Sthira Sukham Asanam, sutra 2.46 in Pantanjali’s Yoga Sutras can be translated as following; ‘the balance between steadiness and ease.’ This sutra has become a guiding principle in my life, and has led me to consider how it relates to both my clients’ and my own personal journey with myofascial release.
All of us have patterns in our bodies. Our pattern could be driving a truck for work, competing as an athlete, tending to a garden and yard, or juggling the kids and attending school..it could be anything really! Over time we might find that one pattern has become dominant in the use of our energies. Our muscular and fascia systems have the great ability to reinforce stability and strength within these activities to make them easier. This ability over time however may lead to limitations or challenges in other types of activities. These challenges may show up as pain or limited range of motion.
The driver might find that getting in and out of their truck has become difficult. A tennis player might feel a strain in their forearm and elbow one day when they pick up their racquet bag. The gardener might stand up from squatting and notice a dull ache in the lower back, and a student might realize all the books in the backpack are weighing down their shoulders.
One of my clients is a professional violinist. Playing violin requires very specific dexterity within the muscles of the hand and forearm. Several years ago, if she wanted to do something that opposed the flexion pattern in the hand and fingers, like a push up, her wrist would barely allow the weight of her body, nor would it bend. Her love of her art had unintentionally lead to a functional injury.
Yoga and MFR became tools of transformation. She was able to focus on transitioning from the pattern of playing violin, to all the other ranges of motion she wanted to be able to express. Through earnest practice and integrative treatments she began to redevelop ease within multiple functions instead of just one of them. The awareness of movement, cultivated in these experiences, strengthened the relationship between the practice of violin and her daily life activities.
This practice of relating one experience to another can be expressed as the practice of yoga and the space between each state of being is the flow and dance known as vinyasa. Within the myofascial release approach, this flow from one posture to another is known as unwinding. However you choose to think about it, it is an opportunity to learn and expand upon your awareness. When we become aware of the journey from one posture to another, we might find that there are many paths in which to get from a to b. With continued practice, the path of greatest ease and strength become more readily apparent. By yoking awareness to our actions, we find balance in our foundation and support for our essential nature and being.