See also Relief from Addictions at (4).
I received many reports of practitioners of ‘Focusing on breathing’ (1) quitting smoking or chewing tobacco. These people read my brochures (2) and practiced on their own. They did not attend my classes. How does it work? My perception is that it changes a few things that were feeding the addiction.
One, it reduces stress thus toning down the tendency to reach for the cigarette, as soon as some tension is felt. Second, it effectively diverts the mind from the thought of smoking or chewing, thus breaking the automatic tendency to reach for it. One more, it develops self awareness and weakens the robotic behavior of reaching for tobacco without being aware of what one is doing.
In one practitioner it even created aversion to smoking, as you can see from the last report under ‘Smoking’!
It is also a fact that some people who succeeded in reducing smoking resumed smoking or increased the rate, after a few weeks or months. Perhaps they need more supporting practices or close guidance.
Let me know your own experience with this practice. It will be posted without your name.
- “I can’t stand the taste (of cigarettes) any more” said a practitioner who initially practiced the technique on his own from my handouts . Seeing his potential, I persuaded him to attend my classes. More….
- “I stopped smoking” said a cashier at the UPS store. More….
- One pack to half pack: I gave the brochures (2) to the young postal clerk at the post office which I visit periodically about 5 few months back. She was interested in quitting smoking. On my recent visit she said that the ‘Focusing on breathing’ practice was working. She was smoking one pack of 20 cigarettes before the practice. Now she smokes less than half pack. She simply read the brochure, practiced on her own and partly achieved her goal. (On my subsequent visit she confessed that she had gone back to full scale smoking again. It shows that some people can’t quit on their own but need a helping hand.)
- Reduced from 20 to 15 a day: One person about 50 years age saw the brochures related to ‘quitting smoking’ in my office and wished to do my classes. He attended 2 sessions and began practicing the technique with high motivation for quitting smoking. Within 2 weeks he reduced his smoking rate from 20 a day to 15 a day.
- 20 cigarettes a day to 4: A cashier in UPS store used to smoke 20+ cigarettes a day for many years. Earlier he tried hypnotherapy but it could not help him. Here is his feedback. ”I was smoking a pack and half a day. I had been looking for a way to quit that would not require more money and the same old results. I was introduced to the ‘counting breaths’ methods. After just a week of doing the method once in the morning and right before bed, I was able to cut down smoking down to around 15 cigarettes a day from the previous 20 a day, by doing nothing more than the method. I now do it throughout the day and I am down to about 4 cigarettes a day. My goal is to be smoke free within the next month. This is all due to doing the method: I am more relaxed, I don’t need to lash out at everybody because I am edgy. The best part is, it costs me nothing to do, except for my effort into it. I didn’t need any outside help like gum or patches; I did it on my own which is a great feeling. My wife has now started this method and we are slowly getting into our children to do it too. I highly recommend this for anyone of any age.” April 2009
- “easy does it” resolution to an insidious condition: One patient (50+ years age, with a smoking history of 7 cigarettes a day for 20 years) saw the above feedback in the brochure displayed in the waiting room in my daughter’s medical office. He said he would try this method immediately, to stop smoking. When he visited after 5 weeks he reported it worked. On my request he sent this inspiring feedback. ” The Solution is Simplicity: Several days ago, while awaiting to meet with my physician, I read a booklet about the benefits of counting breaths. Out of curiosity, I tried several proposed methods, especially “Tip mode’ (3). It seemed to relieve some tension, but I was fascinated to test the effectiveness of this techniques through a more practical implication; smoking cessation. I was, at best skeptical as not only was counting breaths easy, and affordable, it as also a ‘holisitic’ approach to addiction abatement. My first craving for a cigarette began shortly after my appointment, and instead of reaching into my pocket for a smoke, I tried finger counting. At first, it was fast paced, nervous and a bit “hurried”; however, within a few minutes not only did the craving stop, but I felt more energized. That was four days ago. I still have cravings, though less frequent, still conditioned to light up at certain times, but I finger count. It is so simple that even someone like me who has no patience and desires immediate satisfaction has found counting breaths an “easy does it” resolution to an insidious condition, nicotine addiction. Try it just a couple of times, you will see, feel and be inspired by counting breaths. Again, give yourself a chance and try it out. You will not be disappointed.” June 2009.
- ‘Side effect’ is cutting down the smoking rate: A woman diabetes patient (40) attended my seminar at the Diabetes Fair organized by Albany Medical College in May 2010. She registered for the ‘Follow Up’ classes and attended the first class in June 2010. When I called her after a week, she said she liked the practice. She added voluntarily that she was not smoking as many cigarettes as before. We did not even discuss about smoking in the class!
- From 20 a day to 10 a day: I gave the brochures (2) about 5 months back to an young postal clerk at the post office which I visit periodically. She was interested in quitting smoking. Recently she said that the ‘Focusing on breathing’ practice was working well. Before this practice she was smoking one pack (20) cigarettes a day. Now she smokes less than half pack (10). She simply read the brochure, practiced on her own and achieved her goal partly.
- 6 a day to 3: One person about 50 years age saw the brochures related to ‘quitting smoking’ in my office and wished to do my classes. He tried all the popular quitting methods like nicotine patches, Chantix etc. without success. He stopped Chantix because it made him hullanciated. He attended 2 sessions and began practicing the technique with high motivation to quit smoking to save money as he is unemployed. Within 2 weeks he reduced his smoking rate from 6 a day 5 a day. Within 3 months, his rate was down by 50% i.e,. 3 a day.
- 20 a day to 6: One man, 30 years, who attended 5 of my classes over 2 months sent this feedback “I have been smoking for more than 15 years and almost 1 pack (20) a day for last 5 years. I tried nicotine patches but I was smoking even after using them. I tried Chantix but it caused severe sleep disturbance and I was forced to discontinue it. A few months ago, I again decided to quit smoking and have been trying to find ways to cut down cigarettes. I met Suryanarayana Chennapragada (C S) and started learning and practicing the ‘focusing on breathing’ (1) techniques. Since then, I am practicing breathing and meditation techniques 3 to 4 days a week. With strong determination to quit smoking as my wife was soon to deliver a baby, and applying meditation/breathing techniques, I was able to cut down the smoking habit to 4 – 6 cigarettes/day in about 6 weeks. After further 6 weeks, I was finally able to stop completely. For the last 4 days I am smoke free.”
- From 30 a day to 3: One person around 50 years was smoking 1 1/2 packs (30) a day, from his high school. He attended my seminar and practiced the breathing. He reported that his smoking rate got reduced gradually over about 2 years to 2 to 3 a day. This shows that the technique can help reduce smoking even when the addiction existed for decades.
- From 30 a day to 5: A man (42), had been smoking 30 cigarettes a day for more than 10 years. He was a marketing man working under stressful work conditions. He used to worry about his work problems even after reaching home. After he started practicing this method using my handouts (2), his rate of smoking slowly reduced. Over a period of 8 months his smoking rate came down to 5 per day. He is hopeful of a smoke free day.
- Relationship with wife improved: A man (45) used to smoke 10 cigarettes a day for last 8 years. He used to have a tiff with his wife over smoking. After 3 months of starting this method (1) he could totally stop smoking. His relationship with his wife improved dramatically for which he was very happy. It also saved valuable money for him as he was a security guard with low income.
- Now smoking occasionally: A man (40) used to smoke 4 cigarettes a day for more than 15 years. After 4 months of practice of this method (1) he stopped smoking on a regular basis. He now smokes occasionally during parties in company of friends.
- Not wasting money: A man (48) with a low income used to smoke 10 cigarettes a day. After about 3 months of this method (1 his rate of smoking came down to 3 per day. He also stopped going round the town wasting money and time. He now spends his spare time with his family.
- No more compulsion: A man (42) used to smoke 20 cigarettes a day for more than 10 years. Over 9 months of practicing this method, his rate gradually came down and now he rarely smokes on his choice, without feeling any compulsion.
- Developed aversion!: A man (30) used to smoke 10 cigarettes a day for more than 5 years. After 2 months of practice of this method (1) he did not feel like smoking. One day, when he tried to smoke out of old habit, he suddenly got irritation in throat and felt an aversion to smoking. He threw the cigarette down. He totally stopped smoking for last 3 months.
- Totally stopped: A man (52) was in the habit of chewing 15 Zarda Paans a day (Zarda paan is a combination of green pungent leaves mixed with powder of tobacco and other spicy ingredients, popular all over India). Within 6 months of starting this method he totally stopped chewing tobacco. Even the number of times he chewed only the green leaves came down drastically to one a day. He said he had no need to chew now as he was not feeling any tension/ stress.
- Totally stopped: A man (45) was in same habit as above of chewing tobacco along with green leaves 5 times a day. Within 5 months of practicing this method he totally stopped chewing even the green leaves without tobacco.
(1) How can I focus on breathing?
How to quit smoking by ‘Focusing on breathing’
How to enjoy quality sleep and conquer insomnia
How to be calm Anywhere, Anytime
(3) Tip mode
(4) Relief from Addictions
‘How to Quit Smoking by ‘Focusing on breathing’
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Parent page: Benefits for Mind, Body and Relationships