Below are a few yoga techniques you can try to kick your smoking habit:
- Svādhyāya – use the practice of self-study while in the act of smoking. Be completely present for the entire process beginning when you light the cigarette to putting it out. Here are some questions to ask yourself during this period:
- How do I feel when I take the first inhalation?
- How about subsequent inhalations?
- Does your breath feel complete as you smoke, or is it choppy and stuck?
- How do you feel as your breath travels into the lungs?
While you think about the answers of these questions, remain as a detached observer. Try not to get your feelings involved in the process.
- Build tapas – use the physical practice of yoga to build heat in the body
According to yoga philosophy, the physical practice of yoga builds heat, which can have alchemic effects on the body, leading to change and transformation. In simpler terms, practicing yoga, like other forms of exercise, can reduce cravings and negative feelings associated with withdrawal. Try to maintain a vigorous yoga practice at least 3 times per week to feel the effects.
- Daily pranayama & relaxation practice – along with a vigorous physical practice, establish a daily practice of mindful breathing and deep relaxation. Spend 5-15 minutes per day focusing on deep breathing and/or relaxing yoga postures, such as yin yoga. For beginners, simple pranayama is fine – you can do equal ratio breathing where you inhale for 5 counts and exhale for 5 counts (decrease or increase these counts as needed). The point is to become fully aware of your breath cycle and the thoughts that arise while you are breathing. Be gentle with yourself and let go of self-judgment.
- Visualization in Savasana: While relaxing in savasana, you can try a simple visualization technique where you picture your lungs as healthy and full of clean air and warm light. As you inhale, the air becomes clearer and your lungs fill with more light and warmth.
- While craving tobacco: In the midst of craving tobacco, bring your full awareness on the craving, and if possible, set your alarm for 5 minutes to practice your breathing technique. If you light the cigarette and smoke it, then be sure to try step 1 above. During this process, try to eliminate self-judgment.
- Let go of immediate results: This method will not work overnight, but will help you acquire internal strength for long-lasting cessation. Be patient with yourself through this process.
Let me know in the comments section what works for you, what doesn’t, and any additions you would add based on your personal experiences and prior knowledge.