Fascia has had a bit of a popularity surge in the physical wellbeing industry of late with many scientists, physiotherapists, yoga teachers and even beauticians jumping on the fascia train.
But what is fascia? And why all of a sudden are people so interested in it?
What is Fascia?
Fascia is a protective web within the human body that keeps everything safe, protected, in place and ticking over nicely. It’s like those net bags your oranges come in at the supermarket. That netted bag keeps all the oranges together, in place. It protects them from rolling off the shelf and bruising on the floor.
Maybe that’s a bad analogy.
Your fascia is present all over your body. It protects individual muscle groups, organs, nerves, blood and soft tissue. It covers everything from the soles of your feet all the way up to the top of your head.
What happens if your fascia isn’t working as it should?
I have a lot of students that experience pain in their feet when transitioning from Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Muka Svanasana) to Downward Facing Dog (Arho Muka Svanasana) and this is often due to tightness in the fascia of the soles of the feet, around the ankles or up into the calves.
TOP TIP: If you experience this discomfort roll a massage ball (or tennis ball/ golf ball) under the soles of the feet before you practice, after you practice, heck any time you can! This will help to loosen that tight fascia and BINGO! Pain gone.
This tight, painful fascia can occur anywhere in the body, you will be able to distinguish it from muscle pain as it, most likely, won’t be sore to touch.
Your fascia can also be responsible for skin issues such as cellulite, sagging, sallow and drained looking skin. Supple and healthy fascia will keep you looking younger for longer (if that’s what you’re into). This is why beauticians and beauty therapists are so interested in fascia lately. It’s big business!
Fascia and Yoga
Every time we step on our yoga mat, whether we are aware of it or not, the fascia benefits. Fascia has a memory, it remembers the 23 hours each day we spend limiting our movement, sitting behind and desk or watch TV. It dries up and begins to become restricted. When we step on our yoga mat this fascia begins to hydrate, to loosen and overtime will begin to remember how good yoga feels.
If your body feels heavy, slow, tired and stiff try some simple slow stretches. Begin to loosen and hydrate your fascia and you’ll soon begin to feel refreshed and rejuvenated.
The fascia really is magical, it not only protects but also brings an awareness to our physical body. It allows us to feel energy moving through our body during a yoga practice and, with time, you will become more intuitive of your body’s needs.