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CONNECTIVE TISSUE AND FASCIA: WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?

Updated: Sep 9

The connective tissue frames the organs and the body itself providing shape and protection to the structures. It includes Ligaments, tendons, cartilages and fascia. It is a less flexible tissue than Muscles, but the connective tissue has still some level of flexibility.


What is Fascia? Is it the same as Connective Tissue?


Fascia is the softest component of the connective tissue. It runs through the whole body as a covering and connecting network, it is like a web. In general, fascia is formed by Protein, water, collagen, and fibroblasts (that provides shape) and elastin (that provides flexibility). The fascial membranes form and envelope brain, nerves, vessels, glands, visceras.

The connective tissue include the joints, and as a generalization its function is to attach, enclose, separate and protect muscles, bones and internal organs. At the same time provides mobility and flexibility.


In summary, the connective tissue gives the body tensegrity: tension and Integrity, which is what keeps the body standing and structured. If we don’t have fascia we would be a shapeless sack of muscles and bones, with no tension and integrity between our parts.

The Fascial Tissue is the biggest organ of the body (bigger than the skin), and our most important sensory organ. It sends signals to the brain, being a very efficient communicator not only between cells but between the systems and the brain. All the body movements are codetermined by fascia, if the fascia and eh connective tissue fails, the human body losses the ability to control the movement.


Some of the functions of the Fascia:

- Propioception: which is also called body's intuition and perception. This is the ability of the nervous system to feel the position of the body in space. Through this sense, the fascia feels and respond to stimuli in the space. In that way, our body can move, position, tense, vibrate, speed, jump with sense of safety. Propioception happens through fascia because this tissue has nerve endings that connect directly with our brain. The fascia can be seen as an extended part of the brain and the nervous system which controls movement. Therefore, good body coordination and balance are linked to healthy state of fascia. The numbers of sensor in the fascia exceeds by many the number of sensors in muscle, which explains also why it often it is more painful a connective tissue injury than a muscle one.

-Provide safety and holding to the internal organs. If we do not have the tension and the wrapping of fascial tissue in our internal organs, they would not be stable in their place (can you imagine our organs jumping or hanging as we jump or run?)

-Hydration: A healthy, flexible, open fascia, allows a healthy hydration of the Body because provides slow release of the ingested water into the tissues and organs. Many pains in knee, shoulder and hips come from not having enough hydration because there is not enough fascia work in these areas. When the fascia is stiff and its tissues stacked together, the releasing of the water into the tissues is reduced, there is higher risk of dehydration.

-Provide Body Flexibility and range of motion: Due to the Hyaluronic Acid (HA) present in ligaments and tendons, the HA is the lubricant that allows smooth and safe gliding between adjacent structures, it allows the body to absorb load and allow motion. It also creates smoothness and protection between the parts of the joints.

What do we get when we exercise the fascia?

- Slow down aging.

-Avoid contractures

-Avoid degeneration

-Avoid dehydration

-Regenerate fascia itself.

-Improve propioception

-Make the muscular work safer, more elegant y more precise, more versatile, more efficient.

-Improve resilience to be still to mediate for example and make difficult decisions.

- Improve Body flexibility agility, precision, Body Tone

-Improve body coordination and Balance

-Release elastic quick energy: for example, when it is necessary to jump or to run and return to the original position and shape in a safe mode.

-Avoid painful friction in joints: hips, cervical, knees for example.

-Increase cardiovascular resistance.

-Shortens the recovery time after muscle training.

-Increase the body physical performance in any physical practice.

-Improve posture, body shape and alignment. You look and feel taller the more fascia work you do.

-Sensorial pleasure, due to the liberation of energy blocks, more hydration in the body, Endorphins are release.

-Stimulates recovery from injuries.

-Increase Body Flexibility and range of motion. A healthy fascia is firm and elastic, flexible and strong like a bamboo. It has the tensile strength of a rope which enables springy.

-Protects muscles form injuries

-Maintain a youthful body shape and tone.

-Help the Musculus skeletal dynamic.

-Improve the efficiency to react with assertiveness and safety, preventing of falls and/or accidents.

-Emotional Healing: Exercising the fascia is a great opportunity to develop intimacy with the body through visiting body stories and ingrained emotions. Through Working the Connective Tissue we allow ourselves the time to dive into overlooked corners, where the body stores unpleasant experiences and neglected emotions. Exercising consciously the connective tissue can open and opportunity to heal our emotions, free energy and free ourselves from identification with emotional baggage that needs to be let go of. The body is a container of memories, old traumas and sensations that can be in the way of our most precious inner connection. Holding the asanas consciously through the ying yoga practice is conducive to dive into more subtle bodies: energetic and emotional towards emotional detoxification.


YING YOGA AS A WAY TO EXERCISE THE CONNECTIVE TISSUE


In YING YOGA we hold the asanas between 3-20 minutes. This length of time allows the body to access the fascia tissue, ligaments and tendons and cartilages. Holding the posture invites conscious breath and encourages the relaxation of the muscles. In this holding, the body lengthens connective tissues to break up break up adhesions. This opening creates space, giving the body sense of expansion. This is the reason why after a prolonged ying session, the body feels a sense of inner expansion., increasing the body range of motion. This is one of the physical and physiological benefits of this practice, increasing endurance, flexibility, strength, and relieving the body from pain due to stiffness and contracture.

Many factors of our daily life affect our fascia: injury, habitual posture, lack of hydration, aging, sedentarism can bind these connective tissues together, creating adhesions and restricting that movement between the sliding surfaces of the muscles.


WHY YING YOGA?


1. Yin yoga revitalizes the tissues of the body.

Our body’s tissues can be revived by a good long soak the same way that an old, stiff sponge can. As you hold a yin pose, the subtle release that takes you deeper into the pose is the tissues lengthening, hydrating, and becoming more flexible. If you pay close attention, you can sense the tissues being stretched, squeezed, twisted, and compressed. This has an effect in the meridians and nadis which are the pathways of energy. Targeting the energy pathways frees and unblocks body energy.


2. Yin offers a unique opportunity to cultivate gratitude for the body.


The simplicity of a yin practice allows us to return to our bodies and to see clearly just how remarkable we really are. Journeying into the deeper layers of ourselves, we tune into our organs/systems/sensations within the muscles and joints. This heightened awareness of the physiological processes of the body ultimately moves us closer to santosha, or contentment.


3. The yin practice encourages us to slow down.

Yin poses long holds offer a chance to marinate in stillness. When you allow yourself to stay present and experience the near-imperceptible shifts that occur while holding a yin posture, time opens up. Deadlines, commitments, pressing matters, and to-do lists fade to the background, leaving tremendous space for rest and renewal.


4. Yin yoga teaches self-compassion.

The ability to tend to all facets of ourselves (physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual) is fundamental to our wellbeing. The yin practice provides an opportunity to observe, nurture, soothe, and calm ourselves. The act of carefully taking a posture and tending to your body’s unique set of needs for the duration of the hold is a form of self-care and self-compassion.


5. A Ying practice offer the chance to sit with our emotions


Our bodies store emotions, and when practicing any yoga modality it is common that thoughts, feelings, and memories. Yin teaches us how to be gentle, patient, and nonreactive. Ying Yoga technique trains us to be able to deidentify and take distance from our emotions, allowing them with no resistance but also with no attachment.


6. Yin yoga can help us become more resilient to stress.


When we start the ying practice, holding a pose for several minutes can provoke anxiety. But when we approach it with tenderness, the body will adapt. Surrender is a common theme in yin yoga, and giving up the need to control a situation is a lesson that we can carry with us into our day-to-day lives. The ability to adapt to the ups and downs of life and to manage change with grace can lessen our predisposition to stress and this can be achieved through a diligent Ying Yoga practice.

Ying Yoga supported by slow and conscious breath triggers the parasympathetic nervous system. As you move deeper into the yin practice, the breath slows down significantly drawing you deeper and deeper into this parasympathetic, or relaxation, mode. This is where the internal organs get a chance to catch up on their to-do list (digest, eliminate toxins, heal, repair).