When I first began teaching yoga, I went hard. I knocked on the door of every studio and business like an overly enthusiastic Avon lady. When someone gave me a class, I was overjoyed and I took it. I taught for almost nothing. I taught yoga all. The. Time.
Guess the conclusion to this story?
Luckily, I am still teaching and my overzealous injuries have healed (as has my ego). I have learned that I need rest days. I have learned that there is a limit to how much I can demonstrate, and even how much I can teach.
There are other ways that yoga can sneak in and take over. Some of my fellow teachers have battled drug addiction, sex addiction and food addiction. It actually seemed uncanny when I entered the yoga world. Yet it also doesn’t.
Yoga gives the practitioner a path. It often is declared as “the way” and as anyone overcoming any addiction knows, it is better to recover in steps than all at once. In the yoga world, it may start with asana. It may progress to meditation. Soon, the YouTube video S$#t Yogis Say doesn’t even seem funny. It just seems like real life in all of its heart-opening, chakra-balancing glory.
How do you know when it is too much? Here are some clear markers:
1) You ditch your non-yoga friends. People who don’t do yoga can’t possibly “get” you. You want to close off your world to the yoga bubble and live in it.
2) It’s never enough. No matter how many classes you attend per day, you feel vaguely dissatisfied. Your practices are getting longer but the pleasure you are getting from them is less.
3) Skipping a day is unheard of. You would rather skip your best friend’s wedding than miss your vinyasa flow class. Sometimes you find yourself irritable in the company of others because it is taking away from the thing you love the most.
4) You cut yourself off from other interests. You used to love long walks in the park, but who has time when they are trying to accomplish the secondary series?
5) Where is your rent money? Yoga classes, clothing and swag eat up a sizable portion of your budget. Not that it matters, because you can always downsize. Nonattachment and all that.
Recognizing the signs of addiction – any addiction – is the critical first step.
You can then do the work to find out what yoga is covering before you use it to mindfully uncover who you really are.