Early Summer & our connective tissue health

First of the roses in Queens Park Poetry Garden, May ’22

Early Summer is a short but very sweet season – 21 May – 20 June – where we focus on our connective tissue health in our practice. Associated with the secondary Fire element (summer is primary), our connective tissue is very much an emotionally governed web; we all have areas where we ‘store our stress’! When stressed, we are tight, restricted, closed off. When we feel safe, calm and socially connected, we are receptive, relaxed, joyful. So bringing hydration, connectivity and balance into the body is at the heart of our Early Summer practice. Scroll down to find out the 2 things you can do now to improve your connective tissue health!

What is connective tissue

Our connective tissue or fascia is a fluid filled continuous elastic tensile web, that conducts energy around the body. It wraps around every element in our body and is even in our eyes. It has an intelligence that the bulk of muscle doesn’t have: visualise the lithe lightness of a cat as opposed to the bulk of an ox. Hydrated and functioning well, it is comprised of many layers that rub easily over one another, can stretch out and return back. However our history of daily movement, postural and emotional habits, together with injuries, means this web gets tacked together and stuck in places. This is experienced as tightness, stiffness to chronic painful conditions.

How to boost our connective tissue health

Therefore it is important to move the rainbow, joyfully and mindfully, not simply repetitive gym/workout type movements. These build bulk and unchecked, un-stretched can lead to stiffness, joint restriction and potential injury. Complement workouts with dancing, swimming, MELT (rehydration of connective tissue and balancing of nervous system) yoga and qigong, all excellent ways to freely move the body and keep our connective tissue moving and healthy.

We are on average 70% water. Our energy flow is through these rivers and channels of elastic connective tissue. Therefore keeping hydrated not only keeps us flexible, but clear minded and healthy too. You’ll have heard me say this a hundred times, but a few mouthfuls of room temperature water every 15 minutes or so is the ideal way to keep our water levels topped up. Unfortunately coffee and tea do not count. Decaffeinated, they still act as diuretics, so we need to drink an extra cup of water for every cup of coffee or tea. Aim to drink 1.5-2 litres daily. Avoid iced water, this dampens our digestive fire; herbal teas are great.

Early summer meridians

Interestingly the early summer meridians, pericardium and triple heater, are for structures and functions in the body, not organs per se, rather a holistic overview of our body working well. The pericardium meridian flows from the side of the nipple to the tip of our middle finger, and Triple Heater channel flows from the back of the ring finger along into our shoulders and side of the face to outer edge of the eyebrow.

Yang & Yin Meridians including Pericardium & Triple Heater.
Image from Wiley Online Library

Pericardium

The pericardium is a fibrous sac of connective tissue around the heart. It holds it in place and protects it. It is associated with our emotions: if fearful it’ll tighten, if feeling safe, loved and connected, it’ll function well. In balance, we are happy, lighthearted, sociable. As its energy is peak 7-9pm, it associated with sex and loving connection. Imbalanced: we overreact, respond inappropriately, can be overprotective, highly sensitive or hide our deep emotions behind a joking facade.

Triple Heater

The triple heater or San Jiao is a holistic overview of interconnected physical functions separated into three areas in the body, likened to a rice steamer. The lower Jiao, the hot water of the steamer is our eliminatory and sexual functions. The Middle Jiao, the rice, is our digestion and absorption of energy from our food. The Upper Jiao, the steam, our circulatory and respiratory functions.

Triple burner functions of the body. Image from Ravenswood Wellness Center

In balance, we have good circulation and regulated body temperature; we are sociable and communicative, confident and helpful. Imbalanced: poor circulation, chilly or too hot; armoured with tight muscles and connective tissue or emotionally closed off; pretentious, over sensitive and over cautious.

What to expect in class

So if you didn’t need a reason to come to class, you certainly do now!

In our practice we move and stretch the whole body, mindful of the criss cross weave of connective tissue and fascia in our body. Practice is sinuous and flowing, in dancelike sequences that snake in figures of eight and outwards from our centre and back into our core. We playfully explore our body, from our centre to peripheries and back. Early Summer is time to let go of trying too much and simply enjoy ourselves. Expect to feel lighter, brighter, relaxed yet lithe.

2 things you can do now to improve connective tissue health

1. Keep hydrated

  • Drinking water throughout your day. Don’t put it off then gulp a pint down, most of that will be peed out. Little and often is ideal, aiming to drink 1.5-2 litres daily.

2. Dance

Choose a track and dance around your home. Every day for 3 minutes. For a week. Notice how it makes you feel.

‘The rule is you have to dance a little bit in the morning before you leave the house because it changes the way you walk out in the world.’ Sandra Bullock

Sign up for my upcoming Early Summer Mini Retreat

Love Early Summer Mini Retreat
Love Early Summer Mini Retreat

Love Early Summer Mini Retreat, Sunday 29th May 2 – 5pm GMT, in person and live online

An afternoon of joyful mindful stretching and movement to warm the cockles and heart, working directly with our connective tissue health. Yoga, qigong, breathing, meditation & deep relaxation. Expect to emerge refreshed, supple and calm.

The Gateway, 100 Merrylee Rd, G43 2RA or on Zoom

£40/30 low waged in person; on Zoom £30/25. 7 places available

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