Mindlessness vs. Mindfulness: My Experiment in Home Practice

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I’ve recently been doing a 30-day home yoga challenge. I decided to participate in this because, despite the fact that I’m a yoga teacher and love practicing, it’s still hard for me to develop a consistent home practice. (That sentence sounded really nice; what I really mean is that I usually debate myself over and over and end up lounging on the couch or surfing the internet instead.)

Throughout the challenge (and yes, I’ve somehow managed to practice every day despite many attempts not to!), I’ve experimented with when to practice. I totally imagine myself as a morning practitioner. I see myself rolling out of bed and then promptly rolling out my mat. But no matter what I try, I just can’t seem to get it together in the morning: most of the time, I hit the snooze button. But if I don’t, I feel grumpy during my practice because I’m so rickety from sleeping. I’m sure this probably means that I’m an even more likely candidate for the benefits of morning yoga, but whatever. It’s not working for me.

Plan B was to practice after work. Despite my complaining above, I actually hated this idea even more than morning yoga. Yoga after work? By the time I fight my way home through rush-hour traffic, I’m exhausted after a long 8-5 in the office. I always feel like I deserve some down time–like some down on the couch, in front of the tv with a snack time. How could I possibly have the energy for yoga after stressful days like mine?

As much as I didn’t think Plan B would work, I decided to give it a try anyway–primarily because I didn’t have a whole lot of options left timing-wise. The first day I tried it, I came home, let the dogs out, and then popped in a yoga dvd. I started off thinking of a million other things I could be doing–even, surprisingly, chores. I know; I couldn’t believe it, either. Anyway, I kept going, and by the time it was over, I felt really good–refreshed and transitioned from work to home.

Ever the skeptic, though, I didn’t write home about any miracles. Instead, I just keep trying it, always secretly thinking this would be the day it wouldn’t work. But to this date, that day hasn’t come. I have now even started (get ready) looking forward to it!

As I puzzled over this little mystery, I came to an interesting conclusion. Perhaps all those days, weeks, months, etc. that I craved mindlessness after work I was really looking for mindfulness. Perhaps instead of tuning out and watching tv I was craving tuning into my body.

So far, this seems to be true. I feel like I have more time in my evenings after I practice yoga. I feel better able to manage the stress of the day, unwind a little, and then prepare to do it all over again. I’m not sure that I’ve found the secret to home practice, but it at least seems like I’ve found one that works for me.

Written by the curvy yogi herself, Anna Guest-Jelley

Anna Guest-Jelley is an advocate for women’s rights by day, a yoga teacher by night, and a puppies’ mama all the time. She is making her way through life with joy, curves and all. Visit her at her website and on Facebook and Twitter.

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