that come from the water are also yin foods, for example seaweed, oysters, muscles, fish and duck. Age old preservation methods such as salting and souring brings energies of foods into the core and therefore again good for yin; sauerkraut and pickles are great, millet and barley are also especially good for yin.

Winter is a time for regeneration and repair, it is a perfect time to tone the yin aspect of our bodies and we can do this by listening more to what our bodies have to say. It is a great time to start a meditation course or maybe you just need a little more sleep, winter is the perfect time to nourish that. Enjoy and celebrate with your loved ones the comforts of warming foods and rugging up and don’t forget to slow down even if it is just a little!!!!

Image courtesy of Evgeni Dinev at

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