Reclaiming the Wisdom of Your Belly
Almost every woman I know has an emotionally charged relationship with her belly.
Whether we are a size 4 or 14, most of us objectify & judge our bellies on a regular basis.
How do you think all of this judgment & stress impacts our digestion, health & overall sense of wellbeing? How do you think it impacts our sense of power and self-worth?
In our culture, the media bombards us with images of what a woman’s belly should look like. The gap between these images & the reality of most women’s bodies creates a lot of anxiety.
Bringing awareness to our bellies can trigger shame, discomfort and sadness. Those are tough emotions to tolerate.
Because these feelings are so difficult to bear, a lot of us unconsciously disconnect from the wisdom of our bellies. Our bellies become very uncomfortable places to be, so we try our best to ignore them.
This leaves us with a sense of numbness & emptiness in the center of our being… an emptiness that we often try to fill with food, and a numbness that often leads to overeating.
When we disconnect from our bellies, we lose touch with the deep, embodied wisdom and inner stability that comes from centering ourselves in the core of our being.
- 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.
How would the world be different if women were consciously developing their hara and really embodying the fullness of their wisdom & power? How would your life be different if you treated your belly with honor & love?
If you are ready to shift your relationship to your belly, here are a few ideas to get you started.
Reclaiming the Wisdom of Your Belly
- In moments of stress or confusion, place one hand on your heart and the other hand on your lower belly. Take a few deep, calming breaths and really listen to your whole being. Let your breath fill your belly & practice gently releasing your stress in long, steady outbreaths. (This activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which helps you calm down & think more clearly.)
- Practice bringing compassionate awareness to your belly. Tune in to how it responds to different foods & experiences. Ask it what it needs. Honor its wisdom.
- Let your belly soften and relax. Most of us have been trained to suck our stomachs in, which creates a lot of tension in the body. Practice loving your belly exactly as it is.
- Take time each day to move. Find practices that energize your belly, get your blood flowing & bring vitality into your core.
- Feed your body more raw & living plant-based foods. Master a new recipe that is both cleansing & comforting.
- When you are walking or exercising, practice centering yourself in your belly & moving with an awareness of your core. Notice how it shifts your awareness, posture & emotions.