Fascia, Breathing, Patterns, Gravity, Balance, Areas of Holding, Body Usage
AREAS OF HOLDING Gosh, it looks like the whole body is just one big nest of holding spots, and in a way that is true. The face, especially around the eyes and in the jaw can hold great amounts of tension, leading to headaches, the grinding of teeth during sleep, plus so much more. Where does the common refrain '(s)he is a pain in the neck' come from? How about 'carrying the weight of the world on ones shoulders'. Or 'tight ass'. When the Diaphragm is tight we feel like we cannot breathe. In the groin we carry gut feelings. The fear of death resides in our knees. And on it goes, an interconnected web of holding that we call our body. Brilliantly designed to offer feedback on all the ways that we have created and grown into which are 'holding us back'. And also always so ready and willing to change, to take on new and better modes of behaviour if we can consciously guide those changes. Change for the better is so possible! When we understand the causes of our discomfort and take steps to alter our own physical history.
PATTERNS THAT BIND
We learn from the day we are born, but its not all the right stuff. From our parents we pick up a lot. From the unergonomic desk at school, from the shoes that are too small, the backpack too heavy, the list goes on and on. And from sources we are not even aware of.
A great grandfather you never met who worked in the mines may be passing down habits through generations that you will pass on to your children, unless you consciously change those habits, which are currently informing not only your physical body, but your mental, emotional, energetic, psychic, and etheric bodies as well. Change, growth, evolution can happen on every level. It appears to be what we are on this planet to do in our lifetime. Very exciting possibilities await us!
The good news is that you can teach an person new tricks. If the motivation is there, age is not a barrier. The bad news is that as we age we tend to hold onto 'familiar' habits and change is more challenging. So the earlier in life we learn the wisdom of always changing, always evolving, ever re-defining ourselves, the easier it is to carry that attitude throughout our life.
The good news is that there is pain. Pain is always ready to teach us to do things differently. Smarter, with more grace, style, eloquence. Pain is a lifelong teacher of evolution. The bad news is that we are not always taught how to relate to pain, so we often end up fighting it, or trying to make it 'go away' before it has taught us its lessons. That usually has a bad outcome, as pain tends to turn up its volume when not responded to. This is why reliance on pain killers is not a good idea. Yes, an aspirin for a headache, an anti inflammatory can help the healing process. But over time, because it causes us to not tune in to the messages of pain, those products that treat symptoms but don't address causes are damaging.
The good news is that our brains and our bodies are both flexible enough for our whole lives to keep changing and adapting, and transcending. Yes, as we age it is more difficult to change, yet even the effort to keep changing, to see freshly has very positive results. It is the creative edge that we see and admire in old people who are vibrantly alive. There, even a very little bit goes a long way.
BENEFITS OF BALANCE
The benefits of Balance are many, and usually quite clearly seen in the body. As well as being felt in our self-image, and experienced in how we move in the world. As shown in the diagram on the left, when the pelvis is tilted it does not provide a solid base for what comes above it. To compensate for that weakness, the pelvic area tries to gain more strength by adding more mass in the form of fatty tissue. That tissue is needed to hold us in place. when the body is properly aligned, that weight is not longer needed, and can be disposed of more easily. The whole aligned body is taller, leaner, and potentially more relaxed and open.
ROOTS AND WINGS
Structural Bodywork of the type that we do aligns the body from foot to head. We look at how the arch of the foot meets the ground, and from there up align the body parts. The joints of the body are the shock absorbers, the smooth movement enablers, and we need to tune them properly so they do their job. The joints in the legs take the pressure off the lower back, certainly a vulnerable area of the body. The integrity of the spine supports the upper body, allowing the shoulders to relax because they do not have to hold us upright, a job they are not meant to do. When the head sits squarely upon the neck, which in turn is in proper alignment with the rest of the spine, it has a force moving upward through it that counters gravity. Our head is then 'held high' and we can meet the world head on, with our eyes looking straight ahead. Our future with a positive face, and we can see far. Yes, we may feel somewhat exposed and as a result vulnerable, but at the same time, the flow of energy coming up trough our bodies gives us the confidence and joy to meet the world and find our place in it. Roots into the earth wings into the sky, we feel more truly complete and really human.
BREATHING AND OTHER TOOLS OF THE TRADE
When the body starts to move towards alignment, the breathing opens, and starts to fill the whole body. Breath goes into the lungs, but that action of filling and emptying expands the ribs, moves the spine like an accordion, reshapes the diaphragm, These movements in turn move the pelvis, the head, and indeed the whole body. If that movement can go everywhere, it acts as an internal massager for the inner organs, which helps them to function easier and better. It moves the fluids of the lymphatic system, helps the stomach and intestines do their job, and so many other bodily functions are upgraded. The movement the breath can also help Awareness travel more deeply into the body. So important is awareness to our work that it has its own section (here). Awareness is also part of the homework we regularly give which helps the work that we do keep evolving from session to session until evolution is integrated becoming an important part of our daily lives. Then the 'miracles', like the one shown above, become a daily occurrence in our lives.
THE WEB THAT GIVES SHAPE, AND TRANSPORTS MEANING- FASCIA
Till so recently its all been about muscles, bones, a bit of ligament and tendon thrown in. There are vital organs most of which we cannot live without. Of course the skin, so visible is part of us. Rumored to be inside the head there is something called the brain. But what enables all of these bits to connect, to interface, to get along together, to work harmoniously, yet stay separate. Fascia.
Intuition has long pointed to the importance of Fascia, yet anatomists, examining cadavers drained of liquids, did not have access to the true marvels of this web of great significance. Very recently, due to modern technology including tiny cameras able to travel within the living body, we can explore this amazing network.
Far more than a simple structure, Fascia is a living system which gives us the shape of our unique form, and enables it to function with cohesion, and communicate throughout. For example: we used to relate to 600 separate muscles in a body. Now we can see it as one muscle poured into 600 pockets of fascial webbing. Now, when we approach a problem in one part of the body, we expand our horizons to include the whole in 'fixing' a part. As one part changes, we need to encourage the rest of the body to change as well, in order to bring new balance to the whole. It is much more elegant and inclusive way to see.
Cells have ideal environments within which to thrive. For example: muscle cells like habit of tension, while nerve cells like a more chilled environment. But too much tension anywhere, and cells abandon their job of reproducing (its too crowded here). Then the cells die, or can form tumours. So the balance within the whole body, and within its tiniest components is essential to thriving. Fascia is a system of balance, and we are still discovering how essential it is.
Deep touch is like a 'Reset button' which helps cell re-orient towards optimum. Imagine a bar of butter taken from the fridge, and warmed in a pan on the stove. When cooled again, it retains the shape of the pan it was warmed in. So deep touch influences the cells of the body.
We are just learning now as well about 'neural plasticity'. The brains ability to organize, and re-roganize itself throughout the course of ones life. We were previously only aware of how easy it was to shape a young mind, but thought it becomes more and more rigid later in life. Now we know the fluidity remains during our whole life to some degree-how much we are still discovering. Well, it is the same for our connective tissue which has a mind of its own, and is always ready to change.
Much more will be discovered now that fascial research finally has some funding, and curious scientists who have the means to explore this rapidly evolving field.I believe one day it will be shown that the energy of ancient civilizations called 'prana' in India, 'qi' in Japan and 'chi' in Chinese medicine and martial arts moves through the body via fascia. And that is just the bare beginning. We live in an interconnected universe of both incredible complexity and wonderful, elegant simplicity. What we discover within Fascia, and apply within Rebalancing is a small part of that unfolding awesomeness.