“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, hold stress in the tummy (that’s me) or simply can’t slow down the excessive worry and over thinking.
By resting on the front of the body its 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, gently releasing 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 hearts 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 fields.
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 very 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 the top of a lengthwise yoga bolster.
Of course if you don’t have the luxury of laying down you can simply fold your arms on the table in front of you, relax your shoulders and breath into your belly. Still deeply calming for the mind.
How to lay on your belly:
1. Lay on a blanket or yoga mat face down
2. Gently wiggle making sure your body is evenly laying 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 lay 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. Its 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 you mind is wandering you might like to repeat a repeat a mantra – something like “I feel safe and supported” or “I trust in the flow of my life”
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