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The Vagus Nerve: Your Body's Secret Weapon for Health and Wellbeing

Wild Roots Wellbeing- April 2024 - Gemma Barnard



In the fast-paced world we live in, stress and anxiety have become all too common. Our minds are constantly racing, our bodies tense, and our overall well-being is often neglected. But what if there was a way to tap into the body's natural ability to heal and find balance? Enter vagus nerve yoga – a powerful practice that can help you unlock the key to mind-body harmony


Restorative Yoga Poses

Incorporate restorative yoga poses such as child's pose, legs up the wall, and reclining bound angle pose to activate the parasympathetic nervous system.


Deep Breathing Techniques

One of the most effective ways to stimulate the vagus nerve is through deep breathing techniques. By taking slow, deep breaths, you can activate the relaxation response of the parasympathetic nervous system, which is controlled by the vagus nerve. Try practicing deep breathing exercises such as diaphragmatic breathing or box breathing for a few minutes each day to reap the benefits. Practice deep belly breathing to stimulate the vagus nerve and promote relaxation. Try alternate nostril breathing to balance the nervous system and calm the mind.


Cold Exposure

Exposure to cold temperatures, such as taking cold showers or immersing yourself in cold water, can also stimulate the vagus nerve. Cold exposure has been shown to increase vagal tone, which is the activity of the vagus nerve. Start by incorporating cold showers into your daily routine or try cold water immersion for a refreshing and invigorating experience.


Meditation and Mindfulness

Mindfulness practices, such as meditation and yoga, have been found to increase vagal tone and stimulate the vagus nerve. By focusing on the present moment and cultivating a sense of calm and relaxation, you can activate the parasympathetic nervous system and promote overall wellbeing. Try incorporating mindfulness practices into your daily routine to support vagus nerve health.


Chanting

Have you ever wondered why chanting or singing can make you feel more relaxed and centered? The answer lies in a fascinating connection between these activities and a key nerve in your body - the vagus nerve. When you engage in chanting or singing, especially in a repetitive and rhythmic manner, you stimulate your vagus nerve. This activation triggers a cascade of physiological responses that promote relaxation and reduce stress. Studies have shown that chanting can increase heart rate variability, which is a marker of resilience to stress.


Want to find out more?

"The Healing Power of the Vagus Nerve" by Stanley Rosenberg "Accessing the Healing Power of the Vagus Nerve" by Christine Warren "The Polyvagal Theory in Therapy" by Deb Dana "Activate Your Vagus Nerve" by Dr. Navaz Habib

Vagus Nerve Practices

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