Updated: Oct 1, 2020
“Fascia is the tissue where the musculoskeletal system, circulatory system, and nervous system all unite. It runs from the top of the head to the tips of the toes, and like ligaments and tendons, it contains closely packed bundles of wavy collagen fibres that are oriented in an organized and parallel fashion. Subsequently, healthy fasciae are flexible structures that are able to resist great tensile forces.” (Dr. Schierling)
Vast & complex, the fascial system is the largest communication system in the body.
Think of the fascial system as a large web with no beginning and no end – it is a continuum. Because of this continuum and completely interconnected relationship within the entire body, what you do to one area you do to another. So one movement during our yoga practice in an isolated part of the body, will transmit its effects like a ripple to the rest of the body.
Fascia is a lot like a cotton ball; it has movement and some give but will lock at a certain point. If you pull it too far or too quickly it may actually tear and lead to injury. Fascia is loose, viscous and elastic until the moment it gets pulled, then it is strong and more plastic.
The functional purpose of asana is to stress the connective tissue in a target area without going past the point of resilience. It is through passive tension and compression that we can manipulate and change the tissues and fibres within the body through phase change. We do this by coming into a shape where you navigate your appropriate depth.
We then hold the pose for a length of time to allow the connective tissue to release and ‘destructure’ so that we can create new physical spaces and structures in the body and mind.
The Rebound is the space in which we Receive.
The rebound of an asana is very important as this is when we truly experience and receive all the benefits to the fascia web that have just occurred throughout the body. By bringing the body back into a neutral, effortless position the benefits integrate, assimilate and settle into the experience and the body at a cellular level.
Tissues come back to ‘centre’ where they reform, restructure and resettle. They become more resilient and healthy; thicker, longer and stronger.
After manipulating the tissue in various ways and returning to centre, this allows a surge of fluid, blood and energy to flow in and through these spaces within the body.
During the rebound, we may activate the parasympathetic nervous system; generating a calming, relaxing and nourishing state within the body and mind
Space for a larger range of movement within the muscle and fascial network is a result of gentle but continuous stressing of the tissue
If you would like to know more about the 3 stages of a yin asana and what each stage does to our fascia, you can watch this video where I go more in depth about the properties of each stage.