Dynamic movement happens when the body keeps moving from one motion to the next without stopping. This type of action warms up the tissues of the body, improves circulation and prepares us for activity.

When we are still, we grow a kind of moss all over our musculature. This “inner moss” is fascia, an important connective tissue webbing that strings our body together. Sometimes this is helpful, for example in protecting a muscle that has been injured. However, fascia does not distinguish between an injured muscle and a “lazy” or underused muscle. It will just grow and continue to restrict movement unless it is regularly mobilized.

When we move our bodies fully, encouraging motion into every joint and muscle fiber in the body, we aid in loosening up adhesions that regularly grow between the sliding surfaces of muscles all over our body. When we dynamically stretch away our restrictions by breaking apart our tension areas, we feel better physiologically and psychologically!

Try this Locust Minivini dynamic stretch below and also in the 5 Minute Quick Fix for Lower Back video.

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Jill Miller

Jill Miller, C-IAYT, ERYT is the co-founder of Tune Up Fitness Worldwide and creator of the self-care fitness formats Yoga Tune Up® and The Roll Model® Method. With more than 30 years of study in anatomy and movement, she is a pioneer in forging relevant links between the worlds of fitness, yoga, massage, athletics and pain management. She is known as the Teacher’s Teacher and has trained thousands of movement educators, clinicians, and manual therapists to incorporate her paradigm shifting self-care fitness programming into athletic and medical facility programs internationally. She has crafted original programs for 24 Hour Fitness, Equinox, YogaWorks, and numerous professional sports teams. She and her team of 500+ trainers help you to live better in your body with an emphasis on proprioception, mobility, breath mechanics and recovery. She has presented case studies at the Fascia Research Congress and International Association of Yoga Therapy conferences. She has the rare ability to translate complex physiological and biomechanical information into accessible, relevant moves that help her students transform pain, dysfunction and injury into robust fitness. Jill is the anatomy columnist for Yoga Journal Magazine and has been featured in Shape, Men’s Journal, Good Housekeeping, Women’s Health, Yoga Journal, Self, and on the Today Show and Good Morning America. Jill is regularly featured on the Oprah Winfrey Network. She is the creator of dozens of DVD’s including Treat While You Train with Kelly Starrett DPT and is the author of the internationally bestselling book The Roll Model: A Step by Step Guide to Erase Pain, Improve Mobility and Live Better in your Body. Based in Los Angeles, CA, she is a wife and mother of two small children and is currently writing her second book.

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Emma

I love the analogy of fascia as “moss.” I have never thought of it that way, and it definitely helps give me a better understanding of why inactivity can result in adhesion of tissues, not just muscular weakness or laxity. It also creates a wonderfully vivid visual image to relate to that sticky feeling that we all feel in the morning after our bodies have been at rest for several hours. It makes me think that instead of 8 long hours of sleep, all of us, but especially athletes, might benefit from a split-shift sleep schedule!

Alicia

This is a wonderful variation of the static locust pose, I fell that by adding movement makes my whole body be aware of the pose, not just think of a backbend and how much I can arch my back, but to move and awake all de muscles in my shoulders and back.

Emily

Another great (and super important) reason to get into yoga class and get flowing! I had no idea until my recent weekend with Yoga Tune Up that the fascia can build up in such a way. We saw by example how clearly the built up fascia can restrict the movement of a joint. Dynamic stretching is the way to go!

Robin Nickel

I have injured my left hamstring almost a year ago and it the nagging pain just wont go away. It was during an early morning run. I thought it was muscular so I used typical hamstring and periformsis stretching. After no initial release I began to wonder if my fascia has been compromised and in doing the stretches I am actually making it worse.
I laid off stretching and started to do movements that warmed up my legs and back. I do think fascia needs more attention.

Gari Kylberg

I’m glad to come across this blog post. I was trying to explain fascia to my husband and this entry and video demonstrate the importance of keeping the body moving. Thanks! 🙂

Alexa

The first time I heard anyone talk about fascia was in Jill’s class about 3 years ago. My knowledge of anatomy was close to nil – less than the contents of the child’s song regarding the knee bone being connected to the thigh bone. But the way she explained the function of fascia made perfect sense. For me, understanding the “why” really helps me to direct my body into proper alignment. Taking Jill’s YTU classes inspired me to learn more about the anatomy of yoga and movement in general.

Alissa Aboud

What a nice quick variation to locust! I love it. Thanks for sharing! What about the use of yin yoga as well to open up some of the fascia from constantly holding and contracting???

Laura

Love the locust minivini. It warms my lower back efficiently and also stretches the front of the shoulders and helps me keep shoulder blades down.

Ciara

I just learned about fascia this weekend and it really does look like a lot of spider webs. All of my after college jobs have been sedentary desk jobs. And in the beginning, as I worked so many hours as an accountant, I didn’t have or make time for any exercise, which didn’t pay off so well.

After some health challenges, I realized how important it was for my to add continuous active movement. Arming myself with yoga as my method of movement has tremendously added in strength and increased flexibility in my body.

aziyza

What a great dynamic exercise for pilates and yoga students! Getting the blod flowing in a pilates class is great preparaton for tuning on the thinking mechanism in the deeper abdonimal muscles.

Kyoko Jasper

I was thinking that the slower movement is better for the injured body. I will try to incorporate some dynamic movements in my yoga practice. Thanks for the great info!

Kristen L

The fact that fascia covers over both injured and dormant muscles indiscriminately shows how important it is to keep exercising throughout our lives. I enjoy classes in which static and dynamic stretching techniques are combined.

Cathy

Love anything for the back, especially quick exercises like this one, thank you ! Easy to do anytime!

Elizabeth E

Great blog and video. I’m in a training right now that involves a lot of sitting, and I came home today with stiffness in my low back. Just tried the Locust Minivini dynamic stretch, and it really helped to loosen that area. Thank you!

Becky G

Thanks for the refresher on these low back exercises. I had forgotten about the first move that you had showed us in yoga tune up class.

christina

owen taught us this during teacher training. this really helps with strengthening the back muscles and allowing the chest to inhale more air.

Pam_SF

I really liked the cueing in child’s pose…breathing and swelling the area of your low back. Great for instructing students on where to focus their attention for maximum benefits for that area that is so troublesome for many. I’m going to incorporate this into my teaching.

taryn

I love stretching this QL area 0f the spine.. moving the body and stretching keeps the body clean of its fuzz as was spoken of in the film we watched in our yoga class. A film that I will visually never forget!!

Susan

I have heard about how fascia and muscles relate before, however it is amazing how many workshops relating to strength training and diving into antagonists, agonist, synergist muscles they really don’t address the fascia. I am glad to reaquaint myself with this information and use it to benefit myself and my students.

Bonnie Zammarieh

The QL is my trouble area, so I am always looking for ways to strengthen this area. The Fuzz video really put into context the fascia you were speaking off.

Alexandra

I was lucky to be able to spend a weekend with Jill learning about anatomy and I was blown away during the segment about fascia. If we don’t regularly move and stretch our bodies then this “fuzz” forms and our bodies become stiff. I have always been drawn to vinyasa flow because I love dynamic stretching and continually moving my body. It’s important to warm up our muscles so we can get deeper into poses and prevent injury. This video excercise is a quick and easy way to get our muscles moving while dynamically stretching and strengthening the back.

Aura Carr

Comment: It was fascinating to learn that fascia does dot distinguish between an injured muscle and a couch potato muscle. I did not know this fact. I will definitely incorporate more dynamic movement such as the Locust Minivini which looks like a great back strengthener.

JT

can’t overemphasize the importance of this article. dynamic stretching is key to ironing out the range of motion beyond the usual DOMs.

Lindsay

I like how you mention that adhesions do not distinuguish between and injury vs lazy muscle. So many times I have seen people “baby” an injury only to have their condition worsen due to inactivity. I agree with Renee that this is a great routine for those with lowback issues to reawaken the lowback muscles, increase blood flow that may be constricted and move out toxins like lactic acid build up, which cause pain. A rolling stone grows no moss!

Renee Braunsdorf

I love this blog for low back. The dynamic flow would feel very soothing as well as strengthening. I need all the help I can get for my low back. Right, Jill. I am learning to stand on both feet.

Sharon

No wonder stretching is my favorite part of yoga class!

Jill Miller

Scott, fascia is being manipulated constantly, it is in complete continuity with muscles, skin, organs and pretty much everything else throughout your body. So indeed, fascia is impacted by dynamic stretching as well as passive static holds that you would find in “Yin” styles of yoga. The prolonged holds in passive static poses will have the greatest impact on changing the shape of the fascia over time.

Jad

I have limited extension in my lumbar portion of my spine but this pose still provides a beneficial stretch for me in that area but also the thoracic area as well.

Nui K

This will improve my spine, hip & knee extension. Lengthening Lastissmus dorsi as well

Rima

Stretching through movement truly allows us to get into those spaces (or the “inner moss” ) that we don’t get into in everyday life, and makes us feel amazing inside and out. Thanks for the tip.

Greta C

This is a nice detraction of movement at the scapula!

scott

when i’ve heard about fascia in prior yoga blogs, it’s always been in relation to holding poses in ‘yin’ yoga. so fascia can also be manipulated dynamically?

Sabena

This is a great topic. Good blog article!

Gillea

This post and perspective on stretching was especially revelatory for me. When it comes to the backbend portion of class, I rarely view it as ‘stretching’ time since it is so demanding. But the way that Jill has framed it as dynamic stretching makes perfect sense to me; really, you are stretching through the movement while elongating and strengthening the core muscles. It’s a great new way of looking at these postures and exercises!