Well, when I say exercise, I’m talking about running or working out in the gym. This has less of an effect on fascia, because it’s designed for the muscles, for the cardiovascular system or perhaps for neural recruitment, such as stability training. These are all great things to do for yourself to make yourself physically healthy and fit.
But what the people who developed yoga recognized was that in order to change the person — not just to change the chemistry or to change the amount of strength that you have or your readiness to dive off a diving board — but to really change the person that you are, to change the issues in the tissues, then you really have to make a deep change in the pattern of your body. Now that pattern is in the nervous system, that pattern is in the muscular system, that pattern is in the chemistry, that pattern is in the fascia.
But once the pattern is lodged in the fascia, you have to address it at the level of fascia for it to release. So there are different ways in which you can go about doing this. But generally, the sustained stretches of yoga where you hold a posture for several minutes (as you do in many yoga styles) give the muscles a chance to calm down. The muscles have to relax first, and then the fascia starts to stretch and release. And that can facilitate the kind of repatterning that leads to lasting release of chronic holdings and, in many cases, a profound change of mind and body.