:: 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.

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.

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.

 This week’s blog post was inspired by the lovely Hannah Marcotti. Be sure to check out her Luminary Profile!


23 Responses to “Reclaiming”

  1. leslie says:

    Lovely post- thanks!

  2. Lou says:

    Love this…. really made me think about my belly… it often gets forgotten :)

  3. How would the world be different if women were consciously developing their hara and really embodying the fullness of their wisdom & power?

    Melissa, this is life changing. Thank you for this! xo

  4. One reason I adore Forrest Yoga is how it demands us to connect to our core. It’s amazing the disconnect that’s there for almost everyone. Creating that mind/body unification in the belly is so powerful!

    • Melissa says:

      Yes, it’s one of the things I love about yoga as well. It’s such a powerful practice for strengthening our connection to our core. I actually just ordered Anna Forrest’s new book, Fierce Medicine & I’m excited to read it.

  5. Miriam says:

    Great post.

  6. Jerah says:

    This was truly a beautiful article. I can’t tell you how many women struggle with this and don’t even know that the belly is a reflection of the center of many emotional holdings. Thank you.

  7. Oh my goodness<3
    This is truly amazing, Melissa and I thank you from the bottom of my (belly) heart for your words!
    To spread such amazing truths that you do!! WIII! Awesomess!

    Me and my belly have been vial enemies for many many years and only these last three I have
    remembered to actually breeeath with it, not hold it in and to give it love with my hands.
    It makes all the difference in the world!

    Continue spreading this knowledge and bliss
    Much love!!

    • Melissa says:

      Aw, thanks, Elenore! I’ve spent most of my life being enemies with my belly as well. Our bellies put up with a lot of abuse & there is a lot of power that comes from treating them with respect!

  8. adwoa says:

    I love this; just shared it. I’m having some mysterious health issues right now and, in trying to understand them, am starting to let my body explain to me what feels out of whack.

    • Melissa says:

      Thanks, Adwoa! Our bodies give us so much helpful feedback if we just learn how to listen to them.

      Wishing you all the best as you navigate these mysterious health issues! Sending lots of love your way!

  9. This is a truly wonderful and inspirational post that comes at just he perfect time for me. Lately I’ve been feeling self conscious of my belly and overly critical of this part of my body instead of channeling and appreciating its powerful energy. this post is a great reminder of how to focus inwardly and love one’s body. Thank you.

  10. Tiarnie says:

    I read this today and as always right at the exact moment it was needed. As I looked at my own belly today not in a great light your message has brought me back to my soul and heartspace and allowed me to LET GO of the attachments and feelings I have toward my belly. Our belly’s ARE beautiful and after being able to bring life through these amazing part of our physical body we really should honour and love them a whole lot more. Thankyou deeply xxxx

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