As I continue my studies with Chopra, we are covering the importance of the breath and how a very important nerve called “The Vagus nerve “has such a profound Influence on our body and mind.
The Vagus nerve is bi- directional, which means that it carries information from the brain to the body and from the body to the brain.
Here are just a few of the crucial functions and bodily systems governed by the vagus nerve.
Heart rate variability, heart rate and blood pressure, breathing, digestion, mood, the relaxation response, immune response and cognitive function.
When we stimulate the vagus nerve, it activates the body’s parasympathetic nervous system, which governs the rest-and- digest response also known as the relaxation response.
When this response is activated, we feel more relaxed, and calmer and our body engages in self-regulation and healing.
In other words, breathing practices (pranayama in Ayurveda) that include slow rhythmic breathing can stimulate the vagus nerve, helping to improve our physical and mental health by inducing the natural healing response in the body.
By the way smiling also stimulate the vagus nerve!