Yoga and smoking cessation allows you to use your passion for yoga to quit smoking. Kicking the habit is never easy and yoga isn't a magic bullet. However, you can use your yogic practices to help you to give up your unhealthy habit for good. For those already practicing yoga, learning a few special tricks will help get your habit under control. For those new to the art, it is recommended that you learn the basics of yoga before applying them to smoking cessation.
About Yoga and Smoking Cessation
Some schools of yoga teach that addictions are learned behaviors to compensate for an imbalance existing in one's life. While yoga may help you to deal with the side effects of nicotine withdrawal such as irritability, nervousness and a fixation on your cravings, it may also help to address the psychological addiction that you have to smoking -- what some say is the hardest part of quitting. Some other aspects of smoking cessation that yoga can help with include:
- Self-Awareness: The increased self-awareness provided by regular yoga practice can help you to control both your cravings and your emotions while you are quitting. When you get angry or irritable, you will realize it sooner and know why it's happening.
- Cleansing: Regular yoga practice can help you to cleanse your body. This is of particular importance when you are quitting smoking. Making sure that you engage in your yoga routine every day while quitting smoking will help you clean your body out quicker.
- Breathing: Part of your psychological addiction may be related to the deep breathing involved with smoking. Yoga can allow you to get some of the alleged "benefits" that you get from smoking, with none of the detriments that come along with inhaling a cigarette. In addition, the deep breathing also neutralizes many of the side effects of quitting smoking, such as irritability and cravings.
The Jala Neti is a technique that unites yoga and smoking cessation. It is an integrated physical and psychological practice designed to help you quit smoking. Practice it whenever you find yourself wanting to reach for a cigarette.
- Inhale as deeply as you comfortably can, exhaling slowly through pursed lips.
- Touch your chin to your chest while you exhale.
- Visualize all the stress you have running out of your fingers and toes.
- Repeat at least three times, until you are no longer wanting to reach for a cigarette.
The school of Kundalini yoga has an additional technique to help you keep from lapsing back into your smoking habit.
- Sit or lie down with the spine straight.
- Take three long, deep, slow breaths.
- Block the right nostril with the right thumb.
- Fill your lungs using only the left nostril.
- Hold your breath as long as is comfortable.
- Block your left nostril with your right thumb.
- Exhale through the left nostril.
- Hold the lungs empty for as long as is comfortable.
- Repeat for between one and 31 minutes.
More Resources for Quitting Smoking
Remember that yoga is not a magic bullet that will take all the problems and stress out of smoking cessation. You can, however, get yourself over difficult humps in quitting by using yoga as an additional tool in a smoking cessation program. The best idea is to combine yoga with any other tools that work for you. You can learn more about resources for quitting smoking by reviewing the following articles from LoveToKnow Addiction: