Dayum, my fascia’s on too tight!

From The Endless Web:


I looked at the image above and a lightbulb went off. After decades of weightlifting, I always envision myself as a bunch of muscles that are attached to bones. Fair enough.

But I’ve been stymied in my attempts to understand what’s going on when my shoulder girdle and arms are so tight. Super tight. As in, I can’t lift my arms straight up over my head when I’m leaning back. This affects, obviously, urdhva dhanurasana and dropbacks, and even more so, kapotasana. Need a bent-armed kapotasana B? I’m your girl.

So I try to figure it out. Is it my front deltoids? The medial? Posterior? Triceps? Biceps? My lats? What the heck is stuck? What makes me stuck in a bent-armed position? This muscle, that muscle: those have been my answers.

But then I saw the picture and realized, it’s not just a bunch of separate pieces! (Yeah, I know: duh!) It’s never just a biceps issue — it’s a periosteumtendonfasciabrachialistendon issue. LOL! And that’s just the arm!

I’m happy I have such a long word for such a recalcitrant appendage. Seriously, my arms are kinesthetically illiterate compared to my legs.

But slowly they seem to be waking up. This morning’s backbends were strong, and now I have the feeling I get when my arms & shoulders have been fully stretched: the ring fingers on both of my hands feel tingly and like they are very, very long.

And as we all know, when your ring fingers are tingly, you’re having a good day. 🙂

Here’s the way to make your fingers tingle. You’ll have to take my word for it that it hurts like a mofo for me to extend my arms this way:


Here are some pictures from Sedona.

Looking at the landscape from the top of the hill where we saw the relics:


The Cop inspecting the snow. (See! It’s right there on the ground!):


The Earnest Humorist, The Anthropology Grad Student and My Gift coming to meet us for lunch:


The Cop again, glowing in the sun:



13 Responses

  1. hi Karen

    you’ve topped Mary Poppins for word length with periosteumtendonfasciabrachialistendon

    Sedona looks magical! i think this is why artists and mystics are attracted to places where the light is magical as well, such as Taos and Santa Fe.

    Cute family. Happy upcoming holidays.

  2. It looks like Your Gift is as tiny as you; or that guy in the middle is a GIANT.

  3. It doesn’t matter if it’s your upper back that’s tight or your shoulders or your fascia or whatever. Something has to open up…your choice! I think you’re on the right track though, from the video. Your upper back is going to open up WAY before your armpits and the backs of your shoulders.

    And here’s a bit of hoodoo for you: if you could STOP blaming it on your years of weightlifting, you might make some psychological progress (and we KNOW that there is some argument for making psychological progress to make physical progress, right?). Try to say to yourself that your body IS ready to make the openings. Your days of weight lifting are long behind you. Let them go….stop carrying them with you in your backbends…

    Just my little advice.

    Once I stopped believing that I couldn’t do things because of my reconstructed breasts, I started to be able to do them. Val – my teacher in CT – she just wouldn’t hear of it. She just treated me like everyone else, made no excuses and didn’t put any of her own ego into it. She just simply told me that I need to open up my upper back. She also asked me time and again to do cobra instead of updog – tin order to place the “opening” action into the upper chest instead of the lower. And I ignored her time and again.

    When I finally listened, it took about a week for her to easily get my hands to my feet in Kapotasana.

    ALSO…sorry to be so longwinded…I do that thing where you face AWAY from the wall and walk your hands down the wall so that my palms rest on the floor right where it meets the wall. It is INTENSE. No space to wiggle my hands backwards. My arms are nearly straight in Kapo B when I use the wall. It is a HUGE chest opener.

    Hope to see you in person soon!

  4. Happy Holidays to you, too, Arturo! And yes, Sedona is quite magical. Lots of the earth’s natural architecture!

    Hi Tim! My Gift is 5’2″ actually (a couple inches shorter than I) and her roommate is 6’5″. They do make an amusing trio, don’t they? And the really cool thing is that each of them has a really unique and hilarious sense of humor.

    Lauren! That is exactly the kind of hoodoo I like! No more past history of weightlifting! I’ll add in the Kapo walk-down-the-wall tomorrow. Might as well really go for it. 🙂

    Let me know where you’re in town — you see my answer to your comment (Mysore M,W,F and led on Saturday at At One Yoga)?

  5. I saw that – funny, because my parents called me to tell me about At One. I was like, sure, sure, right, as if, must be some bullshitty place. Then I realized it was the place you go to! They say it’s not far from their place. When do you go there?

  6. Super cute family…
    and the Cop…
    um. Cute isn’t the right word. I have to dip into my slang from the 90s: He’s fine.
    ha! I have a special thing for men with shaved heads.
    Very pretty photos, sort of dreamy- possibly taken with a phone?
    That hang back in Kapo is a killer. It’s hard for me to do too. I’ve tried to build up the flexibility and strength in my hip flexors so I can hover solidly and only worry about my poor chest and shoulders opening up. I wish I could see how the first person to ever do Kapotasana actually thought of doing something so evil. The kind of evil I like. Challenging, maddening, and when it happens: delightful and so satisfying!

  7. Lauren, I usually only go to the Saturday led, truth be told. Mysore is from 6-8, but it’s tough for me to pull off & get to the office for 8 AM meetings. This coming week is the week you’re here? I could get over there Wednesday and/or Friday.

    Liz, yes, I use my iPhone for photos. Sometimes I feel bad about it, what with all the accomplished Ashtangi photographers putting up gorgeous photos — but I’m too lazy to do anything about it. In fact, I’m going to post another low-light photo of the dogs. I like the photos I take in the house at night — they look like Flemish paintings to me.

    And yes, The Cop is as good as Kapotasana is bad. LOL! Your musing on the first person to do kapotasana cracks me up. Obviously a natural backbender. Who else would think, “hmmmm, I’m on my knees, and I wonder what it’d be like to just bend backwards and grab my ankles?”

    I often wonder who the first person was who thought to try eating lobsters.

  8. hi Karen
    i have a question for Lauren, if she’s still reading the thread. the suggestion of Val to do Cobra instead of updog to get the upper thoracic loose and help in getting to kapo seems good. would it not be problematic for a guy to do Cobra, not from a physical limitation, but from looking non compliant with the vinyasa method? so at every vinyasa you would do Cobra, but let the teacher know what you’re doing, or he/she would be freaked out? usually it’s women that are given the suggestion to do Cobra, and usually in led flow classes.

  9. And artichokes! Delicious, but you’d have to be starving to try eating one of those prickly bastards, wouldn’t you?

    I spend a lot of time trying to get people NOT to do cobra instead of updog, but I guess it can have its place.

    And Karen, to me it looks like the rest of you is in excellent position if you can crack the armpit thing… your head is more or less over your feet, where it needs to be.

  10. Thanks for saying that, Susan (that the rest of me is in good position). That was my impression, but I worry that I’m deluded, when it comes to self-assessment.

    So now it’s the armpits…

  11. I’ve said it before, the Cop is HOT! You are so lucky! Your Gift is just as cute as you are! So tiny you guys are.

  12. 🙂

    I am lucky, for sure, when it comes to The Cop. The height-challengedness? I’m okay with it; My Gift is a little rueful.

  13. Hey Arturo – I just saw this. I don’t know how to answer your question. It isn’t a gender-based suggestion – it is a tight-chest /thoracic spine suggestion.

    But it might bother your teacher if you suddenly stop doing updog. You could talk to your teacher about it and find out how he/she feels about it. Or you could do it at home. It’s a temporary thing anyway…eventually, and pretty quickly, you feel open enough to do a non-schlumpy updog!

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