Monday, February 2, 2015

The Remarkable Role of Fascia

The more I learn about fascia, the more complex and interesting it becomes. I have heard that the nadis are on the fascial plane as well as many acupuncture points. The point of Yin Yoga is to work with the connective tissue: tendons, ligaments, and fascia. Recently I have been studying, practicing, and teaching Somatics (brain-body re-education / neural re-education). So the second paragraph of the Yoga International quote below, stressing that the better we are with our proprioception the less pain we will have, makes perfect sense to me:

A Dynamic Organ of Communication

In addition to creating our literal interconnectedness, fascia also plays the remarkable role of helping the body to sense itself without using the eyes to see itself from the outside. Fascia is full of innumerable sensory nerve endings that are in constant communication with the brain about the body’s position in space. This ability for the body to use “inner vision” to sense itself is called proprioception, which is sometimes referred to as our "true sixth sense." In fact, you are actually using proprioception right now as you read this article. That's because if we didn’t have the ability to sense the body with our “inner vision," we wouldn’t be able to move through life in a controlled way. Without our proprioception we would all probably be lying in helpless, uncoordinated heaps on the floor—it’s really that important of a sense!

Because our fascial system is a major organ of proprioception, the health of our fascia is directly connected to how developed our “inner vision” is.

We all possess an acceptable level of proprioception that allows the body to move through life, but we’re now learning that high-quality proprioception can be an extremely important key to healthy aging. Researchers have recently uncovered a link between increased levels of proprioception and decreased levels of pain in the body. In other words, the more that your brain can sense your body accurately, the less pain you tend to experience. In addition, the more developed your proprioception is, the more skillful your daily movements will naturally become, reducing your chances of injury in the first place (and this becomes increasingly important as we grow older).

~ from Yoga Anatomy: What Every Teacher (and Practitioner) Should Know About Fascia by Jenni Rawlings, posted on Yoga International on February 2, 2015.

ps - if you do a Google search on fascia and look at the images you will get an idea of just how much fascia we have in our bodies. And thank goodness - it's what holds us together!