Dear YF members
I need to write here about my yoga journey and my concerns relating yoga addiction and especially ashtanga yoga.
I started practicing integral yoga 4 years ago 1-2 times a week in led classes and in general terms I always found these classes relaxing. About 7 months ago I bought a book of ashtanga yoga and since I do not have ashtanga classes nearby I started practicing at home the primary series. I was instantly hooked by this system of yoga and start practicing 4 days a week and then 5 days a week. The days I did not practice I felt horrible craving the practice and with a lot of anxiety.
Because I did not like these feelings and I did not want to quit the practice I fall in love with I made some travelling to consult a certified ashtanga teacher. The teacher said that I was doing full primary when I was not supposed to and cut the practice in half saying to practice 6 days a week. I followed his indications but the days I do not practice I feel the horrible anxiety and yoga cravings again. Moreover I am always reading ashtanga yoga blogs, articles and every book I can put my hand on. The ashtanga fever has become an obsession and now it is interfering in my daily life.
I did some research about ayurvedic medicine about the doshas and I found I am a vata-pitta. This made a lot of sense because one my problems which I have been dealing all my life was anxiety leading to a nervous breakdown and severe depression 3 years ago and I have an obsessive and addictive personality.
The nature of the ashtanga series makes the practice very competitive for me. I thought that with time and dedication I would surrender to the practice and my anxiety would be controlled but in fact the more I practice the more anxiety and obsessions I have.
I do not want to personally blame ashtanga yoga but due to my obsessive personality I do not think this is the right yoga for me. I have developed in the past obsessions about other themes, so it is very easy for me to become addicted.
Obsessive compulsive disorder is an anxiety disorder and now I am suffering from it with the ashtanga theme. I have the obsession part all day with ashtanga yoga (even in bed before sleep I think about ashtanga) and the compulsion part (the practice itself). I recognize that the practice itself calms me down but some time later I become obsessed again.
This is exactly the symptoms of the obsessive compulsive disorder where the compulsion is an attempt to reduce the anxiety. What happens with this disorder is that the success in reducing the anxiety when performing the compulsion is short lived leading to a vicious cycle of more compulsions in an attempt to reduce the anxiety again and consequently to more obsessions and compulsions.
Because I enjoy so much yoga and do not want to quit doing it I think I would go back to integral yoga or even start sivananda yoga. I think these classes are more appropriate to my personality.
What do you think?
Thanks for reading my long post.