While it is known that yoga is a highly beneficial, stimulating activity, a study by Carbonneau et al. (2010) demonstrated how the motivation driving the practice can actually cause opposing results!
The dualistic model of passion was investigated pertaining to the individual type of involvement in the practice, including harmonious and obsessive passion. The study hypothesized that while yoga tends to produce positive affect, flexibility and low anxiety, obsessive passion does not yield similar results, as it is derived from a controlled internalization of the activity into one’s identity and self-worth. Conversely, Harmonious passion instead, has been linked with better concentration, absorption and subjective well-being during and after activity engagement.
This hypothesis was investigated in two parts; the first study examined the link between harmonious passion and adaptive relationships through positive affect, negative affect and state anxiety, and the second study extended the time span to 3 months and broadened the sample to random Canadians. The passion scale, along with psychological tests measuring emotions and state anxiety were implemented to draw the results. The results of both studies were clearly in line with the predictions, as it was evident that the individuals who felt the ‘obsession’ to engage in yoga, rather than freely feeling like it, were not exposed to yoga’s health benefits.
This study puts the constructs of mindful passion and purpose into perspective, as it shows us that compulsive actions do not, in reality, serve us or our intended goals!