What you might be thinking is - What the fffffff is fascia?
It is a brilliant, intelligent web of connective tissue that runs uninterrupted through the whole body. Quite a lot like Spiderman's suit... (but with layers underneath the skin).
Fascia supports our whole body through tensegrity - a brilliant system whereby our bones are suspended in space by connective tissue rather than having to be held up. When functioning well, the fascia glides when we move - much like a graceful dancer, and this system is dependant on being hydrated (which is also keeps us looking young, thanks to collagen!)
Before you go and grab a large glass of water, know that hydration in the body doesn't just come from us drinking fluids, but is reliant on movement too!
So, if overused, misused or underused (as with poor posture) our fascia can become a source of tension to the rest of our body as it gets stuck like velcro.
If you've ever been on a long car journey or flight, you'll recognise this feeling - needing to stretch, walk around, shake or move.
How do we work with fascia in our yoga practice?
Fascia responds to stimulus, which thankfully means that we can work with it in lots of ways in yoga!
Here are 5 of my favourite ways you can work with your fascia in a yoga practice, to leave you feeling strong, supple and flexible.
Yin Yoga & longer holds
Roll it out
Tapping and self-massage
Vary your movement
1. The breath
When we breathe, many muscles and connective tissue are utilised that are intimately connected to our web of fascia. Especially over the ribcage, fascial connections are impacted by the breath.
Try a full, expansive breath into the ribcage at the front, back and sides of your body to maximise the fascial effect.
2. Yin Yoga
Fascia responds well to stretching, and the tissue is prone to elongation over longer periods of time, meaning that Yin yoga (longer holds) is a great way to target connective tissue in our practice.
3. Roll it out
Using props (balls, blocks, foam rollers) is an excellent way to specifically target the connective tissue that feels tight.
Rolling on the tissues increases blood flow, awareness and rejuvenates the tissues (try the release technique pictured!)
4. Tapping & Self massage
Without props? Don't fear, tapping and using our hands to manipulate the fascia is equally as effective (one of the reasons massage can feel so good!)
Try reaching across your body to your upper traps (see photo) and gently squeezing.
5. Vary your movement
Fascia responds to varied movement, so why not try moving in different ways in your practice?
Try: moving quickly, slowly, jumping, stamping, and standing still!
Want to learn more about Fascia but don't know where to start?
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And you'll hear first about the return of RELEASE, my signature online course that shows you how to work with your fascia for long term health.
Previous feedback on RELEASE:
"I thoroughly enjoyed my roll and release course. I learned masses of techniques I can incorporate into my life at home, and use them almost every day to release my tense body. Thank you!!"