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Healing effect on Nervus Vagus

06/05/2018 10:41
Posted By LN



The Vagus Nerve and the healing promise of the Sudarshan Kriya

The Vagus nerve happens to be at a most fascinating intersection, not only between our two physical nervous systems (our central and autonomic nervous systems) but also between our conscious minds and subconscious minds. As such, it also acts as a bridge between our gross bodies and our subtle bodies. And it’s a nerve probably 99% of the population have never heard of nor even have a clue where it’s located. And yet the Vagus Nerve may be the single most relevant organ in our body relative to our peace of mind and happiness. 

Research indicates that a healthy vagus nerve is vital in experiencing empathy and fostering social bonding, and it is crucial to our ability to observe, perceive, and make complex decisions. Tests have revealed that people with impaired vagal activity have also been diagnosed with depression, panic disorders, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, panic disorders, violent mood swings, fibromyalgia, early Alzheimer’s and obesity. Read more about research


Automated Habit Formation

Human Beings have an Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) that is the body’s automatic regulatory system of nerves and controls that do all the background tasks that keep the body operating. The ANS is comprised of three separate subsystems, the Parasympathetic Nervous System  (PNS), the Sympathetic Nervous System(SNS) and the Enteric Nervous System (ENS).

  • Parasympathetic Nervous System: responsible for many of our resting functions such as lowering heart rate.
  • Sympathetic Nervous System: mainly associated with modulation of hormones and neurotransmitters relating to “flight or fight” responses.
  • Enteric Nervous System: generally considered by scientists to be involved predominantly with food digestion, waste elimination and sending full/hungry signals to the brain.

When you stop to consider that 90-95% of our thoughts occur in our subconscious minds, and also the idea that the Enteric Nervous System is also the organ of the subconscious mind, is it any surprise that most of the nerve fibers between the two systems originate in the ENS or that most of the serotonin is also produced in the ENS? 

The cerebrospinal system is the organ of the conscious mind: we receive conscious perception from the physical senses, and exercise control over the movements of the body. While the cerebrospinal or central nervous system (CNS)  has the brain as its control center, the ENS has the Solar Plexus as its central processing unit and it is in this coprocessor that most of our everyday tasks get executed from. When things in our life become ‘second nature’, they are effectively processed through our ENS rather than our CNS. It is our Vagus nerve that provides the gateway between the two systems. 

Our consciousness’s natural tendency is to compartmentalize tedious tasks so that the brain can focus on higher priority activities.  As we go through life and learn to do things, such as tying our shoes, it would take far too much of our brain’s capacity to have to focus on every small aspect of life so once most things are learned with our conscious awareness, they then get handed over to our automatic background systems.  

When an athlete is said to be ‘in the zone’ and performing at near perfect levels, it is because they are practically and literally almost unconscious and functioning entirely through their ENS. And when someone has an intuition, or in other words they have a ‘gut’ feeling, that information is coming to them through the Solar Plexus. 


Why Laughter IS the best medicine

Humans have two natural albeit involuntary methods of VNS that have been long considered to be therapeutic, both laughter and weeping. There is ample scientific evidence suggesting that both laughing and sobbing are extremely beneficial for our health and in the context of Vagus nerve research, it is obvious how these two acts can promote healing and wellness through the increase in vagal stimulation.

However, there is also powerful breathing technique to manually and naturally stimulate the vagus nerve, called the Sudarshan Kriya. Scientists have found that SK&P (Sudarshan Kriya along with the related Practices, of yogic asanas, pranayams (including Nadi Shodana) and meditation) can be extremely effective at opening up this vital channel of energy.

In the ancient Sanskrit language, Sudarshan translates to ‘right vision’ and Kriya mean purification process. The Sudarshan Kriya is rhythmic breathing method that has been known to create profound transformations in the people who practice it.

The Sudarshan Kriya has been scientifically proven to help cure symptoms associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, provide relief for people suffering from addictions of many forms, helps reduce cortisol (the human ‘stress’ hormone), cut down on cholesterol, improve sleep patterns and in general, create a better sense of peace of mind and well being. You can learn Sudarshan Kriya by attending a Happiness Programm of Art of Living.  Read more about Art of Living Happiness Programm


Self Defeating Mental Habits

In conclusion, there is one more vital piece to this puzzle to ponder over. If you think about the automatic habit forming mechanism in place and how thought patterns (such as the act of tying a shoe) go from the conscious mind to the subconscious mind, it is important to understand that this same transference also happens in the case of mental habits as well. So many of us have self-defeating mental habits such as guilt, blame, victimness, complaining, the sense of lack, defensiveness, etc. and what’s important to keep in mind is that many of these thought patterns have been committed to our subconscious thoughts. They’ve become as automatic as so many other habits and unless we actively bring these mental habits back up into our conscious awareness, they will continue to persist and bring misery and sorrow into our lives.


It is important to remember that once an impaired Vagus Nerve has been returned back to health, the harmful negative habits that have been accumulated over years of impaired Vagal Activity don’t automatically disappear. It is vital therefore, to be mindful of these common mental patterns and bring them to your awareness, back into your conscious mind, so they can be disarmed and removed.





The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional. If you are seeking the advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or email Sri Sri Ayurveda. Check with your doctor before taking herbs, herbal food supplements or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing..