As a teacher and coach, I use metaphor and imagery to stimulate where I think a therapeutic experience could be had. But, I ask it it to arise from the natural wisdom of my clients body. This healing movement is very typically underneath their conscious knowledge and often it takes time for their understanding to catch up to an embodied experience.
It’s helpful to make anatomy conscious. Fascia has been described as a “soft skeletal” matrix that is continuous throughout the whole body. Made up mostly of fluid, elastin, collagen and fibroblasts, it is an elastic tensegrity scaffolding that distributes force, pressure and vibration while permeating and encompassing muscles, organs, nerves and bones.
I have clients move from their fascia to introduce the reality that Yoga therapy is not about stretching muscles. Physically, It’s about balancing tone and elasticity in the body. Introducing fluid movement, first by exploring sliding and gliding of joints and following that with perceiving how muscles themselves can slide against each other, one starts to free the mind from rules or directions or beliefs about yoga and non-moving anatomy. As Continuum founder Emilie Conrad pointed out – deeply arising fluid movement takes us beyond our enculturated ways of moving.
One client I have has struggled with a mild upper back hump. She has been a yogi for decades but has stopped doing any backbends. She has been gaining mobility in her back by engaging the tiny muscles with inherent fascia and ligaments between her vertebrae and following these tiny movements to larger ones. The initiation points are always different and the movement is three dimensional (showing tensegrity), spontaneous and fluid. Her hump is lessening and gaining in mobility. I am happy to say she is doing baby cobra and proud warrior with a few upward dogs and camels thrown in!