Among the 3 Doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha), Vata is crucial for survival. It controls the movements in our body, it brings information from one body part to another. It is said that Vata is linked with the nervous system as it is considered as the primary force to maintain homeostasis.
The vagus nerve, one of the 12 cranial nerves, is responsible for parasympathetic processes by regulating the cardiovascular, respiratory and digestive systems and is also critical to survival. The parasympathetic nervous system ensures the body's rest response. It undoes the work of the sympathetic division after a physical or mental arousal. The parasympathetic nervous system decreases respiration and heart rate and increases digestion. If Vata is increased, we can assume that there is a necessity to calm our nervous system. Daily practise of stimulating the vagus nerve has many health benefits as there will be less sympathetic stress response.
If properly in balance, the vagus nerve can:
- Promote neurogenesis (production of new brain cells) - Increase physical and mental state of relaxation (less hyper-arousal and fight/flight mode) - Fight inflammatory diseases - Help against high blood pressure - Fight against insulin resistance - Reduce hormonal stress levels (cortisol) and other oxidants that age the brain and body - Help us to cope with mental stress - Improve our sleep