In a recent post by Melissa Geiger called Reclaiming The Wisdom of Your Belly she talks about the power that is located in this part of your body. Our modern culture has us not only being ashamed of our abdomens, but also doing everything we can do to hold it in so that we will supposedly “look better”, or fit the cultural standards that have evolved from who knows where. This applies to males as well as females.
The fact of the matter is, if we hold our bellies in trying to achieve something that our natural body does not want to conform to then we can NEVER get a full embodied breath, nor expand that lower portion of our lungs. With belly held tight the breath inhabits upper chest and shoulders resulting in perpetually tight neck, shoulders, upper back and jaw. No wonder we continuously need massages to help relieve these chronically tight muscles!
To help us in our decision to have a renewed loving relationship with our bellies here are a few things to remember (from Melissa Geiger/link above):
The Power of Your Belly
*In other cultures around the world, the belly is honored as the center of our physical & spiritual power.
*The Japanese word for belly is hara, and they use this word as a description of a person’s character. A “person with belly” (hara no aru hito) refers to someone who is calm, centered, warm-hearted and wise. Developing your hara is synonymous with developing maturity & integrity.
*On a physiological level, your belly is home to your Enteric Nervous System (ENS), which is often called “our second brain.”
*Psychological stress has an immediate impact on your digestive system. Chronic stress often leads to chronic digestive issues.
*60-70% of your immune system is located in your digestive system.
*Our digestive health has a direct effect on our daily sense of well-being.
*Diets that are high in sugar, fat & processed foods make your belly an environment where pathogenic bacteria, viruses & cancer cells can thrive.
*Eating raw & living plant-based foods bring more oxygen into your belly. Oxygen helps to create an environment where healthy cells thrive and unhealthy cells get crowded out.
Many of us hold stress and tension in the area of our bellies, and the extra weight which is often gained there as we age adds to our refusal to simply love and accept this part of our body. Breathing Spaces has talked about relating with the breath as if it was your lover. What if you treated your belly just as mindfully?
Place your hands there and feel the warmth of energy that flows in as you bring loving thoughts and feelings through your hands into your belly. In stressful times take time to move from this part of your body, rest your nurturing hands there, allow the belly to softly expand outwards as you inhale releasing any held tension, use your favorite massage oil to increase circulation and promote lymphatic flow, or simply be mindfully present to this powerful center and breathe.
After all Buddha had a belly!
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