I always had a hate/hate relationship with my body, especially my belly.The love was non-existant. But there was a time, about 6 years into my lady landscape exploration, when I set out on a quest to find love for it.
It went a little like this: I took myself to a belly dance class. I had a belly, I loved to dance. It couldn't be that hard, right? Wrong. As anyone that's ever tried belly dancing will testify, it's actually really freakin' hard - especially if like me you have a tilted pelvis and hyper mobile joints - but I LOVED belly dance, I love how it made me feel. I loved the music, I loved feeling my body move in a sensual way. My teacher suggested that if I wanted to get really good at belly dancing, I'd have to get a strong core + to do that, I should sign up for a yoga class.
I cried in that first class.
I cried because I felt my body move in deliciously different new ways. I opened up my hips – the beau was all kinds o’ happy ’bout that – I stretched, I breathed and I stretched some more. I can’t pretend it was entirely beautiful and serene as my body experienced positions it’d never found itself in – well, not whilst sober anyway – and I was petrified the whole time that I might fart. But despite that, and despite the years of ‘work’ I’d done on myself regarding self-care and self-love, it was the first time my body and I had properly ‘hooked up’.
I went on to train as a yoga teacher because over the years, despite what I read, yoga isn’t accessible to all – there is still a LOT o' snobbery around yoga-perfect bodies, on Instagram it’s like a competition sometimes to see who can pull themselves into the most ridiculous shape and then call it an 'asana' and I found as a woman with a big bum, a tilted pelvis and hips like Shakira-Shakira (you always have to sing Shakira's name, it's like an unwritten law) that I craved the movement of belly dance, the sensuality of tantra and the stretching + opening of yoga, so I created SHE Flow. To find out more about it watch THIS video.
She Flow Yoga is my invitation to you to hang out + make out with your body. When I’m on the mat, it’s a time for me and this body to get really honest and real with each other.
It has cracked me open from the inside out., I’m no longer trying to tell my body what to do, I’m engaging in some seriously ecstatic movement and feeling what she needs. It’s delicious, it’s emotional, it’s right and I bloody love it.
It’s nothing to do with size, and everything to do with being real.
SHE Flow Yoga has returned me to my body, I LOVE my belly - I also love my hips, my ass, my boobs, my thighs, my chubby under arms - I LOVE it all because this body is the only one I’ve got this time round so it makes total sense that I find delicious ways to love it. Kissing it from the inside and allowing it to be pleasured through movement is my show o’ total devotion to her. (FYI: It's not too late to join me for SHE FLOW SUMMER SCHOOL: School starts Friday 31st July - the full blue moon - magick WILL happen! I'm donating 10% of every sale to my awesome cousin Nikki's Just Giving page - she died of cancer last week at 37 years old, that's just fucking crazy, right?)
Look down at your belly now. Our belly is a place that as women, many of us hate on or constantly breathe her in, yet it’s home to our instinct + our intuition and smart girls – the likes of you + me, wise witches – trust this instinct + intuition above ALL OTHER THINGS. So show your belly the big love. Nurture her, rub her for luck, breathe out, let her be free and jiggly, allow her to be your guide.
Start by taking a deep breath in, then out and then allow her to simply relax in her natural state. This might be a little difficult at first and may take a few goes, because we’ve been programmed to keep her hidden and to suck her in, but allow her to be expressive, don’t judge her. Place both hands just around your belly button and simply say ‘I love you, belly’. It may start as a whisper, I know mine did when I first started to do this, but she is home to your fire, your wisdom, your instinct, it’s time to show her some serious love. You may want to make judgments about how she looks or feels, but right now, all you have to do is to tell her you love her.
Do this EVERY DAY.
Make notes in your journal on what feelings come up for you when you do this. The first time I did it, I sobbed. I’d hated on my belly for SO long – the abundant rolls of lily-white flesh – I didn’t know how to even begin loving it. It may feel silly, it may feel simple, whatever resistance comes up around doing it, do it anyway. What’s the worst that can happen? That you find even the tiniest love for the place we birth and create ideas, projects and life from? I reckon it’s a no-brainer, don’t you?
Join me TONIGHT for the LOVE YOUR BLOODY SELF online SHE chat/PJ party/girl gathering where I will share LOTS of ways to show yourself the big love through movement + menstrual cycle awareness - it's going to be ACE. All the deets are HERE