Our fascia is the network of connective tissue, primarily collagen, that runs throughout the body, attaching, stabilising and enclosing all our muscles and organs. Similar to ligaments and tendons in structure, it differs in that whereas ligaments join one bone to another bone, and tendons muscle to bone, fascia is very flexible and surrounds everything that lies under the skin .
I have just attended a five day intensive in London with the leading US teacher Doug Keller for yoga teachers, considering how yoga can help in recovery from illness and injury and maintain flexibility and good health. And his primary message is that our role as yoga teachers/therapists isn’t to diagnose and treat (that is the role of the medical professional) but rather to encourage the process in which the body heals itself.
We do this through movement (asana), breathing and relaxation. And the starting point in Doug Keller’s approach is to look at how we move when we do yoga through the fascia in coming into and out of postures.
Fascia is full of nerve endings that tell us if we are in pain. It is the matrix that supports all other systems. It helps maintain power and stability and absorbs shock, protecting against stress and trauma. It allows muscles to work, and brings in nutrients and removes toxins. Good posture is maintained more by the fascial matrix than it is by bones or muscles.
The yoga sequences we are doing the rest of this term are mostly drawn from Doug Keller’s workbooks, and work through the myofascial lines (you might like to think of these as lines of energy or prana). I hope process will encourage you to be your own guide, noticing how you feel when you do postures, how you react and how your body responds. Your feedback will be greatly welcomed.
The sketch below comes from the workbook, and shows the lines of movement through the myofascia that spiral through the body in a simple seated twist.
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