Nobody wishes to wake up on a glorious morning and then stress about impending issues. However, we create our own emotional instability and problems. A lack of awareness about the present moment, a self-centred attitude, and the absence of a holistic view of life can lead to unbalanced living. Failing to acknowledge the real cause of these problems can lure us into the trap of addiction and dependency, like nicotine. While our body, mind and soul long for peace, smoking creates an short-lived thrill and illusion of “escape”.
Manmohan Singh is a passionate yogi, yoga teacher and a traveller in India. Here, he gives us eight pointers on how yoga can help a person to overcome the habit of smoking.
1. Yoga offers physical, mental and emotional healing
As well as the myriad of well-documented and detrimental health effects, smoking has a way of taking over one’s life. Trying to quit?
It’s said that an average smoker tries and fails to quit smoking seven times before finally succeeding. Yoga has proven successful in helping people to overcome stress, to get fit, and to kick addictions, like smoking. The efficacies of yoga have extended beyond physical fitness to mind and soul, improving breathing and fostering good health and wellness.
2. Tame the mind
How many times you have told yourself that you will quit smoking from tomorrow but tomorrow never comes? We often trick ourselves by making adjustments with our cravings for the sake of one more cigarette. The practice of yoga asanas (poses) is helpful in such cases. It allows us to tap into our deep consciousness and helps us fix out the root cause of our inclination and motivation. The cobra pose, bow posture and corpse yoga asana expand the lung capacity, open air pathways and encourage fuller, deeper breaths vital for optimal lung health. The yoga asanas soothe anxieties, balance the mind and help with deeper self-introspection.
3. Release emotional baggage
Emotions are closely interlinked with the smoking addiction. Many people rely on smoking through their times of emotional upheaval to calm the nerves. With every single act of smoking, addictions deepen, thereby including smoking in a list of unhealthy comfort crutches. Instead of looking for a damaging support, opt for yoga. Release your emotional baggage, connect with yourself and build a strong-self support system to combat the emotional stress with the help of yoga.
4. Build determination
A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work.
—Colin Powell, American statesman and retired four-star general
Similarly, with sheer dedication and willpower, a smoker can quit. Commence on the journey of yoga that cultivates determination and willpower in the smoker which is a fundamental strength needed to quit smoking.
5. Heighten awareness
Yoga is the sole eternal path towards a greater awareness and self-realisation. Develop awareness through the regular practice of yoga and lead a healthy life by listening to your body needs. The heightened awareness makes the smokers realise that their body does not need such dangerous toxins. Simultaneously, realisation brings surfacing changes in the diet and inspires a healthy smoke-free lifestyle.
6. Neutralise cravings
The diverse breathing techniques such as kapalbhati pranayama, anulom-vilom pranayama, and ujjayi potently neutralise the irresistible cravings for nicotine, beat stress feelings, clear the nadis, and help a person resist the urge to smoke.
7. Regain lung capacity
Pranayama techniques effectively purify the energy channels in the body and clears pathways for more oxygen supply to the vital organs and brain. The practice of yogic breathing techniques is known to improve oxygenation that is great for all those suffering from respiratory problems. It helps people in regaining the full capacity of lungs, countering the harmful effects of years of smoking, and protecting the body from side-effects of de-addiction.
8. Strengthen organs
The yoga asanas stretch and strengthen the various body organs, improve shallow breathing and increase oxygen intake that makes the mind calm. By reducing stress, it helps you fight your impulse of smoking. Yoga is also a natural remedy that helps a person quit smoking without weight gain and any other side effects.
About the author
Manmohan Singh is a passionate yogi, yoga teacher and a traveller in India. He provides yoga teacher training in Rishikesh, India. He loves writing and reading the books related to yoga, health, nature and the Himalayas. For more information about him visit his website.
Written By: Manmohan Singh
Edited By: Adriane Rysz