The importance of the Fascia to our flexibility
Improved flexibility is one of the first and most obvious benefits of yoga.
With continued practice comes a loosening of the muscles, and connective tissues and the fascia. Unlike other exercises, yoga increases the flexibility and fluidity of the fascia which will also improve your fitness level.
What is the Fascia?
The fascia is a connective tissue network that holds the human body together. This is thought to be one reason that yoga is associated with reduced aches and pains.
The tension in your body like slumping your shoulders forward prompts the fibroblasts (the most common cells found in connective tissue) to make more fibres that will arrange themselves along the line of stress. These thicker fascial fibres form a barrier that slows down essential food from reaching your cells. You’ll get enough to survive but the function will slow down.
Emotions held in the Fascia
All past traumas are stored in the fascia. These traumas literally warp the natural form of the fascia and deform it which means we stay in the damaged position. When the fascia has thinned the memories of those events surface and are brought to light so as to finally release the person from being held in the past.
Yoga helps to build muscle mass and or maintain muscle strength, which protects from conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis and back pain. During a yoga session, the joints are taken through their full range of motion, squeezing and soaking areas of cartilage and bring fresh nutrients, oxygen and blood to the area which helps to prevent conditions like arthritis and chronic pain. Without proper sustenance, neglected areas of cartilage will eventually wear out and expose the underlying bone. Numerous studies have shown that asanas (postures), meditation or a combination of the two reduced pain in people with Arthritis, Carpal Tunnel syndrome, Back pain and other chronic conditions.
New research shows that this web of proteins runs down through the membranes of each cell and connects both aspects of the connective-tissue web through the cytoskeleton to the cell nucleus. This means that when you’re doing yoga stretches you are actually pulling on your cells’ DNA and changing how it expresses itself. Thus, the mechanical environment around your cells can alter the way your genes function.
Remember we are more like a plant than a machine!!!
Why the Fascia is so important in improving our flexibility
The fluid fascial network that lives between each cell in your body consists of bungee cord–like fibres made mostly from collagen and elastin.
These fibres run everywhere and they are thicker in certain areas such as tendons and cartilage and looser in others like breasts. We are grown from a tiny seed, a single cell or fertilized ovum and not glued together in parts. This seed contains sufficient instructions (given the proper nourishment) to create a helpless, squalling baby, who turns into an energetic toddler, a teenager and then finally a mature adult.
Lunge – Try this pose to improve your hip,lower back and quads
- Step your right foot forward between your hands, align your right knee over the heel.
- Then lower your left knee to the floor, keeping the right knee fixed in place, slide the left back until you feel a comfortable stretch in the left front thigh and groin.
- Turn the front of your left foot to the floor.
- Draw your shoulders away from your ears.
- Place your hands either side of your foot.
- Draw the tailbone down toward the floor and lift your pubic bone toward your navel.
- Lift your breastbone towards the sky, opening the chest.
- Repeat on the left.
- You can build up to stay for approximately a minute. Breath slowly as you stay in the posture.
More about the Fascia…..
As we continue to practice yoga the fascial fibres slowly thin out over weeks, sometimes months but the mucus can change to a more liquid state in as quickly as a minute resulting in less pain, more feeling, and less resistance.
You can harness your yoga practice. It’s a great tool to get fluids and information flowing to their maximum sensitivity and adaptability. The traditional biomechanical theory of the musculoskeletal system says that muscles attach to bones via tendons that cross the joints and pull bones toward each other restricted by other “machine parts” called ligaments. But all these anatomical terms and the separations they imply are believed to be false.
No ligaments exist on their own instead they blend into the periosteum (vascular connective tissue) that serves as clingfilm around the bones and the surrounding muscles and fascial sheets. What this means is that you weren’t assembled in different places and glued together instead all our parts grew up together within the glue.
So it makes perfect sense that if we work with the fascia we will experience a more loose, flexible, stronger and pain-free body and mind.