“Your gut has capabilities that surpass all your other organs and even rival your brain. It has its own nervous system, known in scientific literature as the enteric nervous system, or ENS, and often referred to in the media as the ‘second brain’. This second brain is made up of 50-100 million nerve cells, as many as are contained in your spinal cord.”
(Emeran Mayer, MD, The Mind-Gut Connection, 2016)
Doctors have long kept the brain (the nervous system) and the gut (digestive system) completely separate from the maintenance of our overall health. Let alone even consider any connection the two systems might also have.
Medical doctors still mostly see the human body as mechanistic, largely unaffected by our thinking, our emotions, other systems and organs of the body and by us directly (our awareness). This separation of us, our brain and the body is helping to cause far more health problems than is necessary.
Your gut is like a second brain and it is strongly connected to the brain. The brain also remembers every gut feeling you have and uses this information when making decisions, not just about food but about people, work, play and life.
So it makes sense to spend some body mindfulness time regularly connecting to that gut and listening to what it has to say. It will respond in sensations, but rest assured there are also emotions there. (Your gut stores 95% of the serotonin in your body which is used to regulate your mood, anxiety, sleep, appetite, temperature, eating behaviour, sexual behaviour, movements and gastrointestinal motility). Your whole belly area is a powerful and very important brain.
Take time to connect with it in your mindfulness practice. After your brain, (which we spend a lot of awareness on,) the belly brain should always be your next port of call.