You might think that regular yoga practice is a good thing not matter what, but the fact of the matter is, there’s a way to overdo it, and I’ve been there before.
Following a strict yoga lifestyle is a lot of work; in fact, it can become a lot like a full time job.
When I finished with my yoga teacher training at the end of last year, I was putting “living yoga” in full gear and it was exhausting me. It actually caused me to fall even further out of balance than I was prior to deepening my practice.
The thing is, we’re all human, and we need time to rest, time for recreation/leisure and time for fun; but when you’re juggling a full time job, a part time job, a daily yoga practice (with asana, meditation, and Ayurveda), and starting to teach, you’re doing too much. Period.
That’s where I was. That’s what I was doing. I was getting up between 5AM and 6AM every day to practice my yoga asanas, do oil massage (per Ayurveda), meditate and meal prep (also per Ayurveda) before heading off to work at 9AM. Monday through Friday I worked until 6PM. When I got home, I would fix myself a healthy meal (per Ayurveda) and then sit down at my own computer to log some hours for my part-time job and work on my blog.
On the weekends, I was getting up around 7AM to do my morning routine, plus plan a class to teach (I taught one class on Saturdays and 2 on Sundays). After classes, I would either head off with my husband to some sort of family or other social engagement, tend to household chores, run errands, or something else productive.
I was running myself ragged, and it showed. I wasn’t finding any sort of balance from what I was doing, and in fact the opposite was happening. I was pushing myself further and further out of balance, and as a result, I started having regular anxiety attacks, but I didn’t know why.
I wasn’t feeling my best and it showed. My coworkers noticed that I was super on edge all the time, my work suffered, and so did my relationships – and the whole time I had no idea what was wrong with me.
Then my birthday came around and I schedule some much needed time off of work. I also decided to take a break from literally everything. I got a massage, I celebrated, I had a great time, and then it was over. I went back to work a few days later, but I didn’t start back up with my regular yoga practice. I wanted to, but something in me simply wouldn’t let me do it. The entire month of April went by and I didn’t pick any of my yoga related practices back up.
I was still plenty busy with my full time job my part-time job and teaching yoga, but I noticed that I was starting to feel better. My attitude was improving, I was feeling more energetic at work, and most importantly, my anxiety attacks became more infrequent (and I’m pleased to report that now, in July, it seems they’ve all but disappeared).
It wasn’t until mid May, after a discussion with one of my own yoga teachers that I even realized that this was all because I had previously been overdoing it. That’s not to say that yoga was the problem, and under normal circumstances, a full time yoga practice probably would be good for me. But with where my life is right now (basically holding 3 jobs for certain financial reasons and personal goals) I just don’t have room for that vigorous of a practice.
I could have dropped any of the other things and kept the yoga practice, and I probably would have seen the same results. But for now that’s not an option, so, I’m doing what I have to do. I still make time to practice yoga when I can – taking classes, or spreading out my mat at home and getting lost for an hour or so, but it’s not everyday, it’s not a requirement, and it’s not a full time job. It’s balance.
Yoga is meant to be a tool that helps you find balance in your life, but if it just so happens that you’re falling more and more out of balance, you’re probably overdoing it.