Nourish your body whatever the season. By Denise Leicester

Each year, I’m asked to comment on the perils of winter – the drying and chapping effects the cold weather and central heating can have on our skin – but I have never been asked about winter’s beautifying potential.
Every season, including winter, holds the essence of nourishment and beauty; we just have to follow its lead. Winter is a time of hibernation and retreat: a season that offers stillness and warmth and the call to rejuvenate and replenish. It’s the perfect time to turn one’s attention to the kidneys.
In many Eastern traditions, the kidney energy – or ‘jing’ essence – is considered ‘the gate or root of vitality’. The foundation of the body’s yin and yang energy, it’s stored in our kidneys and holds a particular radiance, from which we obtain our vigour and youthfulness.
Born with a finite amount of ‘jing’, we tap into its stores when we exceed our daily supply of ‘qi’ energy, acquired through breathing deeply, resting sufficiently, eating well and exercising gently. Stress, stimulants and a poor lifestyle can result in rapid depletion of ‘jing’, lowered energy levels leaving us tired, with dull skin and eyes void of sparkle.
As winter begins to reveal itself, relish the opportunity to protect and conserve your ‘jing’ essence, and restore your radiance and glow. Take pleasure in consciously and deeply nurturing this special kidney energy: think warm scented baths, relaxing fires, cosy slippers, and soothing hot water bottles. Feed your body and soul with homemade soups, slow-cooked casseroles and mulled spice drinks, combined with early morning or late afternoon walks in the winter sun. You’ll soon find your energy levels soaring as attention shifts to the glowingly beautiful potential of this magical and medicinal time of year.

Conscious Beauty
Book in a few hours for yourself. Get the fire ready to light and then set off on a wonderful late-afternoon sunny winter walk. On your return, soak in a warm scented bath with a blend of oils designed to nourish skin and kidneys; my favourite is vetivert, marjoram and patchouli. Make yourself a mulled drink. I love simmering fresh cranberries with ginger, cloves, cinnamon, orange peel and a teaspoon of honey. Light a fragrant candle or burn some incense, and relax in front of the fire, hot water bottle on your lower back, slippers on your feet and warming drink in hand. You might even find yourself purring.

Denise Leicester is the founder of ila-spa.com

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