Today our topic is about loving your belly from the inside out. We will touch on a few tips on breathing, poses, and nutritional gut health you can do at home to improve the health of your belly mentally and physically.
Many people are not in love with their bellies. They try to hide them or squeeze them into tight pants because they are under the impression it must be flat to be beautiful.
Tension and stress very commonly results in losing mobility and strength of the abdomen by forcing breath to be in the upper chest and shoulders.
Tight tissues can disrupt the body’s digestion and hormonal flow. 90% of serotonin (the feel good hormone) is produced in the gut, so proper functioning can help improve your emotional health too. The intestinal tract is considered a second brain because it is the center of many processes, can trigger different metabolic pathways, and regulates the immune system.
Making the decision to love your belly will not be as easy as just saying so.
Observe how you currently feel about your belly and why.
Noticing negative thoughts, what those thoughts are, and why they are that way will allow you to release them. Pain comes from an attachment to how we believe we should look or be. If we ran from pain everytime we felt it we would never overcome it. Ask yourself why you are holding on to this painful idea and tell yourself you are allowed to experience it and let it pass.
Take a moment to be aware of afflictions or distress your mind and body may be experiencing right now. Spend time reflecting on it each day you feel it without judgement. Your body is a fantastic regulator and responds to the stress it has been given. Know that you can make gradual changes to how you treat your body to change it. Gently forgive yourself for anything that it has experienced up until now and anything it might experience for the future. Move forward knowing you have the power to make the choice to treat yourself with compassion.
Take steps to physically help your body feel better.
- Breathing - Check out a couple of breathing exercises:
*Find a comfortable seated position that lengthens your spine and sets your shoulders over your hips naturally, or lay on your back.
Deep belly breathing: This can massage the muscles and the internal organs. Pull the breath in through your nose and fill your chest, ribcage, and belly. Allow your belly to relax and expand. Breathe out in three parts: belly, diaphragm, and upper chest.
Fire breaths: Take a full breath in then exhale in quick, short breaths by pulling belly in, allowing the inhale to be passive and natural up to 50 times for two sets.
Moving the body increases the cardiovascular strength of your system and aids you in digestion. The body is meant to move, not to sit long hours in a chair or standing. The more you can create movement in your day the healthier your entire system will be. Find a few minutes each hour to move your body around. Here are some that help with your abdomen for digestion.
*These should be very gentle so you can feel the movement working from the inside out.
Seated twist: Can be done in a chair or on the floor. Sit tall, press one hand on your bell and one on your head. Gently press your hand on the crown of your head then lift the hand off holding about 6 inches from the crown of your head. Feel the energy between the crown of your head and your hand. Lift your spine through the crown of your head toward your palm to find length in your spine. Use the strength of your core and abs to twist thru belly to one side. Then release both arms out to a T position. Engage your core to create the twist. Then slowly turn back to the front using your core. Repeat on the other side.
Figure 4 seated knee hug: This can be done sitting on the floor with one leg straight or in a chair with feet on the floor. Cross one leg over the other above the knee to create a “4” shape with the legs. Round your spine and twist and pull your knee into your belly/chest. Think about engaging your core and then releasing it to sit back up. You are helping your body to pump blood and gastric fluids around!
Lying ab stabilizer: Stabilizing the core is important for posture and to ensure that when you move that you are doing so with a stable base. Lay on your back, lift your legs to 90 degrees in a tabletop. Press your palm into the opposite thigh just above the knee. Then, move your free arm and leg over your head, engage the core and move them back to starting. Go slow and feel how the core activates when you move away from the center of your body. Do 2-3 sets of 6-8 repetitions.
Belly lying twist: Releasing the upper back and hips can help to mobilize your core. Lying on your belly, lift one knee to the side so you find a gentle stretch in the inner thigh. Then thread the same arm as the bent knee under the opposite arm, creating a twist in the upper back. Release your belly to the floor then pull the belly in off the floor. Do 4-6 repetitions and then repeat on the other side.
- Self Massage - Warm your hands first by rubbing them together for 10-20 seconds. Start on your left side under your ribcage. Gently use your fingertips and palms to move in a circular motion down toward your hip. Then move transversely across the lower belly to the right, going up the right side. Then move under the rib cage to center and then down the center.
Monitor and assess what you are putting into your belly.
Replace harmful foods with foods that heal.
- Journal/track yourself: This can be the hardest thing to do. But it will yield the best results for figuring out what you eat, why, and how it is affecting you emotionally and physically. You need to record what foods and liquids are going into your body and assess how you are feeling before and after you consume them.
- Teas: Mint tea has been known to help with digestion and reduce indigestion, gas, and bloating. Dandelion tea has some evidence of aiding the digestive process and relieving constipation as well. *Be sure to check with a health professional if you are unsure if you can consume it. Probiotic + Fermented foods: kombucha, kiefer, kimchi, sauerkraut
Koreen has a periodic cleanse contact her for more info!
Contact Myss Angie for more info on her nutrition coaching series, Nutrition Slayer.
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Original recording from the Stretch & Bitch weekly virtual series with Koreen Valdovinos and Myss Angie.