I learned something very important from my yoga classes. I thought I was relaxed but part of me was tense and didn’t have the blood flow I needed to support my belly. It felt cold to the touch.
I am only a little overweight, yet I often felt misunderstood by my doctors and undernourished in some essential nutrient. Even though I eat very healthy foods and exercised regularly, I still looked overfed.
I also knew that my heart beat too fast and I felt overwhelmed most of the time.
They were right: my belly was cold because I was tense in my belly region.
I was trying so hard to be the most perfect yogi, that I forgot to focus inward.
This is a drawing I made on that day of my mixed up belly, foggy thoughts, and angry pelvis.
Luckily, I had a great yoga teacher who taught me how to do restorative yoga so I could get in touch with this part of myself.
This is the pose I go to when my belly gets cold and tense. I put my feet up, my legs and butt against a wall, support my sacrum, and breathe for a while until my belly gets warm.
That was the first step: I also had to work for a long time to change some of my habitual thoughts that were not helping me. Some of my thoughts I wanted to move away from were: “you are fat, you are ugly, and you look bad in your clothes.”
The trick to learning to love yourself is to not control it, but to strive for understanding. There are no pills you can take, no magazine article you can read, or affirmations you can tell yourself to get the love you need. It has to come from within, and after a lot of work on being at home with your body.
The truth is, you cannot get rid of your unconscious thoughts, they bubble up to the surface and you may want to be rid of them, yet what if you could learn to live with them and guide use them to guide you to a better place? You might get better at life if you understand your motivations.
One of my favorite tunes I play myself while I workout (and I workout a lot) is “The Heart Wants Pleasure First.” Once I understood this simple principle of pleasure and effort, I got what I needed to do to be happy with myself.
This is the thing about bellies: they need warmth, they need love, and they need relationships that nourish them at all the levels.