For years, I was obsessed with having abs. Washboard stomach. The 'v'. Basically I wanted a dudes stomach. I would work out so hard at the gym in order to obtain this ideal look. At the time I was highly influenced & brainwashed by the media, working for Cosmopolitan magazine; and external definitions of beauty. Sure I was toned & fit, but I kind of felt like a dude with rock hard abs of steel. And I still felt crap inside; no matter how bangin' my bod was; it was never good enough.
I also simultaneously really struggled with breathing - especially deep belly breathing, my periods were irregular / non existent, I was calorie counting, binging & purging, I had zero connection to my female organs - my womb and ovaries. If someone asked me to 'breathe into my womb' I would stare blank and think 'what the heck is she talking about?'.
Let me clarify before I begin, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a flat stomach & abs as a woman. But it is the relationship we hold with our bellies that is key. If you are disconnecting from your most precious gifts of femininity in the process then you need to read this article. This article is all about body love, so what ever shape you are, if you are happy with this then that is all that matters. If you are trying to force a flat belly; and experiencing body hatred then embrace these words sweet women.
As women; our bodies are designed to have gently rounded bellies. The phenomenon of the flat stomach is a recent one, and according to Tantric practice - it isn't advisable. As women, we store powerful female energy in our bellies and trying to flatten them to look like men; we are losing out on an integral part of femininity.
Our connection and relationship to our bellies, just like the rest of our female anatomy; is so powerful in connecting to our femininity. To our sexuality; and to our personal power. A soft round belly is crucial in protecting our vital and most powerful female organ - our womb. If there is any tension around this area, the womb & all organs around the belly will also feel this tension and contraction.
Connecting to our wombs is key for women on the path to connecting to their feminine energy. Not only do our wombs create & nurture life in the form of offspring. Our wombs also house all the vital creative & sexual energy waiting to be awakened to birth our passions in life. To birth our creative projects, dreams & truly live our passion. To create, in all its expressions.
Our wombs hold an intelligence of their own. When we refer to having a 'gut feeling' - this knowing normally comes from the feeling our wombs are telling us. The closer in connection with our wombs the clearer our intuition is & connection to our inner truth. It is easier to make grounded decisions, and therefore to feel empowered with the direction our decisions take us in life; and not just 'following the pack'.
The better our relationship is with our bellies, the deeper the connection is to our womb. And our femininity.
This is why in practices like Belly dancing, the belly is celebrated as the expression of all femininity, bearing a glimpse into the female form; honoring sacred sexuality & the divine feminine in her full creative expression, dancing with beautiful adornments, free & flowing.
As I said, if you do have abs and your belly makes you feel good - stick with it. The emphasis here is on body love & the relationship we hold with our belly & our bodies.
But if you are a woman who hates her rounded tummy, try thinking of it as a symbol of your feminine power instead of something to feel bad about. You may be surprised at how soon you start to embrace your belly and love it.
Below are some tips on embracing your belly & feminine form & embodying deeper body love.
+ Be sensual with your body. When you are having a bath or a shower, be conscious of touching your body as you wash yourself rather than slipping into automatic mode. Buy a delicious smelling body lotion & rub it into your body, try have a sense of doing this with love & taking care of yourself.
+ Get nakey & really see your body. After you get out of the shower, stand in front of the mirror naked, and notice how you feel when you look at your body. It may feel awkward at first, but the more you do it, the sooner you will start to notice changes in the way you feel about your body.
+ Connecting to your soul. The more you connect with your soul in practices like meditation - the less you will be identified with your body as a reflection of who you are. Realizing that your body is the vessel that is housing your soul. It is not who you are, nor does it influence the way any body feels about you.
+ Womb & Belly breathing. Spend 10 minutes a day belly breathing. Soften the belly completely - inhale and expand the belly; exhale and draw the belly in. Deep belly breaths are key. On each breathe in, as the belly expands imagine you are connecting your womb to the earths womb - imagine a beautiful light connecting your womb to the core of the earth. It might feel strange at first, but the more you do it, you will begin to FEEL your womb. Send this area love, as you draw up earth energy send waves of unconditional love to this area of your body. You can then begin asking your womb questions, for guidance in your life.
+ Be present. Anything that helps you be in the present moment is helpful too. Practices like dance (belly dance is great), tai chi, meditation, yoga are all great; for disconnecting from the mind chatter & coming into your body & accepting it as it is in the present moment.
+ Notice your posture. Notice if you hunch over to protect yourself or stand with one hip to the side; not with two firmly planted feet. Notice these tendencies and consciously create space to stand up right, shoulders back, walk with feet firmly planted on the ground with a sense of purpose & grace.
Embrace the belly sisters. It is your a beautiful expression of your femininity; your sensuality; your creativity; your power.
Love love. N. xx
Image Credit: Ben Heys/Shutterstock