How Yoga Practice Can Help Smokers Quit

Smoking is a habit that is inextricably linked with one’s emotions, which is why many refer to it as a comfort craving. When the mind feels restless, uneasy, or anxious, reaching for a cigarette stick can be a form of self-soothing, so when the habit turns into an addiction, it isn’t easy to break. However, there’s one activity that isn’t usually top of the list when it comes to smoking cessation but has proven effective as a helpful way to quit smoking: yoga.

Because of the practice’s inherently grounding nature, one can form a physical, mental, and emotional connection with the self that is conducive to recovery. According to the American Osteopathic Association, regular yoga practice can have positive effects on mental clarity, chronic stress patterns, and relaxation of the mind. The benefits of quitting smoking are well-documented, from improved lung capacity and blood circulation to a stronger immune system and lowered risk of cancers, heart conditions, and respiratory problems. But the journey to quitting isn’t linear, and because it affects both the mind and body, smoking cessation should be approached holistically.

Simply getting rid of cigarettes isn’t enough, especially since nicotine stays in your system for at least three days after use. Nicotine tests may detect the byproduct cotinine from hair, saliva, or urine, which typically covers the past three days. You may also need to take a nicotine test to comply with specific smoking cessation programs – you can learn more here on Prilla. If you’re preparing to go on a smoking cessation journey, it’s important to begin easing up as soon as possible. Introducing mindfulness practices like yoga, which involve body awareness, can train the mind to keep cravings at bay.

Harnessing yoga to stop smoking

No mumbo-jumbo here: there’s scientific evidence to prove that yoga is positively linked with quitting smoking. In one study of 30 adult daily smokers, researchers observed a 12.55% reduction in cigarette cravings after a half-hour session of yoga led by a certified Hatha yoga instructor. There’s even evidence that yoga is significantly better than other wellness-centered methods in achieving the goal of smoking cessation.

Another randomized clinical trial revealed that participants in a twice- weekly Iyengar Yoga class had 37% greater odds of achieving abstinence from smoking compared to a control group who attended general wellness classes. There are specific yoga poses one can try to open up the lungs and encourage ease of breathing. The bridge pose Setu Bandhasana takes your hips high into the air and stretches various parts of the body, improving oxygen circulation.

On the other hand, the alternate nostril breathing technique, Nadi Shodhana, is said to clear blocked energy channels and help smokers become more aware of any breathing problems they may have. Yoga-based alternate breathing for one month significantly improved cardiorespiratory parameters for 100 healthy young adults.

Challenges and Tips for Freshly Graduated Yoga Teachers

The Universe of Yoga, its challenges and opportunities for those who seek to earn a living from this millennial philosophy

Starting a career as a yoga teacher can be challenging. From security to putting into practice everything you’ve learned, to financial sustainability. In this article, you will find tips and explore the trends of the universe of Yoga, in addition to meeting Bárbara and Amalia, two Yoga instructors who share a little bit about their journeys. Their perspectives are interesting because Amalia has been a Yoga teacher for 20 years while Barbara is a new graduate.

Challenges of new Yoga teachers

The Key to Yoga Teacher Self-Confidence: Practice and Everything Will Come

It is normal to feel insecure when teaching at first. Sometimes, all you need to do is remember that your background has given you the skills you need, and trust in yourself. At other times, it is necessary to have adequate support, your “bibles” where you can find reliable and accurate information whenever necessary. 

But the main thing, according to Yoga teacher Amalia Iatarola Furtado, with 20 years of experience, is practice. “I had always had a very deep and regular Yoga practice when I became a teacher. In this respect, it was easy to start teaching, as I had a great base. When you are familiar with Yoga, you finish your training and the paths open up, things happen. You need to have a long-term personal practice”, says the instructor, who took her first Yoga training in 2003.

There are also those people who seek Yoga training to increase their overall knowledge of Yoga, and life calls them to become teachers. This was the case of Barbara Viegas da Silveira, who graduated in 2021. “When I did my training, my intention was not really to be an instructor. It turned out that this happened naturally, due to the directions my life took. I did not imagine myself teaching Yoga, but when I gave my first class, still in training, I realized how fulfilling it was to share my truth and perception of Yoga,” she says.

“My first classes were challenging. It was a mixture of fear, anxiety and nervousness, first because I was doing something new and second because I didn’t know if I would be able to reach people the way I wanted. I was afraid to make adjustments on the students, or to offer techniques beyond the level of the audience I had. I think that was my biggest challenge, knowing how to modify the class according to the needs of my group.” 

“There was only one way for me to overcome my fears and challenges: giving lots of classes. I carefully observed all of the fears and emotions that came up while teaching, and took every opportunity to overcome the fears and strengthen the positive points of each class. Anyway, the main tip is: practice regularly, hone your skills and remember that experience is the best teacher. When you are in the position of a practitioner, you understand the student’s universe better.”

How to build a base of Yoga students?

Another challenge at the beginning of a Yoga teacher’s career is to consolidate their student base. Therefore, it is necessary to act on different fronts, such as marketing, partnerships and social media. “I believe that when we are living our Dharma, magic happens. In my life, everything happened through word of mouth, because when I graduated, social media on the internet didn’t exist yet. And while the times have changed dramatically, and social media is everywhere, I believe that word of mouth is still the strongest marketing”, jokes teacher Amália.

Tips: Invest time in personal marketing, promoting yourself on social media, handing out flyers, and even offering free classes to gain visibility. Take every opportunity to share your knowledge and show your passion for yoga. Remember that your students are your biggest business card. If they are happy and satisfied with their classes, they will certainly invite others to try it out.

Can being a Yoga teacher be financially sustainable?

The financial aspect can also be a challenge. It’s important to establish a fair pricing structure that reflects your experience level and the demands of the local market, considering offering class packages or discounts to attract more students. Teacher for 20 years, Amália believes that by aligning herself with the philosophy of Yoga, the paths open to financial prosperity. “I always generated income with Yoga, but when Yoga really became my life, not just as a profession, but as a path and journey, abundance came to me naturally.”

New yoga teacher Bárbara began her career in a completely different environment, post-COVID, with a completely different set of challenges. Almost from the beginning of her Yoga teacher career, she had to learn to give classes online, involving different fears and different challenges, but her persistence has paid ooo. “Today my income is divided into Yoga and other services. I feel that living 100% from Yoga is challenging, but it is very possible! It takes great dedication, as in everything in life, and online is a great tool for that, being able to connect with people who are in different places”, she says.

Material tips to prepare your Yoga class

Indicated by the instructors, we list here the best materials to prepare your Yoga class, gathering knowledge at the physical, subtle, mental, emotional and spiritual levels.

Yoga Toolbox for Teachers and Students

“I was blown away by the depth of the material. The Yoga Toolbox is a precious, valuable material, with an absurd amount of knowledge”, says Amália.

Asana and Mudra  Card Decks

“In the beginning, I used decks a lot. I took the cards to class to help me remember the sequences. I began planning my classes using the Yoga Toolbox and then moved on to the decks. Today, I use the Toolbox a lot for specific questions, about variations, a muscle group or some benefit or contraindication of an asana”, says Barbara.


The History of Yoga – Part III

Joseph Le Page is one of the Yoga Therapists in the online Summit How Yoga Heals by Soma Yoga Institute

The Use of Hand Gestures, Mudras, in Yoga Therapy is the workshop Joseph Le Page is presenting at the FREE Virtual Yoga Summit and CE series, How Yoga Heals on February 3 at 9:30am-11:00am PST  (California) /12:30pm-2:00pm (New York) / 5:30pm -7:00pm (London).

“This workshop will present and practice mudras for a wide range of therapeutic applications including mudras for specific health conditions, mudras for directing the breath to specific areas of the body for healing, mudras for balancing the autonomic nervous system, mudras for cultivating healing qualities and mudras for spiritual healing. All participants will receive a ten-page handout with detailed information on the material presented.”

About Joseph Le Page

Joseph Le Page is the founder of Integrative Yoga and Integrative Yoga Therapy, a pioneer in the field of Yoga therapy training programs since 1993. He is co-founder and director of the Enchanted Mountain Yoga Center in Santa Catarina, Brazil, one of the largest Yoga retreat centers in South America. He is the co-author of the book Yoga Toolbox for Teacher and Students, one of the most widely used materials in teacher training programs in the US and in Brazil, published by Integrative Yoga. He is also co-author of the book Mudras for Healing and Transformation, also published by Integrative Yoga. Joseph’s upcoming book, together with Karin Silberberg, is Pranayama for Healing and Transformation. Joseph is currently on the faculty of Inner Peace Yoga Therapy.

How Yoga Heals

To get to know more and join the FREE Virtual Yoga Summit and CE series, How Yoga Heals, featuring an incredible lineup of C-IAYT Yoga Therapists and Yoga Professionals, click here!

Open to anyone interested in yoga, including students, teachers and wellness professionals from all disciplines.

This content-rich event includes transformational perspectives, real-life stories, practices, and cutting-edge research, all of which are designed to benefit yoga teachers, medical professionals, mental health advocates, and anyone looking to learn more about the healing power of yoga.

Yoga teachers get 16 hours of FREE Continuing Education credits available through Yoga Alliance.

Join us from February 2-14, 2023, each day from 9:30am-11:00am PST (California) | 12:30pm-2:00pm EST (New York) | 5:30pm-7:00pm (London). Recordings will also be available for those who are unable to attend live.


Samkhya - Integrative Yoga Therapy

The History of Yoga – part II

Continued on the History of Yoga. Follow below.

  • Samkhya – A philosophy originating approximately 3,000 years ago that influenced all other Yoga traditions that came after. Jnana Yoga.

Spiritual path as a science of describing the nature of the universe and mind

  • This philosophy sees itself as the mother of science;
  • The concepts of avidya, hope and suffering and kaivalya, enlightenment as salvation appear for the first time;
    The aim was to describe all components of the Universe with spirit as the most fundamental;
  • The original Samkhya makes no reference to God because the aim is scientific and not religious investigation;
  • Samkhya declares that the Universe is a school where we can discover our true nature with spirit;
  • Pure spirit, purusha, is seen as distinct from matter, prakriti;
  • Every Yoga that came after is based on this philosophy in one way or another;
  • The methodology of Samkhya is contemplation on the spirit and discernment between matter and spirit.

What keeps a person attached to matter is the activity of the three gunas – rajas, tamas and sattva.

Recognition of the real Being as the purpose of life / The personality as a matrix of conditioning that produces suffering / reincarnation as the destiny of those who do not recognize the real being

  • Within samkhya philosophy, the world exists as a school for recognizing the Real Self;
  • Personality, and all the likes and dislikes associated with it, are considered conditionings that do not reflect the real Self;
  • Suffering serves to warn us that we are moving away from our true nature;
  • Experiences, peace and harmony that bloom from the inside out, indicate to us that we are approaching the real Being;
  • As long as the purusha is not recognized, we continue in a cycle of endless births.


The Nature of the world under the influence of the gunas

  • Because of the polarity of the gunas, the material world by itself does not offer happiness, but creates suffering and limitation.
  • Rajas is an energy of desire and expansion related to the search for happiness and satisfaction in the present and future;
  • Rajas have value when channeled to the spiritual path;
  • Tamas is an energy of inertia, conservatism and stagnation that tends to focus on the past;
  • Tamas energy is needed to create ground for the spiritual journey;
  • Sattva is an energy of balance that focuses on the present moment. Associated with positive emotions such as love and compassion, lightness and openness of heart, Sattva is a gateway to the experience of enlightenment;
  • Because it’s a rollercoaster of ups and downs, the only way to avoid getting sick is to get out of the game of trying to find happiness in matter and find it within yourself.

The Art and Science of Yoga Therapy and the Five Koshas

On February 26th, Joseph Le Page will be presenting the twelve-week course, the Art and Science of Yoga Therapy, for Inner Peace Yoga Therapy.

“Within this course, we use the model of the Five Koshas, the five dimensions of our being as a framework for the theory and practice of Yoga Therapy. The objective of the model of the Five Koshas is essentially spiritual; to provide a clear path to union with our true Being.

Along this journey however, as we traverse each of the koshas, we gain an in-depth awareness of each of the dimensions of our being, allowing us to cultivate integration and harmony which supports our overall health and the process of healing. Along this journey of awareness, we also cultivate health and healing which both support our journey and reflect our growing approximation to the source and essence of health.

Through an in depth understanding of the model of the Five Koshas, we create a foundation for the Art and Science of Yoga Therapy, serving three main functions:

  • The Koshas form a framework for healing at each level of our being; each facet of our lives requires consciousness, care, and evolution cultivated through Yoga practices specifically designed for each person’s individual needs.
  • Secondly, the koshas function as a framework for developing competencies at each level of being, allowing the Yoga Therapist to master an understanding of health at physical, energetic, psycho-emotional, intuitive, and spiritual levels.
  • The third function of the koshas is to remind that that the purpose of all of Yoga, including Yoga Therapy is the recognition of our true Being, whose very nature is wholeness and peace, and that health and healing are ultimately reflections of our union with the one source energy.

On the video, we review each of the koshas briefly and meditate on them!

Get to know more about the Art and Science of Yogatherapy!


A Yoga New Year’s Resolution

Patanjali Yoga Sutras 1.1 is “atha yoga anuśāsanam”

Therefore, (when the student is prepared), instruction in Yoga (begins).

The decision to begin the Yoga journey is a crossroads where we choose consciously between ways of doing and being that cause limitation and suffering and the journey of Yoga that leads to greater joy, equanimity and clarity.

Along this journey, we also open to receive enhanced levels of health and vitality that are an essential support for our journey.

This crossroads is even more important as we enter the New Year which is traditionally a time for affirmations, resolutions and new beginnings.

In order to create positive affirmations for the new year, you will explore four different facets of daily living.

Within each one, you will reflect on your attitudes and tendencies before you begin practicing Yoga, and how they have evolved since Yoga practice began.

With this clarity, you will then create an intention for further growth and transformation in the new year.

Watch the video and let’s meditate together! 

Happy 2023!

Joseph Le Page and Integrative Yoga Therapy Team

Let’s Meditate!


Buddha Park

History of Yoga – Part I

Follow below, the chronology of the History of Yoga:


1. Vedic Epoch: five thousand years ago. Mantra yoga

2. Samkhya:  a philosophy that originated approximately three thousand years ago and still influences other yoga traditions that came later. The Origin of Jnana Yoga

3. Epoch of Vedanta: Three thousand years ago. Jnana Yoga, Karma Yoga and Bhakti Yoga.

Main texts: The Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita

4. Time of Buddha: Two and a half thousand years ago. Roots of Raja Yoga.

It marks the beginning of yoga traditions that did not accept the authority of the Vedas and which are essentially psychologies and not religions.

5. Codification of Yoga until then by Patanjali: two thousand years ago. Raja Yoga

Development of Meditation as a science.

Importance of spiritual powers in the practice of Yoga.

Embryonic origin of the Chakras and Tantra Yoga.

6. Epoch of Tantra: Fifteen hundred years ago. Chakra Yoga.

The body as a vehicle replaced an obstacle to spirituality.

The use of the senses, color, shape, sound, as paths for the spirit.

7. Epoch of Hatha Yoga: A thousand years ago.

Strong influences from Patanjali and Tantra.

Focus on the health and integration of body and mind and the integration of polarities as vehicles for reaching the spirit.

8. Age of Modern Yoga: From a hundred years to today.

Revival of India’s traditional culture through a disillusionment with colonialism and modernism. The influence of Yoga in the West and the reinvention of Yoga as a psychophysical discipline. The Yoga teacher as an agent of transformation of society in terms of physical health, psycho-emotional integration and recognition of spiritual growth as the purpose of life.

The Yoga Paths in the Context of the Eras of Yoga History

1. Vedic Epoch: 3 to 5 thousand years ago – Yoga path associated with this era: Mantra Yoga.

The use of sound to unite with the sacred

Ancient India represents a mixture of indigenous and Central Asian influences;
The Sanskrit language originates in Central Asia and forms the basis of Greek, Latin, English and other European languages;
The Sanskrit language is much more than a form of communication. He is the source of the creation of the universe and the divine in manifestation, but at this time only through the priests;
The sound of OM and the use of sacred mantras is the legacy of this tradition;
The word mantra means: “One who carries the mind”. It fills the mind with positive intentions that replace patterns of negativity;

Control of attention and breathing

The religion of this civilization is encoded in the Vedas which are collections of prayers dedicated to over one hundred deities. Veda means knowledge;
The most important of all the Vedas is called Rig Veda, and is composed of more than one hundred and ten thousand mantras in honor of more than one hundred deities. The most famous mantra in the Rig Veda is the Gayatri Mantra;
This civilization was organized into castes: 1st the brahmins – priests; 2nd the kshatrias – politicians and warriors; 3rd the vaishyas – merchants; 4th the shudras – workers;
Represents a segment of society specializing in spiritual practices;
The Brahmans were a very powerful group, because communication with the deities and obtaining the favors and blessings of these deities was acquired only through them;
Memorizing the vedas and chanting them required attention and breath control which is a foundation of Yoga.

Deities as embodiments of positive qualities – reflections of the positive nature of the universe

Initially, the practice of Mantras was used as a vehicle for supplicating goods and blessings to the deities.
These deities are archetypes of universal qualities that exist in the cosmos and in our own consciousness. Ex: Ganesha = protection; Saraswati = Creativity; Lakshmi = material and subtle wealth: Shiva = purification, Savitri = sun as a symbol of spiritual enlightenment.
Mantra serves to purify the mind because it offers a fixed, positive, repetitive point of concentration.


By Joseph Le Page

5 Elements Meditation

Within the Yoga philosophy, all creation is composed of the FIVE elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Space.

Our bodies and minds are also composed of these FIVE elements.

Each element is located in a specific area of the body and is also related to one or more body systems.

Each element has a symbol, a mantra or sacred sound, and is also related to a facet of the natural world.

Through meditation on the 5 elements and their various attributes, we cultivate perfect balance of our bodies and minds as doorway to absolute health in the form of recognition of our spiritual being.

Let’s meditate in the 5 elements with the professor Joseph LePage!