Oh, wait that is a typo. I meant to write Vagus as in the vagus nerve! Unfortunately, this is not an article about all the dirty secrets of a trip to Las Vegas… I wish or rather I wish we could travel freely, then I would have the opportunity to go to Vegas because I have never been! This is however a blog post about the Vagus nerve and how what happens to our vagus nerve has an effect on our bodily function. So what happens in vagus, doesn't stay in vagus. It’s only one of the most important nerves in our nervous system and if you know how to influence it, you can have more control over your body and how you feel. Cool I know
The word “vagus” means wondering in Latin. Which is very appropriate as this nerve literally goes everywhere in your body. Okay, it only runs from the brain stem to the colon and is technically a pair of nerves (but referred to in the singular) and the 10th and longest cranial nerve in our autonomic nervous system but it does however reach so many of our organs and is responsible for a varied number of tasks. It controls the heart, lungs and our digestive tract and so many of our body’s responses through our sympathetic and parasympathetic response system. It receives information on both a sensory level and a visceral level. That means, sensations felt on the skin or sensations felt in our organs. I guess a trip to Las Vegas would stimulate our vagus nerve in a different way but let’s not lose focus here.
We can stimulate our vagus nerve through specific breathing practices which promotes vagal tone which in turn leads to a health responsiveness to our environment and our ability to adapt.
In YogaBody breathing we have three breathing categories; Water, Whiskey and Coffee. Appropriately named for when you would use each practice. The coffee category is more than 20 breaths per minute and stimulates our sympathetic nervous response i.e. fight or flight and is useful to naturally wake us up or get us ready for exercise. It should be practiced with care and only used when appropriate!
The water breathing category is 4-6 breaths per minute and this has a balancing effect on our nervous system. If you are down, it will bring you up and if you are up, it will bring you down. Like water you can use this any time of day or night. It’s always safe, and healthful!
Whiskey category is less than 4 breaths per minute and is down-regulating. It triggers a parasympathetic nervous system response i.e. reducing your heart rate and improving your digestion. Great after meals or before bed, like a whiskey if you are that way inclined, oh and never while driving!
I have seen the most improvement in the quality of my sleep. It takes little effort for me to fall asleep and I wake up refreshed. I roll out of bed and the first thing I do is my coffee breathing practice which has improved the quality of my morning routine. I don’t rely so much on my tea to wake me up! During the day it has been less of a noticeable difference but I can tell you I feel the need for less coffee, I have more energy after my water practice and I have an overall in general feeling of cool, calm and relaxed. I feel like I am responding to my environment instead of reacting and the “in-tune” feeling is having a feel-good effect on my emotional state.
For everyone it is different but I for one am converted. It didn’t take long to get into a routine with these 5 min practices in my day 3 times a day.
Sounds as exciting as a trip to Las Vegas no..? okay maybe not for some but for those who this does excite please do get in touch. I can coach you through all the YogaBody breathing practices. It’s a one-month program, costs CHF149, we meet once a week for 30 min and you have breathing assignments 3 times a day… around 15 min in total. If you are still on the fence, ask me about the 20min free discovery session!
Learn yoga breathing to manage stress, boost digestion and improve sleep. My email is email@example.com or visit my website for more information and therapeutic tools on well-being. www.destinysophia.com
Oh and happy easter!