Did you know we can self-regulate our very own nervous system in 5-7 minutes with breath awareness? You may have experienced this while practicing yoga, chanting, meditating or even while taking a hike or slow stroll in nature. There are many methods to self-regulate our vagus nerve – the master regulator of our autonomic nervous system. The image below shows the pathway of the vagus, or wandering, nerve traveling from our cranium, innervating our face, larynx, lungs, heart and most of our organs.
Learn more about this powerful pathway of healing and self-revealing below. Enjoy a simple 5 minute practice you can do anywhere at anytime to reset your nervous system through the vagus nerve.
I was recently attending the “Wellness After COVID: A Yoga and Healthcare Symposium” with The Give Back Yoga Foundation, an online gathering of professionals bringing yoga and mindfulness to the forefront of healing from CV19. One of the many take-aways from this inspiring and informative gathering was Deepak Chopra of the Chopra Center, sharing his scientific research and personal experience of the vagus nerve;
“The Vagus Nerve, in my mind, is the healing nerve of the body mitigating sympathetic nervous system over-drive.”
Sympathetic nervous system overdrive happens during chronic illness or times of stress when our autonomic nervous system gets off balance. Often times when we are in sympathetic overdrive, we can become a bit accustomed to feeling irritated, anxious, uncertain or unsettled. After living through the shifts and unexpected changes during and challenges of the global pandemic, we can all use a potent 5 minute reset to relax into the parasympathetic response in our nervous system.
Keeping your chin stationary over your breastbone and eyes at a soft gaze or eyelids closed, slowly move your eyes all the way to the right without force and hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes while breathing slow and smooth, inhaling through the nose and exhaling through rounded lips. You can also HUM or sigh a soft AAHH on the exhale, if you prefer. Notice when a swallow, a sigh, a yawn, a burp, jaw release, ear pop, neck release, tummy growl or other relaxation response naturally arises.
Slowly bring your eyes back to center. Rub your palms together to ignite the healing Lao Gong points at the center of your palms and place your palms over your closed eyes. Take 1 breath inhaling through the nose and exhaling through rounded lips, relaxing your eyes into the darkness of your healing hands.
Slowly release your palms, open your eyes softly if you wish and bring your eyes all the way to the left without strain, continuing to hold your chin stationary aligned over your heart. Create slow and smooth complete breathing cycles, through the nose and out rounded lips, for 30 seconds to 2 minutes as you gaze to the left, or until you feel a relaxation response in your body. You can also add the HUM or AAHH on the exhale keeping your jaw relaxed.
Slowly bring your eyes back to center and again, placing your Lao Gong points at the center of your healing hands over your eyes. Take 1 slow breath to complete your practice. Release your hands and slowly open your eyes. Notice any shifts in your thoughts, reduction of tension in your neck/ shoulders or perhaps an overall sense of release from your day.
It is normal if you feel a little nauseous or a bit dizzy while you are mitigating and releasing the overdrive response in your sympathetic nervous system. Simply continue slow smooth breaths and allow your eyes to rest under your softly closed eyelids.
Shanti Medina, CYT CPT is a Certified Yoga Therapist, Reiki Master, Pranic Healer and Personal Trainer with advanced trainings in Medical Qigong, Brain Training Meditation, Shamanism, Pilates and Sound Healing. She is a proud member of Michael Harner’s The Foundation for Shamanic Studies , where she received her Shamanic Journeying, Divination and Healing trainings. She has been facilitating community rituals, sacred threshold crossings, devotional chant gatherings and women’s retreats at StarHouse for over 15 years and most recently served as the Development Director and Co-Facilitator for the Sacred Arts Practitioner Certification program.
As owner of her company Energize and founder of her Body Current® modality, bridging ancient wisdom with modern neuroscience, Shanti has spent the past 25 years designing optimal wellness, vagal nerve stimulation and toning protocols, yoga therapy and fitness programs for elite athletes and everyday warriors as well as bringing women together around the globe through her transformational Stirring the Shakti sisterhood retreats and women’s circles igniting the innate wild wisdom within.
Much of Shanti’s inherent wisdom in regulating the nervous system was imprinted as a young child living through her own trauma. Her own healing has inspired the root of her unique approach in coaching women’s wellness and wholeness as well as training top business owners. You can learn more about Shanti, her retreats and schedule your private session at www.EnergizeShanti.com