This study is guided by previous research supporting hatha yoga’s ability to target both physiological and psychological contributors to acute nicotine withdrawal (e.g., cortisol concentrations, emotional distress) and withdrawal-related smoking relapse. Johnna Medina, a National Institute on Drug Abuse Predoctoral Research Fellow at UT-Austin (Mentor: Jasper Smits, PhD) has randomly assigned female smokers self-reporting low experiential distress tolerance to either an 8-week, twice weekly Vinyasa yoga intervention or a waitlist control group prior to undergoing a self-guided smoking quit attempt in order to examine whether yoga can (1) effectively regulate cortisol and enhance distress tolerance over the course of 8 weeks and (2) reduce nicotine withdrawal severity and promote abstinence during the first 24 hours of a post-intervention attempt to quit.
The long-term objectives if the proposed line of research are to:
Inform theoretical models of nicotine withdrawal
Guide the development of effective alternative interventions for smokers susceptible to relapse during the critical withdrawal period
Help guide behavioral strategies for treating substance addictions broadly