Stressed about giving up smoking?
Calm yourself down using this Yoga breathing technique
Paying attention to your breathing can really help when you're giving up cigarettes.
Breathing governs your mind and body. If you slow your breath down, your mind becomes calmer and your body relaxes more. If you speed your breath up your thoughts become more agitated and your body tenses. How you breathe is almost as important as whether you breathe!
When you find yourself wanting a cigarette, your breath will probably quicken as you stress with any mental struggles you may have about smoking.
Try this simple technique
Put your hands on your lower ribcage. Take a deep breath. Focus on sending your breath into the area below your hands. You should feel a gentle expansion. This is your diaphragm, the big muscular partition that divides your chest from your stomach.
As you practice breathing deeply remember the following:
- Slow down your inner and outer breath
- Take your breath deep - feel your diaphragm expanding down into your abdominal area and your ribcage expand
- Breathe smoothly – avoid jerkiness
- Cultivate a relaxed approach – no strain involved – avoid overly filling your lungs
- Your breath may vary from day to day – try to be with what is – without judgement
- Be gentle with yourself – you are progressing perfectly
By paying attention to your breath you will find you can gradually increase lung capacity, thereby increasing calm and peace.
One word of caution, do not hold your breath. Release the practice if you find yourself getting light-headed, this is usually a result of taking in more oxygen than your body is used to. Stretch your lungs slowly and over a period of time you will notice that your capacity has increased.
Yoga breathing - a useful ‘giving up’ tool
Throughout your day - particularly when you feel cravings for a cigarette - do random checks on your diaphragm. Place the palms of your hands there, slow down and deepen your breath; take time to consciously relax.
The process should only take 30 seconds out of your day each time but should have a beneficial and calming effect on your mind and body.