Letting the Belly Breathe

And by breathe, I mean “let it out!” – breathe into it, feel its natural expansion, then exhale and feel it return to the spine (unless you’ve just had two servings on pancakes for breakfast, in which case it might just stay expanded – gulp!).  This exercise is a particularly interesting one because it suddenly makes us very aware of how many of us hold our bellies in MOST OF THE TIME!

I’ve written about the jewels of action and empowerment that reside in the third chakra treasure chest and the need to strengthen and project from a strong naval. The breath is part and parcel with this. We might think our bellies are strong when we suck them in (because flat = six pack or something like that) but our belly strength actually comes from the prana or life force that we allow into it and the rest of the body. You know all of those marvelous statues of the first goddess deities? Well they weren’t sporting six packs! Probably the first thing you would have noticed is that they have full, voluptuous bellies – and I’d make a small wager they were pregnant with prana and co-creative action, breathing their way into being via the navel in each moment.

It makes me wonder: if we gave ourselves permission to breathe into our bellies, and gave our bellies permission to be themselves in their natural state of expansiveness, would we be better able to tune into our feelings of hunger and fullness? If we live with the belly at “half-mast” as it were, we aren’t really letting our belly say its piece (and so we supplement with another piece  –of pie, that is). That belly breath is oh-so-important. I often find myself starting class with a simple breath that involves placing one hand on the belly (see goddess in photo!) and the other on the heart. Just having that physical contact of the hand on the belly brings us to awareness, and at the same time, we can replace the judgement we might otherwise direct at our round, full bellies with the compassion we connect to with the hand that is on the heart. Full belly living! So give belly breathing a try the next time you catch yourself holding in your stomach and give birth to your true, divine goddess self.

I have been cooking like a crazy woman these last few days. I had an influx of fresh fall veggies and have been hitting up some old favourites: AJ’s Marinara (to top spaghetti squash), my favourite PPK beet soup, steamed leeks drizzled with olive oil….all that to say, nothing new to report! Have fun with the tastes and smells of the season and let me know if you craft something amazing!

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