I’m a devotée of the body’s center. Both my Honoring Your Belly project of many years and my more recent enthusiasm, the MELT Method, put the body’s center in pride of place.

These two approaches to body-mind balance also share a focus on three-dimensional breathing.

Chapter Six of The Woman’s Belly Book presents “Breathing Into Three Dimensions” as a way to revitalize your whole body. The MELT Method presents the “3-D Breath” as a way to rebalance your body’s natural capacity to support, protect, and ground you.

Both practices encourage the diaphragm, the broad muscle at the base of your lungs, to move fully and freely. Tension lodged in your diaphragm restricts its movement, diminishes your breathing, and drains your vitality.

Practicing “Breathing Into Three Dimensions,” I sense a spiral spinning through depth, width, and length, uniting the dimensions into an all-in-one.

Two years ago, when I first played with MELT’s “3-D Breath,” breathing through the three dimensions imagined me a fish, its iridescent eye gleaming at me in tacit, amused understanding.

Once the fish appeared, I didn’t have to work at breathing three-dimensionally. Just calling up the image of that fish and its knowing eye induced full-volume breathing.

Months later I enrolled in an anatomy course and learned something about the evolution of breathing. Our fish ancestors’ gills, their breathing apparatus, remain with us. The gills’ bony outer structures have become the bony structures of our face — cheekbones, jawbones. The gills’ soft interior structures have become our lungs.

I imagine our fish ancestors are keeping an eye on us, curious how much we appreciate living in air, how freely we’re allowing our diaphragms to move.

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