My Lockdown Yoga Experience

I have been finding social isolation quite challenging mentally so I recently started doing yoga in the hope that it would help me to reduce my anxiety levels.

It is quite easy to do yoga from home – the internet is full of videos featuring yoga instuctors serenly moving their bodies into various positions whilst radiating inner calm.

Unfortunately, these yoga instructors recorded the majority of their videos before March 2020 when the future seemed as solid as their core muscles.

After two months of lockdown, I have neither the abs nor the sense of security to replicate such serenity.

For me, ‘developing a practice’ has consisted mainly of manically jerking my body through each position in a vain attempt to restore some semblance of inner zen.

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It turns out that praciticing yoga under lockdown conditions isn’t easy.

I think that yoga was probably designed to be practiced in the mountains or other areas of vast natural beauty whilst listening to the sound of the wind moving through the trees or the waves rushing up against a pebble beach.

It is slightly more difficult to conjour up a sense of profound internal peace in a 4×3 metre room in your parent’s house the middle of Liverpool to the sound of your brothers using the nearby toilet and your mum playing a particularly intense game of Words With Friends in the opposite room.

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That being said, yoga has helped me become more physically attuned to myself and more aware of how my body relates to the space around me.

However, this is predominantly because my room is too small and untidy to accomadate pretty much every single yoga move and my ability to enter into a state of seamless yogic flow is often compromised by inconviently positioned items of furniture. img_0553

I guess I hoped that my body and mind would blend together in some sort of peaceful holistic spiritual cocktail.

Unfortunately, my spiritual cocktail seems to be one of those cheap mixers you buy on a night out at uni – you’re not sure exactly what’s in it but you end up downing it anyway whilst your flatmates chant at you.

All in all, I would like to say that lockdown has transformed me into a fully fledged zen yogi but, if I’m honest, I have pretty much resorted to repeating postive mantras to myself from my favourite position of all. img_0550If you enjoyed this post, feel free to check out some of my other posts. For more blog posts and drawings, you can also follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Why Dating Drives Me Nuts.

I’m not very good at dating

This is for several reasons.

First of all, flirting does not come naturally to me.

For me, flirting is one of the most awkward and contradictory forms of communication that you can engage in as a human being – you are trying to play it incredibly cool whilst simultaneously caring intensely about what the other person thinks of you.

Under these conditions, my brain tends to short circuit and I normally end up with something that is the complete antithesis of cool spurting involuntarily from my mouth.

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I also spent a lot of my teenage years reading teen romance novels and watching period dramas and, as a result, my expectation of love is unrealistically high.

Although I feel I have matured a lot since my Twilight days, some part of me still expects a potential romantic partner to declare their feelings for me in an elaborate display of affection, something involving a series heartfelt handwritten letters or a moonlit guitar serenade.

Unfortunately, the language of love nowadays instead seems to consist mainly of a series of strategically constructed WhatsApp messages – I always feels like I’m playing a highly tactical game which normally ends with me lying awake at night, debating whether I should substitute an ‘X’ at the end of a message for a generic smiley face emoji to avoid coming on too strong.img_0625In addition to my general inability to engage in romantic communication, I also have quite a severe nut allergy which means that I have to be careful before I kiss anyone to make sure that they don’t have any traces of nuts in their mouth.

Needless to say, this doesn’t do much for creating an atmosphere of spontaneous romance.

img_0634In an ideal world, I guess it would be easiest if I could find someone who also has a nut allergy, partly because we would understand each other’s dietary needs, but mostly because I’ve been waiting for years for an opportunity to use the phrase:

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I honestly have no idea why I’m still single…

Overall, I don’t really mind being allergic to nuts that much.

I mean it kind of sucks that I can’t eat certain things, like Nutella for example, mostly because everyone’s always telling me how good Nutella is.

I was once seeing a guy and things were going quite well until we walked past a Crepe stand on a date and he asked if I wanted to share a Strawberry and Nutella crepe with him.

I told him that I couldn’t eat Nutella and he looked at me with an expression of raw shock and anguish, as if I’d just told him that one of my close relatives had died.
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As I was speaking, I saw it slowly dawn on him that he couldn’t eat Nutella in the afternoon and then get off with me in the evening – the two thing things couldn’t co-exist in the same reality and he would have to choose.

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To cut a long story short, he chose Nutella.

A few weeks later, one of my friends came to me upset because her boyfriend had left her for another girl.

This, of course, was awful and terrible thing to have happened but I found it hard to feel too much sympathy for her.

I mean, at least her ex left her for another sentient being…

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I Think I Might Be A Background Character In My Own Life…

When I was younger, I used to have a very vivid imagination and spent a lot of time immersing myself in fictional worlds.

When I watched films like Lord of the Rings, I always identified with the main protagonists – I thought I’d be brave and courageous like Arogorn or Legolas or loyal and determined like Sam.

I guess I assumed that when a great crisis came along that threatened the entire world, I would grow up to be one of the heroes at the centre of the action, facing the threat head on.

However, as I’ve progressed into adulthood, I’ve come to realise that the person that I perceive myself to be doesn’t always match up with the person who I actually am in reality.

For a while now, I’ve had a sneaking suspicion that I might actually be one of life’s generic background characters and, if anything, the coronavirus pandemic has served to confirm this.

Nowadays, I’ve drastically lowered my expectations.

If I were a character in Lord of the Rings, I wouldn’t be Frodo or SamWise Gamgee – I reckon I’d be one of the bog-standard Hobbits that sat on my arse in the Shire whilst shit went down, progressively making my way through multiple meals a day with no real idea of what was going on.

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This is a more accurate representation of how I’ve spent my days in this time of national crisis.

Sitting at home with my thoughts is challenging in its own way.

Whilst I may be feeling powerless to change external circumstances, at the beginning of April I decided I could still adopt the mindset of a hero and work on myself so that I would exit lockdown feeling more physically and mentally robust than when I entered it.

My childhood protagonist complex kicked in again and I had visions of myself effortlessly holding my body in strenuous yoga positions like Luke Skywalker in ‘The Empire Strikes Back’.

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However, if you’ve read my previous blog post, you will know that my attempts transform myself into a zen yogic goddess weren’t particularly successful…

As the days and weeks have melded into one long strange expanse of time, my self-disapline has run off with my sanity, leaving me with a physical and mental state that more closely resemble Jabba the Hutt and that weird crazed rat creature that hangs out with him.

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If You Look For It, I’ve Got A Sneaking Suspicion That Loo Roll Actually Is All Around…

One month into quarantine and self-isolation is really starting to get to me.

I know this because this weekend I found myself watching classic Christmas romcom ‘Love Actually’ in April.

You know you have too much time on your hands when you find yourself watching a young Thomas Brody-Sangster legging it across an airport whilst crying into a bowl of Doritos because you’ve got bugger all chance of finding yourself in an airport departure lounge for the foreseeable future.

I’m finding romcoms quite difficult to watch in general at the moment because they really drive home the fact that my own love life has taken a massive nosedive since lockdown started.

Finding true love is hard enough in regular life, let alone when your search has been somewhat impeded by the fact that you’re confined to your house 24/7 and spend the majority of your time in sweatpants and your old school leaver’s hoody from 2012 – needless to say, I’m not exactly exuding irresistible goddess vibes at the moment.

Times just aren’t as exciting as they used to be but I suppose we all have to remain mindful and make sure that we’re still appreciating the small things in life.

For instance, we currently have an adequate supply of loo roll in the house, something that would have seemed inconceivable this time last month.

After all, in the words of Hugh Grant, if you look for it, I’ve got a sneaking suspiscion that loo roll actually is all around…

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I Think I Might Be A Modern Day Shakespeare…

Towards the beginning of the lockdown period, I read a few articles claiming that Shakespeare wrote the entirety of King Lear when he was in quarantine during an outbreak of plague.

At the time, I thought it would be fun to spend a bit of my own quarantine writing a blog post exploring how some of Shakespeare’s theatrical masterpieces would have been different if he’d composed them during the current Coronavirus lockdown.

Perhaps I was hoping that this period of self-isolation would inspire bard-like levels of productivity in me and that I would be rattling off blog posts at an unprecedented rate.

Unfortunately, it has taken me a grand total of three weeks to get round to writing this blog post and, while it is perhaps no longer as contextually relevant as it would have been back then, here are three of Shakespeare’s plays reimagined in a modern day context. 

RICHARD III

Richard III focuses (unsuprisingly) on Richard III, who wants to become King of England.

As the plot progress, Richard commits various acts of atrocity and decieit in order to eventually secure the throne for himself.

However, towards the end of the play, Richard is forced to revaluate his life priorities and the kingdom that was once so important to him suddenly becomes less significant than a simple horse.

In modern society, we have also had to reevaluate our priorities in the face of a national crisis.

In fact, if he existed nowadays, I reckon Richard would have also found himself worrying about things that were previously completely inconsequential, albeit in a slightly less dramatic, more mundane way.

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MACBETH

The plot of MacBeth is kickstarted by a meeting between the titular character and three witches, who act as a catalyst to steer MacBeth onto his path of murderess ambition,

Had the play been set in modern day Scotland, it’s likely that the witches plans to meet MacBeth on the heath would have been somewhat scuppered by social distancing regulations.

The opening scene of the play wouldn’t have had the same ominous, spooky effect if the witches had instead been forced to arrange a Skype call to discuss the logistics of bumping into MacBeth in the local park by timing their allotted exercise walk in coordination with his.

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That being said, even if the witches had been unable to meet with MacBeth, Lady MacBeth still would have probably ended up manically washing her hands, not to shield herself from all-consuming guilt, but to protect herself from an all-consuming desire to touch her face.

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ROMEO AND JULIET

In some ways, Romeo and Juliet already lived under a kind of lockdown scenario and, had they lived in 2020, I’m sure the Capulets and Montegues would have had absolutelty no problems remaining 6 feet apart from each other at all times.

However, it would be perhaps be slightly more difficult for the titular characters to replicate the same intensity of passion that made their love affair so iconic if they had been forced to conduct it over Instant Messenger.img_0525

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