What is the Vagus Nerve?

If mention of the Vagus Nerve leaves you feeling a little nervous, never fear! While it is a complex topic, gaining some understanding of it is highly recommended. Why? Because, as your understanding of the vagus nerve increases, so too will your conviction in the potential benefits of Yoga therapy. So, here are some basic facts about this amazing piece of human wiring!

If mention of the Vagus Nerve leaves you feeling a little nervous, never fear!  While it is a complex topic, gaining some understanding of it is highly recommended.  Why?  Because, as your understanding of the vagus nerve increases, so too will your conviction in the potential benefits of Yoga therapy.  So, here are some basic facts about this amazing piece of human wiring! 

The Vagus Nerve is the:

  • Longest nerve in the body
  • Originates in the brain as cranial nerve 10
  • Links with digestive system, heart, lungs, liver, spleen, pancreas
  • By stimulating the vagus nerve, we increase vagal tone
  • Increased vagal tone activates PNS (rest and digest) = faster relaxation response post-stress
  • The higher the difference between inhalation heart rate and exhalation heart rate, the higher vagal tone.

How is the vagus nerve relevant to Yoga Therapy?

  1. High vagal tone improves functionality of various body systems such as cardio-vascular, digestive and the nervous system, along with mood and stress resilience
  2. Low vagal tone is associated with a range of chronic illnesses
  3. Tools of Yoga Therapy lend themselves to working with Vagal Tone:
    • Slow breathing techniques
    • Chanting
    • Awareness of Yamas & Niyamas to lift thought habits
    • Bhavana
    • Meditation practices
    • Satsang

With your increased awareness of the implications of research into the impact of Yoga therapy, vagal tone and the vagus nerve, feel secure in the knowledge that your input towards client well-being is founded.  Precisely because Yoga therapy as a modality, recognises the interrelated layers of what it is to be human, we have the privilege of working with our clients to positively influence, this pivotal part of the fast acting control system of the human body.

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