e.g. I have much more resistance on my right side compared to my left side in this movement.
Fascia is the spiderweb-like tissue in the body that serves as a tensegrity matrix by suspending the muscles, bones, and organs.
Muscles are contractile while fascia is resistant.
Fascia acts like a spring and provides energy efficiency for bodily positioning and movement.
Fascia accumulates and congeals from unprocessed trauma, creating excessive amounts of resistance in the body, limiting range of motion, strength, and flexibility.
Dense fascia interrupts neuromuscular communication, creates blind/numb spots within the body, and pulls bones out of their natural resting positions.
Generating tension and resistance while stretching transforms and renovates the health of fascia.
Range of motion can be defined as moving through space while flexibility is more about actively and functionally using that range of motion in all ways possible.
There are gyms around the world dedicated to muscular strength training. It's time to create systems and platforms to rehabilitate and upgrade the fascia.
The muscle is recruited during the shortening (strength) phase of movement while the fascia is recruited during the elongation (stretch) phase.
The key to rehabilitation is to actively load and max out the negative (eccentric) phase of movement when stretching just as we max out the positive (concentric) phase of movement when strength training.
This is how animals stretch, pandiculating by clawing the ground to contract the muscles being stretched. Humans also do this when yawning, and can apply this principle to all 16 major muscle groups for comprehensive health checks and upgrades.
Strength training is like addition, creating more muscle and capability. We need more subtraction, actively stretching to remove dense tissue and excessive resistive force.
Stretching is not just a solo activity, but can be done with assistance from others for maximal results.
Develop the 16 contiguous muscle groups and their associated energetic channels identified by traditional Chinese medicine.
Balance is key. The balancing muscle group's shortening capacity is the limiting factor for the target muscle group's ability to stretch.
Exceed the tensile strength of dense fascia by generating tension and resisting while stretching to create immediate and permanent architectural changes within the body.
Target not only the areas in your body that you know need help, but in particular, the areas where there is a lack of sensation and awareness.
Defer to your body, psychology, emotions, and spirit when exercising.
Discover yin yang, spin-½, and the geometric torus within yourself.
Identify how dense fascia and scar tissue warps your toroidal field, stresses the associated organs, and causes substituted movements.
Geometric artistic expressions of the body to identify, track, and systematically upgrade positions, movements, and tissue health.
Dense tissue must be removed through one's own internal forces and can't be removed to the same degree from the outside with external methods like massage.
Examples self stretch/strength exercises.
Instead of throwing out the negative, compost it into the positive. E.g. transform tenseness into tension.
Discover how developing specific areas of the body can also improve the health of specific joints and types of tissue.
Examples of assisted stretch/strength exercises.
Flexibility is more about the shortening capacity than the lengthening capacity of a muscle.
A reality check occurs when one finally maxes out the negative phase of movement, bringing bitter awareness to chronic problems in the body, while also providing sweet relief through permanent increases in tissue health.
Can I introduce you? "Sure, thank you." Ok, I've got to say a couple amazing words about this gentleman. I went to one of his workshops... this is Luther Bryan by the way if you haven't met him. I went to one of Luther's workshops a couple of years ago and I got hooked. And the emotional release and the spaciousness and the good juju that came after that, and the people that I have sent to him has been like next level, and I could not keep it quiet because there is so much power in the body's therapy if you know how to work the technology it comes with. So, that's how I met Luther. I was hooked on his stuff and I had to bring him to the world. I'm going to tell you a little... you get to receive now. "Thanks." It's ok if it's awkward, but you're going to hear this. "It's all right. Thank you." You're amazing.
For over two decades, Luther Bryan has embarked on a personal mission to elevate the human body's self-healing potential. So much more than just a personal trainer or a stretch coach, his work has empowered clients and members of his community from all around the globe with multi-dimensional sensory experience to liberate and fortify the cells, the intellect, the emotions, and the spirit through simple yet revolutionary flexibility and strength training technique. His signature methodology is a life force activating fusion of ancient medicinal teachings, sacred sciences, and cutting edge fitness and wellness practices, which makes him a secret weapon to some of the planet's most prolific change makers and paradigm shifters of our time.
He is highly sought after as an exercise coach and a movement healer to a whole A-list client roster of Hollywood headliners, Olympic legends, pro-athletes, world renowned thought leaders, elite business executives, including modern day Renaissance woman, media mogul, and my favorite, Oprah.
However, some of his most near and dear accomplishments have been coming to the aid of human beings who have been severely injured or ill beyond what conventional medicine was capable of healing, leaving them turning to Luther as a last hope to reverse engineer their physical pain and suffering back to vitality and joy through the freedom of movement in their body and their mind.
This movement rock star is a fierce yet gentle force to be reckoned with when it comes to igniting the innate wisdom technology embedded within muscles, connective tissues, organs, as a gateway to accessing extraordinary health, peak performance, and next level badassery. Mr. Luther Cowden. Luther Bryan. Thank you. You're awesome.
"Wow." Thanks for being here. "Everyone, Sylvia. I mean, come on, amazing right? Yeah."
Who knows about fascia here? It's the white stuff on the cadaver, it's the white stuff on the chicken or the steak, right? But that implies that it's a surface level phenomenon, which is not really what its primary function is.
If you look at it under high magnification, it's a mesh, it's a spiderweb-like material essentially ignored through conventional medicine. It's the thing you cut through to get to the joint to repair the joints, the thing you cut through to get to the organ to repair the organ. It wasn't really thought of as a functional type of tissue.
Now we know that it's quite functional and that it's not just on the surface of the muscle, but it goes from the surface through the fat, into the skin, and then it goes through the muscle down to the bone. It's a resistance matrix, it's a tensegrity matrix inside the body. And so then you have this muscular tissue, which is wired to the brain, fires, move through space, and then the fascia is like a spring. Essentially, it's the soup stock for your entire body.
And that's all great and well when it's healthy. Now, the problem is it becomes unhealthy. That happens through a different type of trauma that we experience that we don't process. For whatever reason, it gets stored in this type of tissue. When that happens, you can see this under high magnification as well, that adaptive tissue that's transporting fluid when it's healthy becomes congealed and it becomes accumulated, and it becomes dry. It becomes non-adaptive.
And the resistance amplifies, the amount of resistance in the tissue can become way too much, which then means that tensegrity matrix is now kind of being used against you, right? Instead of it supporting you and letting you float in this matrix, it's holding you into a particular position within your matrix. And then whenever you make movements, you're now substituting to get around that force, because the muscles cannot compete with the force in the fascia.
One thing to keep in mind when it comes to this type of tissue is that you can't feel it. That's part of the reason why I think this has been unidentified for so long. People typically can feel certain areas in the body that need help. The problem is that people can then get fixated on trying to resolve the sensation or the problem that they're aware of. Meanwhile, they're missing the source of that, which they can't identify, because it's not wired to the brain. So what that means is that there's an accumulation of force inside the body that's not being identified, and that corresponds with an accumulation of tissue inside the body that's not being identified.
Most strength training is out there, there are gyms all over the world that are dedicated to it, now we need the next step, which is to create systems and platforms to actually change not just the muscles, but the fascia. But let's start with strength training. What do you do when you want to strengthen a muscle? Okay, you'd start with the muscle elongated, in this case, my bicep is elongated, put a weight in your hand, causes the bicep to contract. You overcome the outside force, so the bicep shortens.
I want to crash some concepts on stretching and flexibility. When most people are stretching, they're thinking, "I need to elongate the muscle, and when I feel it tug," which is called the stretch reflex, "That's my body stopping me from being flexible, and so I need to override that by breathing into it and relaxing, and then go further." That does not create flexibility, okay? Let's differentiate flexibility and range of motion.
Range of motion is the ability to move your arm or leg through space, move your body through space. Flexibility is the ability to do that while engaging your tissue in every way possible. That's what has not been identified. Let's do the same thing, hand is still on top. This hand still continues to pull towards your shoulder, but now let's use the top hand to overpower the bottom hand. So now you're doing a tug of war with yourself so that the bottom hand is still pulling up towards you, but now you're using your top hand to overpower that force. And so your bicep is contracting, just like it was during the strength training. The only difference is now, instead of it's shortening, it's now elongating. Very simple concept.
The muscle's recruited during the shortening phase, the fascia is recruited during the elongation phase. That's the key. The muscle has a certain amount of contractile force. The fascia has a tremendous amount of resistive force. When you're lowering the weight, the muscle is contracting eccentrically, but it's not being maxed out. We're maxing out the shortening phase, but we're not maxing it out on the negative. It's that simple.
Well, when you max out the negative phase of movement, the fascia meets its match, finally. Until then, until a person actually does that, the fascia has always got the upper hand, always got the most force, always pulling your bones out of rotation, always, always, always.
Now, when you start to do this and you exceed the tensile strength of that tissue, what happens is that tissue starts to break down within your body. So now you're using your own resistance as a scalpel. And so what happens is that fascia, which is now under a load, which is normally having the upper hand and only expressing itself in one configuration, says, "Oh, wait, wait, wait, wait. I'm getting forced into a new configuration," and finally it starts to break apart. Where it's become accumulated, it finally starts to break apart. And then what happens is that you have more flexibility.
And guess what? This isn't a new concept. Watch a cat or a dog stretch. What do they do? They get on the ground. They claw the ground, don't they? They claw the ground. They contract the muscles. Guess what we do when we wake up? We do it. We do it all the time, right? It's just not been identified in a way that allows us to apply it to all the 16 major muscle groups in the body. There's a way to systematically go through your body and target all of the different muscles with that pandiculation.
Humans are more complex. We have this mind and we have this ability to kind of redirect what would naturally happen. And so now we want to be able to defer to our body, okay? We use the mind enough. Most of what we're doing with the mind is addition. We need more subtraction. Okay? Strength training is addition. Let's add muscle. Let's add capability. Let's climb the mountain. Let's lift that weight. Great. We need subtraction. Remove the dense tissue, remove the problem, remove the excessive force. That happens through this phase of movement. It's that simple. It's not a complicated concept.
Most people think stretching is a solo activity, right? It is. Guess what? I cut my own hair. I used to have long dreadlocks, by the way. I cut my own hair, that's also a solo activity, but isn't it nice to go to a hairstylist, right? So you don't have to do things by yourself. And in fact, if you get help from another person, you can do things you can't do on yourself, right? So stretching is not just a solo activity.
I want you all to experience this through assistance, because you can get much greater results through assisted stretching. Now let's do the stretch. Lily's going to keep pulling in. So now she can start using way more force than she could when she was doing it herself, right? Does it feel a little different? "Yeah. Whoa." That's not what she said after the self-stretch. Did you hear the change in the breathing? That's an emotional change. We'll talk more about that. Yeah, satisfaction as well. It goes with emotionality. "Satisfaction. Exactly." It's cool. Right?
There's a chain of contiguous muscle groups that we can talk about that we're working on, which has to do with energetic Chinese medicine and other concepts.
Yes, muscles are like, "Oh, finally, I get to feel like this. I knew I could always do this. I just needed that." Wasn't it fast? There's an immediate change, and there's permanent change. That's a hard concept for people to swallow. How is it possible that you can make a permanent change in the body?
When you train muscles, the muscle breaks down, it rebuilds, now it needs to get fed. It needs nutrients. And then if your body doesn't need that muscle, guess what? You lose the muscle. Well, what we're doing is we're working on fascial tissue, which is not muscle. And when you change that tissue and it finally meets its match, it doesn't build, it gets destroyed. When you renovate the house, you don't have to keep renovating the house every weekend. It's done. You've got a new house. When you remove dense tissue from the body, it's done, it's gone. Do you still need to clean the house? Yes, it's a physical structure. Do you still need to stretch the body? Yes, it's a physical structure, but tenseness can be removed like that. Just like when we worked in your arm, you're like, "Ah," right? That can be removed easily. Dense fascia scar tissue is a little bit more sophisticated, but once you do it and it's removed, it's gone, it's permanent.
So that brings up an important concept, which is balance. This is very, the approach here is very Eastern in terms of balancing organs, balancing meridians in Chinese medicine, balancing movements. And so when you're stretching your bicep, the tricep has to be able to shorten. If the tricep can't shorten, the bicep's not going to stretch.
So in other words, where there's an accumulation of dense fascia, there is a lack of sensation. So if you want a stretch in your body and you really want to change yourself, you can go after the things you know are tense. But if you really want to change yourself, go after the parts that you can't feel.
I want people to defer to their body, the physical part. I want people to defer to their emotionality, which is primarily breathing, satisfaction and desire. I want people to defer to their thinking. That's identifying what's happening as you're doing the movement, identifying the sensation, differentiating this sensation from that, seeing how it's affecting you psychologically, and to defer to their spirit, or energy, which is how is it changing your life and your perspective, right? Defer. Too much control, not enough deference. The body already knows, we just need to defer to it.
This is a torus. This is what we are, right? Energetically. It's a great thing to play around with, right? So this is a torus. This is kind of the shape of a lot of things in our, this thing we're in, magnetic fields, toroidal fields. An apple is a torus. A tree goes out like this. Underneath, it goes out like this. The cosmos, the universe, the galaxy, there are a lot of toroidal fields going on.
Well, the body is similar. So if you look at page four, that's like a flat view of a torus. Essentially what happens is you have eight major muscle groups in the lower body, and you have eight major muscle groups in the upper body. It's a very simple way to identify your body. You have major muscle groups within each of those zones, and then you have energetic channels, pancreas, liver, kidney, conception vessel sexual, stomach, gallbladder, bladder, and the same thing in the upper body, right? Those are simple ways to identify zones in the body.
So then the question is, how do you stretch the muscles that you can't feel? Well, one way is to identify all of these zones, and so then you can start to identify these patterns and then start going after those patterns. So this morning, when I woke up, I did a flow. In 20 minutes, you can stretch every major muscle group of your body. I recommend starting with the flow. And then as you do that, you'll start to see, man, when I stretch my IT band on my right side, I can't feel a thing. Write that down, right?
And I'm creating geometric graphics that will create geometric expression for not just the proximal joints, but all the extremities as well. And you'll have a geometric expression of your biomechanics. And that way you can start identifying where you're not having sensation, where you're tight, okay? And then you have a systematic way of going after your body.
There's joint associations based on these toroidal patterns.
At the end of the day, you've got to remove the dense tissue, and it can't happen from the outside. You can't go into the body with your hands and massage this stuff out. It's got to happen from within your body. It's got to happen through your own force interfacing with outside forces. That's the way to change this dense tissue. No substitute.
I got into health because of my gut. I had to do a duodenal ulcer around 15, 16 years old, and I was having serious problems eating most foods and digesting most foods. And I think that happened for a lot of reasons. I was very unhappy at that point in my life. And so I went through conventional medicine to get that fixed. I took like 12 pills a day, antibiotics and stuff, super brutal, you know? But that killed the bacteria in my body that had accumulated because of my life choices and my malfunctioning psychology. But then I was still burping nonstop, burp, burp, burp nonstop. I was like, something's still off here.
It wasn't until I started removing the dense tissue from certain muscle groups, my medial hamstrings, that my pancreas started to work more, and then my attention started to be more with people, instead of being in outer space. I was a super space cadet, right? And then my digestion started to get much better.
And so there's a predictable association with muscle groups and digestive health. Chinese medicine explains that through energy. What I needed was physical change in my tissue, which creates a similar effect in the organs. As opposed to it just being an energetic explanation, you can think of it as when one muscle group gets very tight, it starts to hold you into a particular area of your toroidal field, okay? And then everything you're doing is from that area, which means that you're substituted in your torso, which means that your organ is now under extreme stress, which means you're not going to get the circulation, you're not going to get the oxygen, you're not going to get all of those things that would be happening if you didn't have that stress. I think that's our way in the West to understand how physiological health is affected by exercise.
One way to get into this muscle group is if you're laying on your back, you can have your hands on the outside of your knees. To engage, your knees push out to the side. To stretch, your hands overpower your knees to bring your knees together. If you want to strengthen, you can keep pushing out with your knees as you slow it down. To stretch, continue to push out with your knees as your hands bring your knees together. Both legs push out to the side the whole time as you either bring your knees together to stretch that tissue, or slow the return movement to strengthen. If you want to get this deeper, you can do it on your side. You're lifting one knee and then you're bringing your knees down to the ground.
There's a psychological, and emotional, and spiritual trait associate with each of these movements.
All of these are about processing the negative into the positive, by the way. So we want to take all of the icky stuff and not get rid of it. "Oh, I'm tired of being tense. Stop being tense." It's like, no, let's use that tenseness. Let's turn that into tension, right? So tension is the ability of the muscle to contract and move you. It's the desire. Oh, I want to win. You start getting an extra chemical boost at the end of the race, the desire, that tension.
Another one that I love doing, if you're in a lunge position, you take one elbow, you put it on the outside of your knee, and then you can push your knee and elbow in toward each other, and then we can do some rotation. My wrist will go this way and I'll use my hand to bring it in toward me. As your wrist goes this way, use your other hand to pull it in towards you.
All of these muscle groups are associated with a type of tissue as well. So if you have ligament problems, that usually means the IT band's too tight. If you have a tendon problems, it usually means the adductors are too tight. You have problems with the cerebral spinal fluid, it means it's the rotator cuff muscle. There's a lot of associations, a lot of data.
So this is the idea. Instead of just waiting in a forward bend for you to, maybe one day you touch your toes, instead get in there, use your tension, use your resistance, work it out, you know? And then when you're done, you're like, "Oh, now I have that range of motion. It's there."
So remember we did this stretch to start? Let's do an assisted version of that.
So if we wanted to strengthen, we'd start here. She pushes out with both knees. I'm slowing her down, not giving her too much force. Trying to let the person go as far as they can in range.
Now keep pushing out with both knees. A little less force, that's plenty. And now what I'm doing is overpowering that force to bring her knees together. So again, we'll start out. Both knees push out. Keep pushing out. Start out with sub-maximal force and then if I can handle it, the person can give more.
I'm only going to the point where I feel like the person can still resist. As soon as I feel like they can't resist or generate tension anymore, I stop and do another repetition. I might only do a inch of range. And I'm evaluating the change by the health of the tissue based on its ability to contract, based on the range of motion, and based on the starting position.
In other words, your knee now goes closer to the ground right? Most people think you'd have to stretch the inside to get the knee to go to the ground. We didn't touch it. Right? So flexibility is about the shortening capacity more than the lengthening capacity. Wild, isn't it? Do you see how everything is reversed?
So when I see that the muscle is able to shorten better, I know that we're getting a change in flexibility. If it lengthens better, that could mean that we're getting a change, but that can be substituted. The shortening position can't really be faked.
Go ahead and push out. It's a lot of work isn't it? So basically, the person's losing in an arm wrestling match. "So I feel weak. I feel like I don't have much resistance in this position." Ok, push out again. She says she feels like she doesn't have much resistance. Look at me. Sometimes I'm like, look at me, no seriously. I have to get the person to look at me because they think they aren't doing anything, and I'm like... "I know, it's such a mystery." It's mysterious. See, this muscle group might be associated with mystery. The words people use matter. Let's take a break already and now just see how that feels. You may want to stand up and walk around and just check it out.
"So, I feel like this side's really tight. But it's really just probably that this one..." Exactly. That's how it's subtractive. In other words, you have to compare it to the other side. Because she couldn't feel what was happening while we did it. And so once you have something to compare it to. You're like, "oh well, this side is tight" but the person wasn't aware of that before because that's their default. Right? And so then, if I just worked on both sides, the person would stand up and they'd be like... "Well, I feel like, I feel..." you know it'd be harder to identify. So in terms of working on people, you have to be strategic about letting them know what it is that you're actually doing. Because they can't feel it. Right? Cool, huh? That was only eight reps or so. Can we try some more? Can I get some help? Does someone want to help?
"You said you had to subtract to feel what's going on?" Yeah, we subtracted from the left side and we didn't subtract from the right. And so then that exposed what was actually on both sides, but the person couldn't identify it because they think that's normal. And so you subtract the stuff on the left, on one side, and then they compare it to what they're always having, and then they realize they don't have to be having what they thought was normal. "It makes me want to cry, actually." Ohh. Yeah, people are waiting for this. Yeah, it's possible. They just need help. Everyone needs help. "Because I'm aware now of how tight I've been." Yes, I know. It's a reality check. It's a reality check. And so it's kind of like, oh my, I could have been having this my whole life? But now it's like, now you can have it. And you don't have to spend the rest of your life getting the stuff out. It comes out much faster than as much as it took to get in there. So it's bittersweet. It's like oh my, I could have been feeling this goo
When you have another person involved, it gets easier on everyone. And so I feel like the model to really make this sustainable is group work, right? Where people get together, and now it's three of us and it takes a little force on each of our parts to do this. The best part is when the person's done getting stretched, to let them see what's going on and for you to be with them.
"My whole body feels different for some reason." Her whole body feels different for some reason. "And I feel like more erect." More erect. "And with ease, like I'm not forcing it." Exactly. "I feel like a little taller." Erect with more ease, without forcing it, taller. That was one muscle group, that was about 20 reps.