"Taking this training changed me personally more than
I ever knew it would, or could". ~ Lena M, LCSW
Yoga is an ancient practice that promotes physical, mental, and energetic well-being. It has been shown to have numerous health benefits, including reducing stress, releasing trauma, and boosting mood. Recent research has also shown that yoga can stimulate the vagus nerve, leading to improved mental and physical health outcomes.
Of course check with your healthcare expert before trying any of these postures, or take our training so you are aware of any contraindications. Here are five yoga poses that can help balance and stimulate the vagus nerve:
1. Bridge Pose: This pose is an excellent way to activate the ventral vagus nerve, promoting relaxation and reducing stress. To perform this pose, lie flat on your back, bend your knees, and place your feet flat on the ground. Inhale as you lift your spine off the floor disk by disk, your hips rise towards the ceiling while keeping your feet and shoulders on the ground. Hold for 30 seconds as you breathe, then release.
2. Downward-Facing Dog: This pose is another great way to stimulate the vagus nerve. This pose lengthens the torso, spine and relaxes the facial muscles, which are all great for vagal tone. To perform this pose, start on your hands and knees, with your hands shoulder-width apart and your knees hip-width apart. Exhale, then lift your hips up towards the ceiling, straightening your arms and legs. Hold for 30 seconds as you breathe, keeping your neck lengthened, then release.
3. Child's Pose: This pose is an excellent way to promote relaxation, reset the vital systems, improve lung function and reduce stress. To perform this pose, start on your hands and knees, with your hands shoulder-width apart and your knees hip-width apart. Lower your hips towards your heels and extend your arms forward. Rest your forehead on the mat and hold for 30 seconds with gentle breathing, then release.
4. Fish Pose: This pose is another excellent way to stimulate the ventral vagus nerve if you're feeling lethargic or foggy brained. You can take this pose in a more passive / restorative way by adding a bolster behind your upper back To perform this pose, lie flat on your back with your arms at your sides. Inhale and push your elbows into the floor to lift your chest towards the ceiling while keeping your head and legs on the ground. Hold for 30 seconds, then release.
5. Legs Up the Wall Pose: This pose is an excellent way to promote relaxation and circulation at the same time. It can switch your body in the parasympathetic system and reduce stress. To perform this pose, lie flat on your back with your legs extended up against a wall. Rest your arms at your sides and hold for 30 seconds - 2 minutes as you breathe gently, then release. Feel free to use an eye bag and/or a blanket as shown if you would like to.
In conclusion, yoga can be a powerful tool for promoting the health and well-being of the vagus nerve. By practicing these five yoga poses regularly, individuals can stimulate the vagus nerve, promoting relaxation, reducing stress, and improving overall mental and physical health. These simple yet effective techniques can have significant impacts on our well-being, leading to a happier, healthier life.