Transitioning From Winter to Spring According to Chinese Medicine

Photo by Biegun Wschodni via Upsplash

Photo by Biegun Wschodni via Upsplash

The spring equinox, also known as the “vernal equinox,” marks a time of transition from the colder, darker months of winter to the longer, brighter months of spring. As the sun moves over the equator, and day and night become more equal in length, the birds chirp louder and the earth begins to bloom again. According to Chinese Medicine, from a seasonal perspective, Yin and Yang are more balanced during the spring compared with winter which is more Yin and summer which is more Yang.

In Chinese Medicine, each season has a related element and every element has countless corresponding attributes that relate to us on a more physical and emotional level. These attributes include particular organs, emotional states, bodily tissues, senses and overall direction of our energy. This energy, often called Qi or Chi, becomes either more expansive (think extroverted) or more reserved (think introverted) according to the seasons. When we’re feeling healthy and in more of a balanced state, our organs will be functioning properly, we’ll feel emotionally balanced, our tissues and senses will be strong and our energy will flow with the seasons toward what is needed.

With the spring equinox, the transition from winter to spring moves us from the element of water to the element of wood. Winter, and the element of water, correspond to the organs of the kidneys and bladder. During this time we can experience balanced emotional states of calmness and self-confidence, strong bone tissue, a heightened sense of hearing and a downward direction of energy. This downward direction of energy can be related to hibernation, dormancy, and feelings of wanting to be more introverted and introspective. Picture yourself wrapped up in a blanket savoring a warm cup of tea and your favorite book as snow gently falls outside your window. You feel content and at peace with the stillness that is. It is from this stillness, or “Yin energy”, that we transition from winter to the expansiveness of spring.

The season of spring relates to the element of wood. The liver and gallbladder are corresponding organs. It is during the spring when we can experience balanced emotional states of kindness and forgiveness, strong tendon and ligament tissues that provide stability and flexibility of movement, a heightened sense of sight and an outward energy of expansiveness. This expansive “Yang energy” can be related to the feelings we may have after being still and introspective during the winter months. Ruminating over important decisions, we eventually come to a sense of decisiveness, clarity, creativity and need for action. This process is similar to how the earth moves from the depths of winter, where growth may be latent, to spring where seeds begin to sprout, flowers begin to bloom, animals come out of hibernation and there’s a sense of renewal and rebirth.

During the weeks surrounding the spring equinox it is a good time to cleanse your body and mind, and root yourself on to a healthy nourishing ground, from which to move forward with clarity, stability and decisiveness. This can be done by focusing on which foods, drinks, thoughts and self-talk you are fueling yourself with. For some, it may be helpful to do a cleanse with a focus on the liver and gallbladder, as those are the organs related to spring and the wood element. For others, it may be helpful to work on modifying one’s diet to incorporate more vegetables, less animal protein, more organic food and less caffeine. This can also be a good time to let thoughts go that don’t serve you, write down ideas and goals, or how in general you want to feel, and move forward with intention. Physical movement can also be of benefit, whether it be yoga, Qi Gong, walking, dancing, swimming or any other activity that brings you joy. Seeking different kinds of therapists to help you along your path can also be beneficial. Acupuncture is often used in Chinese Medicine to help harmonize our energy, or Qi, to be more in tune with spring and the wood element.

No matter how you go about it, may you find ease in this transition from winter to spring, water to wood, dormancy to action, and Yin to Yang.

A Yoga Unplugged collaboration - written by Mariya Gold, edited by Sarah Burchard


Mariya Gold is a licensed acupuncturist. She has been offering her healing services at Kailua Acupuncture Clinic since 2011. She considers it a privilege to be able to use her knowledge and experience to help people who are seeking physical, mental and spiritual balance.