it’s no secret by now that yoga is a fabulous tool for overcoming addiction. in fact, you can find “yoga for addiction” or “12-step yoga” in studios all across the globe. a large part of any dedicated yoga practice, in fact, is the overcoming of our habits and addictions (no matter how big or small), as they are the manifestation of a mindless and unconscious behavior pattern. as yogi/nis we are constantly and consistently striving to live more mindful and conscious existences.
keep in mind that the true eradication of an addiction is not accomplished by substituting one addiction for another, but by completely wiping the repetitive and stubborn behavior from the fabric of our lives. how ironic, then, how many yoga practitioners today wear their “yoga addiction” as a badge of honor. how ironic that so many recovering alcoholics, drug addicts, sex addicts, etc, are replacing their prior addictions with an addiction to yoga…a practice intended to overcome and destroy addiction.
do i think that an addiction to yoga is a healthier addiction than alcoholism? of course. a million times of course.
however, yoga is meant to be a practice, a discipline, a tool for living. it is meant to enhance your life, awaken it, it is not meant to control it. when you get to the point where you need yoga every day, where you are going two, three times a day because you can’t live without it, it’s time to reexamine your practice.
i have actually told students that they would be well-served to take a break from their yoga asana practice, when they cross that line between practice and addiction. in such a situation, taking a break from yoga becomes their yoga and brings them closer to themselves, their truth, their self-control, and their awakening.