Ashtanga Obsession


Charlotte Rampling in urdhva dhanurasana by Helmut Newton for American Vogue, July 1976

Yoga can be addictive, and I mean really addictive. Especially when it’s ashtanga since its supposed to follow a 6days-a-week routine. My “addiction” started when I first committed to doing yoga at a 6days-a-week basis, because once you start, you feel like you can’t stop.

I used to be really obsessive about the routine to the point where I’d drive myself crazy for missing one day without doing yoga. It’s really strange how I ended up stressing out over not doing yoga when the whole point of having a constant yoga practice supposedly minimises stress rather than exacerbates it. In my case though, it ended up making me more stressed out knowing that I’d miss a day or two, rather than just be relaxed about it. There was always this irrational fear in my mind that I would lose my progress if I were to miss a day of yoga. In this case, my urge to do yoga was already quite harmful.

So what did I do? I went for a month doing yoga for 5-days-a-week rather than the usual 6. Over time, I eventually got over the obsessiveness and realised how irrational it was. It’s all about self-awareness, I think; awareness in the sense that you know that your obsession is now a psychologically harmful one.

I’m not saying that I’ve stopped the traditional routine, I still do it, but let’s be real here, you can’t honestly expect to be able to do yoga for 6 days every single week for your entire life. There are sometimes more important things that come in the way of yoga, such as work. Besides, 6days-a-week is already a lot. I mean, most people just do it for 3 or 4 days a week and they seem fine. In fact, science even shows that you don’t necessarily need a 90 minute workout 6days-a-week in order to be healthy.

Personally, I still follow the routine because it really helped me progress quickly in yoga. Also, if I have nothing better to do for those 90 minutes, might as well do yoga right? I almost never just skip yoga because I feel lazy; sometimes I do, but it’s incredibly rare. Usually when I’m on vacation, I don’t even do yoga anymore. 

Point is, I no longer stress out if I miss a day or two (last week I missed 4 days) without doing yoga. It’s really nothing to worry about, as long as you still continue with your practice throughout your life.

Photo courtesy of


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