Kris González is a Licensed Acupuncturist, herbalist, 養生 yǎng shēng (Nourishing Life Tradition) enthusiast, teacher, and founder of The Way of Yin – a profoundly inspiring educational hub that invites people to embark upon a journey of self-discovery, remembering the cycles, rhythms, and relationships that are foundational to our health. Bridging the wellness gap in reproductive health by leaning on timeless wisdoms, she aims to help others cultivate deep body literacy on a shared path of Longevity.
R+B: Hi Kris! Thank you so very much for agreeing to speak with us. You bring such a unique voice to the wellness world and it’s so very clear that you have been walking this path for a while... and in such an embodied way. Can you share a little bit about what drew you to TCM and how reproductive health became a primary focus of yours?
KG: Thank you so much for the invitation to connect with your audience. This medicine has always been part of my upbringing. My mother is from South Korea and I have vivid memories of herbs cooking in the kitchen, sharing massages/acupressure, bathhouses full of local aunties doing cupping and gua sha on each other, and my grandmother gently pricking my fingertip to treat a stomach ache. I don’t remember growing up saying I wanted to be an acupuncturist or herbalist, but it always influenced my draw towards natural ways of healing. It wasn’t until the passing of my older brother that I became sure I wanted to take this career path. The reproductive focus came later when I was pregnant (twice) during graduate school!
R+B: That really helps explain why your work feels so embodied… your teachings are woven from such a wide variety of themes touched upon above, including food as medicine, everyday herbalism, seasonal wisdom, and holistic health through the different phases of women’s reproductive cycles. Can you tell us more about how your many offerings come together under the umbrella of the Nourishing Life Tradition?
KG: I love how the Nourishing Life Tradition isn’t complicated. It basically lays out our most basic needs along the cycles and rhythms of life that we are all influenced by. It emphasizes how we are in fact nature, and not separate from it. We can learn to optimize our health throughout our lifetime if we understand the ebbs and flows of our relation to the world inside and outside of us. Our internal clocks are attuned to light and dark, the sun and moon, and the seasons. Our lives can be mapped along the Five Elements as a way of understanding the different stages we go through. It’s all very poetic and beautiful.
R+B: On the note of very poetic and beautiful, you recently shared a presentation on the Yin and Yang of hormones... I so appreciate that you apply this energetic lens so creatively and practically to enrich our understandings of both our internal and external worlds. Do you feel that The Way of Yin is the antidote to our modern world, and can you elaborate?
KG: Yes, that was the idea that I had when dreaming up my practice. The Way of Yin being a sort of an antidote to our Yang obsessed culture where Yin is compromised. Yin is our restoration, our blood, fluids, and substance. Our culture functions but doesn’t necessarily thrive on so much Yang. We’ve somehow put productivity up on a pedestal, where rest is deprioritized. We need both – in harmony.
R+B: Absolutely… and speaking of harmony, it seems like you are extremely passionate about seasonal living, considering it a deeply foundational tenet of health. How do seasonal living, wellbeing, and lifestyle intersect for you, and can you share some of the practical ways you honor the changing seasons in your life?
KG: Before all of the modern technological advances, we humans used nature as a guide to not only survive but thrive. One thing is for sure – we change. Life is moving forward so it’s really about how to sync up with that. Change can be scary, and I think as a whole, most people nowadays feel safer when things stay the same. So, we’ve grown into the habit of fearing change and resisting it. This creates a sort of tension or disharmony in our life progression because change is the only constant. We must move forward, and our bodies will give us little nudges and reminders of that. By living according to the seasons, you can almost say that we can embrace the natural changing ebbs of flows of life. There is a bit of ease in that. We are not fighting against the current. Some simple ways to honor this include paying attention to what nature is doing. Checking to see what phase the moon is in. What seasonal node are we entering? What are the animals and plants doing? Notice the levels of light in comparison to the dark. What foods are growing and being sold at the local farmer’s markets?
R+B: Those are really great, accessible ways to both embrace and align with the natural cycles of change. What are your favorite herbs to work with during this season... either this season of your life or this moment of transitioning from winter to spring?
KG: Asian Mugwort is my favorite herb. During the winter and the transition between winter/spring, I like to make little tea bags, infuse it, and then add it to my bath. It’s a great way to not only warm your whole body but it increases circulation, relieves any achiness or pain, and helps to regulate the menstrual cycles. If you don’t have access to a bath, a nice foot soak would do!
R+B: I love that and remember fondly the Korean spas with Mugwort baths from when I was a city dweller! Can you share any other recommendations about meeting the transition from winter to spring with grace, and embodying the rebirth that springtime can deliver?
KG: This transition will feel so different for all of us. Some of us will have a harder time mustering up the Yang to spring out of Winter, while for others, the Yang moves too quickly and they tend to burn out. The best advice during this time is to have what’s called rooted growth. Winter well and nurture the bubbling yang to rise up out of winter slowly. The best way to do that is with deep nutrition, keeping an eye on how you’re digesting, still staying warm, but starting to move your body a bit more than in the winter months. Go outside a little more. Open up the shades first thing in the morning to allow the light to infuse your eyes and your skin. Also allowing the sun to warm up your back is a great way to nurture that yang.
R+B: Tending to rooted growth seems like another antidote to the dominant culture, and a rewarding priority to hold while moving through life. You shared that the Year of the Water Tiger was an emotional time of learning and finding new paths, while in the Year of the Yin Water Rabbit we find ourselves fully awakened and learning how to move forward with care. Can you share any transformations from last year, and what you’re looking forward to this year?
KG: Oohh, last year was definitely a year of transformations. It was a tender transition where things finally started to open up from the pandemic. It felt good to be out more, be with people more, and gently start to rebuild in-person relationships. We visited my family in South Korea that we hadn’t seen in over 10 years. It was so special, fun, and emotional. This year, I’m looking forward to settling into some visions that have been brewing up for some time. This year feels alive with manifestation energy.
R+B: Beautiful… sending power to your visions, knowing they are ripe and grounded in rooted growth. If you could give every person you come across one little tidbit of advice, maybe something that has been essential to your own journey, what would it be?
KG: Wherever you are on your journey of life, nature has you, sees you, and wants a relationship with you.
Yes! Thank you so much, Kris! We look forward to continuing to learn from you this year, and are excited to continue diving into your existing courses as well as your upcoming Womb School Mentorship, Maidens & Menstruation Course, and the second round of When Earth Bears Metal: Alchemy of Perimenopause 6-Week Online Immersion. You can visit www.thewayofyin.com to learn more!