Connective Tissue

Connective tissues are a group of tissues in the body that maintain the formation of the body and its organs and provide bond and internal support. The connective tissue comprises of several types of fibrous tissue that vary only in their density and cellularity, as well as the more specific and observable variants- bone, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and adipose tissue.

In the abdominal cavity, most organs are suspended from the abdominal wall by a membranous band known as the mesentery, which is supported by connective tissue. There are others that are submerged in the adipose tissue, which is a form of connective tissue. The cells in the tissue, perform synthesis and store energy-rich fatty cells. The entire body is supported from within by a skeleton composed of bones, which is a type of connective tissue that provides high resistance to stress owing to its highly ordered covering structure and to its rigidity, which results from deposition of mineral salts in its fibres and amorphous matrix.

The common cell types in connective tissue comprises: –

  • Fibroblasts – It is a type of cell that gives to the formation of connective tissue that supports and connects other tissues or organs in the body. It secretes collagen proteins that helps to maintain the systemic framework of tissues.
  • Mast cells – It is a type of cell that plays an important role in inborn and adaptive immunity. Mast cells recognize harmful antigens by binding to pathogens directly with mast cell surface.
  • Plasma cells – It is a type of an immune cells that makes large amounts of a particular antibody. It is a kind of white blood cells also called plasmacyte and it is capable of secreting antibody.
  • Macrophages – It is a type of cells involved in the perception, phagocytosis and destruction of bacteria and other harmful organisms.
  • Adipocytes – Adipocytes also known as lipocytes, are the cells that essentially comprise adipose, specialized in storing energy as fat.
  • Leukocytes –It is a part of the body’s immune system. It assists the body to fight with infection and other harmful  In other term Leukocytes are also termed as WBCs.

These are a type of connective tissues:

  • Blood
  • Bone
  • Cartilage
  • Connective Tissue Proper

Connective tissues have a range of functions that depend on the types of cells and the different types of fibres present. Loose and dense irregular connective tissues are formed mostly by fibroblasts and collagen fibres. They have an important role in providing a channel for oxygen and nutrients to travel from the capillaries to the various cells. In the meanwhile, the carbon dioxide and waste substances diffuse from the cells back into the circulatory system. They also allow organs to keep from stretching and tearing forces. In the hematopoietic and lymphatic tissues, reticular fibres made by reticular cells give the stroma a structural support for the parenchyma or functional part of the organs.

Connective tissue serves as a connection. On the other hand, the epithelial tissue, comprise cells that are closely packed together. The connective tissue typically has cells separate throughout an extracellular matrix of fibrous proteins and glycoproteins attached to a basement of membrane. The primary elements of connective tissue include fibres and cells. It acts as a fluid channel where the cells and fibres within the particular connective tissue type float.

Now, many of you may be wondering, why go back to science class. However, there is an important point that you have to note here.  You will study connective tissues as a part of your yoga anatomy lessons. That is why, the mention of connectives is absolutely necessary.

Connective Tissues And Yoga

If you just see someone practicing yoga, you will only understand the physical aspect. However, there are a lot more activities taking place underneath. You may move, stretch, and twist the body on a physical level, as that is how yoga nurtures the body. As you have already read above, connective tissues run throughout the body, like through the muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones and the organs. So, they are said to be omnipresent. The human body is incomplete without them. It is the connective tissues that add fluidity to the movements. It is a sign of your health, to be precise. You must have felt tightness in certain body parts, and the muscles to be exact. However, the fault is not with the muscles, or the boned, but the connective tissues.

Yin Yoga happens to be one of the yoga forms, that can aid in the development and nurturing of the connective tissues. It is a less popular form of yoga, but with deep effects. It is mainly aimed at stretching the connective tissues of the body. The connective tissues are primary found in the lower spine area, hips, and the thighs. When you perform the deep stretches of Yin Yoga, the muscles do not feel stretched. The bones and joints are stretched instead. Although, Yin Yoga involves holding the poses for a long time, they generate less heat.

Do Connective Tissues Lengthen When One Performs Yin Yoga?

The answer is ‘Yes’. However, no one is sure how long the stretch or lengthening lasts. Moreover, whether it is permanent or not, no one knows yet. Scientifically speaking, connective tissues do have some elasticity. You can compare them with plastic bags, which if pulled fast, does not stretch much. However, if it is slow and continuous, the plastic expands.

On a cellular level, stretching exercises remodel the tissues. Compression and tensile loads also play an important role in the hydration of the tissues. Moreover, collagen is also formed in excess. However, how much is correct for one individual, no one has been able to say yet. You must know that properly hydrated tissues can lengthen till a certain measurement.

Thus, you can very well say, that this yoga style can affect your tissues and overall health in the long run. However, patience is the key, as in every exercise form. Get going and get benefitted.

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