I attended a lecture in Portland on fascia by Gil Hedley, a self-described “somanaut” – one who explores the inner space of the body. The lecture has had me thinking deeply about my long-held belief in the connection between a spiritual state and movement.
What do I mean by “spirituality”?
I am not a religious person but I do believe each of us carries an energy … or a presence that is directly impacted by and reflected in the state of our bodies. Call it a spiritual experience, a stress reliever, an endorphin high, or meditation – movement helps us connect with something deeper in ourselves and with our environment.
Good movement gives us a sense of lightness, joy or peace – an energy that you may or may not call spiritual but makes us happier, healthier and more balanced human beings.
Hedley’s formal educational is in religious studies and he trained in the healing arts of Tai Chi and Rolfing. The marriage of these two fields has led him down a path blending anatomy, movement and spirituality.
From this perspective, Hedley writes: “After many years of believing that I needed to overcome and ‘get out of’ my body to achieve holiness, I realized what I really needed was to enjoy and appreciate the incredible gift that my body is.”
To understand how great that gift is, Hedley delves into the human body through dissections to unearth its mysteries and how movement (among other things) plays a role in our physical and emotional wellbeing.
Hedley has captured powerful images and video footage of fascia and inspires movement professionals to think about this “stuff” – this “fuzz” as he calls it – on a deeper level. Scientifically speaking, fascia is a connective tissue that provides a critical network for our bones, organs, and muscles to move and function seamlessly.
But it can become “stuck” if we don’t nurture our bodies.
This stasis is harmful for many reasons – causing tightness and pain in the body and possibly serious illness and disease.
“Stasis, dehydration and inflammation make for ‘glueyness … brittleness. Care for the reservoir: move, touch, ground and enjoy,” Hedley said.
When we don’t nurture our bodies, I think we can become stuck both physically and emotionally. I’ve seen that happen for clients at the studio who for various reasons have not taken time to care for themselves. That isn’t a judgment statement – life can set up roadblocks to our abilities to care for ourselves.
But once we make time to move, it opens us emotionally (dare I say, spiritually?) to help us take on life’s challenges more readily. We can manage roadblocks better. We can live more thoughtfully, move more freely, and find a greater sense of peace and joy.
Learn more about the fascia in your body from fascia expert Tom Myers at the Anatomy Trains website.
Learn more about Gil Hedley’s work at gilhedley.com. (Hedley’s site contains graphic dissection images of fascia that may be challenging for some viewers. Take care.)