Ever wondered what may be causing chronic body pain or stiffness in the muscles and joints? Lack of activity or being sedentary can lead to stiffness in all healthy adults. But what exactly happens when the body is immobile for long duration?
Fascia or connective tissue is a vast network of tissue in our body that surrounds and holds every organ, bone, muscle and remaining body paraphernalia in place. It fills the spaces between organs and tissues and simply put – it supports, connects or separates different types of tissues and organs.
Connective tissue or fascia (also called “fuzz” because of its sticky, fuzzy appearance) is found everywhere in the body, including the nervous system. Without it the internals of the body will have no structure and will be unable to hold up. But for the longest time, this large network has been sidelined or their connection to chronic pain, stiffness and tightness barely understood. Dr Gil Hedley’s The Fuzz Speech on YouTube is a great watch to understand this.
The good news is in recent years researchers have realized what a major role it plays in staying and feeling fit, flowing and healthy. And the bad news? Each night when we go to sleep, the interfaces between our muscles grow “fuzz”. In the morning, when we wake up and stretch, the fuzz melts. The stiff feeling we have in the morning is because of the solidification of this connective tissue or fuzz. So each time we stretch and move, we help this tissue loosen up and melt.
Imagine if we don’t do basic movements and stretching on a regular basis. This build up of fuzz each night will continue to accumulate in our bodies, making us feel stiffer and tighter. Imagine a whole month’s worth of “fuzz” build up or for many people possibly several months.
Most animals have an inherent understanding of this internal phenomenon and you may have seen cats or dogs naturally stretching and moving their body in specific ways to loosen up (Marjariasana, Adho mukha svanasana and many other yoga postures are inspired from the movements of animals). But strangely we humans have lost this ability to communicate with our bodies. We communicate more with our smartphones.
In the following video, I take you all through a sequence of Sukshma Vyayama warm-ups that are a great tool to release the build-up of connective tissue in our body and melt away the “fuzz”. Sukshma means subtle and Vyayama means workout/ exercise and essentially it is a workout for the deeper, subtler layers within the body addressing physical as well as energetic well-being.
It includes a range of movements such as traditional squats, meridian tappings, acupressure as well as qigong techniques along with joint releases that help loosen up. This is accessible to all levels of practitioners and is easy to follow and practice. Twenty minutes of Sukshma Vyayama every morning is a wonderful addition to your overall fitness plan.
There are many styles of Sukshma Vyayama practised in India. This particular style is inspired from Swami Sivananda’s book Health & Long Life as well as adapted from a warm-up system taught by Matt Pesendian calling Longevity Qigong which my teachers have been practising and teaching for several years.