Most people are familiar with the the body's muscular system. The muscle tissues, connected in some cases to each other and through tendons to bones, among other things create our ability to hold postures & move our body through space, to generate heat and contribute to the form of our body.
Fascia is a somewhat lesser considered component of our body. But is as influential and important as our muscles in its effects on our bodily postures, range of motion, comfort, relative tension & relaxation, fluidity of movement, even our emotional state.
Fascia is a bit like a web of interconnecting tissue which interweaves not just between our skin and muscles, but also throughout the spaces between our organs. And similar to a web, or an interwoven blanket of continuous thread, when one area of the web or thread becomes contracted, tight or immobile, often this pulls on the web of fascia in ways which effect nearby and even areas distant from that specific contracting or tension.
A common example is found in exaggerated form in people whose forward slouching posture contracts the chest, shoulders, diaphragm, and even abdomen and hips inward. Over time the fascia as well as muscles become habituated to this forward contracted position, and the fascia "learn" to adjust to this by congealing & solidifying in a sense to this position. Which makes the body become progressively set into a near constant and sometimes uncomfortable extension of back and neck muscles which are pulled forward by the shortening, contracted chest, anterior neck, shoulders, diaphragm and abdomen muscles and fascia.
While the back and neck are what usually feel most sore and tense in this common situation, unless the unnatural and unbalanced contraction & tension of the front of the body is released through massage, stretching and retraining of daily postural patterns to keep the front more open, while providing some temporary relief any massage focused mostly or exclusively on the back muscles will fail to resolve the issue at its cause. The contraction & tension of the anterior muscles & fascia of the body must be opened, softened & released as well.
Tai Chi Qigong and yoga are two excellent ways of self-care which help balance our physical body posture, while providing an opportunity to feel into and address emotional, mental beliefs & attitudes which are deeply interconnected with our physical body.
Like a feedback loop, our attitudes about and comfort with our natural body effects our ability to be sensitively attuned to our physical & emotional body and experience & express ourselves in an integrated, balanced way.
If we view our body as something trivial, as simply an object to move our brain around with, that attitude often manifests in a desensitization and lessened appreciation for the natural wisdom, beauty and enjoyment of experiencing life through the senses of the body.
While when we allow our minds to be refreshingly quietly sensitive and open to the sensations, the natural wisdom and comfort of our body, our emotions and thoughts can calm and ground deeper into a more balanced, unified experiencing of lovingly being alive in this embodying life.
The more we nurture ou body through pleasurable experiences of graceful, meditative movement, quiet balanced standing, massages and other types of healthy embodying connection, the more fluidly smooth and free our fascia, and in many ways our interconnected emotions and thinking, becomes.
This is one of the reasons for and benefits of tai chi qigong practices almost always including both front and back, one direction then the other direction. If we create a circular movement from back to right to front to left, we eventually flow the opposite way as well from back to left to front to right.... Since this keeps our body and overall consciousness facile and expanding deeper into experiential understanding of the beautiful metaphysical nature of the complimentary quality of our embodying consciousness and this world overall.
To be continued...