Have you had one of those weeks where you felt like somebody stole chunks of your time? I just did! I remember everything that I did quite lucidly but I feel like I teleported from one activity to another. Somebody has cleanly edited out the parts of my week where I slowed down and took a breather.
But did I? And that’s my question to myself, and you. Do we ever stop rushing and gushing like an angry river? Do we indulge in a harmless activity for some good old-fashioned peace of mind?
It wasn’t the roughest of weeks I’ve had but something made me stop what I was doing and sit up straight. When was the last time I did something for myself, just for myself?
Here are two things I’m thinking of doing more.
Colouring! Sounds childish at the get-go but hear me out.
I first saw meditative colouring books in Dubai and it made me stop in my tracks and wonder. Does this work? They were available in all sizes – from pocket friendly to gigantic (almost 2 feet in length, yup!). As enticed as I was by them, I didn’t want to take the plunge.
Months ago my coworkers and I went to The Bakery and I was ecstatic to discover they had table mats you could colour. I had so much fun colouring them in I was a little upset when the food rolled in. I approached the task with such seriousness that my coworker got me an adult colouring book for my birthday that I thoroughly cherish.
Have you looked at the artwork in these things? You can get them framed in all their black-and-white emptiness and make a gallery wall out of them. (Hey, that could be a relaxing project as well.)
How does it help? It’s the attention to detail required to colour carefully within the lines that isolate you from the world. The repetitive yet smooth motions work as a mantra would. I like to strategize my way around a sketch by deciding upon a colour scheme. I’ve tried rainbow and analogous colour scheme for now. I like it.
For mothers with kids, how about you allocate 30 minutes or so and both of you sit down to colour your respective books together? Maybe implement a rule of no talking for that time dedicated to colouring.
I haven’t gotten up in the middle of the night, distressed, in a really long time but if I do next time, I’m going to try therapeutic colouring. Also going to use those colourful pencils to shoo away my anger.
Select options of adult colouring books are available at Liberty Books outlets but if you check out their website, it’s a whole different ballgame. So many to choose from! And not just mandalas and vintage illustrations – I spotted Fantastic Beasts, Game of Thrones and Tolkein themed books! So grab a cup of tea and peruse with patience. Here, I’m pasting the link here as well which will directly take you to the adult colouring books category: http://www.libertybooks.com/index.php?route=product/category&path=702
Very few calls to adventure in life have stressed me out and one recently came my way -the idea of going to a yoga class. I was anxious to pencil it in my book because I didn’t want to know how rusty my body was. If you can make your way to Muvbase (Shahbaz Commercial) at 7 am or 8 am on a Wednesday morning, you can be a part of a mind-soothing, energy-channeling, limb-stretching, muscle-engaging yoga class.
The hour-long session is fluid; one pose transitions into the next with a gentle encouragement to stretch more. I’ve looked at yoga poses online and wondered how’s that achievable? And not underplaying the effort involved at all, (almost) everything is doable. I felt like I had conquered a small territory in a disputed land somewhere when I was able to grab on to my toes while stretching and bending in ways I cannot pen down.
Sure, the best results of yoga are seen over a period of time, but I witnessed the magic of stretching within mere minutes. I was a little rusty with the Lotus pose (the beloved face of yoga, the cross-legged position), and a few flaps of the thighs in the butterfly pose really loosened up the tendons.
The class is conducted by Saman Ali, yogini from Nepal, whose calm voice and the sound of the water playing in the background isolate you from the cacophony and troubles of Karachi. When she says, “It’s just you and me,” forget my office crisis, I even edit out the rest of the classmates mere feet away.
The end of the class begins with you lying down with your eyes closed, lingering on the very first thought that enters your mind and pushing away everything else. A little into this pose, Saman applies lavender oil on your forehead with a touch so feathery, you almost feel like you imagined it before the scent wafts in. The class ends with you facing the wall of windows and that particular moment of basking in the sun, your vision turning a warm red, is the moment of realization how mentally calming and physically stimulating the past hour has been.
If you are intimidated by the idea of committing to yoga, you can try out a single class. That’s what I did! Limited promotional coupons are available for Rs. 500. They are valid for two weeks from the day of purchase so you can always get one for your mother or friend as well! Nobody gets offended at the suggestion of yoga; they’ll feel loved, not insulted.
PS: Currently only on Wednesdays at 7 am and 8 am. But new slots in December from 9 30 to 10 30 am!
PS: Saman also teaches chair yoga which is great for people seeking mobility and strength. It’s ideal for individuals with issues sitting on the floor and are looking for gentle physiotherapy and opportunities to meditate.
You can check out their facebook page for more details: https://www.facebook.com/muvbase/ and glance at their December schedule below and see what slots catch your eye.