Free up your fascias !

Free up your fascias !

Fascias, what are these ?

The fascias, long little considered, are the envelope of our muscles, our organs and our glands, they are everywhere under the skin. It is a white, fibrous network of connective tissue that plays both a role of partitioning, transmission of force and tension, sliding and tensegrity.

It’s a bit like the very thin skin that separates the orange and the “bag” of pulp.

Today, we tend to consider it as a system on its own that moves with our movements and deforms with our attitudes (external and internal). Indeed, the body does not really know the distinctions made by man with his scalpel that we call muscles, tendons ligaments etc.

How do your fascias behave?

They behave like a non-Newtonian fluid, ie it does not behave like water for instance. Thus, any perturbation will create vibrations that leave a trace … then think about the impact of a bodily trauma, even emotional on your fascias. Here is what it gives in image, we see even the effect of a too important stress at the end, it is quite impressive … enough to motivate to practice restorative yoga a few minutes each day!
The fascias are more or less viscous and elastic depending on the location (the ilio-tibial band has less flexibility than the Achilles tendon) but there is always a small possibility of movement. If the movement goes too far too sharply, the fascia “blocks” to protect itself (and the surrounding structures); If it is still forced, it will tear apart.

To maintain your fascias it is important to work both their elasticity (their “rebound effect”, as in the race or the jump) and their plasticity. This last quality presupposes slow stretching and a certain amount of time. Think of a plastic bag that you would gently stretch.

Fascias are valuable sensory tools

Recently, we have discovered that fascias are one of the most important sensory organs for proprioception.

Very innervated (six to ten times more than the muscles), they play a fundamental role in the perception of pain, and are responsible for many chronic pain.

Maintain the health of your fascias!

The lack of physical activity gradually freezes them.

Osteopathy and yoga make it possible to work on these tissues. This is done gradually because, as always, the living man needs time to evolve durably. Tom Myers taught me that it took between 6 and 24 months for the fascias to reorganize.

What our fascias often need is to be rehydrated (your Achilles tendon is made up of 63% water). For this, one uses in particular compression / decompression movements, much like with a sponge! Thus the stagnant liquid and the waste come out when the “sponge is pressed” and the tissues are filled with a more nourishing liquid when this pressure is released.

In yoga, I use various accessories (block, ball, balloon, roller foam …) to work specifically in certain areas that I know are particularly prone to tension storage (plantar fascia, fascia lata, hamstring fascia, thoraco-lumbar fascia Etc.). In yogatherapy, as part of an individual relationship, we can even go for areas where you accumulate your stress more specifically.

Shall we try ?

Try for example for a few minutes to roll a ball (tennis, squash …) under the soles of one of your feet, (gently eh, without pressing too hard, the idea is not to break the fibers!). Start with the heel and then the outer side from the heel to the toes, moving gradually towards the inside of the foot.

Breathe deeply, without avoiding the areas that may be a little more sensitive, they are the ones who most need this particular care.

Take time to observe if you feel a difference between one foot and the other … if the effects of this action are reflected in other parts of your body …

And move to the other foot 😉

Do you have a favorite exercise right now to free up your fascias? Please share it with us!

Yoga during the first months of pregnancy

Yoga during the first months of pregnancy

The first half of pregnancy is a manufacturing phase: a liter of extra blood, ligaments, abdominal muscles lengthen, the baby develops …

The fatigue felt is therefore rather a “dynamic fatigue” (post-delivery it will be a fatigue of recovery).

The practice of yoga during this period must take this into account, in order to boost the future mother. The practice of standing poses, dynamic connections, postures resting on the wrists or arms are dynamic postures (they work well for all during winter too;))

The singing of mantras is also very beneficial: toning, it reinforces the breath and the muscle diaphragm while creating internal vibrations very pleasant and soothing for the baby. To do without forcing naturally.

What do you like to practice ? Have your students practicing during this time of the life of a woman ?

Protect your perineum in everyday life

Protect your perineum in everyday life

I am speaking here of situations in which the perineum receives too much pressure. Once it is ok, it is the repetition that can become problematic: the strong pressure repetitively received by the muscles and tissues of the perineum from the organs that are suspended above can with time distort them and make them ineffective.

Some situations causing this kind of pressure? Sneezing, laughing, talking loudly, shouting, hailing, singing, hiccupping, blocking breathing and “pushing” … but “what to do”?

Yoga leads us to refine our consciousness of our own body. Learn to recognize and feel the different muscles of the perineum and their action in you, exercise them on the mat, but also daily to find the right effort of tonic and muscular response to the events of every moment, but also relaxation because elasticity is just as important as the reactivity for this particular zone.

For example, imagine a rope connecting the bottom of your pubis bone (the bone in front of the pelvis) to the tip of your coccyx (our remaining tail?) and try to bring them closer together. Release gradually then completely, before restarting quietly again.

Then find your “sitting bones”, the ischiums, on which you may be now seating, and seek to bring them closer together. Release gradually then completely before resuming, then alternate.

And finally combine this with the previous action.

Below you will find a recording to practice this exercice. You can do it several times a day, it takes about 3 minutes. With practice you will stop making a funny face during the exercise and you will be able to train anywhere, anytime, even in the metro 😉

 

Physiological curvatures of the spine

Physiological curvatures of the spine

The development of the human species like the growth of the child gradually reveals two types of curvature in the spinal column: primary curvatures (convex in the back, kyphosis) and secondary curvatures (concave in the back, lordosis).

The “primary” curvatures are the occiput, the thoracic zone and the sacrum, which remain from the great fetal curve in flexion. They have a protective role for the organs contained therein and are generally not very mobile.

Conversely, we refer to “secondary” curvatures for the lumbar and cervical areas, which are later formed by the movement itself on the occasion of the exit of the head out of the uterus, standing position and walking for the lumbar. They are more mobile and serve as dynamic links.

The vertebral column stricto sensu is thus constituted by a succession of three physiological curves: lumbar lordosis, dorsal kyphosis, cervical lordosis. The points of change of curvature, called hinges, have a particular mobility.

It is not desirable to erase these three physiological curves which give the column 10 times more resistance to the load than if it had none. The eradication of the lumbar lordosis sometimes advocated in certain types of physical work actually reduces this resistance to the load in half.

At the lumbar level, when the concave curve formed by the sacrum and the lumbar spine is accentuated, we speak of lordosis (“sway back”).

No matter the radius of each physiological curvature, specific to the morphology of each one of us, the important thing is to have a flexible and adaptable spine. Put a hand on your back to feel your different physiological curves then move it in all directions…can you feel your curves change shape, are some areas  moving more than others?

 

Feeling the lower abdominal contraction

Feeling the lower abdominal contraction

The abdominal muscles insert on the pelvis (pubis or iliac crests), but they do not all have a contractile part in this lower zone, between the pubis and three fingers below the navel. Sometimes we lose some of the strength and capacity of contraction in that area.

Nevertheless, this contraction should biomechanically follow that of the perineum to allow abdominal contractions to go upward (the inverse being hyperpressive, it should be avoided in a vertical position and should be limited to the visceral massage laying down).

To feel this area, first place your hands one on top of the other under the navel, above the pubis. Feel the heat under your hands, you can even rub the entire area to wake her sensorially.

Then visualize the flame of a candle in front of you … .gently blow it … .. then let yourself inhale, “opening your nostrils”, as if you were breathing a flower …… And quietly repeat. Do you feel under your hands, at the very beginning of the action, the lower belly that is brought back to the spine? with the inhalation this area relaxing ?

If the image does not speak to you, try to “make bubbles underwater”

You feel ? a little ? An intention of movement may be? Sensations increase gradually with practice, persevere!

What is a ligament ?

What is a ligament ?

If we focus on the locomotor apparatus, a ligament is a fibrous cord that connects one bone to another. Most of the time, it is a simple thickening of the articular capsule, of which the ligament is therefore part.

It is composed of connective tissue, the fibers of which, essentially made of collagen, all have the same direction.

The ligaments have at the same time a role of mechanical restraint and act as a support of sensitive information.

Indeed, it contributes to the stability of the joint by resisting traction thanks to collagen fibers. But if it is exposed to too much tension or traction, the ligament may then distend or tear, it is a sprain.

The ligament is also very rich in sensory nerve receptors of proprioception. Sensitive to pressure, tension, acceleration, it allows the brain to know where this part of the body is in space.

In the event of a sprain, the nervous system will be damaged at this location, which explains why sprains often repeatedly occur in the same place, since sensory information perceived and emitted by the area has become less reliable.

Conclusion: never try to stretch a ligament!

On the other hand, our body hygiene, our daily posture can cause some ligaments to remain “wrinkled”, as Blandine Calais-Germain put it, in a chronic way, it is then useful to work to restore their initial length.

Abdominal breathing, ready to step in ?!

Abdominal breathing, ready to step in ?!

In Yoga, the importance of thoracic breathing (for energy, tonicity, maintenance) is emphasized as much as abdominal breathing is.

For this type of breathing, the concept is quite simple: you just have let your belly come and go to the rhythm of your breath.

This breathing calms, soothes. It switches the autonomic nervous system into a parasympathetic mode or “rest and digest”. The diaphragm is free to descend. The abdominal organs are “massaged” by the movements of the breath, easing their functions.

Yet, it is culturally not so easy to “let go of the belly”. By our education or because of the society in which we live, we always tend to keep some tone in this area.

So, just for the time of three breaths, try to let go of the belly, without forcing … observe what happens … it is quite possible that emotions present themselves physically, mentally: observe them, feel how they manifest and evolve … .. they are just passing by …

To be repeated whenever you feel the need to calm down a little; or when you wake up, to begin the day in mindfulness; or your bed, at will to fall asleep !

 

What is the perineum?

What is the perineum?

Physically, it is a kind of muscular hammock that forms the floor of our pelvis, and therefore of the trunk. It contains the viscera. Contrary to preconceived ideas, the perineum is not the prerogative of women, men also are endowed with this muscular set. But since it is open to the outside in women, it is a zone of frequent prolapse that makes more often talk about it.

Biomechanically, it acts in synergy with the diaphragm during breathing, responding to its lowering action on inhalation and return on exhalation.

This is also where mulabandha (the tendinous center of the perineum) can be activated.

Energetically, according to yogic tradition, it is the seat of the first chakra, muladara, linked to our grounding, our survival, our security.

Emotionally, it is a place « charged» especially for the woman, in which many tensions and traumas can be stored. Too much or not enough tonicity can disrupt pregnancy or childbirth.

It is important to take care of it, to protect it against chronic hyperpressure, but also against hyper or hypotonicity and therefore to work both its strength and its flexibility, in coordination with the muscles of the body that are synergistic (Who work together).

INHALE…….EXHALE…… Maybe you feel the effect of your breathing in your perineum? Try for a few breaths to feel this “hammock” receive light pressure from your organs, without forcing naturally 🙂

The abdominal muscles

The abdominal muscles

It is a group of 4 muscles at the front of the body. They act both on the skeleton (relationship between the pelvis and the rib cage) and on the abdominal viscera (in particular in “forced” exhalation).

Arranged in layers, they are, from the deepest to the most superficial: the transverse abdominal, the internal oblique, the external oblique and the rectus abdominis (that of the chocolate tablet). We have a copy of each of these muscles on the right and on the left. The two sides are linked together by an entanglement of tissues (aponeurosis, sometimes called fascias), which also surround them over the entire width, allowing the layers to slide one over the other.

transverse yoga abdominaux

The transverse abdominal, by Blandine Calais-Germain

The system is complex and must be all the more balanced (in tonicity, ability to release and coordination) that the abdominal muscles are postural muscles that act in synergy with the muscles of the back to keep us erect in a vertical position. Too tonic or shortened, they will cause a compression of the abdomen, a flexion of the column and thus also an additional pressure on the perineum. Too weak or chronically stretched, the pelvis will go towards retroversion, taking the column in extension, especially in the lumbar region (L5 / S1, I bet it speaks to many of you, either by theoretical knowledge or by (painful) experience !).

In yoga, they are therefore often recruited in asanas, so it is important to work them intelligently to be able to use them wisely on and off the mat. This is what we teach in the No- Risk Abs® method.

“Breath through the nose”

“Breath through the nose”

In yoga, we usually breathe through the nose. But why do teachers insist on this point?

When we inhale through the nose, the air enters through the nostrils and then pass through the nasal mucous membranes, inside which there are dozens of small hairs, like eyelashes. They filter the air to prevent impurities from entering the body, and warm it up, saving us energy to then assimilate it. Breathing through the nose has thus the effect of purifying the air we breathe and putting it at body temperature.

The passage of air through this natural “filter” also has the effect of slowing down the flow of air (the mucous membranes and the hairs offering resistance to the passage of air). This naturally makes it possible to lengthen the duration of inspiration like that of expiration. And as in yoga, especially in our modern world, we seek to “slow down”, especially the breath, breathing through the nose is one of the tools allowing us to achieve this end.

Try a few seconds, focus your attention on your breath … Maybe you feel the passage of fresh air at the entrance into the nostrils? It coming out at a different temperature?

 

Yoga during and after pregnancy

Yoga during and after pregnancy

Perinatal yoga is practiced during pregnancy (prenatal yoga) and after birth (postnatal yoga).

Prenatal yoga

Relaxing, soothing, yoga for pregnant women can be practiced from the 4th month of pregnancy even for beginners, if there are no contrary medical indications.

Prenatal yoga makes you feel good in your body and ease muscle tension, teaches you to breathe in the most appropriate manner during pregnancy, helps you manage stress and anxiety, leads you to relax.

Helping to maintain or regain good physical and mental shape, prenatal yoga helps you to acquire tools to live well your pregnancy and childbirth.

Yoga during pregnancy can helps alleviate the inconvenience caused that can arise in this time : heavy legs, heartburn, back pain, anxiety etc.

Beyond the practice of physical postures, breathwork is fundamental, especially because it will help to handle the contractions.

The emphasis is on relaxation to accompany pregnant women until delivery for their well being during pregnancy and to adapt after the birth of their child. 

yoga prénatal postnatal

Postnatal yoga

From the 1st to the 16th week postpartum, postnatal yoga helps to recover gradually, safely, shape, tone and inner strength.

During the first weeks, learning nursing posture and flexibility stretches is tied with  work on the alignment of the spine and strengthening the pelvic muscles.

At your own pace, the sessions become more fluid and energetic.

The breathing and relaxation exercises are central to the practice and can restore energy and calm the baby.

“The best way to take care of the future is to take care of the now. ”

– Jon Kabat-Zinn –

If you have 10 minutes, I propose to welcome what is happening inside you in this exceptional period in the life of a woman. It is in French but I’m pretty sure you will get a sense of what’s going on !