Four hours’ sleep, five hours travelling back to the Motherland and one hour spent running around Schipol airport like a headless chicken having lost not only my phone, but also my passport and boarding pass – I was in serious need of some R&R.
There was no better way to repent my corporal sins than drowning in good stuff at Liverpool’s first ever Yoga and Vegan Festival.
Vegan as Fuck
You know the way you walk into a sauna and the heat hits you? That’s how it felt walking into this place, but it was a blast of warm hearts and goodness that could be felt.
There were about forty Lycra gods and goddesses on the grass outside, moving from one yoga pose to another in silent harmony and others sat on the ground cross-legged, meditating with devoted concentration. The energy was overwhelmingly powerful – an abundance of peace and loveliness. And everybody had a smile on their face.
Aromatic scents of vegan deliciousness were being wafted around the grounds in the summer breeze and we followed their trail. After the seventeen Hawaiian pizzas I’d eaten over the weekend, a plate of rainbow-coloured vegetables and spicy falafels was exactly what I was after.
Afterwards we headed to the indoor market full of beautiful things. There was a stall selling the prettiest Himalayan salt lamps and handmade yoga mat carriers and blankets from Nepal.
Six months ago I would have bought one of everything without question. But that switch that flipped in my head back in April, the one that says Squanderlust Rebellion, the one that tells me I need to stop mindlessly consuming, said put them back.
What I did spend my pennies on, was essential – oils thereof. I got Moringa oil which is known for its anti-ageing properties (also good for crêpe pan burns), Rose oil which has a mood-lifting effect and Jojoba oil which moisturises the hair and skin. I also treated myself to some Ayurveda incense sticks for later on..
East meets West
As information spreads, and our knowledge and understanding deepens, we’re making lifestyle changes en masse.
The instagrammable supple skin of Yoga is out there for everybody to envy or aspire to. And so, to somebody who knows little or nothing on the subject, it could be seen as a fad or just an excuse for really fit girls to show how bendy they are.
But it’s not. It’s an ancient Indian practice that has been built on with over five thousand years’ of wisdom and it deserves a little bit more credit.
The benefits of practice are completely indisputable. Even after just one class, the most sceptical of people can feel a sense of inner peace and relaxation. And that’s where I’ve been for several years, at the surface level of understanding, with no persuasive desire to dive any deeper into the vast ocean of our mind-body-soul connection.
When the Student is ready, the Teacher will appear
Since the start of this year, plenty of people have entered or reappeared in my life and a series of events have taken place that I could say are life-changing, but I’d rather say have been heart-changing. All of this has happened during a time when I’m consciously taking control over my thoughts and dedicating time to focus on doing good stuff to be a better me.
The opportunity to move my life to Hong Kong and further my career had fallen off a cliff, my progression was stagnating and I’d given up my amazing apartment overlooking my favourite park.
Moving a life’s worth of possessions into your childhood bedroom at your parents’ is a minimalist’s nightmare. Clutter in your environment means clutter in your mind and I could feel it. So I started selling everything I could – clothes parties with friends, eBay auctions, car boot sales and everything in between.
Material things lost their meaning. My shopping addiction came crashing to a halt. That itching need to buy something for a quick dopamine hit had totally elapsed.
This was a big game changer for me.
An emptier physical space led way for an emptier mind, and in my pursuit of inner peace the universe has given me head-on collisions with incredible people who are helping me build a new path.
It’s all coming together.
doing good stuff to be a better me
As my Grandma has always told me, you can never learn enough.
I’ve focused my last decade’s worth of cranium expansion on things like negotiation skills, supplier governance, strategic sourcing, international trade, marketing and retail technology. Anything and everything I could possibly learn to better myself in the world of work and get myself up another few rungs.
But now that I’ve temporarily quit life, or at least quit the life I knew, I want to put all of my energy into nothing but doing good stuff to be a better me.
That means not just doing exercise, practising yoga, eating healthy and meditating…but learning all about them. It means introspection and listening to my body. It means letting my stomach make all of my decisions, because instinct is much wiser than emotion or overthinking will ever be.
It means feeding my body good food and feeding my mind good thoughts.
I think I’m also ready to demolish the wall I built up against religion and open up the doors to spirituality.
So in the few days following the festival I’ve meditated morning and night. I’ve massaged my face and body in essential oils and already my skin looks more glowing and my eyes are brighter. I’ve lit candles and incense and indulged in long hot bubble baths listening to I am affirmations. I’ve picked up my Yoga book and watched countless YouTube videos on Ayurveda. I’m not just eating nutritiously, I’m learning about what I’m eating and why it’s good for my body.
I’m effortlessly living and breathing goodness and this time I hope it lasts.