Ein Mann steht am Meer und streckt die Arme von sich
Author: Inge Fuchs
Pictures: Adobe Stock

Meet the Fascia

When the fascia become sticky, we develop muscle tightness and aches and pains. That’s where yin yoga comes in. Simple exercises loosen the connective tissue to keep the body mobile.

Fascia and their function in the body

Fascia are thin sheets of connective tissue that hold together the entire body. Muscles, nerves, bones, organs – they’re all encased by fascia. This connective tissue is what keeps us mobile.

Loosen up with fascia yoga

Yin yoga is not about holding a particular pose for as long as possible. You’re allowed to rock, bounce, and jump. The movements flow into one another. Yin yoga targets the connective tissue and incorporates stretches that help the fascia absorb more fluids and nutrients. This strengthens your connective tissue, boosts the metabolism, and relieves stress and muscle tightness. No matter whether you are a complete beginner or a competitive athlete, yin yoga is suitable for any level of fitness and any age. Two to three sessions a week are enough.

First of all: warm up, please!

Before you get started on the actual exercises, called “asanas” in yoga, you need to warm up. First, get down on all fours. This asana is better known as the “cat/cow pose.”

  1. Roll out your mat, kneel on the floor and rest your weight on your palms. Place your hands under your shoulders, your knees under your hips. Look down.
  2. Start with the cow: Slowly inhale, arch your lower back and lift your head, look straight ahead.
  3. On the exhale, assume the cat pose: Round your spine towards the ceiling, shoulder blades apart. Look towards your navel.

After a few repetitions, expand the exercise by stretching out your left arm and right leg on the inhale. On the exhale, bring your knee and elbow together. After five repetitions, switch to the right arm and left leg.

Next stage: activate the fascia

Start with the plantar fascia. This band of tissue runs along the soles of your feet and extends up your back to your forehead. The plantar fascia serves your entire body and is a kind of alarm signal when you are tense. A massage ball can release tightness.

  1. Step one foot forward. Place the ball under your toes, shift your weight onto the ball of your foot and roll toward your heel with pressure.
  2. Roll slowly and keep shifting your weight back and forth.
  3. Grab a large foam roller and work your legs, glutes, back and cervical spine.

Mountain and chair

The mountain pose or tadasana is an active standing pose. Like a mountain, you are firmly connected to the ground, exuding strength and endurance. Then, with a flowing movement, move into chair pose or utkatasana. The dynamic shift generates heat and activates most of your muscles.

  1. Keep your legs together and your feet shoulder width apart, distributing your weight evenly across the soles of your feet. Bend your knees slightly.
  2. Activate your abs and glutes, pull your shoulders back and extend your spine.
  3. On the inhale, extend your arms above your head with your palms facing each other.
  4. On the exhale, bend your knees, shift your weight onto your heels and pull your shoulder blades back towards the mat.
  5. Stay in this position for five deep breaths.

Standing forward bend with bobbing arms

Start in the mountain pose. This exercise opens the chest and works the arms.

  1. Reach behind your back and interlock your fingers.
  2. Lean forward, taking your arms with you.
  3. Bounce your arms up and down, starting with small movements that gradually increase.
  4. Inhale and exhale eight times, then slowly return to your original position.

Streching dog

Get on all fours and move into Downward Dog. On the exhale, push your hips toward the ceiling. Push your hands into the mat and gently straighten your knees. For an optimal fascia stretch, slowly start to walk the dog.

  1. Slowly pedal your legs, bending and stretching them alternately.
  2. Increase the size of the movement, moving your hips side to side or in a circle.
  3. Bend, stretch and rotate to engage your spine and shoulders.

This pose stretches the entire back of your body, from your neck and shoulders to your back and hamstrings. It releases tension, as well as opening up the chest and shoulders. The exercise is a true full-body stretch and strengthens the arms, torso and legs.

To finish,

grab your large foam roller again. This time, it will be much slower. Whichever body part you place on the roller should stay there for now. Then, gradually roll further, always towards the heart. This helps us push the old water out of the cells. Important note: Make sure you drink plenty of water after your practice to replenish the chambers.

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