EP:68 - MAKING PEACE WITH YOUR BELLY

(This video is recorded from a YouTube LIVE session)

In traditional Chinese medicine, the stomach is source of the Qi (or chi), where our spiritual energy meets our physical body. In Hindu philosophy, the stomach is the seat of the soul. For Buddhists, the laughing Buddha’s big stomach symbolizes fortune and happiness. So our stomach is the source of our life-energy, our well-being, but also of our emotions.
— Constance Caylar

Collectively women are ashamed on their stomachs. When I did a quick survey on Instagram, there are just a sampling of the comments I received:

  • I hate my C-section scars.

  • I'm deathly afraid to wear a 2-piece.

  • I never wear form fitting clothes.

  • I'm always trying to hide it or trick others in thinking I'm smaller.

  • I'm uncomfortable with mine. I wish it were smaller.

  • I live in Spanx.

  • If it was flatter, then I would have a boyfriend. Then I would be pretty.

There is a cultural expectation to have a flat, tight and toned stomach. You can’t pick up a woman’s magazine without seeing some kind of “Blast belly fat with the 5 exercises” on every cover. We are obsessed with the flat stomach to the point where we have vilified stomach rolls, the pooch, the stretch marks and the softness. We seem the value the opposite of femininity and it’s making us all operate from a deep sense of shame for what is so natural for us as women. It’s something that we have learned. And now we have the opportunity to create a new narrative for our bellies.

But let’s look deeper into what this area of the body symbolically represents.

The stomach or 2nd chakra is the center for:

  • Movement

  • Sensation

  • Emotions

  • Sexuality

  • Desire

  • Need

  • Pleasure

  • Femininity

  • Fear

  • Grief

  • Mother issues

  • Creativity

This is our 2nd brain. Where we connect to our intuition on a gut level. Where we often times store trauma and abuse. It’s where we have our womb. Our ability to create. It’s a very vulnerable area that protects our vital organs against harm. And as woman, we put on layers of protection whether that’s in the form of scar tissue or fat cells to protect ourselves against the vulnerability that makes us feel open and susceptible to pain, hurt and abuse. And we just try to cover that up.

A balanced second chakra has the capacity for sexual satisfaction, physical pleasure, general enjoyment of life, comfort with intimacy, and the ability to accept movement and change gracefully, including graceful physical movements.” There is steadiness and clarity in emotional states. One can feel deeply without excessive histrionics. Balance involved the ability to nurture self and others while still maintaining healthy sexual and emotional boundaries.
— Eastern Body, Western Mind

Imbalances include:

  • Rigidity in body and attitudes

  • Frigidity, fear of sex

  • Poor social skills

  • Denial of pleasure

  • Denial of needs

  • Excessive boundaries

  • Fear of change

  • Lack of desire, passion, excitement, creativity

  • Disorders of reproductive organs, spleen, urinary system

  • Menstrual difficulties

  • Sexual dysfunction

  • Low back pain, knee trouble, lack of flexibility

  • Deadened senses, loss of appetite for food, sex, life

Ask yourself: What have I been holding in my belly?

And once you have the new awareness of that, it’s time to move out that stagnant energy and connect with your stomach again. To bring it back online. To make peace with it.

4 Practices to Help Make PEACE with your Belly:

  1. Breathe into the belly:

    This is how we begin to turn on the nerve endings in the belly. Wake up the pranic life force energy in the body. Restore the flow of the body’s energy. Practice breathing into the belly, all the way to the base. Deep belly breaths.

  2. Move/shake the belly:

    We have to bring the flow of energy back into the belly. When there have been years of abuse: external or personal, we have to break us the energetic scar tissue. It’s almost as if the energy is stuck or blocked in this area. Also, move it helps us to make peace because we are allowing it to move. Signaling: I see you. We acknowledge the presence of the belly vs trying to numb, hide or cover it up. In essence, moving the belly gives it permission to take up space. Moving/shaking the belly is the somatic healing process to bring us closer towards peace and balance.  

  3. Forgiveness/gratitude Exercise:

    Every night place both hands on your stomach and say, “I’m sorry, please forgive me, I love you, thank you.” It’s a way to gentle ask forgiveness for all the years of judgement, abuse, criticism and shame and shift into a deep gratitude for the way our belly has so intelligently protected us throughout the years. Our bellies are not against us. They are not operating as our enemy, but as our partner.

  4. Touch the belly:

    As part of your morning routine, take the time to hydrate your body with lotion and touch your body. Massage it. This breaks down the judgements and the fears and restores disassociation with your belly. It’s a way to say, “I don't hate you, I’m not afraid of you, and I choose to show you love in this moment.”

My hope is that you can release the shame that you have around your belly. To challenge the cultural messages that tell you your belly isn’t loveable. The voices that shame giggly stomachs, or stomachs with scars, stomachs will rolls, stomachs that are dimply, stomachs that are anything different than what you think it “Should” be, and redefine what is beautiful and sacred. Let’s tune into our bellies so that we can listen to our intuition, experience pleasure, digest life, feel our feelings, tap into our creativity, and deeply trust ourselves. There is no WRONG WAY to have a belly.



WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT making peace with your belly.

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Mary Hyatt