The “It’s Your Body” series will focus on movements and practices for belly health, specifically for people with IBS or other gut-related health concerns – but the principles can be applied to us all!
A curious mover, dancer and yoga teacher, I’ve learned over many years of practice how to speak the language of the body. This has opened a wealth of information about myself, health in the body, and the greater world of which I am a part. I’m excited to share with you my experiences, observations, and exercises in order that you might benefit from them, and begin or continue to investigate this language for yourself.
Belly and Balance
In most Eastern healthcare systems, balance is the key to health, and the belly or gut is largely responsible for maintaining balance. The belly holds the tools of processing and redistributing everything that comes into the body so, understanding the functions and goings on of your own belly can give you the power to maintain a healthy and balanced body (and mind).
In these healthcare systems, digestion does not solely relate to the literal or tangible breaking down of food.
Each healthcare system has their own particular way of defining and categorizing the energies that make us up, but across all, it is a balance of these many working parts that create health. Uncovering your own place of balance (perhaps using one of these systems of energy, or using your own understanding) will allow you to take control over your own state of health, seek help when needed, and provide vital information if something is amiss.
Learning to Listen: A Daily Practice
A short embodied daily practice is a profoundly effective and rewarding way to discover your own personal state of balance and health. Be it a yoga asana practice, daily movement meditation, Tai Chi, Feldenkrais, or any other practice for holistic engagement of the mind-body, the daily commitment can not only become a litmus test for your current state of health, but is in itself a means to creating balance in the body and health in the belly.
If you are looking for a daily practice that will help you understand your body or more specifically aid in digestion (both tangible and intangible) there are many sequences designed to do just this. In a yoga asana practice, there are postures that will encourage regularity with elimination, and detoxification of the liver, kidneys, and intestines, and in pranayama there are methods of bringing oxygen to the belly, to flush it of stale or stagnant air and energy, and revitalize the processes.
Just 15 Minutes A Day
The practice you choose is up to you, and there are many valuable embodied practices. The important thing is that you do it consistently, with close listening attention to what you are doing.
You might be amazed at the things you become capable of feeling and noticing in your body and the increasing subtlety of these perceptions. Paired with eating consciously, and regular sleep, this kind of practice will help you learn how to listen with all of your senses, keep you alert and informed of your own state of health, and thus allow you to sense exactly when and where something is out of balance.
In each article in this series, I share some very easy movements to help you get comfortable learning more about your body– check them out! And let me know what you think after you’ve tried them! We love to hear from you what you are learning and what you can share with others about that.
Direct Links to “It’s Your Body!” Series Articles
(more added as they appear- click on article title below for link)
- ARTICLE 2: It’s Your Body!: Where to Begin?
- ARTICLE 3: Developing a Practice
- ARTICLE 4: Kitchen Yoga