What is Fascia, and how is it affecting my yoga practice?
Connective tissue is the material between the cells of the body that gives form and strength to the different tissues of the body. It connects, supports, binds, or separates other tissues or organs. The muscular system creates movement, but it works through the connective tissue fascia, and it is the connective tissue structure that holds us in the shape we are in.
Fascia is a type of connective tissue that penetrates and wraps around the muscles forming the tendons and their attachment to the bones within the body. The myofascial (myo=muscle) system in our body is a multilayer structure with fascial sheaths wrapping around the muscles and weaving in continuous layers throughout the body.
In its optimal condition, the myofascia is loose, hydrated, and allows balance and movement between different parts of the body. However, under continual stress or overload, the fascia becomes rigid and loses its fluidity and mobility, and the layers may become adhered or stuck together. The layers of fascia tend to become rigid along the lines of stress in the body that are created by our individual posture and movement habits. That’s the reason why Triangle pose can feel so good on one side but so stuck on the other. Right handed people will have different lines of fascial tension in their body compared to left handed individuals. Previous injury, trauma or surgery may also result in patterns of strain forming within the body.
When injured or stressed, there is a neuromuscular response in the body that results in changes to the tension and length of the connective tissue. These changes, if not corrected, may develop painful conditions, and the fascial structure will continue tightening throughout the body, (which is the reason why people get shorter as they get older) compressing the joints and resulting in painful and restricted movement. Because fascia is continuous throughout the body, stress in one area of the body has an effect on every other part of the body. Fascial health is also dependent on the fact that the body and mind are not two separate entities. This can be illustrated by the way in which emotion will affect posture, and similarly, posture will influence thoughts and emotions. Stress in any form (physical, mental, or emotional) will result in changes in the fascia.
So how do you free the Fascia?
Myofascial release is a specific type of manual therapy that works on freeing the connective tissue and stretching it back to its natural state allowing greater movement and the opportunity to re-align the body. Postural and movement awareness is then essential to maintain the mobility and alignment of the fascia, and this is achieved by identifying old habits and replacing them with corrective movement and posture.(How many of you are reading this with bad posture? Or how often are you practicing Mountain pose throughout the day?)
Yoga provides the perfect opportunity to bring to your awareness areas in your body that are restricted through fascial tension. That’s why everyone’s practice is different because the fascial health of each individual is the result of every experience they have encountered (physical and emotional) thus far in their life.
The goal of Corrective Movement Training is to unwind the holding (or strain) patterns residing in your body’s fascial system, restoring it to its natural alignment and symmetry, in order to promote efficient and pain-free movement that will improve your yoga practice.
Yoga Health & Healing runs a Corrective Movement Program which is a series of sessions incorporating myofascial release / remedial massage with movement assessment and re-education, designed to realign the body and remove fascial tension, stress, and pain.
Corrective Movement Training addresses not only the symptoms of pain and dysfunction but also their underlying cause with the aim of producing optimal health and vitality.
For more information please contact Quinn Mclachlan
Ph: 0407 993 203 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org