From कर्णवेध संस्कार (Ear-Boring – It is not restricted to females only! ) to यज्ञोपवीत (जनेऊ) (Again! Not restricted to specific caste and gender! It is for all!), our rituals play important role in controlling and managing Vagus nerve.

I have shared here often how Microbial flora of our GUT controls our mind and thus our actions. (And why गणपति पूजा is must for students and married )

We have also discussed ample times, connection of प्राणमय शरीर in driving our physical actions.

Why body posture maintenance is critical for correct blood flow and pressure. (Search pathway of Vagus nerve to understand this)

Vagal Nerve Pathway
Vagal Nerve Pathway

Vagus nerve is key highway route in physical body.

Do read this to add some more insights about importance of Vagus nerve.


The Polyvagal Theory and the Role of the Unconscious

The Polyvagal Theory and the Role of the Unconscious

A new scientific theory, though, looks at how the autonomic nervous system changed as reptiles evolved into mammals. Over time, organisms developed new unconscious ways of interacting with their environment, each more complex than the last. However, rather than shedding the old circuits, mammals retained those, giving people three distinct ways of responding unconsciously to environmental cues.

At the heart of this model is the vagus nerve, a key component of the autonomic nervous system that runs from the brain to the heart, lungs, gastrointestinal tract and other abdominal organs. Part of this nerve is also closely linked to the cranial nerves that control vocalization (speech in humans) and facial expression—both key parts of human social interactions.

Unlike other nerves in the body, the vagus nerve has two branches, which has given this theory its name—the Polyvagal Theory. This concept was first proposed and later developed by Dr. Stephen Porges, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

According to the polyvagal theory, the vagus nerve has two branches but includes three distinct circuits that define the ways in which organisms can respond to their environment. The most recent development in the vagal nerve occurred in mammals. This resulted in a close link between the nerves that control the facial muscles and vocalization with the vagus nerve—which regulates the heart, lungs and other internal organs.

The vagal circuits activate in a hierarchical fashion—from newest to oldest. In addition, each circuit can override the others. The newest circuit—which is unique to mammals—promotes social interactions through a calming effect and the stimulation of speech and the facial muscles. The next older circuit is the traditional fight-or-flight response of the sympathetic nervous system. The oldest—which activates in extremely dangerous situations—can cause a person to freeze or faint.