What’s the Hype With Vagus Nerve Exercises?

The vagus nerve seems to be the darling of well-being buzzwords these days — with the hashtag #vagusnerve viewed almost 132 million times on TikTok. As with every claim, though, there are truths alongside fallacies. So, we’re here to help you wade through all the hype.

In our quest for holistic wellness, we often overlook some of the simplest yet most potent tools available to us. Among these are breathwork and vagus nerve exercises, powerful practices promoting mindfulness, self-awareness and stress relief.

Not only can vagus nerve exercises be carried out wherever you find yourself, there are retreats worldwide that specialize in breathwork techniques.

Let’s dive in and set the record straight about vagus nerve exercises.

Vagus Nerve Exercises vs. Breathwork

Breathwork is a discipline that encourages conscious control over your breathing patterns to manipulate your mental, emotional and physical states.

It is an ancient practice dating back to pranayama yoga and Buddhist traditions. Nowadays there is a large number of breathwork techniques available to try. More advanced exercises include holotropic breathwork and rebirthing breathwork.

Breathwork serves to promote relaxation, inner peace, self-awareness, and even increased creativity and emotional healing. It’s like a bridge, linking body and mind, enabling us to tap into our innermost selves and cultivate a deeper sense of awareness.

Conversely, vagus nerve exercises are a set of techniques targeting the stimulation of the vagus nerve, which is the longest cranial nerve in the body. This extraordinary nerve plays a critical role in our “rest and digest” response, counteracting the “fight or flight” stress response.

Regular stimulation of the vagus nerve can lead to significant improvements in mood, digestion, heart rate and immune function, making it a vital element in achieving overall well-being.

When the two practices of breathwork and vagus nerve exercises converge, they can make substantial contributions to your wellness journey, creating a balanced, healthier and more conscious lifestyle.

How to Practice Vagus Nerve Exercises

Breathwork primarily involves deep, conscious and controlled breathing. Start by finding a peaceful, comfortable position where your body can fully relax.

Close your eyes to eliminate external distractions, and inhale deeply through your nose. Hold this breath for a few seconds before exhaling slowly through your mouth.

Repeat this process, focusing on the sensation of breath flowing in and out.

Initially, practice this for a few minutes daily, gradually increasing the duration as you get comfortable. This exercise serves as an excellent starting point for your breathwork practice.

Vagus nerve exercises encompass activities such as deep and slow breathing (similar to breathwork), singing, humming and even laughter. A simple exercise begins with sitting comfortably, inhaling deeply, and, on the exhale, making a humming sound.

The resulting vibrations stimulate the vagus nerve, encouraging relaxation, stress management, improved mood and contributing to overall well-being.

Over time, you may find these exercises help with digestion and heart health—alluding to the far-reaching benefits of a regular practice.

Retreats to Boost Your Well-Being

For those seeking professional guidance or simply wishing to immerse in a holistic wellness experience, we share seven of our favorite retreats that cater specifically to breathwork and vagus nerve exercises.

1. Faena Hotel Miami Beach

Every Sunday, you can join Modern OM’s EuGene Gant at the Tierra Santa Healing House to learn essential breathing practices for daily life. These hour-long meditations, led by certified Pranic healers, aim to instill positivity into your physical and emotional well-being.

2. CIVANA Wellness Resort & Spa

With more than 70 complimentary fitness, personal growth and spiritual classes each week, CIVANA promotes health and well-being as a lifestyle. Classes range from conscious breathwork and morning meditation to chakra balancing sound and meditation, ensuring there’s something for everyone.

3. Absolute Sanctuary

This retreat embraces a holistic approach to wellness that focuses on individual goals, from detoxing and stress management to lifestyle changes. They offer pranayama and meditation classes designed for beginners, incorporating breath, visualization and sometimes mantras to foster a practice of stillness.

4. Amatara Welleisure Resort

Offering a variety of ancient yogic practices such as ajapa japa meditation, chidakasha meditation and trataka meditation, Amatara introduces guests to breath awareness and a myriad of paths to mindfulness and tranquility.

5. Es Racó d’Artá

This wellness center offers practices such as clarity breathwork and sound therapy with vibrational instruments. Their workshops on meditation with clay and yoga nidra are designed to reduce stress and anxiety, fostering a deeper connection with oneself.

6. Palmaïa, The House of AïA

Providing a comprehensive personal growth program with over 20 rotating classes, ceremonies and rituals, Palmaïa aims to unlock the mysteries of the mind and body. Their courses include breathwork and various yoga styles that guide guests toward renewal and divine reconnection.

7. Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa

This resort takes a hands-on approach to wellness with a variety of workshops, classes, lectures and activities to choose from. With offerings ranging from outdoor floating meditations to gratitude meditations, each session aims to cultivate contentment, deep relaxation and present-moment awareness.

Vagus Nerve Exercises Boost Your Well-Being

Breathwork and vagus nerve exercises are potent, transformative practices that can significantly enhance your well-being.

Regardless of whether you practice at home or in the serene setting of a wellness resort, these practices will help you foster a positive mindset and manage stress effectively.

So, why wait? Inhale positivity, exhale stress and let your wellness journey begin today!

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