This weeks topic: Fascia! Fascia is an all-encompassing system which Victoria Pilates, defines as “an elastic connective tissue that runs throughout [the] entire body” and is made up of a “dense web of fibres.”
One way to think of it, is that it is like the casing that encapsulates a sausage, or the white layer of skin beneath the exterior layer of skin on an orange or grapefruit.
The fascia in our bodies is incredibly interconnected. In fact, the state of your fascia informs the physical landscape of your body and your experience within it. In Pilates, we believe in addressing the body in a holistic way as an integrated system as we believe that all things are interrelated. Have you ever injured your neck and found discomfort or pain in the tips of your fingers? Of course this can be due to trauma on our extremities, however the grief that we feel may also be related to the state of our fascia within our bodies. Victoria Pilates describes the perfect analogy of this process using the metaphor of twisted fabric :
“Imagine that you are wearing a tight shirt, and the fabric is twisted and knotted around the [injury]. Think about how that twisting would pull on the rest of the fabric, even affecting the way the fabric sits on your shoulders. “
Now that we’re more familiar about the qualities of fascia, how can we ensure that our fascia is healthy? One way to release fascial tension is to primarily connect with the breath. Connecting to the body with breath is one of the fundamental principals of Pilates. According to 100stohappiness, “increasing the amount of oxygen coming into the body promotes circulation, which nourishes and revitalizes it.” By focusing our breath to specific areas of the body that are experiencing discomfort or pain, we are more able to find fascial release in that area.
Beyond the breathe, at Full Circle we love to use our handy props and equipment to aid in fascial release. Two props that we love to use at Full Circle are Foam Rollers ($70) and Myofascial Balls ($30), which are two excellent props that can be used for self-massage. If you’d like to purchase any of these props for your home, drop by our studio and ask about them!
What we love about Pilates is that it is a holistic approach to wellness and involves the entire body and is exceptional for cultivating supple fascia. Spring resistance provided by the equipment used in Pilates (such as the well-acclaimed Reformer, Cadillac & Chair) provides feedback for the muscles and the development of elasticity within muscle groups and fascia.