In This Chapter
Centering on the significance of the belly
Enjoying the rewards of six simple abdominal exercises
Sounding off during exhalation
Many Eastern systems of spiritual exercise and healing consider the lower abdomen to be the vital center of your whole being — body, mind, and spirit. Westerners, on the other hand, think much differently about their bellies, tending to see them as mere food bags or as waste-processing stations.
Many people have a love-hate relationship with their bellies. Although people may be obsessed with having the “perfect” midriff, they tend to neglect or even abuse this area of their bodies. On the inside, they stuff the belly with way too much junk food. On the outside, they let it grow slack. But as the yoga masters warn, when this area is polluted by impurities, it becomes a seat of sickness.
Apart from diseases, weak bellies (and belly muscles) contribute significantly to lower back problems. Studies indicate that 80 percent of the American population has had, is having, or will have back problems. Back-related problems are the second-leading cause of missed workdays, trailing only respiratory problems or the common ...