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Healing the Vagus Nerve with Meditation and the Power of your Voice

The vagus nerve is a very important nerve which controls voice production, sensation of the throat and swallowing, amongst many other body functions.


The vagus nerve supplies fibers to the throat, voice box, trachea (windpipe). It also carries sensory information back to the brain from the ear, tongue, throat, and voice box. The vagus nerve registers EMOTION directly in the opening between the vocal cords in the voice box. Think about how the lump in the throat appears when we are emotionally moved in some way. Place of crying, yelling, screaming, sighing with pleasure.


When we explore the voice box the parent nerve that controls it in a push pull fashion, is you guessed it the vagus nerve. Branching off from the vagus nerve are two other nerves:


Recurrent Laryngeal Nerve. Carries information to one set of muscles to open our voice box (allowing us to breathe) and opposing information to another set of muscles to close it (allowing us to talk).


The other branching nerve is the superior laryngeal nerve, which has two main functions. One is to transport information from the voice box back to the brain. Important information to signal when you need to cough for example. The other part of the nerve controls the muscle that lets us raise pitch and talk or sing higher.


If the signals and information carried by these nerves get damaged or interrupted. This can end up in the muscles not being able to make the vocal cords move - impaired vocal fold mobility. Depending on the injury some people won't recover and others can take up to a year.


Some of the causes of low vagal tone and mobility are:

  • Injury

  • Trauma

  • Tumor

  • Infection


When we use our voice to speak, shout or sing the vagus nerve is stimulated. Imagine it beams and lights up. A really good Kundalini practice to stimulate this is the Wahay Guru Trikuti Kriya.


Research has shown that meditation increases vagal tone and increases positive emotion. Promoting a good feeling towards self and good will. Meditation improves brain’s ability to manage stress. Deep slow breathing is a great way to stimulate and tone the vagus nerve.


The vagus nerve is the queen of the parasympathetic nervous system. Our rest and digest or 'the chill out'. The more we activate, stimulate, tone up the vagus nerve the more we are able to banish effects of the sympathetic nervous system which is responsible for fight or flight, stress releasing adrenalin/cortisol.


Breathwork as a tool...


Most people take around 10-14 breathes per minute. Taking 6 breaths over the course of a minute is a great way to relieve stress. When we breathe in the sensory nodes on our lungs, sending info to the brain via vagus nerve, the brain sends a message back down through the vagus nerve to slow down or speed up the heart. When we breathe slow, the heart slows and the body relaxes. When the breath speeds up, we feel amped or anxious. Each time we do a meditation or mantra our breath naturally synchronises to 6 times per minute.


Singing humming and chanting is a great way to stimulate the vagus nerve through our vocal cords and muscles at back of the throat. Next time the fear of being heard pops up (especially in the bedroom wink wink) just think your vagus nerve will love you for it! Strengthening the body and improving wellbeing.


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