The feeling right after a yoga session is one of my favourite feelings of the world since all your knots, aches and tightness in the muscles all seem to disappear. But something you might not notice is how temporal this relief might be and they often start returning in a day or two. That is all down to how our yoga sessions only cater to the superficial fascia of our body and that leaves out the deeper ones that are caused by a range of factors motivated by our sedentary lifestyles. When we sit too long or when we have a bad posture, it causes certain imbalances in the way our muscles are used and that is where those aches and pains emerge from. To make the effects of each yoga sessions longer lasting, many yoga gurus have started looking into alternative yoga practices to search out ways to repair the deep tissues in our muscles. One of which is myofascial release yoga and it might be the solution to all your achy problems.
What Is Myofascial Yoga?
To give you a little insight, the fascia’s interwebbing is what gives us the tensile strength that maintains and supports our body and keeps us upright. Because of how our movements are three dimensional in nature (including all the twists and turns), there is a direct fascial connection between bones, muscles and tissues. How the fibres of our body works are by sliding over each other when they are activated, much like a fishing net. Don’t get alarmed! When you suffer an injury or put your body through repetitive actions like running, rock climbing or the same yoga poses, you are causing parts of your tissues to get inflamed and grow in size. Using the same analogy to a fishing net, it would cause a little tugging in the fascial network and that is what causes your movements to be constricted and even lead to aches and pains as it gets worse.
What myofascial yoga does is to smoothen the gliding motion of your tissues and keep them hydrated by focusing on compressing and releasing the tissues, similar to how a sponge works. Often times, this would incorporate foam rollers, balls and other objects into your yoga poses to apply a soft pressure onto your connective tissue. When you target those spots, it offers you more tissue mobility. It has also been found that the fascial network contains a lot of sensory nerve endings and that is what would take the pain away — when you apply pressure onto your fascia, it communicates to your body that there is no tension in that particular area.
How Can I Do Myofascial Yoga?
What most yoga practitioners do is to include the usual form of exercise that would incorporate deep breathing, maintaining of awareness and the lengthening of your skeletal muscles. Depending on the practitioners, most would conduct the class using myofascial release balls (they look a lot like tennis balls and can be replaced by them) to activate those pressure points. Some of the common places to start from are the feet and legs since that is where most of the joint wear and tear happens at and the calf muscles, hamstrings and heels are some of the places which would be targeted.
Going up in a vertical fashion, the hips and the lower back would be the next place where you can target since that area is often compressed due to our sedentary lifestyles on our office chairs. By applying gentle pressure, you are restoring the flow of blood to those hard-to-reach spots and that would improve your blood circulation alongside your muscular health. As you are performing your lower body fascial release, you would notice how your yoga poses are often much more manageable and done with ease since your range of motion and comfort levels are increased with regular attention to it.
Rock And Roll
If you are attempting myofascial on your own, another thing you can do is to use foam rollers to help with those larger areas and to cut down on the time taken. How it is done is rather similar to the myofascial release balls. With your back flat on the floor, you can gently lay the foam rollers on those areas where you hope to target and start rolling side to side. It is recommended to target each side of your body at a time for you to see what works for you and what doesn’t. Doing so would also help you identify the regular problem areas that you ought to target with each yoga session.
A favourite pose of mine is to place the foam rollers just at the bottom of my buttocks like it is a seat and keep both hands and feet on the floor. Next up, try to walk the arms slowly towards the end of your mat for the foam roller to slide around your buttocks. What you should aim for is to lean on different sides to target the entire area. If you identify your lower back as a problem area, you can try tilting your pelvis towards the rear to reach the upper fibres in those areas before moving back down to your sacrum.
Myofascial yoga might seem challenging at first considering how it includes the use of rollers or balls that would get you off-balance. What you need to do is regular attempts and maybe even daily ones if you can. Soon after, you would realise that your aches and pains would be alleviated and that would make your weight loss journey a much smoother ride. Here’s to a newer you!