The nervous system consists of three parts: Central Nervous System (sensation & motor control), Peripheral Nervous System (connects nerves to organs and limbs) and Autonomic Nervous System (emergency response: Sympathetic- “gas pedal” & Parasympathetic- “break pedal”).
Some of the benefits to having a strong nervous system are that you can manage stress and be less nervous in tense situations. Robert Anton in his book, Cosmic Trigger wrote, “We look for the Secret- the Philosopher’s Stone, the Elixir of the Wise, Supreme Enlightenment, ‘God’ or whatever and all the time it is carrying us about… It is the human nervous system itself.”
This is quite a profound statement about the nervous system. Here is one way to think about the nervous system; think about a child who watches a scary movie. The child anticipates something ‘bad’ is about to happen and looks away. The child cannot bare to watch what is about to happen. This is what a weak nervous system is like in a way. A person cannot contain the reality of an event and therefore avoids it altogether. With a strong nervous system, one can watch and experience the scene no matter how painful. You cannot control what is happening on the TV screen, but you can control whether you allow yourself to experience reality.
Another way to think about the nervous system is that it is a container. To some, their container is a half-inch shot glass. This type of container can barely hold anything, so there is limit to the amount of stress or pain this person can hold. With this type of nervous system, it can be hard to even meditate for three minutes before feeling some sort of pain that will distract you. There is a limit to the depth of meditation one can experience with a weak nervous system as elevated states of consciousness can only be held for a short amount of time. It is said that people who have become insane from drug abuse experienced high states of consciousness without a strong nervous system to support these states.
One with a strong nervous system has a system more like a large steel barrel with the ability to hold whatever comes their way. This person can experience and process painful events faster as they can allow the experience without avoiding it. This person can experience more depth in meditation and can meditate for hours without distracting pain. When the nervous system develops the capacity to hold pain, then you can heal. You want to create the capacity to hold pain and then the system can bring awareness to it and then release it.
We have become a society that seeks pleasure and avoids pain at all costs. I am not promoting masochism, but the reality of life is that there are good times and not so good times. By consciously avoiding the tough times you are running from reality. We all do it on some level, but the truth is that avoiding pain causes neurosis. It is important to have a strong nervous system to be graceful during tough times.
Yogi Bhajan taught a great meditation for the nervous system which Guru Dev Singh (Master of Sat Nam Rasayan) calls, “To Stabilize the State.” This meditation works with the armpits which Yogi Bhajan said, if the brain is the engine the armpits are the exhaust. Guru Dev taught that by working the armpits you are strengthening the nervous system.
The hands are out in front of you with the hands in Apan Mudra. The elbows are straight and don’t collapse the armpits. The chin is tucked in and the eyes are closed and looking at the tip of the nose.
Chant along with:
Ang Sang Wahe Guru by Nirinjan Kaur (Meditations for the Aquarian Age)
Continue for 11 Minutes (feel free to adjust the time).
2. Bring your hands down into Venus Lock in your lap. Meditate and listen to:
Flowers in the Rain by Gurudass (Flowers in the Rain)
Continue for 6 Minutes (feel free to adjust the time).
Also if you want to further explore the nervous system through yoga, I recommend the following kriyas:
Kriya to Correct Nerve Shallowness (Infinity & Me)
Building the Nervous System (Youth & Joy)
Renew the Nervous System and Build Stamina (Reaching Me in Me)
To Activate the Central Nervous System (Physical Wisdom)
Nervous System Overhaul (Owner’s Manual)
Gong meditations and Shivasana with the gong are great for the nervous system. The CD, Therapeutic Gong by Dr Hari Simran Singh is a good option if you don’t have access to a live gong.
Also Yogi Tea is great for the nervous system!