The Nervous System and Yoga
Neurons – conduct energy impulses, neurons are used to transmit information. There are 12 billion neurons in the body that make up the nervous system.
The nervous system is coordinated together with the endocrine system by way of the central mid-brain structure called the limbic system. The limbic system is composed of structures in the brain responsible for memories, emotions, and instincts. Within the limbic system lies the hypothalamus gland which controls the autonomic nervous system as well as endocrine glands.
Differences in how the nervous system works compared to the endocrine system; the nervous system allows immediate control while the endocrine system allows slow control.
What makes up the nervous system?
CNS-Central Nervous System; Made up primarily of the spinal cord and the brain. The spinal cord relays messages to and from the brain from a network of peripheral nerves called afferent and efferent nerves. An afferent nerve receives a message via sensation or reaction from skin to spinal cord.
Efferent nerves carry nerve impulses away from the spinal cord towards the muscle, glands, and skin. Efferent nerves are known as motor nerves.
PNS - Peripheral Nervous System; Includes autonomic and sensory motor nervous systems. Motor nerves remember are known as efferent nerves that transmit messages from the brain to different parts of the body. Sensory nerves or Afferent nerves bring messages back to the brain.
ANS - Autonomic Nervous System; Regulates al automatic functions of the body including, heart rate, blood pressure, endocrine function, digestion, etc. The sympathetic nervous system is an aspect of the autonomic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system engages the fight or flight response where body functions go into a survival mode in the event of an emergency or in times of stress, tension, and strong emotions.
The Moola Bandha and the Central Nervous System.
Moola bandha is the act of lifting or engaging the pelvic floor. In yogic traditions, this is a way of re-directing Pranic energies upward.
Performing Moola Bandha stimulates the cerebral cortex of the central nervous system. A message is sent to the second, third, and fourth sacral peripheral nerves to contract the perineum. The nerve responsible for this action is the “Pudenal Nerve”. This action activates the parasympathetic nervous system and its dominance results in a sense of rest and relaxation in the body and mind.
The Endocrine System
The endocrine system is comprised of glands secreting hormones into the blood stream. Hormones control metabolic processes and all biological activity in the body. Hormonal balance also affects personality and character. Hormones are generated from eight glands including; pituitary, pineal, thyroid, para thyroid, thymus, adrenals, pancreas, and gonads.
All the information generated through the endocrine system goes back to the pituitary gland (master gland). (The pineal gland is considered the third eye by mystics and produces melatonin)
Combining control over endocrine glands using activation of the nervous system. The nerves rooted in the sacral region near the base of the spine are activated through moola bandha. Prana moves through 72,000 channels called Nadis that originate in the sacral plexus. Of the 72,000 Nadis we are concerned with three. The Ida, Pingala, and Sushumna. Ida – mental, Pingala – physical, Sushumna – unification of mental and physical.
In the yogic journey, the relationship between the nervous system and yoga means having a sensitivity to feel and listen to the body. By understanding how the physiology works and then practicing the traditions of yoga, life may be more fulfilling, balanced and spontaneous.
Moola Bandha the Master Key, Swami Buddhananda.