8 Thoughts I had while attempting to do Yoga

People always tell me that yoga is the be all, end all to mental health/physical issues, the start of a transformation from Girl Who Never Has Her Shit Together to Goddess of Purity.

“I’ve been having a rough time with my mental health lately”

“Have you tried yoga? One session and I felt cured instantly. The Flying Lotus position stole away my perpetual anxiety and Daddy Issues. I don’t even need to drink green tea anymore!”

Recently, yoga has been marketed as well as those weight loss drinks that Jameela Jamil is such a big fan of – to read more about this – click here

Everyone from my Mum to the cashier at Topshop has an opinion. What are the benefits of yoga you ask? “Yoga increases body awareness, relieves stress, reduces muscle tension, strain, and inflammation, sharpens attention and concentration, and calms and centers the nervous system” as stated by Psychology Today.

I’ve done a few yoga sessions in my time thinking it would be a doddle and I’d achieve the complete state of tranquillity that everyone else seems to experience. But boy was I wrong, as a newcomer, this is the process when I went through

  1. Yasss Queen! I am gonna become so zen people are gonna talk about how chilled I became. I am gonna become so flexible, my legs are gonna rule the world someday. People are gonna compliment all my muscles and abs and I’m gonna live on a beach in Bali and teach other people the secret to finessing Yoga

 

2. Oh shit, that position looks kinda difficult. I put my leg, where?! How do people do these positions regularly?!

3. Hmm just copy everyone else. You got this. Just keep your head down and oh shit she’s coming over. Why is no one else getting those sympathy looks? Am I seriously the only one who is shit at yoga?

4. She’s moving me into position and it’s kinda unbearable right now. Fml, why am I the only one who is not getting this? Wow my legs HURT.

5. Ooh yass I got this downward dog perfected. I am a goddess. Bow down to me bitches. Ah fuck cramp. THIS KILLS. Everything hurts. If I die I am sueing this god damn yoga teacher who wants to kill me.

6. Yoga is so damn easy. All it requires is some legwork and patience. Which I have obviously.Duh. I’m gonna ace this shit. Look at me doing my stretches. We out here doing so many sun salutations I might as well buy a lifetime membership to this yoga class

7. My whole body hurts. I don’t feel relaxed at all. Why did I agree to this? Do people do this voluntarily?

8. Fuck it. Same again next week.

 

Me vs the Yoga teacher

 

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Mental Health Awareness Month – Body Image

Aloha, it’s been a while but I’m here to talk about something super important and that is the concept of Mental Health as it’s Mental Health Awareness Week. There’s lots of things I don’t feel comfortable discussing on this blog and maybe one day I will but right now I’m focusing on this year’s theme of Body Image.  Disclaimer: I am in no way a professional and I urge anyone who is suffering with mental health issues to see their GP or go to A&E if you are feeling suicidal. TW: Body image, body shaming, eating disorder, fat shaming, 

Body image can be defined by “the perception that a person has of their physical self and the thoughts and feelings that result from that perception.
These feelings can be positive, negative or both, and are influenced by individual and environmental factors”. 

Perception is everything when it comes to body image. If you look in the mirror and make a snap judgement about yourself “Oh my god, I look so ugly and I feel fat and worthless” then it’s bound to completely jeopardise your day and how you feel about yourself. The BBC reported the results of a survey which found that a third of 4,500 “adults felt anxious about their bodies, with one in eight experiencing suicidal thoughts”.

This figure is shocking and prompts the question: “why are we so critical about the way we look?”. Why is fat shaming/any sort of shaming still a thing? Why is there a body shape that is considered perfect’ and why are men and women constantly pressured to look a certain way. I blame social media for part of it. With apps like Instagram, looking ‘perfect’ is something that is integral to one’s lifestyle. Filters and angles add to the pressure of making one look picture perfect and with the rise in celebrities coming out about the use of photoshop in the media, body image is increasingly problematic in the media. ‘Flaws’ can be airbrushed, lightened or increased or decreased in size and it’s a problem because it teaches us that we must dislike these characteristics of our body. Celebrities such as Jameela Jamil are drawing attention to the problematic side of social media and highlighting issues with fat shaming and body shaming, encouraging us to feel more empowered and love ourselves. Check out my blog post about her here.

I’ve definitely fallen prey to the wicked ideals of body image on social media a few times. I decide to upload a picture of myself and then scrutinise myself, scanning my entire body for flaws that I can crop out or add filters to so I appear more desirable. Or there’ll be times where I’m getting ready and I look at myself in the mirror and I hate what is looking back. Why is my stomach so bloated? Why are my eye bags not going away? Why is my skin so discoloured at times? These questions constantly go through my head and I end up going through my entire closet until I feel comfortable with what I’m wearing/covering, or putting on enough make up until I look ‘ok’. Or making plans on how I can change my appearance so I’m happier with how I look (hah that gym membership still needs to happen)

I have to remind myself that everyone experiences certain characteristics and as I’m not a celebrity with access to a personal trainer, plastic surgeons and a dietician, it’s not gonna be as easy as snapping my fingers and shapeshifting into someone I prefer to look like. Yes I have eye bags and discoloration but that is something a lot of Indians experience and comes with my heritage. Yes sometimes my stomach swells in size even when I haven’t eaten anything but that comes with having Crohn’s Disease which has messed up my intestines so much that I need to have surgery in order to fix this and there’s nothing I can do otherwise about this. Being Indian doesn’t always help because Indians love commenting on people’s weight (lol) but I’m learning to ignore that and accept my body is changing and no one needs to comment on it. Yes sometimes I hate the way I look and I’ll put some make up on or skip meals and then hide behind big clothes because I feel disgusting when I look at the mirror but I’m reminding myself that I have a normal body and I deserve to nourish myself and not care about what others think. There isn’t always bad ‘body image’ days. Sometimes I’ll dye my hair and feel empowered like a punk princess. I guess it’s because my hair is something I have control over and I don’t have a lot of control over things related to my body but I’m slowly learning that it’s okay. With so many positive body empowering women I follow in Instagram and Twitter, I’m slowly realising that there are lots of body types out there and instead of focusing on the flaws, you gotta remind yourself of the positives and ‘werk it’. Instead of following celebrities that endorse weight loss teas (cough cough Kartrashians), follow empowering women such as singer Lizzo, Jameela Jamil, Cupcakke rapper and lots more!

No matter your sexuality, race, gender, ethnicity etc you don’t have to let anyone dictate how you should look. Remember, you’re amazing and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise <3. A “hells yeah” to all my fellow beauties who aren’t comfortable with the way they look, I gotchu.

 

 

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Copenhangin’: Day 2 of The Hygge Adventures

It was my friend’s first time staying in a hostel and the first night really cemented why people avoid hostels – there is always someone who decides to make as much noise as humanly possible. I mean, if you wanted to go the whole hog, why didn’t you just bring a trumpet and wake everyone up with a fanfare of ‘Ave Maria’? Okay, so maybe I’m being slightly dramatic but one of the girls in our room decided to turn on the lights at 5 AM and rearrange her whole suitcase before walking out and leave the lights on.

not today satan

 

 

Moving on swiftly, we woke up pretty late and decided to take our time getting ready as we wanted to take some pretty pictures in our next stop…Nyhaven!

On the way to Nyhaven it was pissing it down so we felt like a pair of alley cats trying to nativage these murky waters in search of food. We stopped by a cosy looking burger place called Nyhavn C which claimed to have the “Best Vegetarian Burger Ever”. Bold claims but I like a challenge so I opted for just that while Adi got a Chicken burger.

The Goods

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The best damn veggie burger ever*

*allegedly.

Well someone’s eyes were bigger than her stomach at this point

In a state of post meal bliss, I lay back and groaned in both pleasure and overindulgance. Cause of Death: TOO MUCH BURGER

 

sloth eating gif

It was still pouring down at this point so me and my friend delayed our adventure for as long as we could but then managed to make it outside and take some pretty pictures of the pastel houses surrounding the waterfront. Think Balamory but with elegance!

 

Ignoring the rain, (gosh how many times have I mentioned the weather, it hurts being this British), Nyhaven embodied the classiness and striking architecture that Copenhagen is deemed incedible for. Taking a walk to admire the refined and polished sights the city has to offer was such a good shout. #HyggeFactor

 

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We stumbled on Amaliensborg Palace which was magnificent and houses the Danish Royal family. It consists of four different classical palaces and in the centre of the square there was a statue of the founder of Amaliensborg Palace, King Frederick V.

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Unfortunately the museum was closed by the time we got there so we couldn’t find out more and check out the interiors but this is definitely something I will come back and find out about!

Seeking solace from the rain, we found  a beautiful church with stunning architecure and incredible paintings. The Marble Church is west of Amaliensborg Palace and we sat inside for a bit to really admire the art pieces, altar and the rich detail in the design of the church. I also took this time to ask questions about Christianity and find out more about the history behind the church and designs. It was relaxing and peaceful just to sit down and take it all in.

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By this time it was starting to get dark so we decided to leave and grab some food on the way back. We stopped off at wok place and I had some incredible Hygge food which was warming, nourishing and just delicious…the picture DOES do it justice

 

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Ok it might not be the best quality picture but hey, I never said I was a food blogger. Just believe that it was bloody good.

Night out

No holiday is complete without a chance to discover the nightlife and that’s what we decided to do. Luckily, we were in the heart of Copenhagen and there was a strip of bars just a few minutes away from us so we started as we mean to go on!

Pros: The music is diverse-ish. I heard a mix of Pop, r&b, cheese and hip hop. It was crowded but intimate and each bar was slightly different. Some had a dive bar sort of vibe which was a little different to what I’ve normally experienced in London whereas others had studenty vibes with younger adults and drink offers

Cons: The drinks were hella expensive. I know that Copenhagen is expensive but as we hadn’t had a chance to pre-drink I was counting my Krona and was not happy to see it deplete massively. Also some bars were way too crowded and tiny. Breathing space is a must

You should check out: The Jane, Aloha Beach Bar, Andy’s Bar, Cucaracha etc

Whew! That’s a wrap on Day 2.

 

 

 

 

 

Copenhagen – Denmark – Day 1

Aloha…or should I say ‘Hej’ as they do in Denmark?

I recently read an inspirational book titled “The Little Book of Hygge” and I will probably write a separate post about it but this book was bloody brilliant. It’s all about the Danish concept of Hygge which translates to a mood of being cozy and content. But it’s more than that. It’s a way of life and this book gives you the ideas and the means to live like a true Hyggemeister (I hate myself). Denmark is continuously ranked highly on the World Happiness Report of happiest countries and this intrigued me. Scandinavian culture and Hygge promotes a good sense of security and well-being which is something that a lot of Western nations, especially the UK and the US lack. But that’s all for another post…

In January, me and my friend Adi decided to book a short break to go and explore another city sometime in early Spring. Scouring Ryanair and Expedia, we decided on Copenhagen and I was eager as ever having just finished the book. Our flight was on Thursday morning from Luton Airport which is a bit of a trek from us but we travelled there the night before and stayed at Adi’s cousin’s house which isn’t too far from the aiport.

Day 1

I was exhausted on the morning of flight due to sleeping late the night before (great move, I know) so waking up, getting ready and making sure I had everything took longer than normal. We got to the airport in good time and I had a small window of time before the gates for our flight opened so I opted to get some pancakes and a Woo Woo from Frankie & Benny’s. What? If you’re at the airport, it doesn’t matter what time it is you’re basically obliged to drink, it’s just polite. 

A short flight later we were in Copenhagen! We decided to get the Copenhagen Card which is an all-inclusive card with unlimited travel and 87 attractions. It’s 99 Euros for one adult ticket.

Copenhagen’s version of ‘The Tube’ seemed so much cleaner and less crowded than the one in Landaaan Town. We reached our destination and the hostel (The Generator) was about a 15 min walk from the station. The heart of Copenhagen looked like a less crowded, prettier and cooler version of London so I was excited to explore more once we were settled.

We checked in, chose our bunk beds (sorry Adi for ‘dibsing’ the bottom one) and dumped our stuff in our rooms. By this point we were both starving so headed downstairs to get some food from The Generator’s bar/restaurant area. The aesthetic was on point! Vintage arcade machines, a cosy reading area with dozens of books and comfy sofas and beanies. Dim hygge lighting and pizzas were a good choice for my first meal in Copenhagen and I scoffed away.

We were both so zonked out from the late night and the flight that we decided to keep it lowkey on the first night. We opted for a Shisha sesh and found a decently priced place not too far from us. Smoky purple lighting and some R&B bangers, not a bad start to our break!

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Chasing the Sun

I’m chasing the sun

Down the bottom of a vodka bottle

It tastes of sweetness, light and euphoria

But it fades as fast as the sunset that reminds me of you

So I turn to the tobacco goodness that sends me into a pseudo heaven

I want to feel love i want to feel hope i want to dream

But chemical aphrodisiacs can only do so much

As i fall into the depths of a hell

My WCW is making waves and here’s why

jameela jamil

This is Jameela Jamil. She is currently slaying everything and I’m all for it. You might recognise her from hit show The Good Place in which she plays perfectionist and socialite Tahani Al-Jamil. Yes she is fabulous and the show wouldn’t be the same without her but I’m here to talk about her influence and drive and conscientious efforts as a life positivity and body empowerment activist.

In 2018, Jameela launched Instagram account ‘I Weigh’ encouraging people to post a picture of themselves along side a list of things they were grateful or proud of that made them who they are. This was in response to an Instagram photo which showed all the Kardashians and compared their weights which Jamil exclaimed “Who gives a fuck what weight you are?”. The ‘I Weigh’ movement is inspirational and a big leap forward from the media’s constant scrutiny of women’s bodies and their pessimistic body shaming attitude. This movement may have originally focused on women but Jamil has encouraged users of any race/gender/sex to submit posts and thus a variety of individuals from different backgrounds are celebrated on the account.

Having suffered from an eating disorder as a teenager, Jamil’s preaching of self-love and acceptance comes from personal experience and a desire to right the wrongs of the media and society. She has criticised the media for creating unrealistic expectations for women, focusing on so-called ‘influencers’ who advertise detox teas and weight loss products which claim to be a magic solution to people who want to lose weight. Jamil called out US rapper Cardi B and stated “they got Cardi B on the laxative nonsense “detox” tea. GOD I hope all these celebrities all shit their pants in public, the way the poor women who buy this nonsense upon their recommendation do”. To further her point Jamil posted a short clip of herselves acting out a celebrity who was endorsing a weight loss product but has to stop when she barely makes it to the bathroom in time. It’s no-nonsense, straight to the point and hilarious. Adding fuel to the fire she voices her disbelief with “I’ve got abs, but I’ve never done a day’s exercise in my life and I haven’t been on a diet. I ate five hamburgers last night”.

watch it here

Although Jamil has a massive following on ‘I Weigh’ with over 300,000 followers she is no stranger to controversy. She has been labelled ‘privileged’ because of her looks which have been deemed ‘socially acceptable’ and that she is too skinny to be an advocate for body positivity. Jamil put up a powerful Twitter post responding to these criticisms by acknowledging her privilege but explaining that she is using it to do good by paving the way for change and uprising against societal norms of beauty.

There have been many rebuttals against her stance and suggestions that she is not as inclusive as she could be but Jamil has taken these views on board and responded to many of them labelling herself a ‘feminist in progress’ as she continues to work on herself as well as her movement. She is responsive to people who don’t like her, comedy gold and always willing to spread love when she can which is why she takes is officially my reigning WCW (Woman Crush Wednesday)

And if you don’t like her? I don’t give a fork.

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Netflix and “let’s procrastinate”

It’s that time after New Years where you’re in a state of zen and duvet bliss (after your new gym induction and motivational run of course) and what better idea than to switch on the ol’ Netflix and have a gander at the new shows which are all gripping the world at the moment. That and the memes which have been dominating Twitter.

(Mild Spoilers ahead)

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch

I was eager and waiting when Netflix delivered the latest instalment of Black Mirror. It takes the form of an interactive story complete with choices that lead you to multiple endings. The path the story takes is down to you as you play as the main character, Stefan. Stefan hopes to create his own video game, aptly titled ‘Bandersnatch’. But it seems the game is playing him rather than the other way round…

You should also bear in mind that you have to unlock certain endings to replay different scenes to get alternative endings. The first choice is significant and boils down to what kind of cereal you like. *Sugar Puffs over Frosties till I die*

Some endings are humorous. Some are traumatic. And some are just downright weird. But it all boils down to the same thing. You get to ruin a young man’s life for your own entertainment. Poor Stefan.

 

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You

Think of it as Gossip Girl Gone Wild. The narrative follows Penn Badgeley’s character Joe who starts off as an ordinary guy in a bookstore. Pretentious? Check. Slightly awkward? Check. We hear the story through his inner monologue which is constantly running, telling the classic boy meets girl love story as he meets love interest Guinevere Beck. Tame enough right? Except his observations are a bit too intrusive and thoughts turn into actions and well…he tips over to crazy psycho stalker. I won’t say any more but…eeeks.

 

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Look at that smile!