There are a few overused words yogis like to throw around a lot, some of which I don't mind and others of which I find, erm, hard to stomach. "Goddess" and "manifest" are two of those that get a lot of play in these parts, the former in reference to the fashionable girlfriend you're about to meet for lunch, and the latter in reference to the lottery winnings you're hoping to conjure up singing enough earnest mantras to Lakshmi.
"Belly" is a term I hear less frequently, but one that I love to use in class — because it feels so down-to-earth and real and hearty and, well, anti-unicorns-and-fairies. Your belly is, well, your belly. Right there. Maybe even a Buddha-belly, if you're lucky. And say what you want about the importance of Uddiyana bandha and a strong core and all of that ('cause it's all true), but I will always still lurve my soft and round belly, just as it is.
Here's a good quick read that's been thrumming along nicely in my mind since I stumbled across it last week. I read this short round-up of the cultural-theological history of the belly and flashed back to a lot of old college work (over a decade ago, can it be?) in gender studies and feminist theology, and was reminded of how far popular culture is from this kind of holistic, body-loving sensibility. Sigh. Back to the trenches on that one, right?
Embrace yo' belly. I sure do love mine.
The Great Belly: A Yogini's Lament
(And, PS — that's Saraswati. She's long been my favorite goddess — all art, all music, all knowledge, all literature; a true out-and-out muse. Hit it, little lady.)