There is a beauty and perhaps bravery in slowing down. We live in a fast-moving world, constantly on the run, plugged into our phones, sleep deprived, often in a constant state of fight or flight.
What if by slowing down you improved the quality of your life, relationships and overall wellbeing. By changing the pace, this allows space and time for deeper self reflection, new ideas to surface, and new connections to be made. Many think we have lost access to these deeper states; so how do we do this?
We need to talk about the vagus nerve which serves as the body’s superhighway carrying information from the brain to internal organs and which controls the body’s response in times of rest and relaxation. It enables the heart to slow down and directs a message to the brain that we are safe and out of the ‘danger zone’.
The key point is activating the vagus nerve is a remarkable way to bring feelings of calm back into your nervous system after the perceived threats.
Calm your Mind – Relax your Body
Pretty amazing superpower. If triggered or stuck in fear taking a deep breath will send a message through the vagus nerve that you are not in imminent danger. This calms your nervous system. It can be an incredibly effective tool for people dealing with the aftermath of trauma.
The Vooo practice was created by Dr. Peter Levine, founder of Somatic Experiencing®. I discovered Vooo during my S.E. training and have found it to be a valuable tool for my clients. When you find yourself stressed or stuck in a trigger, it brings you back into deeper connection with yourself.
This practice is similar to sounding “Aum’ or the Sufis tradition of “Hu”. The vibration created by Voo provides the vagus nerve with a gentle massage. The sound opens, expands and vibrates enlivening your body, delivering new signals to a shut-down or overstimulated nervous system.
- Sit or stand. Feel the ground beneath supporting and holding you. Then lightly place awareness on your breath. Slowly breathe in and out.
Foghorn. Imagine a river on a foggy night – the coastguard is making foghorn sounds to guide boaters safely home. Emulate this deep foghorn sound as you sound Voooo.
- Breathe in. As you exhale sound out Voooooo like a deep foghorn ….. for as long as you can comfortably exhale. Then let it drop. Wait for the next breath to come in on its own. Repeat the process.
- Pause. Notice the aftereffect of the sound vibration (in your chest, arms, belly, legs, pelvic floor….). Just be with it. Any tingling. Tension. Relaxation… when vooing emotions can arise, this is simply energy moving.
The intention is to vibrate the sound so it is going down to your belly. The more you sound Voo it organicallys drop you more and more into your body and the Vooo continues to deepen your tone like a foghorn. It is a process and may take time for it to be able to come into the belly. Honour your process.
Change the Resonance
Voooing can activate deeply engrained patterns created during trauma. If it feels too challenging, try out some alternate sounds that may have an easier frequency for your system to digest.
- Release. Sounds like gggrrrrr, rrrrrroooooaaaar or even ooooommm draw out stored energy in different parts of your internal organs and dissolve fixed patterns in the throat, voice and/or ears.
- Anger. Voo can help you release anger energy. You start with vooo but add in rawring like tiger (vooo-rawrrrrr). It’s constructive to channel our natural aggression to access a calmer state so we have the capacity to manage the source of our anger and aggression.