Fascia plays a significant role in how our bodies are put together and move around. Fascia is continuous with no real beginning or end. It is connective tissue in its purest form. It’s made up mostly of collagen.
Fascia can be classified into three groups:
1-Superficial fascia-found just below the skin. In pinching the skin, you are also pinching superficial fascia.
2-Deep (muscle) fascia-denser than superficial fascia, this creates a strong fibrous network tissue that penetrates and surrounds the muscles, tendons, and bones.
3-Subserous fascia-lies between the deep fascia and the lining of body cavities (ex. nerves, arteries, organs, etc.). This prevents the movements of muscles or organs from deforming or interfering with sensitive lining.
The example of an orange is a good way to understand our fascia. The fibrous tissue found under the peel of an orange wraps around the orange sections and more deeply wraps around the little orange sacs within each section, getting smaller and finer as you go deeper and deeper into the orange. This is how fascia wraps in and around the entire body under the skin.
All muscle stretching is also stretching of the fascia. Yoga is an excellent form of movement that nourishes and rejuvenates the functioning of the fascia. The asanas engage and release all areas of the body; promote movement in different directions; and encourage relaxation and easy breathing-all components necessary for properly functioning fascia.
So the next time you flow from Tadasana (Mountain Pose) to Uttanasana (Forward Fold), settle into Rajakapotanasa (King Pigeon Pose), or any other of your favorite yoga poses, know that beneath the skin the organizing structure of the fascia is loving it. FASCIA-nating!
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