I deal with stress in my stomach and it all manifests there in a gigantic knot.
Digestive issues + anxiety = bad combo. I suffer from one hell of a crazy, stressed out stomach.
You know that feeling:
- A big ‘ol sinking pit.
- Hunched over.
- Closed off.
- A whole forest of butterflies dwelling in your stomach.
- Anxiety, stress, fear all growling in your belly.
- Everybody go the eff away.
- Oh yes, you know it.
Eastern practices say that slow, gentle movements are good for digestion. Since I wasn’t digesting food properly and suffered from a whack load of stomach issues, I tried yoga to soothe me. Yoga for stomach pain is the real deal. (No matter how woo woo it may sound).
When I started yoga, I could barely complete an entire class.
If you could hear my thoughts they would have said: “move the hell along people! I got sh*t to do after this!”
I honestly didn’t understand why everyone loved yoga so much until I started to experience the differences in my body for myself.
You can genuinely feel relief through yoga. You can ditch the heavy pressure in your belly and breathe easy.
After a few weeks of practice, I no longer felt that big pit of fluttering energy when I left class. Nor did I hunch over and colipase in to protect my stomach.
Want to calm your raging butterflies too? Here’s how:
Opt for yin or hatha. Something gentle to soothe yourself, rather than rev yourself up during an already busy day, will calm down your stressed out stomach.
Watch the inner self-talk.
I have a ton of cute yoga tops, but they are all tight around my stomach. Lots of critical comments floated into my head when I looked in the mirror and judged my bloated belly puffing out from my tank. Be cognizant of the words you are using. Be gentle with yourself - you are doing the best you can.
Think of your stomach as the ocean.
Use your breath to calm the waves and try to create a smooth, glass-like surface. Use ujjayi breath if that helps you stay present (tutorial here). Even if you think the breathing practices are complete bullsh*t (like I did at first), they will calm your body down - guaranteed.
Remember that yoga is for chilling, not showing off.
If your form is the least perfect in the room, that means that you are doing the most work and contributing the best effort. It's never a competition.
Ask for modifications.
If something doesn't feel good, don’t do it. Ask the teacher to help you find something better for your body. If your stressed out stomach is flaring up, laying on your belly might be very uncomfortable, so speak up!
Thank yourself for showing up.
Showing up is everything. You did it, you went to yoga, you put in the work. Say thanks for making time for you! (I know that’s hard).
You'll start going to yoga for my body, but you will stay for your mind. Yoga will also enable you to shift your mindset, get present, and alter your energy.
Tight purse strings? Here’s how to find free yoga classes:
- Volunteer at your favorite studio. Many offer equity exchanges - a few hours of volunteer work in exchange for a free pass.
- Lululemon hosts in-store yoga. BYOM.
- Ask studios if they do a “first class free” promo if it's your first time there.
- Ask your workplace if they’d bring an instructor in at lunch hour.
Peace, love, and namaste!