Wake Up Your Vagus Nerve and Heal Your Body

Wake Up Your Vagus Nerve and Heal Your Body

Don’t Starve the Wanderer

The vagus nerve…have you heard of it? It is an amazing nerve, also known as “The Wanderer,” that connects our brain to our body. The nerve starts in the medulla oblongata (the portion of the brainstem that controls automatic functions such as breathing, digestion and heart rate), branches up into the brain and goes through the jaw following the digestive tract, branching off at the lungs and heart and continuing down through to the esophagus, stomach, liver, kidneys and intestines.

“The Wanderer” loves food/energy and so it follows the entire digestive system while also receiving some of its nutrients from the different portions of the brain, the heart and the lungs in the form of what is called Prana (pure energy). The vagus nerve is associated with the parasympathetic nervous system, which controls our relaxation responses. This nerve can become underdeveloped/deactivated if the body’s in a constant state of fight-or-flight due to the stress and anxiety that comes with living in today’s society. This keeps the sympathetic nervous system in survival overdrive: your breathing becomes rapid and shallow, your heart rate increases and digestion becomes impaired.

In this particular case, “The Wanderer” is being starved of the essential nutrients it needs to help you survive. This can result in a whole host of chronic illnesses and impairments such as chronic fatigue, headaches, bruxism, breathing disorders (asthma), heartburn, I.B.S., chronic diarrhea or constipation; however, anyone can reactivate their vagus nerve with simple breathing techniques, meditation and yoga. These practices can signal your relaxation response and relieve stress in the area that is causing discomfort–resulting in a significant decrease in symptoms.

Another amazing fact about the vagus nerve is its connection to the seven chakras; these ganglions of nerves branch out to all of the seven centers of your body. It is my belief that this is the physical proof that chakras actually exist. You may have heard chakras being described more like Prana or Chi (which again, means “pure energy”) that store and circulate. That is the non-material energy of these physical centers.

Chakras have been described as spiral vortexes that are associated with different colors. These “vortexes” are in control of the different strengths and weaknesses which exist within your body, mind and soul. Meditating and breathing into these energy centers awakens the kundalini snake (another name for the vagus nerve), and will energize and heal your whole body.

Instead of starving “The Wanderer,” feed it with sattvic (pure) foods, deep conscious breathing, meditation and yoga in order to feed it the purest Prana possible.



Your Mind on Pain: Healing Through Mindfulness

Your Mind on Pain: Healing Through Mindfulness

Living in a state of constant physical pain due to illness or injury can be devastating and intolerable. The constant suffering becomes all-consuming and can bring forth the feeling of absolute despair and attachment to feeling this way forever. Lost in a sea of pain killers, constantly searching for help, depression, anxiety, fatigue, and the feeling of disconnection to self and others can become reality.

To someone dealing with chronic pain, the feeling of isolation and never-ending pain becomes all you know. The questions “Will I Ever Heal,” “Will I ever be able to move without pain again,” or “Will I ever live the life I used to” become the everyday mindset.

It’s a natural reaction for your mind to spin with doubt, fear, anxiety, and have an attachment to the pain caused by injury or illness. But what if the activity in your mind on pain was making your suffering more intense? What if, in the moments of most intense pain, you consciously explored the sensation of your breath moving through the pain to bring an awareness of space and acceptance of the pain within?

This may seem counter-intuitive to someone experiencing chronic pain. However, recent research demonstrates that engaging in mindfulness techniques to overcome chronic pain may be more effective than the heaviest prescription pain medication. Learning meditation techniques and introducing mindfulness regarding the body-mind response to pain is proving to be quite effective.

Dr. Danny Penman, author of You are Not Your Pain , states in Psychology Today, “Mindfulness meditation has been shown in clinical trials to reduce chronic pain by 57 percent.  Accomplished meditators can reduce it by over 90 percent.” The practice of meditation and mindful exercises that connect the body, mind, and breath can support the brain to soften its attachment to the pain, and therefore with time, one can redirect the pattern in the brain so the individual can lessen the degree of pain, and eventually live pain-free.

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