By now you may have heard about connective tissue, fascia or myofascial release from your massage therapist, physio and yoga/pilates teacher. But just what is it?

When most of us were in school we learned a lot about bones, muscles, blood vessels, nerves, etc. But do you recall any mention of fascia? Yeah, me neither. Fascia, as it turns out, is the missing link in fully understanding how the body functions, moves and maintains it’s form.

Fascia is a continuous structure of delicate, yet profoundly strong, glue-like webbing. This webbing covers and interpenetrates every bone, muscle, nerve and blood vessel, the internal organs and even the spinal cord.

One thing we focus on in yoga and pilates is posture. Posture is both determined by and determines the shape of our fascial system. Whatever posture or position we repetitively take, the fascia is always going to support us. For example, if we round the back and shoulders every day while we work at the computer, the body will create a thickening or rigidity to the fascia to support this posture. This build up can lead to pain and stiffness in the neck, shoulders and mid-back and a tightening and shortening through the chest, abdomen and front of the hips. This can then have a knock on effect throughout the body causing a loss of strength in the core group, which then requires the lower back muscles to work harder to support the spine. The body really is a fully interconnected system.

At The Body Garage, we think this stuff is pretty vital to our health and wellbeing. That’s why we integrate Myofascial Release (MFR) work into all of our classes. TRY AT HOME:

To get into the shoulders, this is one of our favourites. You’ll need a yoga block or a thick book and an MFR ball or tennis ball will do.

Lay down on the floor with your knees bent. Slide the block/book underneath your hips. Place the ball at the top of the right shoulder and then roll it down an inch or so. It should be sitting in between the shoulder blade and the spine. Allow the body to settle for a moment and connect with your breath. Feel into the sensations where the ball meets your body and with every exhale allow the body to soften.

Start to introduce a little bit of movement by slowly shrugging your right shoulder up and down. Float your right fingertips towards the ceiling, slowly drawing circles to the left and right, starting small and slowly getting bigger. Continue to focus on the breath.

If you want more sensation, you can take your right arm across the body and rest that hand on the opposite shoulder. Turn your face toward the left shoulder and draw your chin down. Hold for three deep breaths before moving back to centre. Slowly remove the ball and allow the shoulders to settle. Feel the difference side to side. When you’re ready, repeat on the other side.

Once you have finished, slowly remove the block from under the hips. Lay still for a moment, allowing the body to rest and take 5 slow deep breaths. Return to your day with a little more space and freedom in the body.

If you’re curious about Myofascial Release, check out our schedule of classes and come see us at the studio!

Perhaps you think of your weekly Pilates or Yoga class as a way to escape the daily grind or to give yourself a little bit of you time. You’d be right. That hour or so a week you spend on the mat is exactly that. However, it could also be so much more.

Did you know that everything you practice on the mat can be taken out into this dynamic, beautiful world that is your life?

In class you may explore how the breath can carry you through a movement or bring you into deeper stillness. A certain asana may require the steady focus of balancing on one leg. A movement sequence may highlight the subtleties of gently engaging the pelvic floor or placing all of your attention on a specific muscle group. We’ve all experienced how some days it all comes together easier than others.

What if, rather than just applying these learnings in class on your mat, you expanded this attention off of your mat? Most of our daily routines require some level of balance, strength and coordination. With each step we take, we are momentarily balancing on one foot. Our core is being called upon every time we get out of bed in the morning. With every movement, large or small, there is a perfectly coordinated dance between each of our muscle groups. We do the daily stuff without a thought. Now imagine if we brought some of the awareness we experience on the mat to those everyday movements and activities.

Next time you are waiting in line at the post shop, take a moment to check in with your body. Take a couple of deep breaths and notice your feet on the ground. Shift your feet so they are parallel and hip width apart. Explore sending your weight evenly down through your feet as you float your head toward the ceiling. On an inhale feel your ribcage expand through the front, sides and back as your lungs slowly fill with air, encouraging your spine to lengthen. When you exhale, allow your body to soften and draw your attention to your pelvic floor, feeling it lift upward and inward as your belly button draws gently towards your spine. Feeling into this grounded sense of support you’ve just created for yourself. Well done!

All of our classes at The Body Garage encourage you to slow down and connect to your body. See our full schedule here. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to get in touch.

It's all about CONSISTENCY.

The mat can be your own little haven.

I frequently get asked by students how often they need to practice yoga or pilates. Well, that depends on what your goals are. If you genuinely want to see and feel results, not just physically but mentally too, then it's all about being consistent.

However, consistency looks different for everyone. For some, getting on the mat for an hour a day is a realistic goal. For others, 10 minutes, 3 times a week is much more manageable. You need to sort out what you can commit to, and do just that. Commit.

I always say that 15 minutes of authentic, connected, mindful movement a day is much more valuable to your whole body/mind system, then an hour of disconnected and "should-driven" movement.

Be straight up with yourself - what can you commit to, commit to that and then enjoy and be present with yourself and your breath every moment you're on your mat.

  • TBG Facebook
  • TBG Instagram
  • TBG Pinterest
  • Twitter