Tensegrity March 29 2009

The Wikipedia definition: Tensegrity is a portmanteau of tensional integrity. It refers to the integrity of structures as being based in a synergy between balanced tension and compression components.

So how does that apply to our body? Well, it is the synergy between compressional strength, or pushing strength and tensional strength, or pulling strength. Just like the connective tissue and bones of our body. Bones give us our compressional strength. They are strong and solid, like beams in a building. While our connective tissue uses tensional strength, like the connecting cables of that same building.

Tensegrity is a great principle for describing the relationship between the skeleton, muscles and connective tissue in our bodies. There isn’t a horizontal surface in the skeleton that provides a stable base for anything to be stacked upon it. Weight applied to any bone would cause it to slide off its joint if it wasn’t for the tensional pull of connective tissue (i.e. ligaments) to hold it in place and control movement.

Any dysfunction in this model causes the other components to be affected and this will take away from the structures stability. For example, tight pectoral muscles will cause medial rotation of the shoulders.

So proper adjustment of length and tension in connective tissue is important to the distribution of gravitational forces throughout the body.

Think about this concept and how yoga helps us keep our balance through strengthening the muscles and lengthening both muscle and connective tissue. Keeping that tensional strength healthy and balanced.

For a visiual aid, there are plenty of tensegrity models available on the web and in stores.