Fascia is a highly organized mesh formulation filled with water; one uninterrupted sheet of connective tissue fiber and its job is to attach, stabilize, and separate our muscles and internal organs.
If you think of a piece of meat, like a chicken breast, you can often see a white web interweaved through the tissue. This is fascia. It’s exactly the same for us, we are intimately connected throughout the entire body by fascia. We can think of fascia as the most sensitive, highly interconnected system in the entire body.
Physically, fascia is wrapped throughout the body on “lines of pull.” It connects your toes to your hips and to the top of your head; your fingers to the arms, shoulders, chest and neck. It coils around your bones, muscle fibers, organs, arteries, veins and nerves. Each organ is wrapped in a hammock of fascia that’s connected to the spine, ribs, or the pelvis. These fascial connections connect with the muscle fascia that affects your movement and ultimately muscle potential is limited by the quality of the fascia that surrounds it. This is what you feel as a stretch or when you have physical pain. It’s the tension of the fascia that causes feelings of tightness. Tendons and ligaments are layers of fascia that are meant to absorb shock and distribute the impact of this shock throughout the body. Our body mechanics are meant to be spring loaded to protect the joints of the spine, hips, knees, ankles and ribs. If tendons are tight, dehydrated and shortened, they can’t absorb this impact and will fray, causing pain.
In the fascia there is also a connection of the physical with the emotional.
Your Issues are in your Tissues – is a quote highlighting the connectivity factor of our emotions with the physical body.
Our mind (also subconscious mind) expresses itself in the form of thoughts, these thoughts go deeper into the body as feelings and emotions. So long as we are alive, we will always experience different states, this can be happy, fear, love, anger, worry, sadness, etc. Many of these conditions, when not fully recognized and expressed, become stored as tension deep in the body, especially within the connective tissue or fascia. Information about our entire life experience is stored within this connective tissue, including situations from early childhood experiences, family genes, even previous incarnations, known in the yoga tradition as a ‘samskaras’.
Fascia (our connective tissue) has been with us from the very beginning, in fact it’s our fascia that guided our form when we were a tiny embryo in our mother’s womb. It is connected to the brain and therefore effects the nervous system, your hormones and the subsequent appropriate release of vital chemicals we require within the body. Any long held deep rooted emotion, long term stress or ongoing effects of trauma will have an effect on the effective balanced functionality of all these systems.
Emotions are energy in motion. Our emotions have a magnetic charge, a frequency that is unique to them. Emotions such as anger, sadness, fear, etc., if not released when they surface, will settle into the physical body. Over time, the body has so much of this energetic charge that it becomes like a magnet, and starts attracting more of itself. We tend to subsequently replay scenarios in our life that show a similarity of patterns associated with these deep held emotions, until we become conscious of such patterns and decide to change by doing the work.
Within Yin yoga there’s a distinct lack of engagement of the muscles. Yin yoga is creating space from the bones, and working more with the ligaments, joints and connective tissue system and this is why its mostly floor based so you actually can let go of your muscles. In this style of yoga, we want to gently stress the fascia (not stretch), which helps to make it stronger and, over time, longer. Allowing the softening of the tissues can help to heal old wounds, release blocked emotions, relieve stress and relax tension. When we allow all our emotions to exist and make space for them within the body, we also release the stagnant energy in the physical body which can then flow more freely. Working with your Fascia and understanding the connections of the body offers total internal health and pain-free living, in addition to releasing stored emotions held within the body to promote energetic re-balance and wellness.
In the end it does not matter how flexible we are, what’s more important is that our practice will make us healthier, stronger and happier.