“By sitting and mindfully breathing for 10 minutes a day, in as little as eight weeks you strengthen the part of the pre-frontal cortex involved in generating positive feelings and diminish the part that generates negative ones.” Richard Davidson, PhD.
“Nourish the belly” is a deliciously helpful therapeutic restorative yoga pose for those feeling vulnerable to life, anxious, stressed in the tummy (that’s me) or who simply can’t slow down the excessive worry and overthinking.
By resting on the front of the body it cocoons your belly snugly against the earth, helping you feel safe and supported by life again. Your heart and belly are protected. You connect more intimately to your breath and the internal energy channels flowing up and down the front of your body. You notice your body with more awareness from the inside and listen patiently to its quiet requests.
* Keep your awareness and breath on the front of your body (stomach, abdomen, heart, ribs).
* After a few exhales you’ll start with soft effortlessness to gently release the blocked energy and tightness trapped in the front of your body. It’s automatic, natural and a very organic process – no matter how restless or agitated you may be feeling initially.
* Simply trust and let your belly flop to its heart’s content into the mat, rug or floor.
In essence you are giving your belly and organs the space they deserve and need to function optimally and receive more blood, prana and oxygen flow. It’s a win, win.
Please know with the release of internal clenching also magically comes the “letting go” of new and old worries attached to that clenching. The more layers of blocked energy you release with each exhale, the more fragments of unnecessary worry you’re able to dissolve from your energy field.
In day to day life you may not even be aware you are “clenching on” and “sucking it in” until you actually lay down and feel into the front of your body. ”Nourish the belly” can be a simple yet surprisingly revealing and worthwhile restorative yoga posture to change how you feel and the way in which you flow through life.
Why not choose to let go a little bit internally each day. Sounds like a plan to me!
Quiet the mind:
Another therapeutic layer to “nourish the belly” pose is the incredible – and I mean incredible — calming effect it has on the mind.
This is particularly true when practised for at least 10 minutes (re-read the opening quote)
When gentle pressure is applied downwards across the skin on your forehead – a profound soothing and deeply peaceful feeling flows through your entire body. Quite magical really.
It’s very similar to the “sacred cave”, a quiet mind ritual I wrote about last year where your forehead rests on top of a vertical yoga bolster.
Of course, if you don’t have the luxury of lying down you can simply fold your arms on the table in front of you, relax your shoulders and breathe into your belly. Still deeply calming for the mind.
How to lie on your belly:
1. Lie on a blanket or yoga mat face down
2. Gently wiggle making sure your body is evenly lying down. You’re not favouring the left or right side.
3. How wide your legs are and whether the toes are pointing inwards or outwards really depends on how your body is feeling on the day. Try with legs a little wider than your hips with toes pointing in and see how that feels.
The rule is do what feels most comfortable. There should be no strain. The aim is to lie effortlessly
4. Fold your arms and rest your forehead comfortably on your hands. You may have to wiggle your head and arms a little to find the most comfortable spot.
5. It’s important to relax your shoulders, neck muscles, jaw, teeth (for all those teeth grinders out there) and tongue. Always relax your tongue, it’s profoundly relaxing.
6. With soft awareness on the front of your body, follow your breath, creating spaciousness on the inhale and releasing on the exhale. Repeat.
7. If your mind is wandering you might like to repeat a mantra – something like “I feel safe and supported” or “I trust in the flow of my life”
This article appears on midlifexpress with Carole’s kind permission. You can find more of her wonderful writing at thehealthylivinglounge.com