Extrapolations of the Su Wen, Chapter 2
Conform with the Energy of the Seasons
The same cycles that take place in nature occur within our own bodies. Advances and technology in our ways of living often mislead us into thinking that we have outgrown the rules and ways of mother nature, but it is through our adaptability and harmonious correctness with changes of Yin-Yang inherent in nature that we progressively improve, not weaken. In the winter, things shut and go into hiding to guard against the cold, noted as the season of “shutting and storing.” Our vital energy, too, is stored deep within the body; Yang within Yin. Rather than activity which causes sweating, thereby depleting the body in winter, tranquility and stillness are favorable to promote the production of Yin and storage of essence.
Through diet and habits we nourish ourselves. In winter it is correct to go to bed early and wake with the sunlight. Decreasing sexual activity preserves Jing-Essence in this time of stillness and storage. Thoughts and desires should be contained to strengthen the Spirit and to gather one’s vigor for the spring to come. By eating less salty food and adding bitter food in winter we prevent retention of fluids and stagnancy. Warming, richer foods are indicated, but with concern for accumulation of inner heat. Dress warmly and prevent penetration by pernicious wind and drafts. Aligning with the stillness in nature now, we find integration and wholeness, laying our path for the future.