Yin Yoga Full Class Hips & Shoulders | 60 min Intermediate | Yoga with Dr. Melissa West 432

by Melissa West on

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Hips & Shoulders

When we practice yin yoga we are getting into the deeper connective tissue or fascia of the body. Fascia is the connective tissue that surrounds all the structures of your body, like a web, from your head to your toes. There are three kinds of fascia: superficial (the kind that surrounds your face, your neck, your sternum), visceral fascia (the kind that surround your organs) and deep fascia.

Deep fascia is the tough fibrous connective tissue that surrounds your muscles.This is the kind of fascia or connective tissue that we are affecting when we practice yin yoga. Deep fascia contains many sensory receptors that communicate pain, proprioception and other feedback to your brain.

Every muscle in your body is wrapped in multiple directions by fascia. Biomechanically your hips and shoulders are connected. Fascia connects your shoulders and pelvis through something called a myofascial sling.

If you are visual just have a look at the image on the screen. I will explain the fascial connections between the hips and shoulders that we will address in this yin yoga class today, however I think appreciating the myofascial sling is enough to sense the connection between your hips and your shoulders as well.

From Anatomy Trains by Tom Myers

Your hamstrings start from your tibia and insert into your ischial tuberosity. This continues along as the sacro-tuberos ligament and then through the toraco-lumbar fascia. The sling continues to the latissumus dorsi, which then inserts into the opposite scapula and humerus. All of this to say, if you experience shoulder pain, it can be helpful to release the fascia of the hamstrings, hips, and mid back to affect the myofascial sling.

When we respect the deep fascia and the way they surround our muscles, the stiff, painful muscles that we experience can become less stiff and painful. And in a yin class like today, you can experience how pulling and pressurizing the tissue of the hamstrings and hips can help to release tension, stiffness and pain in the shoulders.


by Melissa West

reclining in corpse pose
the cranium rests on the earth, gradually
expanding and contracting on the ebb
and flow of breath

the leisurely creeping motion, descends
downward to the ocean bed, sinking
deeper into the mantle, seafloor

the tectonic plates of the cranium, begin
their continental drift
the thick crust of the lithosphere, giving up
their convergent boundaries, one plate moving
under another

material is lost —
carried down the mantle, while the formation
of a new oceanic floor, along divergent
margins is spreading

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