Structural Bodywork in Newquay- The Deep Front Line
This is the last article in the series dedicated to Structural Bodywork In Newquay and the myofascial meridians. The Superficial Front Line (Blog1); The Superficial Back Line (Blog 2) and The Spiral and Lateral Lines (Blog 3) have already been discussed.
The deepest of the meridians, The Deep Front Line (DFL), will now be discussed relative to movement, function, yoga and structural bodywork.
Basic Anatomy of the Deep Front Line
The DFL as its’ name suggests is located deep within the most inner part of the body’s tissues and is surrounded by the previously discussed lines. It is sandwiched between the SFL and the SBL in the sagittal (front to back) plane and between the LL lines in the coronal (side to side) plane. While the Spiral Lines wrap around the DFL in their helix formation.
This meridian is better referred to as a complex core volume than a line as it encompasses a three dimensional space more so than any of the other lines. The DFL clearly occupies a volumetric space and while fundamentally fascial in nature it does include some of the more obscure supporting muscles of our anatomy such as the levator ani.
The DFL spans the space from the inner arch of the foot up the inseam of the leg. From here the major track passes in front of the hip joint, pelvis, and lumbar spine, while an alternate track passes up the back of the thigh to the pelvic floor and rejoins the first at the lumbar spine.
The DFL continues up through the rib cage along several alternate paths around and through the thoracic viscera, ending up at the bottom of the skull and jaw.
Postural Function of the DFL
The DFL plays a vital role in supporting the body’s posture. It is responsible for creating lift through the inner arches of the feet and stabilising each segment of the leg especially the hip. It not only offers physical support to the lumbar spine from the front but also creates reinforcement here through its’ surrounding and shaping of the abdominal-pelvic balloon. Through this mechanism it also supports the stabilisation of the chest cavity while allowing the expansion and relaxation of breathing. Finally it plays a fundamental role in balancing the fragile neck and the weight of the head at the top of the body.
Movement Function of the DFL
Hip adduction (movement towards the mid-line) and the breathing wave of the diaphragm are strictly the movement province of the DFL. While technically the DFL is fully responsible for these movements there are no movements that are outside of its’ influence. The DFL is almost entirely surrounded or covered by other myofascia that duplicate the roles of the tissues of the DFL. Thus an immediate loss of function is not necessarily inherent to an inability of the DFL to work properly. Function can usually be transferred to the outer lines of myofascia, but with slightly less elegance and grace, and slightly more strain to the joints and peri-articular tissues, which can set up the conditions over time for injury and degeneration.
The DFL being such an important entity of support means that it is made up of denser fascia and more slow twitch, endurance based muscle fibres. This reflects the role the DFL plays in providing stability and subtle positioning changes to the core structure to enable the more superficial structures and lines to work easily and efficiently with the skeleton.
Why Does it Matter? Yoga and Structural Bodywork Implications
The functional implications relative to the DFL are vast. The involvement of the respiratory diaphragm as an integral part of our core stabilisation, and therefore our breath is of major importance to yoga practitioners. As is the core stabilising function of the hyoid and pharyngeal muscles within the throat.
The Deep Front Line is not only complex, but is perhaps the most important of the myofascial networks in our body. Through the pelvis, the DFL lies in intimate relation with the hip joint, and relates the wave of breathing to the rhythm of walking. In the trunk, the DFL is poised, along with the autonomic ganglia, between our neuromotor ‘chassis’ and the more ancient organs of cell support within our ventral cavity and is thus uniquely involved in sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system balance. In the neck, it provides the counterbalancing lift to the pull of both the SFL and SBL. A dimensional understanding of the DFL is necessary for successful application of nearly any method of manual or movement therapy.
Within a yoga setting the DFL is responsible for the “up” actions that create lift through the body. The lift of the arches; the activation of the inner thigh muscles; the lift of the pelvic floor (Mula Bandha) and the drawing in of the belly on exhale (Uddiyana Bandha). Deep diaphragmatic breathing and the inner lengthening of axial extension are also under the domain of the DFL. Poses such as Tadasana and Adho Mukha Vrkasana require deep connection to the support systems of the DFL.
Structural bodywork aims to integrate the function of all the myofascial lines and in doing so create an ease of movement and grace throughout the structure of the body. The more superficial lines are opened to allow for the deeper patterns held within the DFL to become more clear as compensations melt away. The work within the DFL is mostly dedicated to bringing proprioceptive awareness back to deeper structures that may have a decreased sense of feeling as well as reconnecting to to the possibility of full, open breath. As the body comes home to this deeper sense of feeling from the inside out the integration of movement is heightened and the body becomes more able to find a natural balance.