Posts Tagged ‘Yin’

Why I Don’t Make New Year’s Resolutions & Neither Should You

By Rhiannon Griffiths

I will firstly caveat this whole post, by saying it really applies to those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere, where the New Year celebrations fall in the middle of Winter – for all you gorgeous Aussies, Kiwis & Southern Hemisphere dwellers, I will get to you guys shortly…

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Winter Wellness Workshop Thame Rhiannon Griffiths Acupuncture

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So, why would I adamantly suggest that you shouldn’t make resolutions for the new year? After all, I am a coach & massively champion change & growth & positive movement forward in life, emotions & personal development… And I used to make New Year’s resolutions (that often failed in the first week of January!), so what changed?

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Well, first & foremost, I’m also an acupuncturist who has lived a “Five Element Life” for the last decade, so I know the importance of honouring the seasons & living in alignment with the energy of the associated Element. It’s like living in sync with the phases of the moon, or being mindful of the different parts of your menstrual cycle & how varied the energy & emotions & actions can be. It is living out of rhythm of nature that creates more disharmony & dysfunction in our bodies, minds & emotions.

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Winter is the season associated with the Water Element. My own Element is Water, so it is even more important for me to be mindful of what this Element needs; it is integral to my wellbeing. But it is important for ALL of us to honour Water, whatever our own Element personality type is – even nature slows down during Winter, everything retracts inwards and retreats under the ground, animals get cosy & rest & hibernate. Winter is nature’s season of REST, preparing the roots & seeds below the ground, for the energetic growing time of the following Spring. There is very little ACTION at this time.

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This time is for:

+ reflection, like the still, peaceful lake that you can see your face in

+ diving deep into your emotions, like you would in to the depths of the sea

+ pausing, being still – like the animals hibernating during Winter

+ ask the questions, gather the wisdom – the Water Element is renowned for its ability to do this

+ plant the seeds, READY for growth when the Spring arrives – the BIG POTENTIAL is in the seeds hidden underground in Winter

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Spring is really the start of the New Year in Chinese Medicine, it is when we have the RIGHT & APPROPRIATE energy to tackle New Year’s resolutions, change things in our lives, start new things, take action. In January, in the Northern Hemisphere, we are still in the depths of Winter, that is hibernation time, time to be still, time to reflect. The ENERGY of the season just does not match New Year’s resolutions or big bold new beginnings. It is not the time to be planning and doing, we need to wait until Spring for THAT kind of energy to rush in!

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So yes, do your journalling NOW, do take time to be STILL, to pause, to reflect; get the vibes you want to take over in to the new year, identify the feelings you wish to have, & plant the seeds, set the scene READY for 2017, but now is NOT the time to ACT, or expect yourself to DO heaps of things as soon as the clock strikes midnight & we tip over in to the new year… Water & Winter are about BEING, waiting for the potential to blossom into Spring!

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Possible questions to reflect upon:

+ what amazing things can I celebrate from 2016?

+ were there things that didn’t go according to plan in 2016?

+ what could I have done differently in 2016?

+ how do I want 2017 to FEEL?

+ what word(s) will set the scene for 2017?

+ does 2017 have a different colour / logo / mascot to 2016?

+ who do I need to be next year to make 2017 amazing?

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And this blog post isn’t intended to be about MY reflections of 2016, it is supposed to be encouraging YOU to pause & reflect, though there has been some pretty cool stuff for me this year:

+ ran my in-person Spring Health workshop, here in the UK, it was super fun

+ featured in publications including The Guardian, Healthy Magazine, Woman’s Weekly (twice), Women’s Health (three times), Woman & Home

+ went to the Maldives to write my first book, about the Five Elements, & made some little videos for you

+ trained as a Yin Yoga teacher (look out for workshops, classes & online stuff coming in the Spring!)

+ launched my first online course for you, Winter Wellness Wisdom

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You can learn more about the Water Element & how to live in alignment with the season of Winter in my brand new online course, Winter Wellness Wisdom, for physical & emotional wellness HERE, plus the Spring version will be hot on it’s heals in a couple of months, with exercises designed to REALLY get you going & moving forward with resolutions! So put any BIG actions on hold until then if you can…

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As for you Southern Hemisphere dwellers, you guys CAN afford to be more ACTIVE in your intention setting, as you are currently in the season of Summer, with it’s associated Element of Fire. It has busy, upwards & outwards Yang energy – if you choose to make plans & implement them as soon as 2017 starts, you WILL be more aligned with what the season is doing. Therefore you are more likely to make plans stick & be successful in your resolutions, as the energy of the time is supporting you in your endeavours!

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And if you don’t know what Element you are yet, you can download my FREE ebook here: https://goo.gl/NTmEF9

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Wishing you all a VERY Happy & Healthy New Year, wherever you are in the world – I’m grateful you’re here with me!

Sending heaps of goodness

Rhiannon xx

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© Rhiannon Griffiths 2016

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Winter Christmas Baking

By Rhiannon Griffiths

As I mentioned last week, I LOVE Christmas, and for us in the Northern Hemisphere, the festive period occurs in the depths of Winter – the time of most Yin, and it is associated with the Water Element, and it’s organs of the Kidneys and Bladder. As I say in the video below, it is the darkest and coldest time of the year, where we need to eat warming, nourishing foods that will increase our Yang, increase the blood and Qi circulation in our bodies, sustaining us through the season.  The easiest way to get more Yang in to our diets is through energetically warming or hot spices as outlined in Chinese Food Energetics.

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[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WrHeRS2aOw%5D

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Recipe for Winter Christmas Cookies:

1/4 cup of coconut oil

1/2 cup of good / local / raw honey

1/4 cup of pure molasses (all the nutrients & minerals are in there!)

2 & 1/2 cups of rice flour

Pinch of baking soda (optional)

2 tsp ground mixed spice

1 tsp cinnamon (I LOVE cinnamon!)

Pinch of sea salt (again, optional)

Splash of water if the mixture is too dry to get into a ball to roll out

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Christmas Cookies

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Method:

1. Measure out the coconut oil, molasses & honey, place them in a bowl & mix together.

2. Measure all the dry ingredients into a separate bowl.

3. Then sift all the dry ingredients into the bowl containing the wet mixture.

4. Mix together until a ball can be formed – add a splash of water if necessary.

5. Create a ball of cookie dough with your hands & place on to cling film on the counter.

6. Roll out to around the thickness of a £1 coin, cut out shapes & place on baking sheet.

7. Bake in the oven at 180 degrees C (350 degrees F), for around 10 mins, but check!

8. Leave to cool on a rack & ENJOY!

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Energetics:

Coconut Oil – warm, sweet, tonifies Qi & Blood

Molasses – warm, sweet, nourishes the Kidneys & Lungs, boosts Qi & Blood

Honey – sweet, supports the Lungs, tonifies Qi & promotes Blood circulation

Rice Flour – warm, sweet, nourishes Qi & Blood

Nutmeg – warm, pungent, boosts Yang, Qi & Blood circulation & counteracts Cold

Cinnamon – Hot, pungent, sweet, supports Kidneys & Lungs, boosts Qi & Yang, & counteracts the Cold & Damp, and promotes Qi & Blood circulation

Coriander Seed – pungent, sour, counteracts the Cold, & helps circulation of Qi

Dill Seed – warm, goes to the Kidneys, tonifies Yang, counteracts the Cold, promotes Qi

Ginger – hot, boosts Yang, circulates Qi & Blood, counteracts Cold, resolves Phlegm.

Cloves – warming, boosts Kidneys & Yang, counteracts the Cold & promotes Qi circulation

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And if you don’t fancy baking or eating something sweet to nourish you over the festive period, then why not check out a blog post from this time last year to see how you can get all of the sweetness but none of the sugar – although I reckon this recipe here comes close to that, why not have your cake & eat it too?!!

Acupuncture can help you through the Winter with the challenges of the season – coughs, colds, chest weakness, asthma, circulation issues, constantly feeling cold, low mood, Seasonal Affective Disorder, digestive issues, and so on – contact me here for more information. Sending you so much goodness and cheer for a VERY MERRY Christmas – keep well, keep warm, and ENJOY! xx

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© Rhiannon Griffiths 2012

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12 Days of Christmas – Fire & Water Balance

By Rhiannon Griffiths

So for the last three weeks my life has been in limbo whilst everything else (except treating in clinic of course) has been put on hold for me to revise for my paediatric acupuncture exams. Ideally, I had wanted to merge my 30th birthday celebrations in November, straight into Christmas loveliness, but sadly it was not to be. I have been absolutely itching for my Christmas season to get started, but have had to hit the books in every spare waking moment! But the exams were today (three of them, lasting the entire day!), and now my Christmas can officially begin! Yay!

To celebrate the fact I can now embrace Christmas in all its excess sparkliness and magic, I am partaking in “12 days of Christmas”, where I intend to do one thing each day that is inherently of festive spirit! And as it is me, there might be a couple of healthy holiday activities, a big dose of self-care, but it might be purely because it is good for the spirit, not hugely virtuous – even I like to indulge a little at this time of year! Why not join me and enjoy 12 days of Christmas joy?! Post photos of your Christmassy things each day over on my Facebook page – you’ll find all my photos there too!

And speaking of Christmas spirit, it is THE part of the holidays that I adore the MOST – how it makes me FEEL. This year is a little different in the fact that I have had to “put a cork in it” for the last few weeks, and the bubbles, sparkles, excitement and magic have been building up and building up, so now it is all gushing out in a waterfall of child-like craziness! It is this pure JOY, merriment, warmth, and upward, outward energy that corresponds to the Fire Element. Fire is all about socialising, love, celebration, parties, connections to others and joy! And this is EXACTLY what Christmas is about! Everyone gathering around an open fire, exchanging presents and good wishes, drinking mulled wine, smiling, laughing, loving – that IS Fire. I love how literal Chinese Medicine is sometimes – or most of the time actually, a lot of the theory comes from observing nature around us.

open-fire-in-fireplace

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But for those of you who have read about Water on this blog before, you may be thinking “but Christmas is in Water Winter time, not Fire time” – yes, this is true, unless you are lucky enough to live in the Southern Hemisphere (Hello Aussies and Kiwis!), the Fire time of the year is the Summer, and it is the traditional time for warm, sociable Yang energy – think BBQs, garden parties, days at the beach with family and friends – we do more, socialize more, enjoy time together. Winter is a Water time of the year where we hibernate, stay indoors, do less, go to bed earlier, enjoy a more inward, still Yin energy.

Yin-Yang-Fire-Ice

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And yet our Christmas celebrations seem to be at odds with the seasonal energy at this time of year. But it is all about BALANCE – Fire and Water balance each other out. Without the Water to temper and dampen down the Fire, it can rage and burn out of control – this is like getting sunstroke from too much sun and not enough water to rehydrate you. There are many other conditions I treat in clinic that have an imbalance of Fire and Water at their root – menopausal hot flushes, anxiety, insomnia and heartbreak to name but a few.

Conversely, if we do not have enough warmth from Fire, the Water becomes frozen, the Fire is needed to warm the Water, to make it bubble, sparkle and move. And this is exactly what we get at Christmas – we need the joy, excitement, fun, love and light at the very darkest, coldest part of the year – it’s like the candles, the lights on the tree, tinsel and sequinned decorations that shine and reflect the light and warmth. Just seeing a tree decorated beautifully makes me smile and brings me happiness. Without this, the deepest depths of Watery Winter would be pretty tough to get through.

candles

And that is also what acupuncture is about – bringing balance; balance to the body, mind, spirit and emotions. If you think acupuncture could help you with your balance of Fire and Water, don’t hesitate to contact me! And don’t forget to share your 12 days of Christmas JOY with me on my Facebook page – for my first day, I bought myself some festive flowers, partly for the Christmassy spirit, but also to congratulate myself on getting through all my exams! Go have a look at the photo, they’re BEAUTIFUL! Off to bed now, see you tomorrow for day 2!

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© Rhiannon Griffiths 2012

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Yin and Yang 101

By Rhiannon Griffiths

In clinic I talk about Yin and Yang a LOT. Whether it be because I am talking to a menopausal woman about needing to replenish all the cooling, moisturising, nourishing Yin energy in her body to help hot flushes, or whether I am explaining how we see migraines occurring when the hot, loud, strong Yang energy rushes up to the head, Yin and Yang are key. They are the basis of diagnosis and treatment in the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) form of acupuncture, as opposed to the Five Element side of things, which is, unsurprisingly, the remit of the Five Element style of acupuncture – I am lucky as an integrated practitioner, I truly get the best of both worlds!

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So, as I like to try and at least pretend I am not some old hippy sprouting out groovy, psychedelic mantras about yin and yang, I thought I would share the basic differences between the two types of energy, so you can get a feel of where we acupuncturists come from when we see this energy manifesting in the bodies of our patients, but also in the outside world.

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YIN

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YANG

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We each have our own balances of Yin and Yang in the body, and this will change according to the time of day, the season, our emotional state, or any illness we are suffering… the key is to ensure that despite the fluctuations in Yin and Yang at different times, we maintain some balance that bares resemblance to Yin and Yang in nature and the universe around us. This is what maintains health.

For example, at night time Yang should be receding and the Yin energy coming to the fore, as night time is Yin time; symptoms like hot flushes at night or insomnia where you cannot fall asleep, or you keep waking throughout the night, suggest that there is a lack of the Yin energy during a time where it should be abundant. And vice versa, during the day we should be alive, energised, happy and moving – if we feel tired, as though our limbs are heavy, everything is an effort and we need to sleep during Yang time, it indicates we are deficient in Yang energy to get us going. Acupuncture can help restore this balance, and help symptoms, by working with the levels and relationship of Yin and Yang in the body.

If you want to know more about Yin and Yang, or feel that they may be out of balance in your body (and / or emotions), contact me today, or leave a comment below – Yin and Yang, it’s not just for old hippies!

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© Rhiannon Griffiths 2012

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Yin O’Clock

By Rhiannon Griffiths

I am really struggling to be proactive and productive today. Way too much procrastination, and the grey cloudy weather doesn’t help. My business brain is telling me I need to write blog posts, edit the new Spring baking video I filmed last week, finish my patient notes and the accompanying research and reading… but all I REALLY want to do is sit on the sofa, switch my mind off, and watch the earliest CSI in town, 1970s medical pathologist-come-detective Qunicy ME.

I’m currently sat on the sofa with an apple, lemon and carrot juice, and I have made a deal with myself – write this post, then you can watch Quincy… but for me, there is more to it than JUST being a lazy bum and wanting to veg out! It has taken me a long time to be able to “actively rest”, and get my head around this concept.

I am really rubbish at stopping or slowing down, my mind is always ticking over with everything I must do, the list is endless, and potentially I could ALWAYS be doing something. I have always been this way.

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But as discussed in my post about the petrol crisis, we have a metaphorical tank, and if we are on the go the whole time, without rest, that tank of energy can go down pretty quickly, and we continue going whilst running on empty… this eventually leaches the watery, cooling, moisturising, nourishing Yin energy from our bodies.

For Water CFs in particular (as Water is an inherently Yin substance), but also for many other Elements (or CFs), carving out time to actually STOP, rest, and top up the Yin energy of the body, is incredibly important. A lack of Yin in the body can manifest as, feeling hot or sweaty towards the end of the day or at night, needing a drink of water during the night, feeling “tired in the bones”. We can have a vulnerability to stress, migraines, constipation, dry skin, hot flushes, anxiety and insomnia. Additionally, over the course of our lives, there is a natural depletion of Yin, so it becomes even more important to nurture our Yin the older we get.

Therefore working at having some time to be quiet, inward and still is paramount – all three of these characteristics are important in cultivating more Yin, but are also part of the Yin energy itself. But if you’re anything like me, just sitting quietly on the sofa, pottering around the house, or laying down and resting just doesn’t work – I spend the entire time going “you could be doing x right now”, “why aren’t you doing Y”, “Sally called you earlier, you must remember to call them back”, and so on and so on! That is NOT restful! In fact, it just agitates the Yin energy, creating restlessness and agitation – totally the opposite of the desired intention!

I need something to occupy my over-analytical, chatty mind, whilst I allow my body to rest and for the Yin to be topped up. So my key is to watch something like Quincy; Diagnosis Murder or Murder She Wrote are other valid Yin nourishing TV choices – no real gore or violence, that level of Fear would totally undo all the Yin nourishment! This keeps my mind ticking over, figuring out who did what to whom, so that I am not constantly thinking about what ELSE I could, or should, be doing! I am still, quiet and calm – actively resting my body and quietening my mind! It’s a meditation of sorts, a seventies flashback whodunnit kind of meditation!

So, if you’ll excuse me, I am off to pop the kettle on, watch a bit of Quincy and top up my Yin!! What do you do to carve out “rest” time? Is “active resting” a new concept for you? What could you do to top up your Yin? Could Quincy be helpful for you?! Let me know by leaving your comments below… or ask me how acupuncture can help you top up your Yin too!

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© Rhiannon Griffiths 2012

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