With the sun shining brighter, grasses growing greener and many flowers making their annual debut, Springtime holds the essence of newness at it’s very core. Allured by nature; most of us habitually crave some sort of spring cleaning after a long stagnant winter. Whether it be our closets or entire homes it is always refreshing to tidy up our environment…but how often do you declutter your body?
Most of us are now conscious of the fact that much like dust to a bookshelf, tissues (particularly the fascia matrix) accumulate residuals of our habits, both good and bad. “In soft tissue, fascia grows or shrinks according to functional demand (Gold, Lawrence). This “growth-by-demand” can be either advantageous or disadvantageous to our tissues depending on the diversity variability in which we expose ourselves to.
Our habits influence our tissues, our tissues influences our structures and our structure influences how we relate to our environment. If your habits employ any repetitive movements, the tissues most recruited prevail over the unused tissues and structural vulnerability sets in. This perspective shines light to the fact that even our tissues could use a regular scrub out to reveal it’s true tissue-ness.
Whether your tissue tightness results in pain or produces it, the outcome almost always leads to a whirl-wind effect that pollutes the tissues communication; triggers a sick-cycle carousel of reduced movement, decreased circulation, loss of body awareness, and build up of lactic acid that only accompanies more pain and so on. While there isn’t a “magic bullet” solution that breaks this rhythm, there are ways to relinquish your tissues of their habitual burdens and experience a “re-birth” of sorts. “Assisted pandiculation (a type of stretching) systematically triggers the effects through a kind of “eccentric, active- resistive range of motion” maneuver; this maneuver produces sufficient sensory awareness of the involved areas to induce rapid sensory-motor learning. Assisted pandiculation produces a nearly instantaneous, stable reduction of habitual hypertonicity that can, if necessary, be maintained with a few minutes of patterned movement a day. It may be the fastest method known for bringing involuntary (habituated) muscular hypertonicity under voluntary control.” (Gold, Lawrence)
Now you may be asking yourself, “What exactly is an assisted pandiculation maneuver”? Thomas Hanna described pandiculation as an action pattern of strong muscular contraction followed by slow release, one that provides sufficient sensory stimulation to refresh (or forge) the connection between sensory and motor neurons in the brain, and so, enhance awareness and control of movement (Gold, Lawrence).
Strong contraction, slow release…does this ring a bell to any Yoga Tune Up® techniques? If you’re thinking along the lines of Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) then you are getting warm. And if you’re recalling “Holy Cow at the Trough” or “Angel Wings” you are red hot! Yoga Tune Up® techniques that include PNF are a great way to start your deep tissue spring cleaning and maintain it all year round.
Put away the mop and retire the rubber gloves, this cleanse requires a different application. Look for my next article later this week where I will show you how to physically create space in the tissues of your shoulders and hips using Yoga Tune Up® techniques and stretches that remove congestion of these major joints and allow for improved function of the overall structure.
- Gold, Lawrence. Definitive Pain Relief from Somatic Education (sensory-motor integration)- Explaining Hanna Somatic Education®. Somatics on the Web. http://www.somatics.com/movement.htm