Yoga is a key contributor to maintaining the flexibility of our myofascial tissue. Many difficulties with improving flexibility can be attributed to restricted myofascial tissue. Having healthy myofascial tissue will allow your body to move well. If you train your myofascia and unlock the elastic power it possesses, you may control the Force to enhance your flexibility.
--Scott Matsuura, PT, OCS
MYOFASCIA: THE FLEXIBILITY AWAKENS
Photography by Scott Matsuura. Modeled by Otis Lee
The superficial front line runs from our toes through the shin through the front of the thigh along abdominal muscles and ends at the front of neck. The superficial front line essentially runs from our toes to our neck along the front of our bodies. The yoga pose that I feel is the best to stretch the superficial front line is Virabhadrasana I, a.k.a. warrior I.
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In Star Wars, the Force is an energy field that connects all living things. Jedi use the force to perform great physical feats. What if your body possessed the Force? Would you train to master its powers? Myofascia may be the Force to unlock your physical potential.
Most people probably have never heard of myofascia. When I was in physical therapy school, myofascia wasn't studied much. Myofascia was the connective tissue that I removed to see the underlying muscles during dissection lab. It wasn't given much importance, but recently myofascia has become a hot topic. Myofascial release, foam roller, lacrosse balls have gained popularity as a tools to release myofascial restrictions.
Myofascia is dense, tough tissue surrounding and covering all of our muscles and bones. This tissue is continuous throughout the body. Healthy myofascial tissue is flexible, but also exhibits tensile strength. When myofascial tissue becomes restricted it loses flexibility, usually due to trauma, inflammation, poor postures, or poor body mechanics.
I have been practicing yoga for numerous years, becoming a yoga instructor in 2010. During the yoga instructor course, I began to realize that there were certain poses that I felt were important to maintain my body moving well. Combining my knowledge of anatomy with yoga, I saw a relationship between my favorite yoga poses and myofascial meridians.
Myofascial meridians are lines of myofascial tissue throughout our bodies. There are seven meridians of which three are cardinal lines. The three cardinal myofascial meridian lines are: superficial front line, superficial back line, and lateral lines. Interestingly, my favorite yoga poses correspond to the three cardinal lines.
The lateral line runs from our big toe under our foot to the outside of our lower leg along the iliotibial band (IT band) through the obliques and ends at the side of our neck. The lateral line essentially runs from our big toe along the side of our bodies. The yoga pose that I feel is the best to stretch the lateral line is Utthita Parsvakonasana, a.k.a. extended side angle.
The superficial back line runs from our toes along the bottom of our foot through the calf through the back of the thigh along the back and ends at the base of skull. The superficial back line essentially runs from our toes to our head along the back of our bodies. The yoga pose that I feel is the best to stretch the superficial back line is Adho Mukha Svanasana, a.k.a. downward facing dog. The version I prefer is downward facing dog with hands on the wall.