My belly

There's been an interesting trend in my week. It's funny how these things happen, isn't it? It's like when you learn a new word and then all the sudden you see it everywhere. Last week I decided to bring a new focus to my digestion, as it's never felt quite right (although it's markedly improved from my Colorado years). I bought a book by a well-known health coach and started to dig in, and wouldn't you know it, the classes I've attended this week have been all about the core as well. 

I think it's safe to say we all have some mixed feelings about our bellies. Whether you think about it all the time, but in a less-than-loving way, or never think about it at all, but just kinda throw stuff in there. The belly is an interesting place on many levels, beginning with the obvious - where we digest our food. As the author of my new book, Robyn Youkilis, writes, "How we digest our food is how we digest our lives." I love this because I love metaphors, or analogies, or whatever this is. And like most metaphors (let's just say it's that), it makes a lot of sense. 

I'll never forget the first time someone said something to me along the lines of, "I'm careful about what I put in my body." I was in my early twenties and I had honestly never thought of it that way. I of course had considered healthy vs non-healthy foods, but it was that "put in my body" part that got me. I didn't consider the process it goes through, how it breaks down and mixes with the other stuff I had put in there that day, and I certainly didn't think about how the speed at which I ate, or how I breathed, or how I thought about my food, would in turn affect this whole process. 

But alas, major impact.

Take a moment to think about how you eat - is it how you do most things in your life? Is it hurried and unconscious? Or is it intentional? Do you savor each bite? Or do you feel stressed, certain your body won't react well? 

Do you treat your body like an amazing and gorgeous machine that you want to take great care of? Or like a nuisance that needs to be fed but never seems to be happy with you (or you with it)?

My belly and I have a storied past. And, like most parts of our bodies, it remembers and carries these stories and reacts accordingly, almost as if it has PTSD. I thought it was interesting that the yoga classes I've been to all week (3 different teachers at 3 different studios) focused so much on the core, because while the belly has all this digestion stuff going on, it is also the center of all of our personal POWER. It holds our solar plexus chakra, which means self-assurance, decision-making, assertiveness, opinions, will, discipline, and so on. If we're feeling disconnected, out of balance, or weak in this area, we will likely see it manifested in our lives in some way (with a lack of these qualities). Conversely, you might notice that folks with rock-hard abs are overly assertive, opinionated, or disciplined. 

How can you connect to your power center? Can you find more love and compassion for your belly, maybe even gratitude for the way it digests everything you eat, and absorbs the nutrients that you need? Can you let it be soft so you can breathe, but find power there nonetheless? 

As with most things, it just starts with awareness. Notice how you eat this week, where your mind goes, how your body digests, and in turn, how powerful you feel.