So it’s my 20 year high school reunion in three months time, and I really, really want a six pack, mostly to prove to myself that a 38 year dad doesn’t need to look like Santa, and I only train when I have a goal, however silly.

(Then I just need to figure out a way to take my shirt of at the reunion…, I’ll post a pic if I make it. 🙂 )

Our culture’s idea of body beautiful has been a flat tummy for the last, i don’t know, century? The ever elusive flat tummy, I’m sure many of you would agree a flat tummy is incredibly hard to achieve (after the age of 12), and even harder to keep.

So we all do what I do, you suck it in. (Maybe it’s time for corsets again?)

Happiness lies in the belly

The thing is,  when you hold in your stomach, your breathing becomes more shallow.

We are actually supposed to breathe from our tummies, have you ever noticed  how a baby breathes when they are sleeping on their back? It’s like a balloon inflating! But because we all want to be considered hot and sexy, we suck it in and breather from our chests and shoulders.

Picture
Breathe like a baby

What breathing like this does, and keeping your stomach in like that does, is put your brain into fight or flight mode, that’s right anxiety, stress, and depression mode.

Their is a reason people have a saying ‘you feel it in your gut’, because you actually do. Your gut has a ton of nerve endings, that function almost like a second primitive brain. In many spiritualities, the gut is the seat of the spirit and connection with the divine, it’s only later than we moved that function it to the ‘heart’.

Keep your tummy tight (sucked in) all the time causes all sorts of havoc.

Soft belly is the road to happiness

When you listen to a guided meditation, you’ll often hear the person say, ‘receive the breath into your belly’ or ‘keep a soft belly‘.

It is for the same reason, you cannot be relaxed with a tight stomach.

Your turn

So do this little exercise next time you feel, stressed, anxious, and even depressed.

  1. Sit upright in your chair, both feet on the floor, hands in your lap.
  2. Close your eyes.
  3. Breathe into your tummy, so it inflates like a balloon, without moving your chest or shoulders. Do this for a couple of minutes, I can guarantee you’ll feel much better.

When I am on the run, I’ll often to do a three breath (I like to say three breath prayer, but whatever), soft belly exercise. Just stop what you are doing, and take three equal deep slow breaths into your soft belly, and see how you instantly relax.

Try it, and let me know in the comments if it works for you.Have a good one.

Pierre