MY YOGA MAT
I’ve been practicing yoga for 9 years now. Let me tell you why I started and what it means to me. I have always been an overly talkative, sociable and bubbly person. For most of my teens and 20s, I often preferred to have company around me; the truth is I wasn’t good on my own. I have always had lots of friends and back-to-back boyfriends since I was 16. One day, in my mid 20s, my five year relationship with my boyfriend, who I lived with at the time, came to a devastating end for me. No matter what I did to try and escape my heartbreak, sadness and loneliness existed and it wouldn’t go away. Even after a year, he continued to be my first and last thought at night. I couldn’t sleep, eat or function well for a long time. I felt amputated. So one day, I felt the only way to fix my agony was to face all these feelings head on. I wanted to sit in silence, not move and still all the chaos in my mind. I wanted to honour all my emotions and be okay with all of it. With yoga, I leant to find peace, within myself, through meditation and my interest with Buddhism. Yoga had obvious physical changes with my body like being more flexible and becoming more toned but it also calmed my mind and opened up a deeper side of myself I never knew existed. I go out less now and I love my own company. I’m a far cry from the person I use to be before yoga. I’m happier, more at peace and always grateful. I love doing yoga retreats once a year in places like Bali or Indonesia. I recently moved to Dubai, from London, and experienced doing yoga on the beach whilst it was the rare full ‘blood moon’ eclipse. The energy around me that evening was so powerful on the beach, by the sea, practicing salutations, breathing, meditating and chanting Sanskrit. It was a unique, stunning experience and one I will not forget. Simple pleasures are always the best things in life.
This bottled water, here in my group shot, symbolises my relationship with water. I can’t swim. I think I have bad breathing technique. But for someone who can’t swim I love water. I’ve recently started to standup paddle board in Dubai. I go every weekend now. It’s amazing to be in the sea floating on a board especially when the sea is like a lukewarm bath and feels smooth like silky oil. That is literally what the sea feels like here in Dubai. It’s also a great way to strengthen my core and get a great tan at the same time. As I had a fear of swimming, I hadn’t been in the sea for many years before. I know I can’t really swim now but I realise it’s important to face things I fear as often as I can because isn’t it the best feeling to conquer a fear, to let go and learn to love it. I think it makes me feel more alive when I do.
I haven’t picked this item for any obvious reason. Yes, I do think it’s a standout watch and I do love beautiful watches but this one was given to me by a dear close friend. For me, it symbolises friendship. We don’t live in the same country and it makes me remember him often and reminds me to be thankful of friendships. I think people come into our lives for a valuable reason or lesson. We may not understand or know at the time why but we always take something away with us that is valuable from friendships even if they don’t last. I can’t say I’ve known this person all my life, but he came unexpectedly at a time when I needed good friendships, love and support the most. I was going through a personal family trauma at the time when we met. It is surprising who is there for you when you least expect it. I’m lucky to have a good amount of honourable, loving, kind friends in my life. They know exactly who they are and I’m so thankful for their friendships.
Also, for someone who’s often late, I’ve learned to appreciate time and I am much better at keeping my time. Looking at a watch reminds me to be present and focused at the moment and give 100% effort to the things I choose to do. I think, as long as you can say you’ve done your very best at something you can’t have any regrets.
Travelling inspires me. I appreciate experiencing new cultures and new places. I’ve seen so many beautiful places in the world, especially because I have been a travel journalist. But there are always more places to explore. I think when you are away from home you see things in a different light and sometimes when you do see things differently you feel like you are evolving in some small significant way. When you step out of your comfort zone it can be uncomfortable but I think that is when people grow the most.
I recently lost my British passport. It was actually stolen when I was in London two days before my flight back to the UAE. I managed to get a new passport the next day but it didn’t have my UAE work visa inside it. When I landed at Dubai airport, I ended up getting deported back to the UK after spending 48 hours at the airport trying to find a resolution to get through immigration. At the end, I was told to go back to London to fix my visa issue with the UAE consulate there before they can let me back into Dubai. It was quite a stressful experience at the time but it made me really value kind strangers who made my bad experience better. It showed me kindest costs nothing so why not be kind everyone if you can. You never know how bad their day may have been. And it reminded me that I’m so lucky I can travel freely around in the world. It makes me so sad that some people don’t have that freedom and so many people are literally killing themselves for it.
I’m a journalist and an online editor so I literally cannot imagine not having my Mac Pro with me wherever I go. I have to write daily. It’s not just a job but a passion. I think in life it’s important to find a job you feel passionate about that you can also earn a living from.
My laptop has my entire collection of music that I’ve accumulated throughout the years. Music to me is a beautiful way to remember our past and enhance emotional feeling and expression. It gives you a sense of nostalgia. When a song plays it can make you remember a period of time in your life or how a person made you feel then. I think music is like a great way to emotionally and universally communicate with people.
I also have photographs of people’s work I admire like Robert Doisneau, Guy Bourdin, Helmut Newton and David LaChapelle. I’ve personal photos of my family, my friends and places I have travelled to. I always love to look at pictures to keep me inspired.