At the moment everyone seems to love the fascia, the revolution. Something – that was always neglected or at least underestimated in its importance – becomes the all connecting hero, the salvation for everything, like back pain, headaches, the immune system, more functional movements….
Why do I jump on the fascia hype?
I feel very at home in a certain kind of dances. My body says: ‘Yes, this is like coming home, this feels juicy, connected.’ Many directions open up in my body, I feel very responsive on a very fine and detailed level but also as a whole person. A sense of elasticity, bounciness and a very satisfying use of momentum is a core quality in my body and also in the shared physical knowledge of my dance partner. I think that the elasticity of the fascia web is a core system for this experience.
Momentum, slow-mentum, suspension
Years ago I taught several workshops about ‘momentum’. That changed. Now I teach related material under the title ‘slow mentum‘, also suspension could be part of the title. I got more interested into the build up of momentum and also how to get rid of it again. Like in spirals it is the elasticity within the body, that lets me find the inner rhythm of momentum. An energy gets stored in physical structures that tone up by being pulled into length and are happy to release the energy into momentum. With the momentum that comes out of falling it is a little different, but it has also been changing through the concept of fascia. Falling mass needs to be redirected to not crash into the floor. Again I moved away from looking only at the skeleton. I started to become more interested in ‘suspension’, how to delay the moment of truly falling. As if I wanted to get the most out of a fall, to not waste a millimeter of the experience. Suspension means to support the counter direction of the fall, before giving in so that the fall can happen. It also gives me more control during the fall. It sharpens my awareness about possible directions and the timing of the fall. Again I think it is the elasticity of the fascia that I am connecting to.
communication through touch
I got also very interested in the communication through touch in the point of contact. The movement that happens under the skin, when we give a direction to our partner. (At least all the directions that don’t go directly vertical into the touched surface). The layer directly under the skin is elastic. It can ‘swim’ and gets eventually stretched. Through these stretches under the skin we understand the direction we are proposed to follow. The whole communication becomes more satisfying if the answer happens with a little delay, out of a clear connection and understanding of the proposal, without any rush. I call it ‘following with a delay’ and I find it still a revelation, which opens a new depth in communication and the feeling of being heard and met.
The elasticity of the layers underneath the skin are – how I see it now – connected to the fascia web. A touch that reaches the fascia web can be received far beyond the point of contact.
And – I have to admit – I am fascinated about the idea that the main structure, which makes me feel connected from the inside is the same structure that makes me feel connected to another person. In a way we are creating together one fascia net-work through an intelligent way of communication through touch.
The way I stretch
The way I stretch has changed. I am looking less for maximum length of a muscle. I am more interested in maximum ‘Geschmeidigkeit’ and availability of a body part. I don’t hold a position and go further and further. I keep the stretched body parts gently moving. I try to expand this gentle stretch into body parts of the closer or further neighbourhood, thinking more about myo-fascia connections, than singular muscles that have to be stretched. How far can I extend this elastic connection? For example I can extend a stretch of my lower back into a connection from feel it from little finger to little toe.
I was told, that when we stretch with more effort, we basically lenghten the parts of the muscles that are already soft and working well. The stuck bits though remain as tight as before. The fascia won’t give in under stress, instead it tightens even more. The fascia only or more easily loosen up under a softer, persistent, elasticly moving stretch.
Bouncing – tensegrety
I am a fan of being light in my dancing and to not dump my weight on my partner. Part of that is a willingness to support the direction upwards, to not just thinking my weight downwards while giving weight especially while changing levels. I like the idea that all structures in our body are not just lying or sitting somewhere in direct neighbourhood to to others organs, muscles, tissues…
I find more lightness with the image that every organ, muscle, vessel, nerve … just everything is wrapped in bags of elastic tissues and connected through sheets and strings as an three dimensional web, and in that way everything hangs suspended in my body. Also for supporting weight in akward positions I find the fascia tensegrity model more accurate than when just focussing on the bones (which should still be the base). I can find more options when I think my body as an intelligent suspended structure that can build up tone and distribute weight in many different directions into this complex 3D-web as if I only wonder how my bones carry the weight.
Physical sensation, feeling movements from the inside is a core part of my technique. It is a tool how I can become more fine and precise. It opens the option to develop shapes from the inner sensation or to fill dancy shapes with myself.
Sensory awareness creates changes on a physiological level in the fascia, our main sensory organ for proprioception. Un-differentiated cells in the fascia develop into certain receptor cells, so that we can actually send more information from there to the brain.
I found all these things before knowing anything about the fascia. In a way all the fascia work is not new. It was used intensely in many different disciplines of movement, touch and therapy. But hearing and reading about the fascia satisfies my urge of understanding what is actually happening in my body. As if the fascia is something that I was hoping for to be discovered.
But maybe the fascia is not reason for all those mentioned things that I found. Maybe its the system of liquids, the organs, or everything somehow together, in such a complex way. I don’t want to trust these fascia-scientists too much. But at the moment it inspires me a lot and creates helpful connection in my body-mind system. But in doubt I would trust my body more than the scientist….
And I see a lot of different contacters saying how much they are using all the fascia knowledge. But when I see them move I can’t detect any quality that I’d connect with what I imagine the fascia being responsible for. It is like all Christians praying the Lord’s Prayer (Vater Unser), but the way they understand it can differ so incredibly much that they don’t seem to have any shared believe or values. Saying the same thing but meaning something completely different …