I had a slight help, my previous smoking comrade who had quit the days before me had some nicotine gum with him. This gave me something of an aid in my quitting, even if on the level of a placebo. I realized quickly, all the things that I had previously associated with cigarettes had to also go. So that was goodbye coffee, goodbye booze and goodness knows what else. I quit so many things in those early days I will never really know stopping taking which one made me begin to feel good. Maybe it was all of them, because I had gone a few days, or maybe a couple of weeks without a drink before stopped smoking, I had already begun to feel more alive without the drink.
I had also stopped eating meat. Again this was something to do with the location, Rishikesh being a Holy Hindu town, so it was not easy to get hold of, but after a few days of not having meat, and heaven forbid, looking back to my previous life, that heart attack on a plate, The Full English Breakfast, I began to feel more alive, less lethargic and more active in general.
So it was difficult for me to pin point the precise thing that made me feel this way, this healthier, more alive me. Would I have still felt this way if I had carried on eating meat, or taking the booze or not started the yoga, maybe quitting one but not the other, I don’t know but what was for sure was my body was now getting all its Christmases at once and had never felt better. I had drank and smoked and eaten meat since early teen years, so I had to conclude, I had never known another way and had therefore perhaps never known what it was like to be truly alive.
I very quickly noticed a beautiful benefit of not smoking. As my lungs shook off the years of abuse they had been subjected to, I began noticing and feeling air in parts of my chest area I had never felt before. I should explain, my lung capacity had obviously been reduced over the years and little by little I had begun to survive on shallow breathing, that’s not filling the lungs.
Within days of stopping smoking and certainly within weeks, I began to feel the air reaching right down to the bottom of my lungs and in particular at the lower sides of my back, it was like, “Hello it’s been a long time since we saw you down here fresh air, but welcome home.
I still marvel at this feeling of air actually filling the lungs, we get so used to things and accept them as the norm, perhaps compensating in other ways, but this feeling of an easy, natural inhalation feels about as sweet as it gets. I wonder as I write, has there been any research into the obvious consequence of a nation of smokers and the affect this shallow breathing might be having on them as regard, Shallow breathing would be associated also with the fight or flight response, i.e. Fear, so are smokers in a state of constant fear be this not on a conscious level, and the damage on top of the smoking damage this level of toxic release from fear would be having to the person would be considerable .