How To Stop Smoking With Yoga Might Be Easier Than You Think
One day after yoga class one of my students approached me. She was quiet and shy and I hadn’t talked to her much.
She said, “Thank you for helping me to quit smoking.”
I wasn’t sure what to say. I didn’t even know that she was a smoker, let alone how I had helped her! She continued and told her story. She said that after yoga class she felt really great. Then she would go home and smoke a cigarette. Smoking would make her good feelings go away. So, she started delaying when she would have a cigarette. Each time she would go longer before having one. One day she just never picked up a cigarette to smoke – and never did again.
Was this just a fluke?
The National Institute for Health shows a growing body of research which suggests that yoga postures, yoga breathing and meditation can help with quitting smoking.
Other research suggests that you can overcome a bad habit by overriding it with a new habit. In this case, the smoking habit is replaced with the habit of a regular yoga and meditation practice.
8 reasons why yoga might help kick the smoking habit
- Reduce stress.
- Stimulates endorphins and dopamine: hormones that make us feel good.
- Eliminate toxins.
- Stimulates the prefrontal lobes of the brain which helps with good decision making
- Stimulates the middle area of the brain which helps us to feel more connected to others and the world around us.
- Increases energy and stamina.
- Helps reduce cravings.
- And yoga makes us feel so good!
Swami Kriyananda smoked as a youth. He decided to quit, but anyone who has tried to quit smoking knows it’s not so easy. Swami Kriyananda tells how he kept affirming that he had quit smoking before he actually had. His friends would laugh at him when he would declare that he had had his last cigarette – again. In his mind, he never gave into the thought that he couldn’t quit smoking. He did not accept defeat. One day he really did have his last cigarette and never went back to them.
Yoga masters have always said that we can change our destiny by the power of our thoughts. Science is now understanding why. Yoga helps us to get our thoughts, habits and actions working for us instead of against us.
5 Tips to stop smoking with yoga
- Focus on pranayama (breathing exercises) that calm, reduce stress and help to eliminate toxins.
- Focus on meditation to stimulate & calm the brain as well as help to rewire it to your new habit.
- Focus on a mantra or affirmation to keep your thoughts positive throughout the day.
- Focus on yoga postures that create balance in your lifestyle – this could mean restorative, traditional holding of poses or the currently popular yoga flows.
- Be patient. Don’t ever accept defeat. Keep trying.
Don’t overlook other helpful programs to help stop smoking. Adding yoga to your lifestyle at the same time can be very powerful.
Have you tried to stop smoking with yoga? Would you like to? Let us know in the comments below your thoughts and experiences.