I recently had the opportunity to do a presentation on fascia at a TRE training. I have always been somewhat fascinated with fascia-it always seemed mysterious and magical in appearance and function, and when speaking of fascia, many people put their hands out, palms up, and shaking their heads slowly and say “we have no idea…."
However, because of my preparation for my presentation, I found out that actually, yes, people DO have ideas about fascia! There are researchers not only asking great questions, they are coming up with fantastic answers! So I wanted to share some of the things I have learned in a short ongoing series about fascia.
To begin with, let’s identify what it is. Fascia is essentially connective tissue that runs throughout the body. It covers your muscles, it forms your tendons, ligaments, it runs through your organs and bones. It is everywhere. Think of a grapefruit and the whitish membrane that covers the pulp, separates the sections from each other and connects the skin to the fruit and you have an idea how fascia exists in your body. And like that grapefruit “fascia," it is different strengths and thicknesses through your body.
An interesting thing to consider is that it is thought that fascia gets the signal to move a body part before your muscle tissue. So when your brain says “Let’s go places” the fascia is the first to mobilize. The other interesting fact to put with that is that your fascia molds itself to the shape or position that you have spent a long time, or a life, time in. What does that mean on a practical level? As you stand up to get out of the chair you have been sitting in for a few hours while checking your email with your right leg crossed over your left leg, your hip extensor and quad muscles may be fired and ready to go, but your fascia, which has kind of settled into the position you were sitting in, is still kind of molded to that sitting position, and not always ready to leave. So you get up, you feel stiff, creaky and rusty and you find it hard to take the first step without feeling like something is going to break off or that you are going to fall over. Pause, shake your body out a bit, give your fascia some time to get with the program. Give it yet another signal that you are going to start walking, take a deep breath and then start to go. Consider that the fascia is in charge here-nothing is going to start moving until it is ready, and respect that hierarchy.
Not being in the same position for a long amount of time will ease this kind of facial constriction. Staying hydrated will help to. So a great idea is to drink a ton of water when you are working. This helps keep you hydrated AND moving because you will have to get up to go to the bathroom more frequently.
Of course practicing yoga helps, but you already knew I was going to say that. Yin Yoga is particularly a good practice to loosen up fascia. As fascia is protective in nature (we will get into that next week) you may want to consider Restorative Yoga as well. Until next time, drink up! (By the way, choose warm or hot water with lemon over ice water)
Click here to sign up for Yin Yoga with Sally and Restorative Yoga with Deb in February
Welcome 2018! While there is no telling for certain what this new year might bring, it is pretty safe to assume we will all face challenges of some sort. This quote below inspired me to choose our subject, The Spiritual Warrior, for this first month of 2018.
"The basic difference between an ordinary man and a warrior is that a warrior takes everything as a challenge, while an ordinary man takes everything as a blessing or a curse." — Don Juan, as quoted by Jack Kornfield in A Path With Heart
The Spiritual Warriors task is to win in the war against self-ignorance and fear. The challenge is maintaining awareness, having courage and discipline, and establishing a commitment to transformation. This can be difficult as we begin to recognize stuff about ourselves and the world we live in. It is when something is recognized, when a truth, or falseness is revealed, we might find ourselves on shaky ground. We can either push the recognition away using the very popular technique called "deliberate ignorance," or we can stand and face it, toe to toe, with our eyes wide open.
The way I was trained in this particular battle plan was to continually ask myself "What am I not noticing?". You see the predicament in that line of questioning, right? When I was training in Karate this was actually a much easier task. For one thing, your opponent was always going to let you know with a well placed kick or punch that you didn't notice you left an opening. You might spar with someone you thought was an amazing mind reader because they always knew what your next move was going to be, until you finally realized you were consistently signaling what kind of kick or punch you were going to throw with a hitch of the shoulder or wiggle in the hips.
If someone chooses to begin training as a Spiritual Warrior they are probably not going to get kicked in the head if they turn away from a truth. This makes it all the more alluring to distance oneself from a truth as there are seemingly no immediate consequences, such as a black eye. But those who have an interest in training as a Spiritual Warrior know the possible liberation that can be experienced is worthy of the small battles waged along the way.
Join us this month as we contemplate the possibilities in becoming a Spritual Warrior as we stand firm in Warrior 1 pose, which is our pose of the month. Lets begin 2018 with our feet firmly on the ground, our hearts facing in the same direction as our eyes and our minds awakened to the possibe battles that await us.