A year is a long time when you’re living it, and short looking back from the other side. To a ninety year old a year is a blip, to a nine year old, it is forever. Everything is perspective, and my year of hiatus from The Unchecked Baggage was a condensed version of what life is actually like. Love, Loss and Labias. I’m joking. It was just another funny “L” word. There was a normal amount of Labias. Like, not any other amount that was worth writing home about.
If I’m being honest, I’m not even totally sure which part is the Labia, and I’m too scared to google it on my work computer.
Anyway: here are some things that happened (in no particular order):
My Uncle died (which made me very sad, more so than I felt I had the right to be) I left one job for another after experiencing a crisis of career identity, I fell in love, I went to Adult Summer Camp (again), I went back to the city I was born in to spend time with my Nana, my Nana died (I was sad but also kind of numb) I had another career crisis, I started learning again, I co-wrote a play and saw it come to stage, I wrote and performed on a sketch show, I continued to avoid carbs and sugar (as much as I could), I saw an old friend get married in the British countryside, lots of friends had babies, I hired a career coach, I went to New York and saw my boyfriend win a big prize, I celebrated two years in LA, I questioned my existence, I questioned grief I cried (a lot), I laughed (a lot), I adopted a dog, I started telling stories again. I started doing Yoga.
The Yoga thing started out small, just something I was doing to stay in shape (there is a studio in the office building I work in). Oh how I used to make fun of Yoga people. I equated Yoga with being “So LA” (a thing that I have said in the past as a criticism as in: “that girl eating a vegan Acai bowl while wearing a pleather fringe crop-top is SO LA), but actually Yoga has been a totally transformative experience for me, and it is insane how a few hours a week of breathing and slow moving in your body, can teach you so much.
So, as a welcome back to the Unchecked Baggage here are 5 things that Yoga taught me (that I think I already knew, but kinda didn’t):
- Your Core is extremely important (hint POSTURE)
I am a big busted betch and my saggy knoggins are constantly getting me down (front ways). Even if you’re not heavily chested, your core helps you with your posture, your balance and your overall fitness. Just imagine this scenario: You break your foot on your private yacht which has hit the rocks, while sailing the Maldives with Idris Elba and Cate Blancett. Sharks circle. There’s only a little bit of standing room, as Keanu Reeves flies overhead on a rescue helicopter. You’ve got a basket of kittens in one hand, and a basket of puppies in the other. Thanks to your core, you’re able to stand on one foot, balancing both, as Keanu decends to the rescue. Cate and Idris are also fine.
- Breathing is a fucking DUH, but also really hard.
The simple act of breathing in and out (which by the way even a fish can do) is not as easy as it looks. Remembering to breathe while in positions that look like you turned into spaghetti and then froze weird in the Tupperware you forgot about for six months, is not as easy as it looks. Doing movements while also breathing, SUPER HARD! But also, rewarding. Hey, if I can breathe, so can you, you got this big guy.
- FOCUS (Pocus)
If you have a brain like me, that DOES NOT STOP, then Yoga can help you. Even when I meditate and try to think of nothing, I start to imagine brightly coloured beach balls bouncing into the black, pinging off each other and bouncing away (this is literally always what I think of when I try to meditate…and I don’t know why). Yoga has made me realize that even ATTEMPTING to meditate and focus, on my muscles, on alignment, on lying on the floor clearing my mind (honestly my favorite bit) is so beneficial. In our world of technology and notifications and distractions, a little bit of focus and stillness can go a long way BALL. BALL. Seriously.
- Yoga is good for your joints
As someone with fucked up ankles (thank you netball) and tight, tight hip joints (thank you…nothing?) I’ve come to realize the value of my joints and the importance of their health. Maybe it’s because I am getting older (this is definitely the reason) but I just don’t have the same elasticity I did as a kid. Yoga has strengthened some of my joints, and made me realize I need to put in a little work in others.
- Yoga is good for your mental health
Apart from getting to post totally cute pictures of yourself on line #yogilife and parade around in tight cute clothing made by women who know how to enhance a bum or two, Yoga is actually great for your mental well being. Maybe it relates back to the stillness that we lack in our everyday lives, but the Yogi’s I have met (even the casual ones) seem to be overall in a better headspace when they step off their mat. I know for a fact personally, that Yoga has been a massive mood booster for me, on days when everything seems to pile up.
So why not try a free Yoga class?
In the city of Los Angeles, most Yoga studios have a free class or free week of classes on offer for you to try them out. Yoga mats are rentable, or cost something like $10 at places like Marshalls. I bought my original mat from the 99c store (it was $4.99, a bald faced LIE 99 cent store, A LIE IN THE KINGDOM OF YOGA).
I still suck quite a bit at the poses, and I often joke about being the biggest, most inflexible girl in Yoga, but I’ve truly found a community of people who are just gathering for an hour, to breathe, stretch out their joints, focus, work on their core, and have a good time.
Starting with Yoga has made me realize that I need to check my skepticism at the door a little more, and approach things that I’ve made fun of with a bit more of an open mind.
But seriously if I go vegan or start talking about crystals…someone just shoot me.