Alrighty, what's fascia and what does it have to do with yin yoga?
This is a pretty big topic, so I've decided to record a podcast episode about it as well over on my Yin: Untangled show. It’s the first of many on this topic because, honestly, I find that bite-sized pieces are best with this kind of stuff. You can head on over to Spotify or iTunes or Google Play or anywhere else you find podcasts to have a listen right now!
There are lots of different kinds and lots of different layers of fascia, so to be very basic:
Fascia is an interconnected network (our connective tissue) that is literally found everywhere in our body. It wraps our organs, our muscles, our nerves.. It's EVERYWHERE. You can think of fascia as being like a watery web that conducts electricity, blood vessels run through it, and it acts like a communication system for our entire body. It helps us to move, or not, depending on what our lifestyle is like and whether we have any injuries. It basically helps to hold us together in our own unique shape and also allows us to move freely and well.
It's said that our meridians (energy channels) run like rivers through our fascia, which is a watery substance made up of collagen and elastin making it strong AND elastic. Because our yin yoga practice is often (not always) concerned with assisting us to release and restore the energy systems throughout our body, when we understand that our energy lines run through our fascia, we can start to understand how targeting this connective tissue in a yin yoga pose can be effective.
Just like rivers in nature, the rivers running through our fascia can become blocked, interrupted and stagnant. This can be from lack of movement, injury, trauma (emotional & physical) or a multitude of other reasons. In yin yoga, we place intentional stress on our bodies which not only stretches our muscles, but also helps us to keep our joints young & healthy by creating an environment where our fascia (and therefore: joints) can move, be strong and communicate well. PLUS, sitting in stillness and (sometimes) discomfort can help us to build resilience and release emotions stored in our tissues, which usually helps us feel lighter and therefore likely to continue moving more.
Seriously though, I explain it in more (better?) detail in the podcast, so go and listen to learn more about YOUR fascia 🥨