Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Yoga?

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Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Yoga-MainPhoto

If you conduct on online search for “yoga obsession,” you’ll think you’ve hit the jackpot in learning what it means to do too much yoga. There are so many yoga-related links that boast “You might be a yoga addict if…” or “Are you a real-deal, officially obsessed yogi?” Following those links won’t bring you to informative content about what it means to do too much yoga; instead, you’ll be led to funny lifestyle lists or quizzes that celebrate your “obsession.”

Searching for “yoga addiction” only confuses the matter by looping in countless sources that acknowledge the healing power of yoga for former addicts—which makes sense since yoga, a facet of Ayurveda, is a way to heal your mind and spirit through movement. So, the million-dollar question is: can you do too much yoga? And the answer is YES. As with any form of medicine or therapy—even yoga—too much is generally not a good thing.

Yoga Addiction = Compulsive Exercise

Too be clear, centering your life around the practice is not the same thing as doing too much yoga to the point of yoga addiction. Something like yoga addiction is not a specific disorder but rather a manifestation of compulsive exercise. The American Psychiatric Association does not officially recognize compulsive exercise as form of addiction, but it is recognized by the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) as a real disorder.

Compulsive exercise is often tied to an eating disorder as a way to expend calories consumed, but it can also simply involve an unhealthy obsession with exercise as a form of achievement or escape. Doing too much yoga, then, can be a way for true yoga addicts to maintain a sense of control in their lives, as an external crutch for self-esteem through achievement, and even as a form of self-punishment.

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Kat McCue
Kat McCue

Kat McCue is a writer, environmental activist, and kimchi lover. She leads DIY natural beauty workshops from her home in Brooklyn, New York, where she lives with her husband and cat. If she isn’t home, you might find her biking around the city, in a park practicing qigong with friends, or trying to escape to Costa Rica.