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City of Jewels

The enteric nervous system is the connection between the gut and the brain, belly and mind. So well-known is the connection you might have heard the gut called the second brain.


Butterflies in the stomach, or a loss in appetite or feeling gutted are all signifiers of emotion. Now how often do you tune in and respond appropriately to your gut instincts? You might have been trained to numb those feelings (oh it’s just nerves, you’ll be fine) or, you may have become numb to the sensations because there’s so much modern noise, tension and discomfort around. You can track your heart rate, oxygen levels, but there’s nothing to measure the emotions digested in the stomach. I guess that’s why the solar plexus is called Manipura, which means City of Jewels. Each feeling a precious gem.

Your gut is therefore both digestive plumbing, and also a fluid symphony of ever-changing states and events (which is a little more poetic). It’s an ally, a guru and a site of personal power. I thoroughly recommend you learn to listen to the messages. Our language alludes to the stomach being an epicentre of emotion; a situation can be hard to stomach, or time is needed to digest, or perhaps we just have to swallow it.

Other cultures recognise its significance, and quite a bit more beautifully than we do. In Daoism, the hara (belly) is a place of moving from intention. If we have low energy here, we won’t have the will to go ahead and follow our heart. In the yoga body, the solar plexus is associated with the element of fire; Fire in the belly gets things done, it’s passion and purpose!

The reason yoga and meditation have been practiced for thousands of years, where other movement practices faded out (shout out to Zumba and step aerobics), is because they're modalities that connect people to their centre of personal power. And that my friends... is timeless.


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