yoga smoking

WE all know that a daily yoga practice can help with a litany of health issues. Now, in a world first, a randomised clinical trial of yoga as a complementary therapy for smokers attempting to quit, researchers have found that a Yoga practice, in conjunction with cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), can help improve smoking cessation efforts. Put simply, it appears you can use yoga to quit smoking.

A randomised controlled trial of more than 200 adult smokers showed that those who took part in an 8-week program of smoking-focused CBT and twice-a-week sessions of Iyengar yoga had 37 percent greater odds of achieving smoking abstinence at end of treatment (EOT) than those who underwent CBT plus general wellness classes.

The study concluded that Yoga appears to increase the odds of successful smoking abstinence, particularly among light smokers.

Yoga to Quit Smoking

Interestingly, members of the yoga group who were considered “heavy smokers” at baseline were more likely to cut down on their use of cigarettes by EOT, whereas “light smokers” were more than twice as likely to quit smoking compared with light smokers in the wellness group.

According to Medscape Medical News, “The non-vigorous yoga classes emphasised back alignment and use of props, such as blocks and straps, in order to reduce risk for injury. “Classes included 5 minutes of pranayama, 45 minutes of dynamically linked asanas, and 5 -10 minutes of resting meditation,” the site reports. “In addition, weekly handouts were given to the participants so that they could practice at home between sessions.”

Unfortunately, in the follow-up months later, when participants stopped the program, the effects were no longer significant.

“We were a little surprised that the effect wasn’t as strong as we’d hoped. It didn’t really last through follow-up,” lead author Beth C. Bock, PhD, professor of psychiatry and human behaviour at Brown University Medical School, Providence, Rhode Island.