Fascia is a connective tissue in your body, mostly made up of collagen. Picture a layer of connective tissue under-laying your skin and that is the fascia. The fascia can be compared to the texture of coconut oil. Coconut oil is solid when at room temperature but when you heat it higher than room temperature it becomes a liquid. Fascia works the same exact way, when you start to warm-up your body the fascia smoothes out it’s usually hard texture. That is the reason warming up before a workout is so important!
The importance of the fascia is to connect, stabilize, and enclose muscles and internal organs. The fascia being primarily made of collagen, brings us to recognize one of the essential reasons for Vitamin C in our diet. One orange a day can have a huge impact on your workouts! Vitamin C is the most important component in the synthesis of collagen. This is why most anti-aging products have Vitamin C in their ingredients. Not only does it prevent you from getting sick but it is beneficial to skin and exercise.
Many times when we experience discomfort in certain yoga postures, it is because there is an adhesion within the fascia. There are three different types of fascia superficial which is under-laying the skin, then deep fascia within the muscle tissue, and finally visceral fascia connecting your organs. These adhesions mostly happen in the superficial fascia right underneath of our skin. However, all three types of fascia connect every single part of your body so it is very possible to have deep or visceral fascia adhesions.
When we have injuries, our body does its absolute best to fix the problem. So, let’s say you tear a muscle (ouch) your muscle immediately tries to build itself back together using the connective fascia tissue. During this rebuilding process, the fascia overcompensates for the muscles tissue creating a dense amount in order to grow the muscle fibers back together during the longer healing process. Imagine you are pulling your sleeves up to wash your hands, notice how your shirt scrunches up. That is how your fascia reacts to injury and the reason we experience a tightness during certain postures.
In order to avoid injury and pain during your yoga practice you have to WARM-UP! A simple motion like swinging both of your arms and incorporating the whole body into that motion is great to warm the fascia and muscle tissues. Another fun warm-up is cat/dog, you are on your mat in table-top position (hands and knees) and you lift your chin and tailbone on the inhale while you arch the back and tuck the chin and tailbone on the exhale. Stay warm and see you in the fascia-lane!
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