Fascia is a band or sheet of connective tissue, primarily collagen, beneath the skin that attaches, stabilizes, encloses and separates muscles and other internal organs.
One way to think of the fascia is like scaffolding in the body. It has a relative strength of steel, yet is viscoelastic and can store and release elastic potential energy.
Under a microscope, fascia looks like countless clear strands moving and adapting as needed. Modern research still has much to learn about fascia. My experience with 10+ years of yoga practice leads me to believe that the fascia plays a major role in flexibility and allowing the body to stretch, strengthen or move.
I believe that after many hours of practicing postures your body adapts to more readily get in and out of those postures. Going from feeling like the pose is difficult, to feeling a sense of lightness in the posture. The fascia "scaffolding" is already there to support optimal posture and alignment. This has yet to be scientifically proven, but it fits with my experience and many people I have asked about their experience with this.
I saw this recently in a friend who had rock climbed for years yet stopped for over a year. After her first day back she felt like she hadn't missed a day. My theory is her fascia had adapted to find the optimal alignment, strength and flexibility for rock climbing after years of practice she didn't become sedentary or do anything to lose that structure, so the fascia "scaffolding" remained intact.
Similarly, if we remain sedentary or repeat poor postural habits, the fascia molds into that shape as well, making the body less flexible and dynamic.
In short, any yoga is likely great for yoga, but yoga that emphasizes slow deep release of tensions and retraining those areas for strength may be best for working with the fascia. Again, we have much to learn and I could be totally wrong about this, but this feels true to my personal experience so far.
Props: 2 Blocks, Bolster, Blanket
Tags: Prenatal friendly, Hips, Shoulders, Balance, Meditation, Pranayama, Hamstrings, Whole Body
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