If someone asked you what your vagus nerve was responsible for, would you be able to say? Have you even heard of it before?
What is the vagus nerve?
The vagus nerve is the main component of your parasympathetic system (rest and restore). It’s basically the connection between your brain and the gastrointestinal tract to allow them to communicate with one another. It oversees a vast array of crucial bodily functions, including control of mood, immune response, digestion, and heart rate.
Essentially, the vagus nerve is the controlling pathway by which our body is able to recover, rest, digest, and actually function properly. So you can eat all the kale you can, exercise all you want and all of the things, but if your body is under constant stress and your hormones or digestive system is out of whack, don’t expect too much.
You aren’t just what you eat – but rather, you are what you eat, digest, absorb and don’t eliminate! If you’re not absorbing the nutrients, it will end up in your cells instead of your body and therefore not do the job that it’s supposed to do.
If you have poor vagus nerve function, you will experience:
- poor digestion
- issue of liver detoxification
Sounds like things that don’t help with a healthy weight loss!
For most of us, we are consistently living our lives in a state of permanent fight or flight due to chronic stress. Our sympathetic nervous system is in overdrive and therefore our vagus nerves are basically asleep. In other words, we are sabotaging our digestion and weight loss goals at the same time.
So, where to start with stimulating a healthy function of your vagus nerve? One of many ways is breathing!
Yep, seems simple and something that we do every day, but whether you actually breathe correctly or not is another question.
Deep breathing helps to shift your focus away from stress and pain, reduces cortisol levels overtime and improves your parasympathetic nervous system.
Breathing into your left nostril has a calming effect on the body, whereas breathing into your right nostril has a stimulating effect (how cool is that?!).
Try this exercise right now to practise your deep breathing:
- Inhale into your belly (not your chest) for a count of 4 through your left nostril, exhale for a count of 4 through your right nostril.
- Repeat this 4 times then switch over (inhale through right, exhale through left).
Feeling more present now? Let’s get breathing, relaxing and kicking those weight loss goals!
If you need a holistic approach in your weight loss journey to maintain healthy habits and ongoing health & wellness, reach out to us and we can help you on your way.