Do you want to move better?Mar 10, 2021
Do you still remember your first yoga class? The challenges to your mobility, your balance, your strength? Don't you wish it could have been easier?
When I first went to yoga classes, I was so disappointed with myself. I thought I was fit and capable. I was running, cycling, surfing and doing some stretching. But in class I felt stiff and uncoordinated, having to strain in relatively simple postures.
And yes, within minutes I wanted to move better. How was it possible that my generally perceived good fitness did not translate to my yoga practice?
When faced with my newly found uncoordinated and stiff body, I was surprised by how few useful instructions I was getting from the teachers. 'Keep practicing', 'just keep breathing', 'work with your alignment'. These were amongst the well meant, but sparse on practical detail recommendations.
So I needed to find the answers for myself. I really wanted to move better. With greater comfort, ease and and with mental equanimity. My practice was anything else but that.
Can you relate to this? We hear that yoga postures are described for hundreds if not thousands of years as steady and comfortable. What happened to us humans since then that we can't experience this? What is wrong with me?
What worked in my favor was the already long-standing interest in movement and improving my movements. At the time of those yoga classes I had already studied the human body in medical school. I knew all the details, what was missing was the connection between the dots.
The muscles, bones, joints, nerves and respiration, all that was familiar to me. I simply wasn't able to see the whole picture. To me, obviously, something was missing. So much seemed to be known about the workings of the body and still we struggle unnecessarily in classes. Injuries and aches as a result of yoga practice are also commonplace. What is lacking in our understanding of the body and how we try to move it?
My study and practice led me to a deeper understanding of the fascia of the body. These membranes we had dissected in med school, but largely we were told to throw away. Now they began to reveal the answers to my questions.
Tightness in the body is a result of our habits. The fascia membranes around our muscles adapt to the positions they are exposed to regularly. So your tight shoulders will gradually change from tight muscles to tight fascia. Your constantly flexed hip from sitting all day will become fascially restricted to extension. Likewise, your hamstrings become resistant to comfortable forward bends.
Now consider the postural positions we hold as a result of our regular emotional states. These also become part of our long-term held posture by tightening of the fascia.
On the surface this can sound a little daunting - our body restricting us from moving freely. When we look just that little bit more closely, we can see the principle of fascia adaptation actually spells our freedom.
When we learn to mobilize our fascia membranes, recreate the range of motion through regular practice, we really can build a new version of ourselves.
The trick now is to know how to work intelligently with the fascia. To restore function without injury, rebuild ease and freedom without strain, then this is a useful starting point on our roadmap to a better version of ourselves.
All the yoga anatomy courses I teach have these fascia adaption principles build in. Which part of your body are you going to address first?
The best of it? Your fascia can change at any age. It’s never too late - but you have to start.
Choose your AnatomyShow course from individual topics such as Fascia in the Moving Body, Pelvis Anatomy, Breath and Breathing or take the Certification Course for up to 20 CE hour credits.
Every AnatomyShow course is designed to set your body free, open your mind, and give you everything you need to truly understand how your body moves. It’s not about making your next practice perfect. It’s about going on an intentional journey that sets you free.
Do you want to move better?
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