I use this word a lot in my yoga classes — purposely.
Because it’s a great one to make friends with. Normalize. Welcome.
“Soften your belly like a nice loose Buddha belly.”
“Bend your knees so much you can press your belly into your thighs.”
“Hug your belly toward your spine to stabilize.”
“I like to move my foot to the right a few centimeters in this pose to make room for my belly.”
And so on.
Say it. Love it. Embrace it.
Twice a week I teach yoga to my kid’s soccer team. The other night I had them lie back on the turf in Supta Baddha Konasana and place both hands on their bellies, and say “Thank you, belly.”
They giggled. A lot.
It was so sweet and silly. And gentle.
Can you be a little more sweet, and silly, and gentle with yours?
Nice to see all your #internationalwomensday posts yesterday, and also frustrating, because: really?? One day?!
One woman who’s been inspiring me lately is Potawatomi scientist, professor, and author Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer. I spent the depths of bitterly cold January listening to countless interviews with her sharing wisdom on botany, spirituality, ecology, and how her Native heritage weaves throughout her work. (Do read her popular book Braiding Sweetgrass if you haven’t already.)
She spoke these words in one interview and they struck me. I don’t know about you, but the very strong messages I received as a good little overachieving Christian girl were that I should be above all nice, positive, smiling, self-effacing, and SMALL. Definitely never daring to take up space with my body, my opinions, or my work.
Two degrees in feminist theory and 40 years later, I still have to consciously unlearn those early messages when I’m sharing my work. It still makes my heart race to publish something that I know will set someone off. And this, even after decades of unlearning that “good little Christian girl” mentality.
So know your gifts. Really f’ing KNOW them. Own them. Speak them. Share them. Don’t stay quiet and keep them hidden just to please other people, or to avoid being too much.
BE EFFEN TOO MUCH.
The people who can handle it will stick around, and join in cheering you on.