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Bonnie Crotzer is a movement model, stretch rascal, and cofounder of Ghost Flower Activewear.
I would like to call her the “fascia whisperer,” she has saved my body last year when confined to the screen like most people. After 22 years of practicing yoga, I needed an update of my fascia and movements.
Bonnies has the ability to connect you to your fascia with micro movements, your own body resistance, words, and her beautiful persona, not an easy trait when all her classes are online.
Tell us about yourself? Your personal history? Your professional history?
I started dancing at 4, so I was admiring bodies and studying them from a very young age. I have always been fascinated with the body; I think we are walking miracles. By 15, I was taking Pilates and yoga to support my dancing, and it opened another layer of integrated awareness. I went deep into my yoga practice, got certified, and began teaching in my young 20’s. I loved it and still loved it but over time I recognized that, on my mat, I wasn’t truly listening to my body as I pretzeled myself into crazy shapes and arm balances. I was stressing my body both dancing in ballet companies and in my yoga practice, the exact practice that I had thought would save me and sustain me through my dance career. That’s when I was introduced to integrative stretching and it opened a whole new world, a way to heal myself, and beyond that, to feel incredible. I didn’t know that I could feel that good or that it was even possible.
What does fascia flossing mean?
The actual flossing of the fascia is the ability to elongate and contract it.
You know how the places where we feel tight, like where a knot is? Where the tissue feels tough, hardened, even dry or like a dead zone? Well, the kind of stretching we do helps make that tissue elastic, springy, and hydrated again. To revitalize the tissue, we stretch like animals stretch...picture a cat or a dog pawing the ground as they lean back or how you naturally yawn in the morning...animals' contract as they stretch...it’s an engaged elongation also called pandiculation also called eccentric contraction. So, we take that concept of engaged elongation and apply it in an organized fashion to every major muscle group of the body.
In an integrative stretch session with me, I have you engage a muscle group (imagine your bicep contracted) and you continue to resist me as I elongate your tissue (I pull your forearm out long while you resist). The resistance and movement together create an internal exfoliation that breaks up hardened old, dry connective tissue, fibers and scar tissue releasing any toxins that the tissue is holding.
With this technique, the myofascial tissue changes from the inside, instead of trying to soften it with an external force (traditional technique of myofascial release and deep tissue massage) which can be painful. I really enjoyed getting deep tissue more once I received integrative stretching, because this technique changes the tissue en masse. It’s a complete overhaul of your fascia, starting with the structural connective tissue, deep to the bones, before working on the superficial fascia. I go to myofascial release for cranial sacral and intricate work.
How do I prepare for class?
I don’t really to be honest! I usually have an overarching theme or a “peak” stretch I want to work our way into for class. But honestly the days of preplanning class are gone. I often want to help class members problem solve any questions or issues they have and read everyone’s energy in class. Class doesn’t turn out perfect, but I like it a little raw, human, and rough around the edges. Then we are in present moment participation, connection and communication.
What inspired you to connect your practitioners around the world? How has the pandemic changed the way you work?
The main way the pandemic has changed the way I work, is that I don’t have to go anywhere! And get to connect with practitioners globally—which I love. My love of travel is incorporated somehow by having the honor of connecting with people across cultures. That said, I am a community junkie, I miss being at skyting Yoga almost every day in NYC, I miss touching bodies and being touched. I can wait to gather again, it will be beyond magic, and we will never take that for granted again.
How do you stay mentally and physically strong in these changing times?
I told myself at the beginning of the pandemic when things were really rough for me, my heart was broken and felt so isolated…I told myself that the only thing I had to do (five days of the week), was get my endorphins up. I know that keeps me steady, whether is was a run, a hike, dancing around, or whatever. It got me though. Also being really honest with friends, the catharsis of being vulnerable with someone you trust has been huge. So grateful to all my dear ones who have been supporting me through this time, you know who you are. One of the best things that my 3 best dance friends and I got to do, starting in the Fall, was rent a dance studio a few hours a week. Moving together (even with masks on) meant the world and helped me feel like myself again.
Could you give us your daily stay at home routine?
My daily routine can really vary. Since I am running a start up with my other cofounders, we have flexibility, while at the same time, there is always, always more to be done. Pre-pandemic, I would frame my day around my dance classes in NYC. Get up early, emails, write copy, run to dance class, run back to take calls, work more, and see clients for hands-on flossing. Now it's mainly the same, but with runs, and zoom dance classes. I think freely or meditate in the morning. Have some tea and special supplements or make a tonic drink. Usually do a run early, then teach Flossing on zoom, and charge on Ghost Flower the rest of the day. It's fun! And busy all the time. In the height of the pandemic, I mandated a 5-6pm stop time (at least a break) to walk or hike and have dinner. And it helped me stop working so much on the weekends, so that has been fab! The evening…hmmm, when I can I see friends safely, I do that. I have had my bubble in NY and in CA, and we can see each other outside. I don’t watch many shows except when I am with my folks, then I find it to be a sweet social activity. And this year I have been on a million first dates, heaven help me.
Mainly fun! And I like how the safety protocols ensured no swift moves from the guys I have gone out with lol. I like taking it slow.
What's always in your fridge?
In my fridge...I always have blueberries, greens, cucumber, macadamia, chocolate and hummus. I crave blueberries for the antioxidants, so even if they are out of season, I let myself go there! My friends tell me I have a full apothecary in my fridge and a bunch of little snacks. I guess I like to try things :)
This year I am attempting to write my first book, and it might be a surprise but it's not on Fascia or any of my expertise, it is quite the opposite, so stay tuned! Plus, growing Ghost Flower into a more sustainable venture and getting the word out about Fascia Flossing, want more people to have access to this work!
Are you working on anything special now, what does 2021 have in store?