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.

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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I Should Not Be Allowed To Play Board Games…

I don’t really consider myself to be a competitive person.

In general, I would rather spend my energy cooperating with others, as opposed to trying to beat them.

However, there is one area of life which poses an exception to this rule – playing board games.

Nothing brings out the worst, most primal aspects of my personality quite like participating in a game of Monopoly, Cluedo or Kerplunk.

Logically, I am aware that getting overly competitive when playing board games is ridiculous.

I know, for example, that ‘The Game of Life’ is not as important as my actual life. However, when I am actually playing ‘The Game of Life’, the outcome of the game rapidly becomes the single most important thing in existence and I genuinely care more about the success of that teeny tiny little plastic human in their teeny tiny plastic car than I do about my actual human self.

This being said, most board games are specifically designed to encourage competitiveness. For example, the title of the game ‘Frustration’ is indicative of the fact that it is meant to induce a feeling of mild frustration in those who play it.

However, the phrase ‘mild frustration’ cannot do justice to the raw untamed rage that I experience when I am losing a board game.

It is as if all the competitiveness that I should be using in other areas of my life is stored up and released all in one go. All semblance of respectful and dignified adulthood crumbles and is replaced by an all-consuming desire to win, no matter the cost. 

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The Pursuit of Artistic Glory.

When I was a younger, my main ambition in life was to be an artist.

My dad told me that the best artists were the ones that pushed the boundaries of artistic creation.

They were innovative and original and didn’t stick to the rules set out for them by their predecessors.

However, he also said that before an artist could break the rules, they would have to spend time mastering their craft as it was important understand how rules worked in order to find the most effective and impactful ways to push against them.

The spirit of artistic rebellion really struck a chord with me.

I decided in order to increase my chances of becoming a famous, revered artist, I would have to incorporate this ethos into my own artistic practice.

However, I wasn’t a very patient child. I didn’t have time to follow the rules in order to master my craft.

Instead, I just decided that I was going to break them straight away.

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My Neighbour’s Chihuahua Thinks He’s a Wolf…

Dogs have been man’s best friend for thousands of years and, as time has gone on, our four-legged companions have had many roles in human society.

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Recently, a lot of dogs have become smaller to adapt to urban living conditions.

One of these small dogs lives down the road from me.

He is called Harold.

Visually, Harold is nothing short of angelic – he a sentient ball of fur, suspended a few inches above the ground by four stubby and extremely fluffy legs.

However, Harold cannot fathom the fact that he is a small dog.

His mind is completely out of sync with his body.

Although he is physically small in stature, I think that on some level, Harold whole-heartedly believes that he is a wolf.

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As a result, he cannot comprehend why he is not treated with the same sense of reverence and awe as his fearsome and majestic ancestor.

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Being called ‘cute’ and ‘adorable’ does not sit well with Harold.

In fact, it makes him very angry.

He therefore feels a constant and unstoppable urge to establish himself and remind anyone or anything that strays into his immediate vicinity that he is a force to be reckoned with.

img_0420.pngHarold’s has a severe case of  ‘small dog syndrome’.

He is under the impression that, if he yaps with enough frequency and intensity, he will eventually be able to transform his deluded perception of himself into reality and convince everyone that he is, in fact, a big dog.

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The Art of Taking a Good Passport Photo…

I love my passport – it enables me to travel all over the world and explore different countries.

However, there is one aspect of my passport that I do not like at all.

In my passport, I would ideally like a photo that portrays me as a happy, sun-kissed, free-spirited world traveller. Unfortunately, my current photo makes me look like a combination of a pale washed-out convict and a potato.

Now, I’m sure that there is a subtle art to taking a good passport photo – I just don’t have a clue what it is. As far as I’m concerned, it’s absolutely impossible.

In fact, I’m pretty certain that the secret to taking a good passport photo is just to have a good face in the first place, the kind of face that will still manage to look nice when it is stripped of all emotion and framed in awkwardly bright light before being stamped on an official document.

Unfortunately, I do not have one of these faces, which really doesn’t do anything for my passport photo’s overall aesthetic.img_0365.png

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