Joined: 23 Sep 2006
|Posted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 4:33 am Post subject: Fascia Fitness
|I recently received the following:
I have been a student of yoga for several years, more recently of yin yoga, welcoming the benefits in my hips and spine.
I am drawn to your take on Yin Yoga, Bernie with your interest and vast knowledge in fascia. I have recently taken a workshop with Robert Schleip on Fascial Fitness fascia oriented training for bodywork and movement therapies. The focus was to translate current insights of fascia research into a practical training program to build up an injury resistant and elastic fascial body network resulting in a silk-like bodysuit which is not only strong but also allows for a smoothly gliding joint mobility over wide angular ranges.
The workshop concluded that a yang yoga practise of proper exercise loading, applied regularly, where the muscles are gently contracted, moved smoothly and gracefully in a variety of movement directions, with preparatory counter movements i.e. flowing, will achieve this.
I have read your book and understand that a long held static stress will add more strength and length at the myofascia tendon complex, so do yin poses only affect the fascia of the tendons, ligaments at the bone joints, not the fascial tissues in and around the muscles of say - the legs in straddle or caterpillar?
Different fascial tissues require different treatment??
Here was my reply: I believe the first key is to clearly understand your intention: are you after performance or health? Maximum performance usually sacrifices optimal health and exercises that try to make the range of motion of a joint as large as it possibly can be is generally unhealthy for the joint. Let's assume our intention is health, which includes a "normal" range of motion (normal being rather subjective and unique for every individual.) If so, then what is the best type and duration of stress?
As you know muscles are not just muscles: they are myofascial. The fascia networked through the muscles is a yin-like tissue and responds to yin-like stresses better than to yang stresses. Ballerinas and other athletes know that to gain more range of motion in the groins and legs it works to sit in splits for 10 or 20 minutes at a time: that is a yin-exercise of the fascia of the adductors and hamstrings. So yin yoga can affect all the fascia in the body, not just at the joint capsules and not just at the myotendinous juncture.
Do different fascia require different exercise? I would word your question a little differently: I would say that different connective tissues do require different stresses more that just different fascia requiring different exercises. Stressing bones is usually done via compression while stressing fascia is generally done via tension (stretching). We can target all the various kinds of connective tissues but the optimal way to stress them does vary. Studies have shown that cartilage seems to respond best to cyclic loading and unloading. I have recently started to experiment with holding the yin poses for shorter periods of time but then repeating the poses over and over, creating this cyclic loading. [You can read my thoughts about this in my Newsletter #12:
I hope this helps.