Clear the Air: Breathe Deep
Start by rolling On the Mend into the palms of your hands and take a few deep breaths. The CBD receptors in our brains are activated and signal to the brain 'Hey, it's time to relax now. You're safe.'
Place your hands on the back of your neck and let the tension melt away. Gather up all the tension and energy in your hands and continue with a few neck circles in each direction.
- If you have a Himalayan Salt Stone, take a little extra time for a neck massage.
This also opens up breathing passageways to reduce snoring and nasal inflammation when sleeping.
Give Your Legs a Rest
If you suffer when restless legs syndrome or just have tired legs, try the Legs Up the Wall Pose to get a better night's sleep.
Legs Up the Wall Pose or Viparita Karan is a widely known restorative pose in the yoga community to deeply relax the body and mind.
We chose it as one of the exercises in the Sole Revival class because of the ability to reduce swelling while increasing circulation without a heavy load on the tendon or foot.
Massage the Vagus Nerve
Victoria Albina, NP has several ways to stimulate the vagus nerve into relaxation. She describes it like this: "The vagus nerve is part of the parasympathetic system. This is the system that supports us in chilling out. Centering. Calming ourselves. As well as digesting our food, having a healthy reproductive system, and healing.
Massaging the carotid sinus, an area located near the right side of your throat, can also stimulate the vagus nerve. Start by applying On the Mend oil right below the ear and massage down toward the heart (*as seen in the video above )
In addition to massage, she recommends meditation and deep breathing as well.
Meditate. Meditation and deep breathing stimulate the vagus nerve. (13, 14, 15)
- Whatever meditation works best for you is the best kind to do – some folks like a guided meditation, some like to focus on the breath, taking 5-10 deep, slow belly breaths. It doesn’t matter what you choose, as long as you make a daily habit of doing at least 2 minutes of meditation every day.
Breathe Deeply and Slowly. There are neurons in both the heart and the neck that contain baroreceptors, or cells that monitor your blood pressure, and send signals back and forth with your brain.
- When we take deep, slow belly breaths, we activate the vagus nerve to lower fight or flight, and activate our rest and digest parasympathetic nervous system, thus lowering heart-rate, blood pressure and feeling of anxiety. (16)
- On average, we take 10 to 14 breaths per minute – but to stimulate the vagus nerve, try to take only 6 breaths per minute. Breathe in deeply, allowing your stomach to expand, then breathe out very slowly. (17)