-increasing vagal tone
The vagus nerve (in Latin “wandering”) is the longest nerve in the body. It originates in our brain stem and travels all the way down to the abdomen.
The vagus nerve:
- Connects the brain into most major organs including the gut, heart and lungs
- Can prevent inflammation
- Helps you breathe
- Controls your heart rate
- Initiates your body’s relaxation response
And those are only a few of its tasks! The vagus nerve is a significant part of your parasympathetic “rest & digest” nervous system. With physical exercise, cold exposure and more efficient breathing along with specific breathing techniques, you can help tone the vagus nerve.
The better your vagal tone is, the quicker your body (and mind!) will recover from stressful situations. This is why efficient, mindful movement practices like pilates and yoga are great to help tone your vagus nerve. Moving in full ranges of motion with sufficient muscular support and deep, focused breathing, you will feel more settled and grounded after your sessions. In body and in mind!