I’ve practiced yoga for 15 years, with a few anatomy trainings over the years. I used to think of the body as: a skeleton, with the soft tissues suspended from my skeletal frame.
Now, I conceptualize my body in a more holistic way. The inside of my body is a rain forest-like damp place in which everything inside becomes each other. My fascia tissue becomes my ligaments, which become my bones. And it’s not just my bones that support my muscles or my muscles that support my bones, but all parts of the body support each other (hopefully) evenly in dynamic relationship. Breath, movement, gravity, and even, ideas all work together to find a harmonious balance. And that’s when I feel good in my body.
I went to a few physiotherapists for some minor knee pain I was having. I almost felt bad for going because it was so minor but when my body doesn’t feel good, I tend to listen.
The most significant therapeutic tool I used, was softening the tissue around my knees with both gentle massage & fascia rolling as well as conceptualizing the softening, sliding and gliding around my troubled knee. Even though, I had already tried, loosening my gluteus maximus (butt muscles) as a general physiotherapist may suggest and possible ankle stiffness, plus a few other choice exercises, it was with the easeful, softening work in which I found immediate relief.
Good things always come in 3’s:
Around this time, my friend and yoga teacher retreat partner, Niki Inglis introduced me to the practice of biotensegrity. (javayoga.com)
In my limited understanding, Biotensegrity is an architectural theory of tensegrity applied to the body, thus biotensegrity. And what it boils down to is having a balance of discontinuous compression elements combined with continuous forces of tension in your body.
So, imagine a weighted bicycle wheel. Can you visualize how the wheel changes shape when you sit on it? The wheel becomes stronger with the constant tension of compression on it and yet as the wheel moves the compression upon it varies or is discontinuous. (The full article of Tensegrity and Biotensegrity: http://www.biotensegrity.com/tensegrity_new_biomechanics.php)
What does this feel like?
Now imagine your muscles, bones, and fascia, all of it, floating within the skin of your body. Your bones float in the tension of your fascia. As you move, there is constant tension balanced with discontinuous compression. Kinda makes me feel like jelly.
So what’s the point of this theory?
I’m discovering the need and the benefits of moving my body in a non-habitual, non-linear way.
So my body is used to moving in certain horizontal, vertical and diagonal movements, and now I’m discovering the joy in my joints and fascia of moving in a more organic way. Some examples of biotensegrity movements are: circling my ankles, oscillating and shaking my joints and fascia, the feeling of softening and floating within my skin. Allowing my muscles and fascia, that are always being pulled, to loosen, soften and move in new ways. It has brought more ease and balance to my overall health, both mind and body.
I encourage my knees to find a gliding sensation, a loosening and ease as I move in non-linear ways. I think this may be useful for so many people with injuries and long-time yoga practitioners. It’s good to get out of habitual movement and move in different ways.
Overall, I feel better in my body. When I stand, I imagine my internal body with hollow spaces and my joints as flowing energy, like a waterfall. Then my adrenal glands relax more, and there’s a sense of softness and strength at the same time.
As with so many things I’ve learned about myself in yoga, applying this theory to my mind, body and life has benefited me.
Softening constant tension, allowing for ease rather than the push, push, push are all metaphors for how I approach life and particularly problems. I integrate a sense of floating in my warrior series with lightness, fluidity and ease.
This isn’t a new theory for yogis; they call it Sukham and Sthira – The balance of ease and effort. And this is yet another way in which I experience the balance and holistic nature of yogic knowledge from another perspective.
Please add your thoughts and comments.