On the seventh day of Christmas, yoga gave to me... a soothing self-massage technique that taps into the magic of the vagus nerve.
The Vagus Nerve is the 10th cranial nerve and carries a wide and extensive range of messages from the brain to the digestive system and organs and vice versa.
It has a huge role to play in the regulation of internal functions as well as the parasympathetic nervous system (often referred to as the "Rest & Digest" branch) and our ability to reside here rather than in a place of fight or fight.
Increasing our vagal tone is one way to bring more resilience to our nervous system, and a pathway to accessing our parasympathetic nervous system with more ease. It therefore acts as a vital counterbalance to the fight or flight system, triggering a relaxation response in our body.
There are several ways we can stimulate this wondrous nerve (sometimes referred to as the ‘wandering nerve’ due to how it ‘wanders through the body and affects so many of our automatic and reflexive functions) in a number of ways. These include:
Deep and Slow Breathing
Singing, Humming, Chanting and Gargling
Try this 5 minute video and let it guide you in a massage that's aimed to increase vagal tone, and invite in more ease and calm into your present experience.