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20 Apr 2004

Smoking
Dear Chris,
We have a lady from Sweden at our community centre who is starting a yoga class for the people here. There are many people who are interested in joining the class, but a few of them smoke. Not too much, but some. Are smokers allowed to do yoga? Please let me know because we don't want to join and then not be allowed to carry on. Thank you very much.
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Yoga
yoga

01 Jan 0001

Dear Sheila - well I guess it might be a good idea to ask the lady but I can see no reason why a smoker shouldn't or can't do yoga. We all have vices and habits (both mental and physical) and none of these preclude the will to develop greater awareness and to improve ourselves. I once read a story of a yogi master that was a smoker, who, when criticized by his pupils and other teachers - said that he admitted being attached to cigarettes but said the others were worse because they were attached to non-smoking and didn't even realize. I have also read that smoking is a great form of meditation because it lengthens the breath (except when you climb stairs after smoking for a long time) - which is the purpose of meditation. Tobacco was also extensively used by many wisdom cultures in the past and whilst I don't want to be seen as advocating or promoting cigarettes I don't see any reason why it should stop you doing yoga! By doing yoga you develop a greater awareness and appreciation of your body, which can often lead to positive lifestyle changes too.
All the best
Chris
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