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Could Ayurveda Help You Quit Smoking On World No Tobacco Day – May 31st?

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By HEALTH EDITOR | UPDATED: 09:28, 31 May 2020

May 31st marks ‘World No Tobacco Day’ – the global campaign seeks to help young people fight back against the marketing designed to pull them into the tobacco category with the hope of raising a tobacco-free generation.

Whilst the day focuses on prevention, for those of us who do smoke, it also provides us with a moment to reflect on our own habits and seek to commit to quitting this unhealthy practice.

Smoking is still the biggest cause of preventable deaths in England, accounting for nearly 80,000 deaths each year.

What’s even more worrying is that the latest stats show that in 2017-2018, there were nearly 490k hospital admissions attributable to smoking, with 22% of all admissions being for respiratory diseases.

Given the current coronavirus situation, none of us want to be heading to the hospital unnecessarily and any respiratory issues are likely to put us in the high-risk category in an instant.

Now, more than ever, stubbing out smoking is so important. We all know the nicotine replacement methods, but for many a more holistic route could provide the solution. 

Sanjeevanam Ayurvedic Hospital – a wellness destination in beautiful Kerala, India offers a NEW approach to holistic healing blending modern diagnostics, yoga, functional fitness & physiotherapy with the ancient art of Ayurveda to deliver a unique east-meets-west healing experience that will revive and revitalise your wellbeing.

Dr Anne Mathew who heads up the Department of Yoga and Naturopathy diet at Sanjeevanam Ayurvedic Hospital explains how yoga could help you to quit smoking.

“Yoga postures, breathing techniques and meditation can help you to quit smoking. With yoga we are replacing a bad habit with a good one. Regular yoga practice eliminates the toxins from your body and helps to reduce the cravings. Here are the best poses to support you in your quest to give up smoking.

  1. KAPALABHATI – This pose helps to clear the nadis and helps to resist the urge to smoke. This breathing technique consists of alternating short, explosive exhales generated by powerful contractions of the lower belly and slightly longer, passive inhales which suck air back into the lungs. In the first step, focus on your lower belly, quickly contract to push a burst of air out of your lungs then quickly release the contraction so the belly rebounds and sucks air back in. Repeat ten times with one cycle every two seconds.

  2. NADI SHODHANA PRANAYAMA (ALTERNATE NOSTRIL BREATHING TECHNIQUE) – This helps counter the withdrawal symptoms of de addiction, pacifying all three doshas of the body. In this technique you will need to find a comfortable sitting position with the spine lengthened. Close the eyes and begin by folding the tips of the index and middle fingers inwards until they touch the palm at the base of the right thumb. Use the right thumb to close the right nostril. Exhale gently but fully through the left nostril. Keeping the right nostril closed, inhale through the left nostril deeply and pause. Next, use the ring and pinky fingers of the right hand to gently close the left nostril and release the right. Exhale through the right nostril as the breath travels down that side of the body. Pause gently again. Continue to repeat the process for ten breaths on each side.

  3. BHUJANGASANA (COBRA POSE) – This helps to relieve stress and minimize the urge to smoke. To achieve this subtle back bend, lie on your stomach, toes pointing straight back with hands underneath the shoulders keeping your elbows close to the body. Your legs should be engaged with your belly pulled in. As you inhale, lift your chest, roll the collarbones up and firm the shoulder blades into the upper back. Lift your head last and open your heart. Come down as you exhale and repeat three times.

  4. SETU BANDHASANA (BRIDGE POSE) – This opens up the lungs and improves the flow of oxygen to the body. Lie on the floor, bend your knees and set your feet as close to your sitting bones as possible whilst ensuring heels remain flat to the ground. Exhale and, pressing your inner feet and arms actively into the floor, push your tailbone upward toward the pubis, lifting the buttocks off the floor until they are parallel with the thighs. Keep your knees directly over the heels. Lift your chin slightly away from the sternum and press the top of the sternum toward the chin. Stay in pose for 30 seconds before releasing with an exhalation, rolling slowly down to the floor.

  5. SARVANGASANA (SHOULDER STAND POSE) – This will help to eliminate the urge to smoke. Lie on the floor with your back flat to the mat. Bring your feet together and place your hands sideways close to your body. Bring your legs in close to your chest. Lift your lower body slowly. Take your hands and place them on your back as you slowly lift your legs up. Your entire body should be in a straight line with your upper arms supporting your back. Hold the pose for 10 seconds before folding down slowly.”

In addition, Dr Anil V Kaimal – Chief Physician & Medical Superintendent at Sanjeevanam Ayurvedic Hospital highlights the three things you can do at home using Ayurvedic principles to help stop…

1. Chew Clove when you have a smoking craving. The strong flavour will help to cull your nicotine desire in an instant, not to mention it stimulates the oral muscles used when smoking to help trick your brain.

2. Take cinnamon milk when you feel the need to smoke. Cinnamon’s strong taste helps to reduce cravings whilst studies have shown that when you drink milk prior to smoking it makes that cigarette taste terrible with a bitter aftertaste. The combination will ensure the thought of lighting up is less appealing than ever

3. Make a pledge to quit. Being accountable to stopping smoking is a powerful mental method. Set yourself a “Quit Day” for when you’ll stop using tobacco products. Make a pledge or commitment in front of people who will support you on your path to quitting. Having others involved will help to make the pledge harder to break that making the promise purely to yourself.