Fascial Fitness - The Missing Link in Human Movement

Brett Larkin
Year Released: 2018

Categories: Athletic Stretch , Yoga

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I picked up this DVD from my local library. I was curious about it as a yoga teacher; fascia has become a hot topic in the yoga world over the years, especially in yin yoga. The instructor of this video, Brett Larkin, emphasizes that although the movements in this video look like yoga poses, they are not. I'm not sure why she feels the need to make that distinction; it's certainly not vinyasa yoga, but I think these fluid, mobility-focused movements ARE a form of yoga, one that I often teach in my own classes.

The DVD offers a lot of content, with the following sections listed on the main menu: Introduction - Full Body - Hips - Spine - Dance - Unwind - Relaxation. I have broken down each below (with times in parentheses).

Larkin's description of the program, which she calls "unprogrammed movement" and describes moving like an animal. She also talks about how the idea of "surprise" movements are good for the body.

FULL BODY (31:41)
There are a lot of undulating movements in this routine. Larkin starts on the floor for fluid versions of child's pose, lateral child's, and slow cat/cow (including "jump rope" barrel rolls). She moves into down dog, comes briefly to standing for rag doll, and then back to all fours for crawling. After more movements in child's pose (torso rolls), she comes back to standing for wide legged standing movements and standing torso circles. Larkin finishes with about 30 seconds of free form jumping.

HIPS (36:02)
This section again begins on the floor for child's pose and then moves to all fours for hip circles, gate pose, and cat/cow. Larkin comes into a wide downward dog and then moves to standing hip circles. She comes back to the floor for pigeon pose; this is performed at three different "levels," with long holds of each. (Note that Larkin doesn't use props or show modifications; even the first level of this pose might not be accessible to many.)

SPINE (35:49)
Larkin states that this routine will have an emphasis on extension and flexion (what about lateral movements?) and will include slow holds. She starts on all fours for rolling cat/cow. She then does a sliding cobra movement followed by seal, which is done at three different levels, all with long holds. After a rest in child's pose, she performs seated torso circles and a long hold of seated forward fold. She finishes this routine with a supine (lying) twist and then returns to seated.

DANCE (20:58)
I didn't think I would like this section, but it isn't really dance, more like large full body standing movements (some of the moves are similar to Classical Stretch for anyone who has tried that). Larkin begins with slow lunges in different directions. She then moves on to chassť (a dance term that she doesn't explain - I knew it, but many won't) followed by body rolls. For a practice that is not supposed to be yoga (according to her), it seemed odd that she next cued a pose in Sanskrit, skandasana, which is a low side lunge that is not accessible to all bodies. Larkin then repeats all of the above movements in a flow, running through this series twice and finishing with child's pose.

UNWIND (18:12)
This section starts with "sufi grinds," or seated torso circles. Larkin moves into movements to stretch the fingers and hands and an occipital (back of the head) massage. Coming to the floor, she performs a "floor yawn," leg swing, and finishes with happy baby pose.

This a guided relaxation. Larkin cues the breathing in the beginning but then is mostly silent. I didn't find this to be a particularly useful or relaxing addition.

Overall, the practices on this DVD are mixed. I enjoyed some of the movements, but I also found the routines to be lacking (e.g., not including side bending movements in the spine practice). I also believe that Larkin's teaching is focused on bodies like her own that are thin and generally flexible. She does not offer many variations that would work for for different body types, such as bigger bodies or those with specific injuries. So, although I can see how some would enjoy this DVD, I definitely would not recommend it for all.

Instructor Comments:
Brett can be a little sugary for my tastes, but her general instruction is fine. I do think she is used to teaching mainly to others who look like her rather than a variety of body types.

Beth C (aka toaster)