I have been ashamed of my belly my whole life. There, I said it. And even as I write these words, tears begin to well up in my eyes. Will I never get past this feeling of inadequacy and shame?
Find out how I found the courage in my core in this two-part post on the Yoga Tune Up® Core Integration Immersion. One of the foundational YTU immersion trainings.
I arrived at Kripalu last August, my too-large belly tucked and belted firmly into my high-waisted stretch jeans, wondering what Elizabeth Wipff’s “Core Immersion: Total Abdominal Awakening” could do for this unsightly bulge.
In my younger days, I didn’t even know how I felt about my belly. It was there. It was ugly. It was my enemy. If I couldn’t make it go away, I could try to control it.
I sucked it in. I did crunches. One time I ate grapefruits for 3 days and another time I ate hard-boiled eggs for three days. I exercised and exercised and exercised some more. I punished my belly for being inadequate. I distanced this part of my body and considered it broken, irreparably broken.
And, as I learned more about nutrition, I came to understand that my “jelly belly,” as my kids lovingly called it, was the result of metabolic and hormonal disarray. My unalterable apple-shaped midsection resulted from my slow thyroid, my near-constant high stress life-style, and, perhaps insulin resistance, which turned me into a fat-storing machine. But there was much more to learn.
My Belly was a Body Blind Spot – Abused and Overused but still Numb
Even with this relatively new awareness of my belly, it was still, for me, what Jill Miller calls a body blind spot. My belly was a source of inappropriate attention. I fussed about my belly. I looked for quick fixes. I clicked on every Internet sidebar that offered five foods not to eat.
What I was not doing, even after all this time, was connecting to my belly in a way that could help me design “a new normal” – a way of understanding how my belly was not a separate and numbed-out body part, but was instead an integrated piece of my whole being, both body and soul.
Breathe. Sometimes you need a reminder.
Kripalu Means You’ve Arrived – Permission to Feel
This was my second trip to Kripalu after completing the Level 1 certification training and I knew that as my shuttle turned right off the main highway, heading down the steep grade toward the red brick Kripalu campus that I would be in good hands, no matter what. I smiled when I saw the sign by the road that said, “Breathe, You’ve Arrived.” Three meals a day I didn’t have to prepare. All the vegetables I could eat. And, peanut butter and jelly, when absolutely necessary. I had checked in, connected with old friends and now, finally, seated on my mat, and wondered what was in store for me – and my belly — during the next five days. (The core immersion is a bit longer than usual at Kripalu.)
We began our first evening with introductions. Nancy Bellantoni, who would assist, told us about her competitive sailing activities and how Yoga Tune Up® and The Roll Model® had provided much needed support for her overworked body.
Elizabeth Wipff, our lead immersion teacher, helped us to connect with our Sankalpas, our mindset mantra. This was new to folks who hadn’t been at the Level 1, but for me, I easily remembered my own simple Sankalpa that had supported me so profoundly during the Level 1 training, “I am supported on my journey.” Each time my frisky brain decided to do a nosedive into some old, useless, thought patterns, I used my Sankalpa to pull myself to safety. Read the rest of this blog post »