The Yoga Addiction

57: Study Review: The Breath of Life

The Yoga Addiction
57: Study Review: The Breath of Life

As promised, we dissect a scientific study in this episode all about breath, contemplative practices and the vagus nerve (find the link in the notes below). When the vagus nerve is stimulated, the body settles into "Rest and Digest" mode, or the parasympathetic nervous system. We discuss a few topics that stood out most strongly to us as yogis and explored how we can adjust our practices to make the most of the breath-based vagal stimulation. One of the biggest takeaways from the study was that any contemplative practice yielded positive effects on a number of health parameters. Listen through for our discussion.




  • A bit of background on the vagus nerve (4:04)
  • Noticing the breath in any posture generally slows it down (12:03)
  • What is this article trying to achieve? (12:58)
  • Why we need to feel safe in order to calm down (16:42)
  • Stressors can be so many things: thoughts, mindset, environmental toxins, foods, etc. We can have a physiological effect on these stressors with breath (22:26)
  • One of Nat's favourite at home yoga restorative poses to relax (24:52)
  • All of the contemplative activities in this article appear to improve cognition (30:27)
  • The mental health aspects of breath (35:57)
  • The different benefits of different categories of meditation (37:19)
  • Top-down and bottom-up processes; when they work together in a positive feedback loop, they intensify the signal (40:36)




Study: Breath of Life: The Respiratory Vagal Stimulation Model of Contemplative Activity

Episode 53: Why Do We Care About the Vagus Nerve

Mula Yoga's 80 hr Advanced Sequencing Teacher Training

Sandy's Current Meditation (Focused Attention type): Isha Kriya

Follow us on Instagram (Don't miss our giveaways!) @theyogaaddiction

Rad Roller - The myofascial release tools we use every day

Sign Up for our Newsletter

Brought to you by Natalie Senger and Sandy Huen of The Yoga Addiction