A Powerful Yoga Pose!

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In yesterday’s yoga class our teacher, Liz Cloudt, led us in a child’s pose with the forehead resting on your stacked hands or fists. Although it is a truly simple pose it happens to be a very powerful one as well because it stimulates the vagus nerve which is responsible for the parasympathetic nervous system and controls the functioning of our heart, lungs, digestive system and many of our glands. You can also slightly roll your forehead from side to side a bit and this helps any sinus troubles you may be having. Well, this certainly happened to me. Immediately after doing this pose my nose started running and this continued for a few hours, bringing blessed relief for a headache I’d had for a few days. I had no idea there was sinus involvement because I didn’t feel any sinus pressure or anything like that.
It’s astonishing how so many yoga poses really affect different parts of your body. It’s SO much more than just stretching, but far too many people dismiss it as just that. If they only knew!
Researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine reported findings recently which theorize that stimulating the vagus nerve by doing yoga, including practicing 3-stage deep breathing, can help restore stress-related nervous system imbalances. This helps a variety of ailments including anxiety, high blood pressure and cardiac disease. Vagal nerve stimulation has also been used in the treatment of tinnitus and even epilepsy! There happen to be low levels of a neurotransmitter called GABA in conditions such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic pain and epilepsy. Their results show that yoga, compared with walking, for instance, substantially increases GABA levels and decreases pain. This is due to the vagal nerve stimulation produced by many yoga poses (or asanas), including the child’s pose pictured above, with your forehead resting on stacked hands or fists.
Healthy vagal tone is indicated by a slight increase of heart rate when you inhale, and a decrease of heart rate when you exhale. Deep diaphragmatic breathing – with a long, slow exhale – is key to stimulating the vagus nerve and slowing heart rate and blood pressure, especially in times of stress. A healthy vagal tone is linked to physical and psychological well-being. A low vagal tone is linked to inflammation, negative moods, feelings of loneliness, and heart attacks.
Sometimes, however, if you’re feeling really stressed-out your vagus nerve can temporarily disengage altogether, producing a racing heart, sweaty palms, upset stomach, dry mouth and feelings of shakiness or wobbly knees. Many people have these feelings if they have to speak in public or before an important exam.
Now you know what to do if this happens to you sometimes – straight into a child’s pose with your forehead resting directly on your hand or fist, and deep slow breathing, concentrating on the exhale. But perhaps you should do this before you take the stage…..

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3 thoughts on “A Powerful Yoga Pose!

  1. renoyouthbridge.com

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    Reply

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