This Form Of Yoga Could Help You Stretch Your Body In Entirely New Ways
Most yoga classes focus on creating flexibility in the muscles and joints throughout the body. But there’s one thing they commonly leave out of the picture: fascia.
Fascia is the body’s deeper layer of connective tissue that’s responsible for holding all of your vital organs, muscles and joints in their rightful places, ensuring that the right fluids get where they need to go at the right time and helping the blood vessels and nerves communicate with one another.
Sounds pretty important, right? That’s because it is.
We spoke with inventor, national best-selling author and fasciology expert Ashley Black about why stretching and conditioning the long lines of fascia that run throughout your body is a critical component of overall wellness. As a child, Black was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, and in her 20s, she lost a significant portion of her hip due to a staph infection she contracted in the hospital when she went in for a routine procedure. Rather than letting her circumstances lead to a lifetime of disability, Black learned everything there was to learn about fascia and all of the intricate ways it can boost a person’s well-being when tended to properly.
Recently, Black brought her deep understanding of fascia (from the roles it plays to how to keep it healthy) into the yoga space. She wanted to find a way to help people stretch and condition their fascia without the help of a physical therapist, making the practice something they could do in any place at any time and on any budget.
With this in mind, she designed the FasciaYoga Ball (which costs $25). It looks like an oblong stability ball so it can only roll forward and backward. But because it maintains a grip on the person’s skin or leggings when they move across it, the ball simulates the manual stretching and manipulation a physical therapist would typically aim to achieve. Once Black paired this tool with a collection of recognizable yoga poses — poof — fascia yoga was born.
Black recently released a free app stocked with fascia yoga tutorial videos so anyone with the FasciaYoga Ball at home can tend to their body’s needs. The videos are set in a particular program order, moving through the body’s lines of fascia one at a time. Users can also choose to focus on one particular area of the body if they have a specific spot that’s bothersome.
This “addendum to yoga,” as Black calls it, doesn’t look like your standard Vinyasa flow class. It avoids all standing, stability and balance postures. Instead, it focuses on opening that fascia and deepening that stretch. After all, that increased mobility is what improved her quality of life, and that’s exactly what she’s trying to share with others who need it.