When we're present with our body’s signals, we can get clarity on all sorts of radical stuff, like when we're being mean to ourselves (be nice!) or when we're actually feeling hunger or satiation.
For the longest time, I had a real tough time knowing what my body was feeling. I was so off-track with my anorexia that I couldn’t tell what I needed. But when you’re off-track, you can get traction to get back on. Here are a few tools to help you get in touch with what’s going on inside that sweet bod of yours.
Yeah, yeah, you’ve heard it all before, but honestly, this practice has withstood the test of time because it works. Sit your booty down in a chair or on a pillow and root down through your sits bones. Really imagine that you could grow roots into the center of the earth. So that no matter where you go, or what you do, you are grounded in who you really are. Then, shift your awareness to your breath. Inhale for three counts, exhale for three counts. This deliberate breathing shifts us from the sympathetic (fight or flight) to the parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous system, so that we can think clearly, and listen to what's up. Then, my love, shift your awareness to your belly. How does it feel? Empty? Full? Growly? Gassy? Not what does it look like, (don’t worry about the last time you ate), but what does it feel like? Once you have your answer, act accordingly. If you’re physically hungry, grab a healthy something. If you’re emotionally hungry, take a bath, take a walk, or watch a flick. If you’re satiated, go on with your day and be your badass self! If getting down with this meditation on your own isn’t serving you, check out the Meditation Studio app by Gaiam (I have my own meditations launching soon!).
Twist it out.
Lie on your back with you knees drawn into your chest. Let both knees fall to your right first. This way, you will be twisting your ascending colon first (you know, where your food comes in). Breathe into it and notice feelings of fullness, emptiness, or somewhere in between. Then switch sides, so you're twisting your descending colon, where your food (ahem) exits the body. Breathe into that space and notice if there is any tension or sensation of hunger or satiety. Act and react on your sensations, not on what your mind is telling you to do.
Try a belly massage.
Fold a yoga blanket so it looks like a long burrito (notice the food reference there?)—making it a long rectangle first, then folding it into thirds. Place your lovely burrito blanket on the ground and lie on top of it, belly down, with the blanket just above your belly button. This will put some pressure on your small intestine. Breathe into that space and notice what information the position has for you. It’s all a process in listening and coming home to your body, so notice the sensations in that specific spot. Not only will this pressure help you physically feel what’s going on right there, but that compression helps the digestive process. (Think free tummy rub, no massage therapist or mommy required.)