Yoga, Stress, and the Vagus Nerve

I have a confession to make. When I hear science confirming what yogis have known for a long time, or at least what I know to be true from my experience, I get really happy inside!

Fortunately, this happens a lot these days since much more research is being done about the benefits of yoga. And that science shows that yoga practice works in ways other kinds of exercise does not.

Things we do in every yoga class such as asana, pranayama, and chanting soothe and tone an important nerve in the body called the Vagus Nerve. Scientists are beginning to understand this fascinating cranial nerve which travels throughout the body and responsible for the relaxation response.

When you are in constant stress your sympathetic nervous system never has a chance to switch off. This creates low vagal tone and brings depletion to your body making it feel like life is more difficult to manage. But healthy vagal tone stimulates the relaxation response, regulates the nervous system, and ultimately allows our bodies and mind to be more resilient under stress.

When the vagus nerve is functioning properly, your digestion improves, your heart functions better, and your moods stabilize. You get better at managing the constant changes that life brings. And, it is even believed that strong vagus function can prevent chronic disease. With a greater sense of ease and increased energy you are more likely to live a happier and more fulfilling life.

Here are three ways to tone the vagus nerve that you can do on your own:

1. Ujjayi breath or sound of the ocean breathing.

2. Chant the sound AUM ॐ out loud  or simply hum.

3. Reset Your Breath with this video.

And, for even more vagal toning, join me on the mat, or on the Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Balls and Coregeous® Ball soon!

vagusnerve

Vagus Nerve: The Wandering Nerve

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References:
http://drarielleschwartz.com/natural-vagus-nerve-stimulation-dr-arielle-schwartz/#.V9bYy5MrLCN
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201302/the-neurobiology-grace-under-pressure