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Cristina Eisenberg: Bright and Beautiful Threads
Deb Lemire: Loving Your Belly 101
La Zorra Feliz: Becoming Belly-Proud
Sharon Turnbull: Love Your Belly

Bright and Beautiful Threads
by Cristina Eisenberg

When I became a young woman in the late sixties, one of the first things my mother did was buy me a panty-girdle. Then pantyhose arrived on the scene and the sixties revolution hit, and I never wore another girdle. And so it was with great amusement that I read Lisa Sarasohn's accounts of corsets and girdles and the women's liberation of one of our most powerful body parts — the belly. The Woman's Belly Book provides a refreshing way of looking at our bellies — the vessel of our vitality as women, and the source of our emotions and sexuality.

Yoga instructor and bodywork therapist Sarasohn is also an award-winning essayist, poet, and public speaker. She has filled The Woman's Belly Book with womb wisdom and belly laughter. Using simple exercises, Sarasohn teaches you the importance of breath, and how to allow your belly to move out and in as you inhale and exhale, increasing your supply of oxygen. She guides readers through belly relaxing exercises designed to soothe tension and enhance sleep. But her exercises go way beyond conventional body wisdom, deep into Goddess spirituality.

My favorite is the life-affirming Bright Blessings standing pose, in which you move through the cycles of maiden, mother, and crone, defining these three realms symbolically, with body movements that center on your belly. These motions gather energy from the earth, trees, and sky and bring it into your womb, to be received and stored as blessings. Doing this exercise makes me feel full of life and opens up my core to the day's possibilities.

In the chapter titled "Secrets of Your Body's Center" Sarasohn covers tough subjects, such as eating disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, and how the gut monitors the pressure in our daily lives. By breathing deeply and rhythmically, you can send soothing signals to your involuntary nervous system. Sarasohn likens this to rocking a cradle ever so gently.

Journaling and creativity exercises, such as writing a letter to your belly, add another delightful dimension. Sarasohn provides poignant and heartwarming examples from students of how miraculous things can happen when you release the pro-creative power that your belly embodies. All of these activities are intended to help you open your core, receive blessings into the center of your being, and live your dreams.

The bright and beautiful threads of celebration, self-acceptance, and creative, sexual energy that run through this book can guide women to a powerful spiritual awakening. It's so utterly and blissfully simple — and it all begins with our bellies.

[This review appears in SageWoman, Issue No. 71, Winter 2007.]

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