I am so thrilled to have the opportunity to discuss Myofscial Yoga Anatomy with you as it is dear to my heart. Yoga changed my life, or rather it changed my perspective on life. OK, maybe it just gave me the skills to cope with the human experience when struggle and hardship (or chaos) decided to creep in. Through the practice of yoga, I continue to strengthen my mind and body, as well as the connection between soul and Universe. Actually this connection always exists, it is the creation of chaos that gets in the way. Therefore, the practice of yoga helps me reduce the chaos so that I experience what is already there: the Infinite Potential.
Fascia is the wrapping the surrounds each cell in our body. From each cell it reaches out and surrounds each group of cells, and then surrounds the very thing that the group of cells create like organs, muscles, nerves and blood vessels. The tricky thing is that we tend to imagine these wrappings as individual structures. However, the fascial wrapping is one continuous thread that is woven together to make a blanket that hugs the entire body. Each thread, from the blanket, extends to various structures hugging them too, from gross to subtle. The most interesting thing is that each layer of fascia conducts water and transmits Consciousness! (In a Healthy Body!) Imagine a fascial system bounded by adhesion. In an adhered body, Consciousness has a hard time passing from one area to the next. Now imagine a healthy fibril of fascia easily sliding across the next. In a supported, flexible body, Consciousness is transmitted effortlessly.
Yoga and Consciousness
As mentioned above, yoga is the practice of reducing the chaos so we can get back to Consciousness. Pieces of yoga are stretching known as Asana, deep concentration known as Dharana, going within known as Pratyahara, meditation known as Dhyana, the practice of love and Wholehearted Living known as Ahimsa or Bhakti, the repetition of sacred sounds and phrases known as mantra, the practice of One known as Samadhi, and the list is infinite. In all, Yoga is the cleansing of the fascia for us to have a system that proficiently transmits the most important thing in all of Existence: Consciousness. It is through Consciousness after all that we got here and where we end up after the human form of existence.
Separation vs the Whole
As you may know anatomy is the study of science that focuses on the structures of the human organism such as muscles, bones and nerves. Anatomy is traditionally revealed by the dissection and separation of parts in order to understand the internal workings of something. The irony is that when we dissect, we create separation. The separation was not there to begin with, we created it with the scalpel. Therefore, by dissecting and separating, we dilute the understanding of the whole as it functions in harmony as One system. This approach of separation gives us an opportunity to precisely create a story about the individual parts, but not a story of how the part works within the Whole. That is where Myofascial Yoga Anatomy comes in. (Side note: the splitting that happens in the fascia during change, is known as Myofascial Release in Massage and Yoga Therapy.)
Images by the Retina of the Eye
In Yoga we intuitively know that everything is seamlessly connected as One, and that we see color, patterns and separation (where something ends and something new begins) within the Retina of the Eye. The Retina of the Eye is the light-sensitive lining in the back of the eye that receives light rays and converts them into impulse frequencies that then travel up the optic nerve into the brain. In the brain, these impulses are interpreted by the mind. The mind then creates images based on the energies that came in. You see, the eye is taking in information about various light rays while the mind is making up stories about these frequencies. INTERESTING!!!! You are literally creating reality moment to moment.
Traditional Anatomy vs Myofascial Anatomy
If you studied anatomy in college, like I did, you know that fascia was left out. Therefore we received a very incomplete understanding of human movement known as Kinesiology. Although to understand the whole we first look to understand the parts, the parts have to be put back together to understand the whole story, and this story must include the fascia, which is the very thing that connects ALL. Therefore what we do in Myofascial Anatomy is view the body from a holistic perspective. For example, what happens to the body in movement when we connect the muscles through fascia, the very thing that connects everything to everything else in the body.
Myofascial Yoga Anatomy
Myo means muscle. Therefore Myofascia refers to the muscular system plus its connective tissue wrapping commonly referred to as fascia (we will get into what fascia actually is in a later article, but for now know that fascia is actually connective tissue + the extracellular matrix). To understand how fascia transmits energy, in Myofascial Yoga Anatomy we review each of the Myofascial Lines from Tom Myer's Anatomy Trains. At Healsci Yoga Schools this series is called Unravel the Soul. A list of the lines with links to those that have an associated blog articles (all of them will have links shortly) are listed below. In short, Myofascial Anatomy is the story of the whole body in movement with all its parts interwoven together through fascia, and the practice of Myofascial Yoga Anatomy is the observation of how it transmits Consciousness.
- Superficial Front Line
- Superficial Back Line and Discussion
- Lateral Line
- Spiral Line
- Arm Lines
- Superficial Front Arm Line
- Superficial Back Arm Line
- Deep Front Arm Line
- Deep Back Arm Line
- Deep Front Arm Line
- Functional Lines