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Yoga to Tone the Vagus Nerve

This week we will focus on toning the vagus nerve. This description about the vagus nerve below will be a review for some of you:

  • We have voluntary and autonomic nervous systems. The autonomic nervous system consists of the sympathetic branch which activates us for fight or flight and the parasympathetic branch which helps us rest, digest, relax, and regenerate.

  • The Latin root of the term vagus means wandering. The vagus nerve wanders all over the body, from the brain to the face, neck, heart, lungs, to the digestive organs, and more. It is responsible for the brain/heart connection and the brain/gut connection.

  • A healthy vagus calms the body and mind. It helps bring a healthy balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.

In yoga this week, our yoga poses will be geared toward parts of the body affected by the vagus nerve. At the same time, we will integrate simple vagal toning tools we can use every day to calm our nervous systems.

These tools help us deal with the overwhelming stimulation our world is throwing at us. They help us ward off anxiety and the doldrums, relieve stress, and reduce the grip of trauma.

Attached is more information on the vagus nerve and a few resources.

Look to the nervous system as the key to maximum health.” ― Galen, Greek physician 2nd century AD

“Fear of a bully, fear of a volcano; the power within you does not distinguish. It does not recognize degree.”― N.K. Jemisin,

“To switch effectively from defense to social engagement strategies, the nervous system must do two things: (1) assess risk, and (2) if the environment looks safe, inhibit the primitive defensive reactions to fight, flight or freeze. ― Stephen W. Porges

The nervous system is like a machine presently under strain in response to the pressures of the machinery of civilized life.” ― Alan Trachtenberg,

Hope you can make it to Willow Street Yoga from 11 am until 12:30 pm on this and every Wednesday. You can sign up in advance at or at the door.



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