We constantly overwork our sympathetic nervous system, responsible for the flight or fight response. But the part of the nervous system that gives rest is never attended to.

The vagus nerve, most critical of the 12 cranial nerves in our body, is part of our parasympathetic nervous system. A healthy vagus nerve determines our level of wellness.

One of the greatest enemies of a healthy vagal nerve tone is stress. Stress on the physical level causes fatigue, headaches, muscle tightness among other symptoms. On the level of mind, it causes worrying, lack of clarity in thought, restlessness, anxiety, and indecision. A strategy for managing the dysfunctional vagal nerve tone, endorsed by a growing body of research, is meditation. “Meditation can help you stay energized and productive throughout the day. It can make your smile unshakeable,” says Bhanumathi Narasimhan, senior meditation teacher of The Art of Living. Here are some tips for an effective meditation routine from Mayur Karthik, Senior Faculty, Sri Sri Yoga.

Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar)

Kick start the day with a few rounds of Sun Salutations. This set of asanas is known to stimulate the vagus nerve.

Practice alternate nostril breathing after meditation

A meditation should be completed with a few rounds of Nadi Shodhan Pranayam or alternate nostril breathing. During meditation, some toxins are released. So when you come out of meditation and practice Pranayama, then these toxins are let out of your system. Otherwise, you may feel more tired after meditation.


According to a study published in the International Journal of Yoga, the impact of Om chanting on the brain and stimulation of the vagus nerve is similar to what is seen when the vagus nerve is stimulated for treating depression and epilepsy.

‘A sensation of vibration is experienced during audible ‘OM’ chanting. This has the potential for vagus nerve stimulation through its auricular branches and the effects on the brain thereof,’ reports the study was done by experts from the Department of Psychiatry, Advanced Center for Yoga, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences.

In the evening after coming back from a tiring day at work, you can listen to or chant Om three times and simply observe the silence that follows the chant in the mind. It is also known as the primordial sound.

Bhanumathi Narasimhan, senior meditation teacher of The Art of Living. 

Mayur Karthik, Senior Faculty, Sri Sri Yoga.

This article was first published on www.thehealthsite.com 2 May 2018