Yoga and the Vagus Nerve

The science and philosophy of Yoga is something I find truly fascinating. I hope you might find this of interest to.

The “PNS” or Parasympathetic Nervous System is responsible for the ‘rest and digest’ system within our bodies. This is particularly of interest to our Yoga practice as the “PNS” calms the body by bringing down the heart rate and breathing rate, re-diverting bodily resources to our vital organs.

Spirit / Essence - Kindred

The Vagus Nerve (“vagus” meaning “wandering” in Latin) is the largest and most complex nerve within the body. It provides a vital communication highway to help these systems operate and has also been called the “air traffic controller” of the body as it sends and receives signals between the brain and the visceral organs (lungs, heart, stomach, intestines).

The effectiveness of stimulating the Vagus Nerve depends on what is known as “Vagal Tone.” Vagal tone refers to the strength, speed, and efficiency of the vagus nerve response.

High Vagal tone is linked to physical and psychological wellbeing. It relates to the ability to move from more active and stressful states to more relaxed ones, without getting unduly caught up or affected by them. High Vagal tone is linked to better health, resilience and sustained focus and attention.

What’s fascinating, is that Yogis new this, thousands of years ago, long before Science had evolved into what it is today. The Yogis knew that indirectly stimulating the vagus nerve with the use of breathing techniques/auditory vibration, they could induce the relaxation response, which we do within our Yoga practice today.

Why not try one of the following, knowing the science behind the use of these breathing techniques from this sublime ancient tradition has real meaning and true purpose. They are also hugely beneficial in contributing to feelings of increased wellbeing and contentment.

  • Ujjayi Pranayama (Ocean/Victorious Breath)
  • Brahmari Pranayama (Bee Breath)
  • Nadi Shodhana Pranayama (Alternate nostril breathing)
  • Chanting
  • Singing