A key component of yoga is the regulation of breathing. With this in mind, it can help ex-smokers to increase their lung capacity and learn how to breathe correctly. Many yoga poses involve diaphragmatic or abdominal breathing or shallow breathing via clavicular and thoracic methods. Each of these techniques engages the oxygen channel and improves the supply of blood and oxygen to the vital organs.
In addition to working out the muscles, yoga works the brain and the heart to improve inhalation and exhalation. The goal of yogic breathing is to regain control of the breath and promote correct mistakes in the way we breathe. If you’re hoping to increase your lung capacity after years of smoking, put on your yoga bra and practice this yoga for an ex-smoker routine.
Begin your practice with the Nadi Shodhan Pranayama. This breathing exercise helps to release accumulated stress and cleanse the energy channels in the body. In turn, this clears the pathway for the oxygen to your brain, heart, and other vital organs. Practicing Nadi Shodhan is known to improve oxygenation, making this pranayama ideal for those with respiratory problems. It helps to regain lung capacity and counteract the effects of smoking.
To practice Nadi Shodhan, place your right middle and pointer fingers in the center of your hand, leaving just your ring and little fingers and your thumb free. Place your right thumb over your right nostril and breathe in through the left nostril. Next, place your ring finger over your left nostril and breathe out through the right nostril. Keep your hand in position and inhale through your left nostril before switching to place your thumb over your right nostril and breathing out through the left nostril. Repeat this process for around 5 minutes for best results.
Kapal Bhati rejuvenates the nervous system, improves blood circulation and improves oxygen supply to the brain. The pranayama is known to calm the mind and clear the energy channels in the body, helping to resist the urge of smoking.
Practice Kapal Bhati by sitting tall, inhaling through your nose, then vigorously pushing the air out through your nose while pulling your belly button in repeatedly and in short bursts. Each pull in with your naval exerts another exhale quickly after the last. For best results, keep each breath even in depth, force, and time.
Triangle Pose can improve shallow breathing through the thorax or chest. When practiced regularly, the amount of oxygen inhaled is increased and the mind becomes relaxed as a result. With this in mind, the asana can increase lung capacity and help to fight the urge to smoke.
To practice the asana, begin standing with your feet apart. Bring your arms out to the sides until they’re in line with your shoulders. Turn your right foot out 90 degrees and your left foot in 45 degrees. Engaging your quadriceps, bend to the side over your right leg. For support, place your right hand on your ankle, shin, or knee. Finally, lift your left arm towards the ceiling and gaze at your fingertips. You are in Triangle Pose. Hold the asana for 30 seconds before repeating on the opposite side.
Supported Shoulder Stand turns the body upside down to provide the brain with more blood. This has a calming effect on the body and helps you to fight the urge to smoke. It also promotes correct breathing to increase lung capacity and relieves mental stress and the depression state.
To practice the asana, lie down on your back with your knees bent. When you’re ready, begin to lift your feet and buttocks off the ground. Place your hands on your lower back for support, keeping your upper arms and elbows on the floor. Next, extend your legs towards the ceiling, keeping them together and aligned with your torso. On your next inhale, straighten your knees. Your heels should now be pointing toward the ceiling. Finally, bring your chest toward your chin. You are in Supported Shoulder Stand. Hold the pose for around 30 seconds whilst breathing deeply. When you’re ready to exit the posture, slowly bring your legs back down to the mat.
As well as stretching the glutes, Bridge Pose opens the lungs to improve the flow of oxygen to the body. This results in a calmer mind and allows the lungs to supply more oxygen to your organs.
To practice the asana, lie down on your back and bend your knees. Keeping your feet hip-width apart, press firmly through your feet and lift your back and bottom off the mat. Open the chest by pressing your hands into the ground. You are in Bridge Pose. Hold the asana for 30 seconds before lowering yourself back down to the mat.
Arguably the most important pose in yoga, Corpse Pose is the best way for ex-smokers to finish the routine. This asana induces a calming, meditative state, keeping the mind at rest and decreasing blood pressure and anxiety. To absorb the benefits of the routine, breathe deeply throughout the asana.
Designed to calm the body and mind, Corpse Pose is the perfect way to end your routine. To practice the asana, start by lying on your back. Relax your arms by your sides and close your eyes. You are in Corpse Pose. Take this time to concentrate on your breathing or reflect on the rest of your routine.
If you’re an ex-smoker looking to regain lung capacity, practice the yoga for an ex-smoker routine above. As well as increasing lung capacity, the routine will calm your mind and help you to fight the urge to smoke. As yoga can be practiced almost anywhere, you can easily slot it into your schedule. If you plan to practice on-the-go, pack a yoga bag with some suitable clothes and a fresh bottle of water.