Yoga and OCD by Judy DeKuehn

Updated: Jul 6, 2020

In these crazy times it is tempting to focus much of our attention on negative events in an attempt to exert some measure of control over difficult circumstances. However, we all know that events cannot be controlled enough to ensure 100% certainty that all will be well. This is the crux of OCD. The need to “know for sure” can drive human behavior in unpleasant ways. Some important concepts that may be helpful to decrease these unwanted behaviors can be borrowed from a yoga lifestyle. Although some individuals are uncomfortable delving into yogic philosophies for fear they don’t fall into a conservative Christian perspective, I’d like to share some basic concepts that marry well with Christianity and may lead one to have a “fresh perspective” on topics that may be helpful when fear arises.

A major component of a serious practice of yoga involves an understanding that one must engage in life with ethical and spiritual observations. This is broken down into five sections, called “Yamas”. The first yama, Ahimsa, has power to help one navigate through difficult times with less tension and fear. Ahimsa simply means adopting a lifestyle of “nonviolence”. It begins with respecting one’s own self and extending that respect to all other beings in the world. This is no different than the Golden Rule with which we are all familiar. Nonviolence includes how one speaks to oneself. The words we use in our heads can be uplifting or bullying, inspiring or distracting. Focused attention here can mean the difference between a bad day and a good day.

When one struggles with “needing to know for sure”, there is unresolved fear which can often be directed inward, leading to belligerent self-talk or outward, to anger at others for not making the fear go away. A kinder perspective of non-harm guarantees that fear and anger demand a softer approach to life in general.  This ensures that OCD has less of a stronghold over thoughts and behaviors. When this concept is married to a mindset of gratitude for where one is at in the moment, there is a quieter approach to life in general.

Basic concepts in yoga have good potential to encourage healthy mindsets. Move slowly, with intent to obtain steadiness, ease and presence of mind. Stay soft and remember, the situation doesn’t matter nearly as much as the journey.

About the Author

Judy DeKuehn received her M.Ed. in Counseling from the University of North Texas in 2004. She is a licensed professional counselor (LPC) and a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC). She provides services for children, teens and adults struggling with Obsessive Compulsive Disorders, Hair Pulling and Skin Picking Disorders and related Anxiety Disorders. Judy has ten years experience working with individuals in this field.

Judy is a long standing, active member of the International Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Foundation ( and the Trichotillomania Learning Center (

Judy has provided professional training for treatment of these disorders for therapists in the Dallas, Fort Worth area. For more information about Judy and her services, please click here.

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