Fascia – the seamless web
“True freedom is impossible without a mind made free by discipline” Mortimer J. Adler
The fascia is the biggest organ of the body. It is the weave of connective tissue that contains, wraps and connects all the other tissues of the body. The fascia can be divided (for convenience only) into three webs, the visceral, neural and musculoskeletal or myo fascia. These are the seamless web of the body.
Good yoga practice as mindful movement will take into account all three. In Engaged Yoga we have practices that active, relax and liberate all three webs of the unified web.
Good yoga practice will not destroy the fascia through pushing into stretches or hanging out in stretches. Good yoga practice increases functional movement, it does not harm it.
In the Vedic and Hatha Yoga texts we hear about the nadis. Nadis are channels or lines of flow in our body. The number ranges from 72,000 to 144,000 and the common feature is that all the channels emanate from or through the heart and that there its a central line of deeper awareness.
The heart is the centre of our energetic system. Another way of understanding the energetic system is that it is the flow of electro-magnetic energy through our biological system. It is an inherent part off who we are.
Fascinating to think of the centre of the energetic web of who we are as the heart. Compassion and love keeps our energy system clear. Hatred, confusion and selfishness contracts and closes it.
There is a deep and superficial front line to our myofascia. The superficial line runs from the feet up to the groin and up the front of the belly past the heart space and on upwards. The deep front line runs behind the organs along the front surface of the spine up to the throat. We utilise this in certain yogic practices, particularly Mahabandha.
The symmetry of the body is disturbed in the there is only a superficial back line running from the plantar fascia up the back of the legs and along the spine to the back of the head, crown and forehead (same as the bladder meridian in Chinese medicine). There is no deep back line!
Or is there?
My theory is that the neural fascia, the three sheaths of the pia mater, the arachnoid and the dura mater that wrap the whole nervous system and run along the spinal cord are the deep back line. This is another fascinating link showing the seamless nature of body-mind.
The fascia are elastic, resilient and capable of shifting consistency from gel to liquid to plastic. The positive charge in space and the negative charge of earth means we are a conductor. For wellbeing we need good ionic flow. The research around earthing shows how much more rapidly we heal when we are connected to earth and not insulated by modern culture. One theory is that its the flow of hyaluronic acid through the lines of flow in the fascia that allows this conduction.
If our energy lines are blocked, stuck, contracted and shutdown we will have less energy and less wellbeing.
Fascial efficiency determines our fuel consumption.
If our visceral fascia are in a poor state through being used as an emotional rubbish dump or become stagnant through sedentary living then our digestion will be inefficient. This means we will not absorb food well. No matter what kind of superfood we eat, it has to be processed by our microbes first and absorbed across the intestinal lining before it enters our blood and can be used. If the visceral fascia are in poor shape, this will be compromised and we become inefficient.
Nauli the key kriya of Engaged Yoga is a kindness to all lifeform everywhere.
If our myofascia is is poor shape we will not be able to access the free kinetic energy of the elastic recoil of the fascia in movement. This inability means we need more energy from food. We have to consume more lifeform. Good body based (Somatic) yoga is a kindness to all lifeform everywhere.
Somatic yoga also works with neurodynamics, moving the neural fascia. It does this through particular breath and movement combinations. Inefficient neural fascia means our whole system is out of balance and unresponsive.
Breath rich, awareness rich Somatic Yoga and the kriyas of Engaged Yoga are service to all lifeform, because when we practice well, we consume less of them. We have to carry less food around on ships and planes and when we balance this with not wasting food, we are on track to making this planet a sane place where 50% or more off the food we grow is not wasted in production, delivery and supply chains or in unmindful catering or inefficient bodies mindlessly consuming other lifeform.
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