What is the connection between hydration, connective tissue, and mobility movement? Pontus Wärnestål shares key yoga poses and demonstrates how ViPR can be used as a support tool…

In our previous post, we looked at how yoga and mobility can help combat some of the problems connected with sedentary lifestyle in our ‘sitting society’. We also positioned yoga and ViPR movement in the loaded movement diagram, in order to help understand the different ways we can use ViPR in order to assist or challenge you in your yoga practice.

The physical benefits of specific yoga poses have been extensively documented elsewhere, and covering all of them would be beyond the scope of this post. However, there is one beneficial aspect that is not as frequently mentioned, and that is the connection between hydration, connective tissue, and mobility movement. In this post, we will first take a brief look at that connection, and then focus on getting hands-on with some traditional yoga exercises and explore how ViPR can assist you in getting deeper and more balanced in and out of poses.

ViPR Yoga

Hydration, fascia, and movement

Connective tissue is ubiquitous in the human body. It exists everywhere, and yet it is just in the last couple of years it has hit the mainstream fitness conversation. The reason it is everywhere is probably one of the reasons it was overlooked for so long. Until recently, it was simply viewed as a soft tissue that wrapped organs and muscle. Just like the protecting wrapping paper of a packaged product, fascia was long considered to be of less importance for movement. Therefore, in dissections for anatomical study and research, connective tissue was cleanly scraped away and discarded so researchers could focus on other anatomical features such as the muscle.

Today, the fascia is getting increasing attention. The dangers of sedentary lifestyle are connected not only to muscle, but also to crystallized connective tissue. This happens for two (highly related) reasons: ineffective hydration, and lack of movement. Fascia is a tensional fluid system. Our mobility and resilience are determined in a large part by how well hydrated our fascia is. In fact, when we ‘stretch a muscle’, we actually make the fibers of the connective tissue (collagen) glide along one another. In our community, the conversation has started to address the connection between fascia and hydration. Just drinking will not hydrate you. You need to move – in a varied and systematic fashion – and work on your soft tissues in order to hydrate the whole body.

The exercises found in yoga are often highly suitable for this, since they are in general more slow-paced than other exercise types, allowing users to focus on whole kinetic chains in a controlled and systematic fashion. Some of these exercises can be challenging, however, but the good news is that ViPR can assist you and your clients to get in and out of poses that would otherwise be too challenging.

Using ViPR to assist in poses

In the video below, we work with four traditional yoga poses: Mountain pose, Warrior II, Camel pose, and Warrior III. The video first shows the traditional (unloaded and unsupported) version of the pose. Then we use ViPR as support to show how it can assist in getting in and out of the poses. By incorporating these movement patterns into your own or your clients' routines, you reap the physical benefits outlined in the previous post. You also help the body to hydrate the fascia. Just make sure you drink water before your workout.

In the next post in this series, we will look at how to add dynamic 3D movement and load to these poses, using ViPR to challenge us in both mobility and strength.

Stay tuned for Yoga and ViPR Part 3 coming soon ...