But I'll have to stick my stomach out...
Yesterday I sat down for coffee with a dear friend and fellow coach. In swapping stories about our lives right now and catching up we started talking about the fact that both of us had been experiencing some unusual pain in our bodies these past few months. Each of us had visited different practitioners to help connect with where the pain was coming from and move it out of our bodies. And both of us were instructed to use intentional diaphragm breathing during exercise... But you see, when I do that it makes my stomach stick out big time! My friend and I both hold our personal body "issues" in our stomach so asking us to place intention there is a bit..tricky. My stomach has always been my trouble area. This is the part of my body I am quick to cover up and where I carry my stress.
I've worked long and hard to evolve how I see my body as healthy vs. skinny and how I see my stomach as friend to my whole self, not foe. I am so grateful this entire conversation emerged because it helped me to realize this -
Most of us (and I may be generalizing here) want to feel great during exercise and not be reminded of what we are trying to alter by exercising in the first place! To breath intentionally through my entire core is to push it out (way out) and when you carry your vulnerability in your core the last thing you want to do is draw attention to it.
Why do I care if my stomach sticks out during exercise? Because I do! Even as a life coach who co-owns a fitness studio, I am as susceptible as anyone to commercial images of women being fit. You know the ones I am talking about - no sweat, tight cute clothes, tight stomach, and toned upper body. I want to be her and yet the reality of actually exercising is not so put together.
In fact, a great workout does this to the body - you put little tears in your muscles, blood is pumped to your muscles to help boost oxygen levels so you have energy to keep exercising causing muscle groups to swell, your lungs have to intake up to 15 times more oxygen to sustain exercise so you breath in and out quickly, with this heavy breathing your diaphragm can get tired and sometimes spasm causing a side ache, as you increase the heat in your body from everything working harder you start to sweat, and when you release heat in the face it turns red because the capillaries start to dilate.
In a nutshell, your body goes to work! It gets sweaty, swollen, puffy, and over heated. You breath heavy and you may turn bright red. It's not the pretty image we see in fitness magazines or ads. This is real cost of exercise! I say let's embrace it.
Embrace the cost, the puffiness, the sweaty face, and how far it makes your stomach stick out. When I use breath with intention I get MORE from my movement. It really is a great thing. What part of your body are you aware of when you exercise or move around a lot? What comes up for you when you think about that part of your body?
Now try this quick journal exercise on - What I LOVE about this part of my body right now is...
Let your thoughts flow and embrace the good stuff! You are not your negative thoughts and you can choose to give NEW meaning to the stories they tell.