What is the Vagus Nerve?
The vagus nerve is the longest cranial nerve in the body, running from the brainstem to the abdomen. It plays a crucial role in regulating various bodily functions, including digestion, heart rate, and respiratory function. The vagus nerve is also responsible for the mind-body connection, influencing our emotional and mental well-being.
What is the role of the parasympathetic nervous system?
Your parasympathetic nervous system controls “rest and digest” functions. It’s the opposite of your sympathetic nervous system’s “fight or flight” response.
These two components make up your autonomic nervous system. This system controls involuntary body activities.
What is the function of the vagus nerve?
Your vagal nerves are part of your body’s nervous system and play key roles in managing involuntary functions like heart rate, breathing and digestion. They play important roles in involuntary sensory and motor (movement) functions, including:
- Heart rate, blood pressure and respiration (breathing).
- Immune system responses.
- Mucus and saliva production.
- Skin and muscle sensations.
- Urine output.
How Does Nourish Therapeutic Yoga Benefit the Vagus Nerve?
Nourish Therapeutic Yoga is a holistic practice that combines physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation. It has been found to have a positive impact on the vagus nerve, promoting its health and function. Here are some ways yoga benefits the vagus nerve:
1. Deep Breathing
Yoga emphasizes deep, diaphragmatic breathing, which stimulates the vagus nerve and activates the body's relaxation response. This helps reduce stress, anxiety, and inflammation, promoting overall well-being.
2. Gentle Neck Stretches
The vagus nerve passes through the neck, and gentle stretches targeting this area can help stimulate its function. Neck rolls, gentle twists, and chin tucks are some yoga poses that can benefit the vagus nerve.
3. Restorative Yoga Poses
Restorative yoga poses, such as supported bridge pose and legs-up-the-wall pose, promote relaxation and activate the parasympathetic nervous system. This, in turn, stimulates the vagus nerve and enhances its function.
4. Chanting and Singing
Chanting and singing in yoga involve the use of the vocal cords, which are directly connected to the vagus nerve. The vibrations produced during these practices stimulate the nerve and promote a sense of calm and well-being.
5. Meditation and Mindfulness
Meditation and mindfulness practices have been shown to increase vagal tone, which is an indicator of the vagus nerve's activity. Regular meditation helps regulate heart rate, blood pressure, and digestion, all of which are influenced by the vagus nerve.
What to expect?
With Nourish’s approach, most Spoonies can participate without triggering symptoms. In fact, vagus nerve - targeted yoga can help you manage symptoms. It can be done from bed and paced to fit your individual spoon level. Most of all, it’s fun and feels good!
Research has shown tremendous benefits of yoga for increased vagal tone, stress reduction, and trauma recovery.
- More balanced heart rate variability
- Improved sleep
- Better digestion
- Deep sense of calm and well-being
- Reduced inflammation
- Boosted immune response
Initially, you might feel sleepy when exploring relaxation. For example, meditation and yoga nidra practices can be deeply relaxing; however, some people fall asleep during practice.
Ultimately, the goal is to discover a relaxed yet awake state. However, you might experiment with allowing yourself to sleep, which could be medicinal for your nervous system.
In contrast, if you begin to notice that you feel dizzy or nauseated when practicing any vagus nerve interventions, then back off and proceed slowly and gently with just a few minutes each session.
Nourish Therapeutic Yoga offers a holistic approach to improve the health and function of the vagus nerve. By incorporating deep breathing, gentle stretches, restorative poses, chanting, and meditation into your yoga practice, you can enhance the mind-body connection and promote overall well-being.
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