Listen, it's the Winter Element
We had a lovely full house at the Winter Rest & Rejuvenate Workshop; Water Element, at the weekend. We enjoyed a visualisation on a lake, and moved through a flow of yoga, blended with tai chi and qi gong, before settling in to mindful breathing, a yoga nidra and Tibetan Singing Bowls.
Winter is a time for quiet, for stillness, taking your attention inward to recharge your batteries. It is the best season for self-care so take a luxurious bath with essential oils, wear dark blue and black, and snuggle down with a good book and an early night.
In Chinese Medicine, the Winter Element is linked to the organs and meridians of the Kidneys and Bladder. The kidneys house your core energy - that which you were born with, and gather during your life (or deplete, depending on your lifestyle choices); they govern your longevity. The bladder transforms unwanted fluids into urine using qi and heat.
The Winter Element is also linked to the sensory organ of the ears and the skill of listening. It is said that when the kidneys are healthy, hearing will also be healthy. I love the way nature has designed our kidneys and ears in the same shape!
On the subject of listening, over the past century, the average amount of time people have devoted to listening to one another has plummeted from 42% to 24%. Thirteen year olds who are heavy users of social media increase their risk of clinical depression by 27% and are 56% more likely to say they are unhappy than their peers who spend less time on Facebook,, YouTube and Instagram. Scrolling and constant stimulation has impacted the average attention span, dropping from 12 to 8 seconds, according to Microsoft.
What did we do before phones? How much more time did we spend socially with each other, listening to each other. How much time do you spend on your phone unnecessarily?
The World Health Organisation has discovered that teenagers' near chronic headphone abuse is ruining their hearing, with 1.1 billion young people at risk of hearing loss.
So what can we do to keep up our sense of hearing, and enhance our ability to listen? It all comes back to the present moment, and not multitasking. When you're with someone, be there fully - your presence will let them know that they are engaging enough for you to not reach for your phone.