Senior Yoga Medicine teacher Rachel Land breaks down the anatomy of fascia and four effective ways to keep it fit through yoga practice.
You’ve heard the most sure-fire approach to fitness is to “keep the body guessing,” but what if we said the same was true about flexibility? We know that fascial fitness is created in response to stress. Research, led by Robert Schleip, Ph.D., at the Fascia Research Project in Germany, suggests that fit, resilient fascia results from stressing our tissues in varied ways—stretching, compressing, and twisting them in multiple directions, at varying speeds, and under different loads. Looking more closely at the myofascial tissue, we can start to understand why.
Within our muscles are spindles that measure changes in muscle length. Each of these spindles has about 10 sensory receptors in the surrounding fascia. There are four different types of these myofascial mechanoreceptors. Each of these measures the mechanical load on our muscles and fascia and respond to different types of stress. Let’s breakdown and how we can target each of them on the mat.