I recently attended a Move Your DNA workshop. One of the exercises was letting it go – letting your belly all hang out and relax. It wouldn’t let go. Literally. 20 years of “holding it in” turned out to mean holding on to some mental imagery of hiding my belly. A belly that gets bigger whenever stresses seem to pile on.
I stopped to really think of the ridiculous volume of organs packed into that space between the lower rib cage and tail bone: my stomach, diaphragm, liver, kidneys and 28′ (or 8.5m) of bowel. Crazy! That constant tension of holding it in can’t be healthy for my bowels. It had never occurred to me before.
This week I read about Low-Intensity Steady State cardio (LISS). These 30-60 minute workouts are longer in length at a lower heart rate and can help to reduce stress levels. It is the complete opposite of high intensity workouts (HIIT) that often have timers or strong beat to the music. Restorative activities like walking at a leisurely pace and stretching can reduce levels of cortisol, a stress-triggered hormone that can cause retention of belly fat (also known as visceral fat).
This week I am committing to a relaxing 45 minute walk, a yin yoga class and a mug of nourishing tea.
What’s your favourite way to incorporate restorative rest?