According to 24 Solar Terms, December 22nd marks "Winter Solstice" (冬至 Dong Zhi). As a shortest day of the year Winter Solstice reaches the point of extreme Yin. That being said, there is no absolutes in Chinese philosophy. There is always some Yang within Yin and some Yin within Yang. We believe that life consists of dynamic constantly moving force - Qi, as well as mutually interchanging energies of Yin and Yang. We can all picture taoist symbol of Yin and Yang found in foot massage places, on necklaces, bathroom keys and such. It is not just a fun accessory, when you picture the sign you can notice that when "black line" representing Yin energy reaches its maximum it turns into "white line" of Yang energy. What it really means is that even if we think of Winter Solstice as a most dark, cold and Yin time of the year, it actually signifies beginning of Yang. From that point on, the days become longer and sun gets brighter.
You can still refer to previous posts for suggestions on how to stay healthy during this time of year, but you should start incorporating more movement (Yang tendency) into your health routine. It is also your last chance to boost warmth in the body and promote blood circulation. If you were suggested to take Yang nourishing herbal formulas, continue to take them. Also if you were advised for some home moxibustion, it is a great time for it. Place your moxa pot on a lower belly or lumbar area of your back. Those spots are origins of Yang Qi in the entire body and they'll help to circulate the warmth promoting strength of your immune, digestive, reproductive and urinary systems.
During this time of year rice congees are the food of choice especially when combined with lamb or beef (warm type of meats), fresh ginger, scallions and black pepper. Having rice congee feels like a tummy hug! I highly recommend starting your day with it but it is a topic for another post that is coming soon.
Winter calls for inward movement of emotions. We should avoid expressing our feelings but rather meditate on them. What is a better time than the very end of year to reflect on life and plan for a new year ahead.
Mulberry Leaf wishes you a great health in a year to come!