We all know that when it comes to exercise, cardio feels like the king- but as you get older, flexibility becomes much more important. Moving beyond that flexibility is recognizing how important fascia is when it comes to mobility. Fascia flossing might just be the next greatest thing when it comes to body work.
So, what is fascia? Fascia is the thin connective tissue that surrounds all of our inner workings. From organs, to muscles, to nerves- the fascia keeps it in place. Moving, massaging, and "releasing" our fascia may be the key to many bodily ailments (and improve skin health/texture/vibrancy) and there is no one I've found who seems to be more knowledgeable or approachable than Bonnie Crotzer.
Bonnie coined the term "Fascia Flossing" to describe her work, and we are SO into it. Like flossing your teeth, or properly exfoliating your skin, fascia flossing is about removing the stagnant layers to get the good stuff in. Through her website, and social channels, she offers classes and challenges that are super fun and engaging. This interview gives so much great information and inspires a movement friendly new year.
1- Your 3 word bio
Peace-seeking, irreverent, curious (ok that was 4, refer to #2)
2 - Tell us briefly about your background and how you got to where you are now?
I have always been a mover, my mom says I could never sit still, always an observer of the body, in awe of it really. All I wanted to do was dance. My devotion to my dance career also meant physical strain. I practiced/received it all…from Alexander technique to Acu, to having a very deep yoga practice…I was looking for a sustainable way to care for my body. When I met my former teacher, Bob Cooley and his gang, my body said "whoa! this sh*t works”. Forever grateful. Never felt something so impactful, after one session I had access to parts of myself that I thought were long gone. Of course, I just wanted to dance, I didn’t want to become a practitioner…I have tried to escape my destiny, but I guess assisting folks with their experience in their bodies, was meant to be my next chapter, and here we are Flossing away.
3 - You are the creator of Fascia Flossing. Can you please tell us what Fascia Flossing is exactly?
Bob taught us to stretch like animals stretch. They resist while they elongate. This concept is called pandiculation. So, we take that concept and apply it to most major muscle groups/connective tissue bands in the bod. The engagement against the elongation of the tissue generates a tensile force, gently pulling on the fascial fibers, realigning and disbanding hardened, plastic-like tissue.
4 - I read that you said, fascia flossing is "internally exfoliating your connective tissue layer by layer, moving stagnation, and revitalizing your tissue to become elastic, hydrated, and pliable again" - just reading this makes me feel all tingly and good inside. Your approach to body work is really unique, and I feel like most of us are generally getting it wrong. Can you tell us how your approach is different?
Fascia Flossing is different from our traditional ways of stretching because 1) We are not passive - we engage the area we are targeting while we elongate- this causes an aggregate change of the fascia 2) we don’t hold still, we pulse the movement - keeping it moving through reps brings circulation, oxygenation and you are less likely to over stretch and cause micro tearing (which makes us tighter in the end!). BTW there is a self-practice version of Flossing, this is a very potent tool that you can do anywhere, anytime. The other component, is the hands on work, where I am manipulating your limbs as you resist me (this is major!). Classical myofascial therapies use an external force to work change the tissue (like hands, a scrapping tool, a roller etc.). Fascia Flossing works from the inside-out, changing the structural fascia that is deeper and hard to change from the outside. It’s important to change the structural fascia because it determines the status of the superficial fascia (that intern impacts the health of the skin).
5 - My personal relationship to movement has changed so much after having a child. I used to be all about cardio. Now movement feels so much more about mental health than anything physical, and the actual work needs to be much more subtle. Where and how is the best place to start with a gentler approach to body work?
I feel you, our movement culture usually presents a "hard-liner attitude". I think the most important thing to do is move! Rolling around on the floor counts! Walking for ten minutes counts! Swinging your arms around counts! What most of our aches, pains and hardened fascia originates from is staying in the same position for too many hours in one day! If you can, change your position every 30 mins and even better, get up and shake it off every hour!
I think we cultivate a sophisticated relationship with our body when we are truly listening, allowing the sensations to be fully felt, letting our instincts drive us versus what we "think we should do”, we give our body authority/autonomy away ... feeling into how our desires give us motivation-that generates results. Working deeper into the layers of the body, the layers of the fascia, forces the practitioner to be very honest with themselves, you can't bypass what you find there. I think "jumping through hoops" or doing hardcore yoga (like I uses to) allowed me to bypass my truth and focus on making crazy shapes, or on thinking about how many miles I can run, not about how my body feels while doing it.
6 - If you could recommend one movement, or one short series of movements that we all need, what would that be?
Oh gosh, I am, sorry to all my Flossers who already hear me harping about the hamstrings. If there is one area that I beg folks, literally beg them, is to change their hamstrings. Think about how large these muscles (the glutes too, as they share some of the same main thorough fares of fascia), if they are full of dense fascia and scar tissue (this is almost everyone, even you hyper mobile friends out there!), they yank on the pelvis - tilting it, the pelvis curates the setup of the spine…chain reaction - literally. So, we start from the base, change the hammies to put the pelvis back to neutral, will provide suspension to the stacking of the vertebrae.
7 - Are there some books/ resources you recommend to learn more about the fascia?
Spark in the Machine, By Dr Dan Keown, Yoga, Anatomy, Fascia - Joanne Avision, The Endless Web, Between Heaven and Earth, The Genius of Flexibility by Bob Cooley
8 - Is there exercise that you recommend doing in addition to your work?
Love a boogie sesh - if you haven’t notice yet lol. I love some fun cardio as a great pair to Fascia Flossing, like 20-45 minuets of jogging, hopping about, or whatever you enjoy. I also love pilates, yoga, the classics. Flossing is a great workout on its own and pairs well with all athletic endeavors, talk about upgrading your physical game, changing your fascia makes us more functional overall!
9 - What are some of your non-negotiable wellness tools?
Ooo great question. Eating well, drinking water. Acupuncture! Mashing (I trade with my apprentices). Getting all the way warm most days, which could mean sauna, workout, bath, sunbathing. Touch, I am single, so receiving a massage and hugs is very important. I make a salt + oil scrub, love to treat myself to that, and mega moisturizing after.
10 - And because we are a little about "self-care" - what is your philosophy?
You only have one body. I believe our body is not separate from our soul. We have split them to try to understand our existence. But on this planet at least the one is inanimate without the other. So, invest in your body/yourself. We spend plenty on a special coat or a night out. We need to give ourselves permission to make ourselves feels super good. Why wait? Once we start feeling good, self-care doesn’t feel like work anymore, it’s just yummy.
11 - Tell us where to find you, and how to get started!?
Find me at the floss.com! Lots of good info and the page WHY FLOSS helps explain this practice further. You can book a private session with me there as well.
Sign up for updates and live class zoom links:
Some fun and silliness happening on IG @bonzsi
Weekend training happening in January, find me @skytingyoga for that
Retreat in Oaxaca coming up, where we get to Floss and do pilates with my girl, Colleen, @beautifulnomad for more info.