Things are moving beneath the earth. Rather than being the premise of a horror movie, this is an exciting sign of seasonal progression. Roots spread their toes and stretch through the soil, drawing in the nutrients needed to drive shoots upward, out of the darkness, towards the sunlight. The frost releases its hold on the topsoil, allowing water from melting snow to bathe the new life below in the water. And insects awaken. They run the winter’s hibernation from their eyes and get to work beneath the eath helping with nutrient exchange and prepare the plants above them for the tremendous growth ahead. The Insects Awaken seasonal node is about movement: upwards toward the sun and around our bodies, underneath our skin, to help us function better in the world around this. And the way to accomplish that is simple.

Insects Awaken: Movements in the Earth

Things are moving beneath the earth.

Rather than being the premise of a horror movie, this is an exciting sign of seasonal progression.

Roots spread their toes and stretch through the soil, drawing in the nutrients needed to drive shoots upward, out of the darkness, towards the sunlight.

Franco Vannini via Flickr

The frost releases its hold on the topsoil, allowing water from melting snow to bathe the new life below in the water.

And insects awaken.

They run the winter’s hibernation from their eyes and get to work beneath the earth helping with nutrient exchange and preparing the plants above them for the tremendous growth ahead.

The Insects Awaken seasonal node is about movement: upwards toward the sun and around our bodies underneath our skin, to help us function better in the world around this. And the way to accomplish that is simple.

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Birth is one of the most physically taxing, emotionally depleting, and spiritually rewarding things a human being can endure. But despite having birthed for thousands of years, most of us prepare for labor in completely the wrong way. We decorate our nurseries, pack out bags, and sit and wait (because that’s what we’re told to do). And when our pregnancy ticks past the 40-week mark we throw every folk induction method we can find on Pinterest at it with hit and miss results. But what if I told you that the fundamental error that we’re all making is waiting? That you can and should make diet and lifestyle changes in the months before birth? And that if you make these changes, studies have shown that: You’ll have an earlier spontaneous onset of labor You will have a shorter labor You will have a more comfortable labor You will have a more comfortable postpartum recovery And you will have more balanced hormones in the postpartum period All it takes to get these benefits is shifting how we talk about the marathon of birth and take our focus off of the race and put our effort into the proper training. Featured photo and cover image by Ilzy Sousa from Pexels

7 Ways to Prepare for Labor (and why forgetting this crucial step is a mistake)

Birth is one of the most physically taxing, emotionally depleting but simultaneously invigorating and spiritually rewarding things a human being can accomplish. But despite having birthed for thousands of years, most of us prepare for labor in completely the wrong way.

We decorate our nurseries, pack our bags, and sit and wait (because that’s what we’re told to do). And when our pregnancy ticks past the 40-week mark we throw every folk induction method we can find on Pinterest at it with hit and miss results.

But what if I told you that the fundamental error that we’re all making is waiting? That you can and should make diet and lifestyle changes in the months before birth? And that if you make these changes, studies have shown that:

  • You’ll have an earlier spontaneous onset of labor
  • You will have a shorter labor
  • You will have a more comfortable labor
  • You will have a more comfortable postpartum recovery
  • And you will have more balanced hormones in the postpartum period

All it takes to get these benefits is shifting how we talk about the marathon of birth and take our focus off of the race and put our effort into the proper training.

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Despite the recent -35 F windchill, 2020 marches forward into the Rain Water seasonal node. Practically speaking, we Minnesotans are a long way off from literal rain water. But then, we’re also at a very different latitude than the Ancient Chinese sages who named the seasonal node thousands of years ago. But the different latitude doesn't mean that we escape the energetics of the next two weeks. The days are getting longer which means yang is getting stronger. The generative energy of spring is getting more obvious every day and if we wait until we see actual rain water, we’re going to miss out on a huge part of the season. The Rain Water seasonal node, like the Great Cold seasonal node, is about two very important things: protecting our qi and protecting our yang. But this time, we’re protecting these vital substances for a very different reason. Featured photo and cover photo by Sitthan Kutty via Pexels

The Rain Water Seasonal node: Fighting off the Damp

Despite the recent -35 F windchill, 2020 marches forward into the Rain Water seasonal node. Practically speaking, we Minnesotans are a long way off from literal rain water. But then, we’re also at a very different latitude than the Ancient Chinese sages who named the seasonal node thousands of years ago.

But the different latitude doesn’t mean that we escape the energetics of the next two weeks. The days are getting longer which means yang is getting stronger. The generative energy of spring is getting more obvious every day and if we wait until we see actual rain water, we’re going to miss out on a huge part of the season.

The Rain Water seasonal node, like the Great Cold seasonal node, is about two very important things: protecting our qi and protecting our yang. But this time, we’re protecting these vital substances for a very different reason.

Featured photo and cover photo by Sitthan Kutty via Pexels

Picture by Secret Garden Daily via Pexels

How to boost your libido with breath work

It has been a long time since I’ve gotten sexy on this blog. In fact, come to think of it, I don’t even think I’ve ever actually talked about sex (except for that one fertility essay, I guess). Kind of weird when you consider that my practice wouldn’t exist without it.

This Valentine’s Day I want to give you a gift to celebrate the generative rise of yang energy that started last week. My gift to you: better sex.

Not only do I hope that this simple qi gong exercise will help raise your libido, but I hope that if you’re trying to conceive it gives you an energetic boost of fertile, springtime energy.

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Helping Yang Up the Mountain: the Beginning of Spring

Despite the icy roads, dirty snowbanks, and freezing temperatures, spring has finally come to Minnesota. The trees aren’t budding and the flowers aren’t blooming but the upward movement of yang is finally showing itself in noticeably longer days.

February 4th marks the Beginning of Spring seasonal node, and these next two weeks are about harnessing the generative energy of spring. When we ride the upward momentum of spring with proper dietary changes, exercises, and lifestyle choices everything flows a little more easily.

Gone are the days of me telling you that it’s time to rest. We’re leaving that behind in the cold and dark days of winter. Now it is time to plant those seeds of yang you birthed at the winter solstice and make some changes in your life.

This past winter has been long, cold, and dark. Hopefully, you haven’t accomplished much. I mean that in all sincerity. After all, winter is the season of hibernation; we’re not supposed to accomplish much. Winter reminds us that rest is important. I say so often that rest is the root of productivity, something that a culture obsessed with action often forgets. But rest is also the root of creativity and motivation. If we spend winter resting appropriately, not only can we recover physically, but we can recover mentally and spiritually as well. In other words, in order to be truly prepared for the dynamic, generative, and upward movement of spring we have to engage with and process the still, slow, and inward movement of winter. And the best way to do that is through journaling.

Born from yin: Six journaling prompts for the end of winter

This past winter has been long, cold, and dark. Hopefully, you haven’t accomplished much. I mean that in all sincerity. After all, winter is the season of hibernation; we’re not supposed to accomplish much.

Winter reminds us that rest is important.

I say so often that rest is the root of productivity, something that a culture obsessed with action often forgets.

But rest is also the root of creativity and motivation. If we spend winter resting appropriately, not only can we recover physically, but we can recover mentally and spiritually as well.

In other words, in order to be truly prepared for the dynamic, generative, and upward movement of spring we have to engage with and process the still, slow, and inward movement of winter. And the best way to do that is through journaling.

This seasonal node is called "The Great Cold" (which this year, is unseasonably warm and snowy but what are you going to do.) Usually, this is the coldest time of year; Minnesotans tend to think of February as the month where it's too cold to snow. The yang that was reborn at the Winter Solstice is getting stronger as the days are getting longer. People are starting to get restless and depending on their pattern diagnosis, their seasonal affective disorder is kicking up a notch. Living seasonally for these last two weeks of winter can go a long way to alleviating that increased anxiety and restlessness and set you up for success for the coming year.

Gearing up for the Great Cold Seasonal Node

This seasonal node is called “The Great Cold” (which this year, is unseasonably warm and snowy but what are you going to do.) Usually, this is the coldest time of year; Minnesotans tend to think of February as the month where it’s too cold to snow.

The yang that was reborn at the Winter Solstice is getting stronger as the days are getting longer. People are starting to get restless and depending on their pattern diagnosis, their seasonal affective disorder is kicking up a notch.

Living seasonally for these last two weeks of winter can go a long way to alleviating that increased anxiety and restlessness and set you up for success for the coming year.

It may not feel like this is a small amount of cold. But then you remember that last year the Great Cold seasonal node was blessed with a -60 F windchill last year. It was cold enough that even we Minnesotans decided that we could stay home. My grocery store closed. It was very strange. Compared to that, the cold at the beginning of the year seems small indeed. The Small Cold seasonal node lasts from January 5th to January 19th.

The Wee Hours of Winter: The Small Cold Seasonal Node

It may not feel like this is a small amount of cold. But then you remember that last year the Great Cold seasonal node was blessed with a -60 F windchill last year. It was cold enough that even we Minnesotans decided that we could stay home. My grocery store closed. It was very strange.

Compared to that, the cold at the beginning of the year seems small indeed. The Small Cold seasonal node lasts from January 5th to January 19th.

Last week we introduced the concept of seasonal nodes and how tweaking your lifestyle and diet every couple of weeks can not only preserve your health but improve it. Since the focus of this seasonal node is preserving yang qi by supporting the spleen I thought it would be an ideal time to share a yang tonifying recipe. Be warned: the recipe is pretty bland (it’s mostly rice and water) but if you eat it as is or with some tasty root veggies or eggs, I think you’ll find that you’ll feel warm from your fingers to your toes in no time.

Nourishing Winter Congee

Last week we introduced the concept of seasonal nodes and how tweaking your lifestyle and diet every couple of weeks can not only preserve your health but improve it.

Since the focus of this seasonal node is preserving yang qi by supporting the spleen I thought it would be an ideal time to share a yang tonifying recipe.

Be warned: the recipe is pretty bland (it’s mostly rice and water) but if you eat it as is or with some tasty root veggies or eggs, I think you’ll find that you’ll feel warm from your fingers to your toes in no time.