Harnessing the power of yoga: A holistic approach to quitting tobacco

  • Spiritual and yoga leaders suggested that practicing yoga can help individuals stay away from tobacco and strengthen their physical and mental well-being.
  • World No Tobacco Day, celebrated on May 31 every year, aims to raise awareness about the harmful effects of smoking and encourage people to quit.

Alka Jain
First Published31 May 2023, 08:12 AM IST
Surrounding yourself around the power of yoga will empower an individual to focus on their health.
Surrounding yourself around the power of yoga will empower an individual to focus on their health.

Many people find it challenging to quit smoking as they are not aware of the ways to harness that power in their everyday lives. Surrounding yourself around the power of yoga will empower an individual to focus on their health, hence, quit tobacco for the rest of their life. Yoga can be defined as a ‘conscious process gaining control over the mind’.

Smoking causes 30% of all cancer-related deaths and makes up 80% of lung cancer deaths. It also increases the risk of more than 12 types of cancers in humans. Despite a range of harmful effects on the body, smoking is highly prevalent due to its ability to trick the brain into happiness.

To take people out of this decisive trap of happiness, World Health Organisation celebrates Anti-Tobacco Day, also known as World No Tobacco Day, on May 31 every year.

Today, Livemint had a conversation with some yoga and spiritual leaders who discussed the ways of quitting tobacco with the help of yoga. 

1) AiR Atman in Ravi, Spiritual Leader and Founder of AiR Institute of Realization and AiR Center of Enlightenment

The spiritual leader said that people understand yoga to be only 'asanas', physical exercises, and 'Pranayama', breathing techniques, however, yoga means 'Yuj' or “union with the divine”. In short, it means living in a state of consciousness where our senses no more control us rather we are in command of our senses that create desires and addictions. 

“Of course, asanas and pranayama are indeed powerful ways that keep us fit and contribute to our overall physical and mental wellness, but it is true Yoga that helps us discipline our mind, enabling us to experience peace and tranquility. Once we are in control of our thoughts, we don't crave for anything and thus we don't become a slave. Yoga makes us free,” he added. 

2) Himalayan Siddhaa Akshar, Founder of Akshar Yoga Institution

In the sacred practice of yoga, we discover the transformative power to liberate ourselves from the grip of tobacco addiction, said Akshar Yoga Founder, adding that through the union of breathing, movement, and mindfulness, we embark on a holistic journey towards freedom.

“Yoga becomes our sanctuary, where we cultivate self-awareness, resilience, and inner strength. With each conscious breath, we release the toxic cravings that bind us, replacing them with a deep connection to our true essence. With each asana, we embody the strength and grace required to overcome the challenges of quitting tobacco. Through meditation and self-reflection, we cultivate a deep understanding of the underlying causes of our addiction, empowering us to heal and transform,” said Himalayan Siddhaa Akshar. 

3) Prakriti Poddar, Global Head, Mental Health & Wellbeing, RoundGlass Living app

Smoking is an addiction and has been linked to several diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. But you can get rid of this harmful habit with the help of yoga, said Poddar. 

She asserted that it is important to control your impulses and reduce your reactivity to break this negative cycle. “Regular practice of yoga asanas and breathing can help you with both by making your mind stronger and more resilient and boosting your willpower,” the Global Head of the RoundGlass Living app suggested. 

In yoga, we also practice mindfulness and self-awareness, which can be crucial in overcoming addictions, as individuals learn to pay attention to their thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations without judgment. This heightened awareness can help smokers recognize their triggers, cravings, and habitual patterns associated with smoking. At the same time, practicing yoga strengthens your physical body and helps contain the damage caused by cigarette smoke, Poddar added. 

She further recommended some yoga poses which can help smokers to recover from the negative effects of tobacco. These yoga poses include — cobra pose (bhujanga asana), bow pose (dhanurasana), triangle pose (trikonasana), and wheel pose (chakrasana). 

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First Published:31 May 2023, 08:12 AM IST
HomeNewsworldHarnessing the power of yoga: A holistic approach to quitting tobacco

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