My old college and Boston roommate, Kar-yee, used to talk about contemplating her navel, and I didn’t quite understand the gist of it until recently, when I learned that yogis would contemplate their navel to gain a greater understanding of the world and their place in it. On the basic level, as one would gaze at the navel, s/he would be watching the rise and fall according to the patterns of one’s breath. Ideally, this action alone helps one to relax, slow down and clear one’s mind, and zzzzzz….meditate.
I thought about all the associations with the navel—being connected with the mother, the attachment even after the separation of birth, and in looking at mine, I sadly acknowledged the fact that despite efforts to whittle down, my belly will stick around till the end of my days. Where there is stress, there is cortisol. And where there is cortisol, there is the belly.
Work has been crazy busy this past week, and life outside of work just as much. Already one week through Nanowrimo and I’m about 4 days behind—I need to write about 7,500 words to catch up this weekend, which is the length of a short story. This week alone I had to deal with my FIL’s birthday, work on a school project for The Princess where I had to oversee her painting and then help her finish up with selecting and printing out family photos, finish off the last kickboxing class with a different, more hardcore instructor, and go to a yoga for weight-loss workshop.
From the yoga workshop I learned pretty much what I already knew—that there is no magic pill or pose for weight-loss. Just controlling stress levels, reducing caloric intake while increasing activity, controlling one’s portion sizes—basically listening to one’s body. Unfortunately, it’s easier for me to listen to the cravings than the reminders to exercise. I hear the whispers from my comfort foods—Dove chocolates, caramel and peanut-coated apples, and wasabi peas—not all at once, of course, though it is an interesting concept. “Eat me, eat me, eat me!” they’d cry. Now, I just need to learn to say, “Not now, darlings. Belly needs to shrink.” (Or perhaps I need to see a shrink, especially if I am conversing with my food.)
I’ve heard tons of wonderful advice—keep a food journal and write down what you eat, drink lots of water, fill up on fiber, mix up your physical activities to include things that you enjoy, make yourself more aware of the activities you do—avoid the autopilot exercise rut, visualize transforming your physical being through the activities that you are doing, take daily walks, trick yourself into walking more by parking farther and taking the stairs, etc., and most importantly, get enough sleep.
Sleep—now that’s a novel concept!