Ep#17 Jade Gate, Yin Energy, and Jing Essence with Kris Gonzalez
In this episode of Your Story Medicine, I welcome Kris Gonzalez, Licensed Acupuncturist, herbalist, Yang Sheng enthusiast, and Founder of The Way of Yin, a lifestyle education company dedicated entirely to bridging the wellness gap in reproductive health by leaning in on timeless wisdoms. Kris shares with us her journey to discovering the medicine of acupuncture and how her mixed lineage has influenced her life.
Kris speaks to us about the inspiration behind The Way of Yin, noting the synergy of yin and yang energy, the meaning of Jade Gate, and how we can integrate Jing Essence into our lives to boost vitality. You’ll learn techniques for connecting to your menstrual cycle, along with ways you can work with menstruation to bring contentment and fulfillment into your life.
What do you get to celebrate today?
Today I get to celebrate that I actually feel healthy and abundant and that I’m here with a close friend who is like a teacher to me. I celebrate you and this conversation.
How would you describe your medicine?
The first thing that comes up for me is my body because it’s been a journey to reinhabit my body. I’m very much in my mind, but my body has always been the thing that reminds me and brings me back to the human experience. It reminds me to rest, rejuvenate, and soak in simple pleasures.
What is the inspiration behind The Way of Yin?
Yang Sheng translates to Nourishing Life. It’s a healthy way of being that recognizes your deep connection to nature because it recognizes you as nature. I gravitate towards traditional health practices because many of us are lost and broken from our lineage, always searching outwards. This is a way to sink in.
The Way of Yin is a play on words or an antidote to a very young, obsessed world. We are just so influenced by all this outward pressure to perform and to produce, without an equal reverence for rest, rejuvenation, and recovery. I love enjoying the simple moments in life and thinking about longevity.
What is your ancestral lineage and how has that influenced your medicine today?
I embody yin and yang. My dad is Norwegian and Irish and my mom is from South Korea, so I’m a blend of the two. It always felt tense to hold together these two polar aspects of myself, which I often denied. This changed throughout my life but I’m at a place now where I honor the mish mosh of the two. What I do now in the world is an embodiment of my ancestral lineage, bringing harmony to these extremes we experience. We need both, the push and the pull.
What is the Jade Gate and why did you feel called to bring attention to this?
The Jade Gate is the vagina/vulva and it’s recognizing and honoring the return in which we all came. It’s taboo when it shouldn’t be. There’s misinformation, misunderstanding, and shame when it comes to the Jade Gate. There needs to be an integration of the mind, body, and soul. How can we fully heal all aspects of the self if we don’t integrate all aspects of ourselves? It’s a portal that heals the present, past, and future. That’s what led me to this work.
What led you to acupuncture?
I always grew up with a linear, black and white understanding of the world. The part of me that has been striving to become recognized is my artistic, spiritual self. When seeking a profession, I needed something that weaved the practical and the spiritual. Storytelling or myths touch a part of healing that linear medicine can’t do. I needed a medicine that was philosophical in nature and talked about all the edges of possibility, which my practice does.
What is Jing Essence?
Jing Essence is the most concentrated aspect of yourself. You can equate it to DNA but it’s the trajectory and quality of your life. Within Jing Essence, there is pre-heaven essence (your lineage or ancestry) and post-heaven essence (everything you’re exposed to once you’re born). These two aspects weave together to determine your development throughout your life. A physical manifestation of Jing would be menstrual blood and sperm. If you understand that this is your life cultivation and that determines your quality of life, you’ll do anything to protect it.
For those of us who menstruate, we have three golden opportunities to enhance our vitality: Menstruation, Post-Partum, and Perimenopause. These are natural periods of Jing loss, but there are ways to approach a Jing-centered life to maintain our vitality.
How can we tend to our Jing Essence with all of the obstacles present around us and the stories society has about what it means to contribute to society?
Our society does not support the cyclical body. There are subtle ways to adapt to the changes your cycle brings with a bit of planning and intimate connection to your cycle. You’ll feel when it’s time to prepare for your bleed. Perhaps that’s the time to wrap up projects, rest (doing less), and turn inward to allocate your energy differently. It could mean exercising differently during your bleed, talking less, or refraining from taxing conversation. It’s really about protecting your energy.
Has this come naturally to you or have you had to learn/unlearn?
I’ve had to unlearn perfectionism and having the perception that everything is going right all the time. So, no, it’s a cultivation practice. There are times where I don’t have it all together.
Healing is a cyclical process, it’s ongoing.
As an entrepreneur and a healer, what are you doing to stay grounded and what have you learned to release?
I’ve learned to release the need for perfection. It’s okay to be human and to be angry or sad or full of grief.
The practices that really show up for me are ones that I can incorporate consistently into my life with resonance. Tuning in with the seasons and creating traditions around that is also what grounds me. Realizing I’m nature is a very intimate practice for me.
When is it time to receive support or mentorship?
Some of us are yin-dominant bodies and some of us are yang-dominant bodies. For those of us with menstrual cycles, it can be hard to know when to rest and when to be active. The default is probably that your body needs rest in order to build up enough energy to participate in activity. See where you are in your menstrual cycle and track you physical signals. Yang loves to be used and activated, so there are key times where you can activate yang for your benefit. Other times, if you activate yang without enough rest, it’s like you’re running on empty.
Everybody has a healer within. Searching inward and talking to your family first, getting curious about your lineage and how they supported themselves throughout their cycle, can be very beneficial to your story. Really choose whatever support has the highest resonance to you.
If you could envision yourself as a future ancestor, what would you say to young Kris?
The word pressure comes up… pressure to be something or to prove something. There were times when I wanted to control the outcome, but I would say there are certain things you cannot control and you can find ways to release that pressure. Trust and surrender more. Know that you are held by something beyond you, this unseen power.
Conclusion: We are cyclical beings and it’s very beneficial to work with our cycles and our needs. There are subtle ways to adapt to the changes your cycle brings with a bit of planning and intimate connection to it. For those of us who menstruate, we have three golden opportunities to enhance our vitality: Menstruation, Post-Partum, and Perimenopause.
Action Integration: Keep track on how you’re feeling each day of each phase your cycle. Notice any patterns that arise from this connection. Remember to get plenty of rest when needed and to work your cycle into the plans you make.
Learn more about Kris and her offerings:
Visit her website: www.thewayofyin.com
Follow her on Instagram: www.instagram.com/thewayofyin
Connect with her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/thewayofyin
Wellness Map for Folks Who Menstruate: https://courses.thewayofyin.com/wellness-map-for-bleeding-bodies