Can Yoga Help You Overcome Smoking?
Cigarette smoking is a deadly habit that is persistently prevalent. An article from Market Research Future estimates that if current cigarette usage trends continue, there will be 1.1 billion smokers by 2025. Part of the problem is that every smoker’s cigarette usage is different, which means the most effective cessation methods are personalized. A vast array of solutions must be available for smokers to mix, match, and utilize to stop smoking permanently.
Given its many benefits, it may not be surprising to learn that yoga is among the solutions you can leverage. This practice of physical and mental discipline can be a powerful tool for smoking cessation. Here’s an overview of some tried-and-true methods for quitting smoking and how yoga can complement them.
Established methods of smoking cessation
When considering yoga to quit smoking, you need to know which strategies it will work best with—like quitlines and nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). The national quitline 1-800-QUIT NOW will connect you with a highly-trained quit coach who can direct you to resources like an individual counseling program or an accountability group per your needs.
Meanwhile, NRT involves using alternative nicotine products like pouches and inhalers to curb withdrawal symptoms. Nicotine pouches are tobacco-free packets filled with flavorings, food-grade fillers, and nicotine that are placed between your gum and upper lip. The super popular VELO nicotine pouches come in various nicotine strengths, 2mg to 7mg, and are in demand across America due to their soft, high-quality materials, perfectly balanced flavors, and rejuvenating aromas. Alternatively, you can use a Nicotrol nicotine inhaler, a smoking aid that lets you absorb nicotine through your respiratory tract when you puff the device. It effectively curbs cravings by mimicking the physical hand-to-mouth movements of smoking.
These methods are potent—and their effects can be furthered if you utilize complementary solutions. IASLC Lung Cancer News notes that one of the most successful complementary solutions is yoga. Here’s why:
How yoga helps you overcome cigarette smoking
It reduces cravings
Part of smoking cessation involves dealing with visceral urges to pick up a cigarette again during the withdrawal period. Yoga can reduce the strength of those urges. In a study from Frontiers in Psychiatry, researchers asked participants to perform three experimental sessions: baseline, 30 minutes of yoga, and 30 minutes of aerobic exercise. They also asked them to complete questionnaires about their smoking urges before and after each session. The researchers found that while both yoga and aerobic exercise had positive effects, yoga alone reduced cravings and increased inhibitory control. Furthermore, they discovered that video-based yoga practice could have further positive effects on participant adherence—meaning you can reap yoga’s benefits by simply following a DIY yoga session on YouTube.
It soothes withdrawal-related anxiety
Anxiety is a common phenomenon among those who have just quit smoking. This fades with time—however, until your body adjusts to life without cigarettes, you might experience an aggravating mixture of feeling jumpy, restless, and upset. Yoga can help ease this disquiet and improve your mental health at the same time. According to a Mindfulness narrative review, yoga has a plethora of psychological benefits. Practicing it can help you regulate your mood and emotions, including self-compassion, dispositional mindfulness, and attention. It also reduces stress hormones, allowing you to feel calmer and cope with your temporary nervousness.
It helps your body recover
Your body will one day recover from the negative impacts of smoking—and if you want to get there faster, you can practice yoga. Holding poses and performing mindfulness practices are a dynamic combination that enables you to improve flexibility, muscle strength, and endurance. Our article ‘Yoga vs. Pilates: What are the Differences?’ adds that yoga is a more meditative and low-impact exercise. This is important because, as a recovering ex-smoker, you don’t want to practice physical activities that are too strenuous. Doing yoga will help you regain your total physical health sustainably while granting you a full-body workout.
Yoga can help you overcome the challenge of quitting smoking. Leverage it with an established smoking cessation method to progress your quit-smoking journey. As always, if you want to get in line and do yoga correctly we recommend using the YogaForce A-Line Mat