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Polyvagal Theory and Yoga

Have you heard ever about how polyvagal theory and yoga works together?

Polyvagal theory in yoga guides you to become a compassionate witness to your body and mind. This provides a powerful foundation for self-knowledge. At times, your body might react to a stressful event even before you are aware of the trigger.

The goal of a vagus nerve yoga practice is to become increasingly flexible…not of the physical body but of the nervous system.

According to the polyvagal theory, the autonomous nervous system of mammals evolved to offer neurophysiological underpinnings for adaptive behavioral approaches. It goes on to say that one's physiological state restricts the spectrum of behavior and psychological experiences one can have.


Yoga is one mind-body exercise that might modify the preparation setting. Yoga is a collection of techniques that can influence one or even more elements of the preliminary set by changing muscular tone/posture, ANS, concentration, emotion, or intelligence (Payne and Crane-Godreau, 2015). Yoga practices may be used to influence the autonomous nervous system and control and adjust the interaction with the changing neural frameworks outlined in PVT.

Yoga therapy is a novel, self-regulating complementary and integrative healthcare (CIH) technique. It is becoming more professional, recognized, and used, with a shown dedication to establishing practice standards, academic and certification criteria, and encouraging evidence to back up its effectiveness for diverse groups and situations.

However, practice variability, low accountability mechanisms, and an absence of a widely acknowledged knowledge of the neurophysiological processes underlying yoga therapy hinder the development of viable theories and treatments. The latest suggested paradigms for yoga-based activities are centered on the merging of bottom-up neurophysiological and top-down neurocognitive processes.

Furthermore, it has been suggested that the phenomenological approach and the first individual moral investigation can provide a perspective through which yoga treatment can be seen as a factor that contributed to eudaimonic health in the face of pain, disease, or impairment.

Polyvagal Theory (PVT) proposes that the neurological systems enabling social activity are engaged in preserving health, development, and restoration by linking the history of the autonomous nervous system to the genesis of pro-social behavior. This interpretive theory, which combines neurophysiological rhythms of autoregulation with socioemotional behavior manifestation, is rapidly being used as a foundation for explaining human behavior, anxiety, and sickness.

The similarity between the neurological systems of Polyvagal theory and the gunas of yoga ("sattva, rajas, and tamas'') seems useful in developing a translational paradigm for a yoga practice that aligns with its philosophical basis. As a result, yoga therapy can function as an independent practice instead of integrating into an external model for use in academic and professional fields.


Both Polyvagal theory and the gunas offer a way to comprehend the foundation stone out of which physiological, mental, and behavioral characteristics originate. In the existence of BME (body, mind, and environmental context) events, PVT gives a glimpse into how neural activity systems are engaged in response to the growing danger or safety. According to yoga, physiological, mental, and behavioral characteristics develop from and are impacted by the fundamental interaction of the gunas.

Yoga's advantages for autoregulation and resiliency can be obtained when it is practiced and comprehended as a unified and full system. As one acquires new responses to possible BME stressors, his or her physical, mental, and behavioral health and well-being may improve. The confluence of PVT and the gunas may assist to position yoga treatment as a tool for supporting self-regulation, resilience, and reducing allostatic stress through the development of healthy interactions to BME events.

When yoga treatment is implemented from the standpoint of modifying fundamental guna levels and neurological systems, the holistic character of the practice may be distinguished from other CIH activities. It is believed that this would assist guide both scientific and medical settings engaged in incorporating yoga therapies for a variety of patient demographics and diseases.

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