Minor Cold Xiǎo Hán 小寒 Jan 5
Minor Cold Xiǎo Hán 小寒 is known in the Chinese solar term calendar as the point when the weather reaches its coldest. This deep cold will last through January. This is true in many, but of course, not all parts of the northern hemisphere. Interestingly at this time in the earth's annual journey, we are at our closest to the sun that we will be all year. In fact, we are ~ 3 million miles closer! Called the perhelion in astronomy, the sun appears larger in the sky at this time. These colder temperatures result from a combination of our elliptical orbit and the tilt of the earth's axis. This dichotomy, the coldest time occuring while being closest to our heat source, is an example of the relationship of yin and yang, in particular the concept that a little yang is contained in all things yin and vice versa (expressed in the yin yang symbol by the little dots). Self-care during this solar term is essentially the same as during the previous one. Yin still dominates and yang is growing but vulnerable to injury. Don't over-do anything! Energetically this is a time to continue to imagine, conceive, plan and dream. Physically we continue to stay warm and rest. Exercise and movement are important in encouraging circulation of qi and blood and in staying warm, but should not be too exerting. The Huang Di Nei Jing (the classic medical text that Chinese Medicine is based on) states that excess perspiration can injure the yang energy, so keeping activities mellow during Minor Cold is important. Other health tips: nourish kidney qi with self-massage on the low back and inner legs; safe guard the digestive system by sticking with easy to digest meals at "regular intervals". Foods: tempe, trout, black, kidney, or mungs beans, lamb, venison (avoid excess meat), black chicken soup, carrots, mushrooms, water chestnuts, cinnamon, pepper, ginger & other warming spices (avoid excess cold or raw foods) . 'Hot pots' or simple crock pot soups are great meals for Minor Cold.
For a more sciencey explanation of the perihelion click here.
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