Want to Quit Smoking? Yoga Can Help!

3 July 2013

According to results of a study published in the Journal of Women’s Health – “Yoga is beneficial for those planning to quit smoking”…And, this is no longer conjecture but a scientifically proven fact. Yoga is a good complementary therapy for cessation of smoking.

The leading preventable cause of death worldwide is addiction to nicotine. Nearly 6 million people die each year as a result of cigarette smoking, both from direct tobacco use and/or exposure to second-hand smoke. Smoking is associated with a host of adverse health related conditions such lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, heart disease and stroke, to mention a few. In addition to these health consequences, nicotine use contributes too many troublesome effects on social and psychological well-being of smokers as well as non-smokers.

Research has shown that 70% of smokers who attempt to quit do so without the use of evidence-backed programs and 90% of those will relapse. Cessation programs are readily available to smokers, but they remain largely under-utilized, mostly because smokers are unaware of them. In order to bolster cessation attempts and ultimately increase success rates, smokers need to be made aware that safe, effective, and accessible means of quitting are available and yoga is certainly one of them.

Yoga has shown great promise in helping smokers to end their addiction because it deals with emotional stress while at the same time reducing the nicotine withdrawal symptoms that commonly arise.

The hassles of trying to quit smoking…

Although there are effective strategies for smoking cessation quitting can still be tough. The onset of nicotine withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, anxiety, depression, headache and insomnia are often quite difficult to manage. Therefore, most smokers fail in their attempt to quit smoking successfully. It is important to realize that quitting smoking is not one day affair but the result of good planning, a focused approach and a well controlled mind. Yoga can help overcome the obstacles most smokers encounter when they begin a smoking cessation plan.

According to American Public Health Association, yoga based intervention, with an emphasis on meditation and the help of an experienced practitioner, can manage emotional stress and help cope with the various withdrawal symptoms that are bound to arise after quitting smoking. Quitting smoking is emotionally and physically challenging, but thankfully, yoga practice has the power to address both these issues.

How yoga helps to cope with nicotine cravings…

A regular smoker’s body is habituated to receive doses of nicotine multiple times during the course of a day and that leads to nicotine dependency and addiction. When you stop smoking, the body generates its own reactions due to the absence of nicotine and this is what’s commonly known as ‘nicotine cravings’. Finding ways to deal with tobacco cravings is the biggest challenge you’ll face when you are trying to quit smoking. Fortunately yoga is there to calm the mind, control frequent mood swing, promote a sense of patience, increase your ability to listen to your body and enables you to exercise a greater sense of control. For instance, whenever a strong tobacco craving strikes, deep breathing exercises and yoga asana can help immensely to deal with stress, resulting in a reduction of the urge to smoke.

Using yoga to combat mental/emotional stress…

Some people have a harder time then others when quitting smoking. The frequent nicotine carvings that are associated with smoking cessation usually provoke a state of anxiety and stress. Yoga practice, as a complementary stress-reduction technique, helps to combat mental/emotional stress. The study referenced above states that yoga practice reduces perceived stress, negative impact, and anxiety among women smokers who want to quit. Yoga practices including regulated breathing, and focused attention are known improve mood and promote inner peace.

Yoga also helps to restore lung health…

Everyone knows that smoking has a devastating impact on your lungs and their functioning. However, regular practice of yoga is a practical way to take care of your lung’s health. Yoga opens the lungs and stimulating lung tissue, improving their functioning capacity. Restoration of lung health subsequently helps to improve success rates for those determined to quit smoking.

Yoga Asana

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