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Your Belly Microbiome On The Move, Part 4

Tuesday, September 10, 2013 1:53 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
Your Belly Microbiome On The Move, Part 4
by Lisa Sarasohn
(c) 2013 Self-Health Education, Inc


What's in a belly? To recap previous installments, your belly plays host to 100 trillion bacteria.
These single-celled creatures—your gut microbiota—shape your physical and mental health.
When the populations of your belly bacteria achieve a balance, they vitalize your digestion,
immunity, hormone production, nerve communication, and more.


Imbalance among and depletion of the gut bacteria likely plays a key role in body-mind disorders
such as anxiety, autism, obesity, irritable bowel syndrome, autoimmune diseases, and allergies.


In previous installments, I've discussed the possibility that ancient icons of the Sacred Feminine
reveal the potentially healing power of the belly's bacteria. I've also mentioned we need to keep
replenishing our intestinal bacteria since we lose so many with each bowel movement.
Traditional cuisines help us do exactly that by including fermented foods on the daily menu.


I've also asked the questions:


How does the use of pesticides in food production diminish the soil's microbiome?


How do soil depletion and industrial food processing affect our ability to replenish the gut
microbiome that's so crucial to our physical and mental health?


Not long after posing those questions, synchronicity sent me plenty of responses, thanks to
herbalist Lindsay Wilson. From the New York Times to journals of complementary medicine, the
word is: We need to bring soil microorganisms into our bellies for digestive health and bodymind
well-being as a whole.


We humans have an instinctive draw to soil, however muted that instinct may become. When I
recently asked a group of women how many of the children they knew ate dirt, the reply was "all
of them." In another instance, a friend told me about an elderly African American woman she
knew many years ago. No matter that the people with whom she worked made fun of her, the
woman ate dirt from time to time. And she was never sick.


If you want to replenish your belly's microbiome, shop at your local farmers' market. Eat
vegetables that have grown in pesticide-free, organically rich soil.


How else do we support our belly's microbial world?


With physical activity.


Just as cuisines incorporating fermented foods have a long history, so do breathing and
movement exercises that mobilize the belly. I can only imagine that traditions of dance, healing
rituals, and spiritual practices activate the belly's microbiome by stirring bacterial populations
through each other, increasing opportunities for their interaction, energizing their metabolic
processes, distributing their metabolic products.


Consider these expressions: Belly dancing. Chanting, powered by deep belly breathing. Martial
arts. Yoga, including such belly-exercising practices as kapalabhati, agni sara, uddiyana bandha,
and nauli.


The 23 center-energizing exercises I teach on the Honoring Your Belly DVD, drawn from a
dynamic Japanese style of yoga, activate the belly and, I suspect, its microbiome. Moving
through each gesture, you expand your belly out from your spine with each in-breath and press
your belly in toward your spine with each out-breath.


Presented in shorter form as The Gutsy Women's Workout in The Woman's Belly Book: Finding
Your True Center for More Energy, Confidence, and Pleasure
, moves such as Cradle, Bright
Blessings, Belly Bowl, Power Centering, Lily, and Wings compress, expand, twist, and rotate
your belly. Your belly's bacteria? I can only imagine they're on the move, too, all the more
effectively serving your physical and emotional health.


In this and previous articles, I've been reporting on the microbiome in terms of the medical
research aligned with the conventional Western paradigm of the human body and our human
health. But this research is challenging conventional concepts of the body, health, and disease.
With only 10% of your genetic material endowed with the DNA that is uniquely yours, who are
you and what exactly is your body?


From the perspective of the pharmaceutical industry, research on the microbiome leads to
manufacture and sale of designer probiotics, drugs fashioned to restore the microbiome to a
healthy balance however damaged it might have become. Yet this same research is showing that
a healthy microbiome is hugely variable, both within individuals over time and among
individuals by demographics and geography. That variety will likely challenge the prospect of
cost-effective drug development.


In the realm of the microbiome, then, medical research just might put medicine as we know it out
of business.


In the next installment, I'll address these same subjects — the microbiome, the nature of the
human body, your own planet body in relation to big body Earth — in a more imaginative,
intuitive way.


Stay tuned for the codewords:


Primordial.
Gaia.
Torus.



*********************

My workshops flow from my quest for the Sacred Feminine blended with my experience practicing and teaching yoga.

I've been a Kripalu Yoga instructor since 1979. I've also trained as a yoga and bodywork therapist.

From 1981 to 1988, I served on staff at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Lenox, MA. During this time, I led yoga classes for thousands of guests, conducted a practice in bodywork therapy, designed workshops on many aspects of holistic health, and trained yoga teachers and bodyworkers.

In the course of my continuing yoga studies, I learned how cultures around the world have valued the body's center as sacred. Delving deeper into this subject revealed connections between the body's center and qualities of the soul, the extent of women's power in family and society, and the degree of a culture's reverence for Sacred Feminine.

Listen to an interview with Lisa Sarasohn


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~ From Belly Distress to Belly Health~
( Learn More Here )

    Drawing on ancient wisdom and contemporary practice, we'll attend to our bellies' well-being. We'll engage in experiential learning, energizing the body-mind transformation that supports healing.

    
    ~ Initiation 2012: Awakening Your Sacred Center, Part One ~
    ( Learn More Here )

    This online course is the first part of an ongoing process through which you embody the Sacred Feminine by energizing your body's center with breath, image, story, and movement.

     



    (New World Library, 2006) presents what I've learned about the body's center through teaching and research over a period of nearly twenty years.
 
    My articles on honoring the body's center have appeared in publications including Yoga Journal, SageWoman, Radiance, and Personal Transformation. My workshops have been sponsored by colleges and universities, health education agencies, and holistic learning centers.

    My intention is to provide you an opportunity to delight in the vitality and pleasure, the creativity and confidence, the intuition and sense of purpose that already dwell within and emerge from your body's center. My greatest joy is to offer you ways to discover the Sacred Feminine as she already abides within you.
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