Ready for more? Here’s a great video about fascia. Warning: this is not for the squeamish. And the music is a nice touch.
So let’s look at more suggestions for fascial fitness, big thank you to Tom Myers.
3. Cultivate elasticity by smooth rhythmic movements. Walking is awesome.
Elasticity is related to flexibility. If the fascia is elastic, the muscles, tendons, and ligaments will stretch and bounce back rather than pull and stay pulled. Bonus healthy points!
Let’s talk about smooth rhythmic movements. When you feel stiff, for example upon waking in the morning, a hot shower is often helpful, but getting moving encourages greater circulation as well. Your body is built to move, and walking is great exercise for your body. It is a simple movement that has very positive effects. Dr. Claudia Welch, author of Balance Your Hormones, Balance Your Life, encourages a walk in the early morning to improve overall health. She states, “It has been demonstrated that by the end of a sixteen-week period, depressed patients who took a brisk thirty-minute walk or jog three times a week experienced as much relief as patients treated with standard antidepressant meditations.” (p. 221, Balance Your Hormones…) Plus, walking is kind to your joints.
If you run, barefoot running stimulates the feet and therefore the rest of your body, based on the way the lines of fascia travel from your feet all the way up to your tongue and even the top of your head. Jumping rope is another good activity as is bouncing on a trampoline.
4. Train with preparatory counter movements. For example, bend backward to then go forward.
So this is during training, during exercise. Hmm, well, yoga comes to mind. Think of cat-cow tilts. Surya namaskar, sun salutations, are all about bending backward to then go forward. Mr. Iyengar in Light On Yoga suggests this in several places, parsvottanasana being one. In a side forward bend you first create a standing backbend to lengthen the spine, then you fold forward from the hips to maintain inner spaciousness.
Sarvaungasana, shoulderstand, and Matsyasana, fish pose are excellent counter movements to balance each other. The recommendation is to hold sarvaungasana for twice as long, two minutes for example, to matsyasana’s one minute. This has the added bonus of strengthening and balancing thyroid function.
And our final suggestion for the day:
5. Expand your body towards full kinesthetic sensory experience. Dance!
There’s a term called “kinesthetic literacy.” How well can you feel yourself? Like your physical body, when you close your eyes and become sensitive to your body, are there areas of your consciousness’ container that you cannot feel? For example numbness, but also a place (or places) where you intuitively feel there is less awareness? This takes a bit of practice. When you close your eyes and sensitize yourself inwardly, do you feel any dark places, gripping or holding where vital energy seems to get stuck? The more you move, the less likely it is for you to have blockages in the flow of vital energy.
Knowing where your body is in space is another way of looking at it. If you are standing in tadasana, mountain pose, and your teachers says take your hips back in space so that they are over your heels, do you know what that feels like? Do you know what internal shifts take place when that happens? Can you feel a steady anchoring through your legs and feet when that happens? Massage in general is helpful for this as well, massaging your own feet is a wonderful practice. First of all it just feels good, but secondly, you increase your kinesthetic awareness. As one of my teachers likes to say, “touch to wake up.”
I repeat, how well can you feel yourself? Neuroscientists believe that fascia is the structure that carries consciousness. Totally amazing.
Okay, next time we will discuss hydration.
Next up: Fascianation: CTF III Drink More Water.
Go back to Fascianation: Connective Tissue Fitness.