Keepin' it Real

Finding your balance during Big Life Things

If your airplane is crashing and the oxygen mask comes down, they say to put yours on first before assisting anyone else – even your kids. We hear this spiel at the beginning of every flight and just take note without really thinking about it or realizing that if faced with a situation like this, how difficult it could actually be to go against your initial instincts for the survival and protection of your family.

I don’t have kids, but I did adopt a 10-month-old puppy named Summer just 3 weeks ago, as you may have read about in my last blog post. It has felt like a year. And I don’t mean that in a negative way. It’s just that it almost feels like we’ve shared enough experiences to fill an entire year. Week 1 was very different from week 2, and now at the end of week 3 it’s hard to believe she was the same dog at week 1. The ups, the downs, the missed meals, the junk food, the undone laundry, the long walks, the talking to everyone about dogs, the progress in our training, the setbacks in our training, the dirt under my nails, the hours of vacuuming, the cave-woman eyebrows, the Googling everything, the missing her, the needing breaks from her, and the everything in between.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, dog and outdoor
Taking our first selfie after the rain on a sunny Summer evening.

And that “in between” has been filled with thinking about her, which has also been consuming and exhausting. It’s like driving for 6 hours and feeling tired even though you were just sitting the entire time. Those short periods that I wasn’t with Summer were when I reluctantly dragged my ass to yoga. I did not want to go. I still don’t want to go. But I know I have to, and need to in order to be better at everything else. I realized over these weeks that when I lost myself and became 100% committed to Summer without still making sure my basic needs were covered (sleep, food, water, hygiene, exercise, etc.), it didn’t feel good.

Typically, when I first drag my ass away from Summer, I feel really guilty, insecure and then exhausted. But during and after yoga, I feel clearer, more grounded and more present. I then bring a little bit more of myself back to my pup and my life. And with that comes more confidence in my decisions and a little more sanity when Summer has an “episode.” One of the many benefits of yoga is that we learn to accept all kinds of emotions that come up and breathe through them, and the more we practise on the mat, the better we’re able to apply this in our daily lives.

Summer running free into the local dog park.

So whatever your Big Life Thing is — whether you have a new furbaby like me, a new career, a new house, your upcoming wedding, a death, a birth, etc. — make time for yourself. Make time for yourself so that you can still be yourself. Show yourself a little love so you can pour more high-quality love into the other thing. Any dedicated dog owner knows how much commitment it takes to train and bond with a new dog or puppy, let alone a rescue. But once I can find my balance (and I’ll get there soon), I know it will help speed up this process and make us both a lot more comfortable in our new lives together. 🙂



Keepin' it Real

Yogis lose their sh*t too

Yogis have a bit of a stigma. Like they’re always calm and collected, floating around in a constant meditative state. Even in a chaotic situation, yogis are positive and zen and “in the moment.” They’re never jealous or impatient, they don’t drink, they don’t eat junk food, and they never lose their shit.

But the fact is, they all lose their shit just like everyone else. I realized this after going to my studio in Toronto for a couple of months and it made my experience a whole lot more enjoyable. Suddenly I wasn’t there anymore because I felt like I had to change myself and because I needed to be. I was there because I wanted to find some balance in my life. I began to understand that even the instructors that I looked up to (and still do), who are in amazing shape, could on any day eat half a tub of ice cream and feel like a beached whale afterwards just like I do. And that’s where the yoga comes in. It’s not that yogis are in perfect balance all the time just naturally — after all, the universe presents us with all kinds of unexpected obstacles. But it’s that yogis turn to yoga to help restore the balance.


One time, I @yogicmeli lost my shit in the most ironic way. A couple months ago, I was shopping with my ex-boyfriend and I popped into Lululemon (yep, I’m naming names) so I could grab a microfibre hand towel (great purchase in the end). But at the cashier, things got heated. See, I’m a raging millennial and I only brought my phone with me to shop using ApplePay rather than bringing in my entire purse. So I tried to clarify before the cashier rang the towel through if they accept ApplePay (if you don’t know, it’s just like tapping your debit or credit card except using an app on your phone). The cashier just looked at me like I was from another planet. I kept my cool, repeating the question. I then asked if the machine accepts tapping as a form of payment. Still nothing. I was giving up when my then-boyfriend obviously jumps in and saves the day, while the cashier makes jokes about how “the man should pay” anyways, and how “I deserve it.” As someone who has always been very financially independent and proud of it, this made me lose my shit. Maybe it was my nerves, maybe it was my ego, maybe I was feeling a little hangry. But I can remember the moment my shit went missing, feeling the wave of heat rising up my face and probably giving this woman a lethal death stare after he tapped his card to pay.


People often turn to yoga when they’re feeling some kind of pain. It could be physical pain, such as back problems or maybe arthritis. It could be emotional pain like a breakup or the death of a loved one. Or sometimes it’s a pain associated with self worth and self acceptance. The point is that whatever the source of one’s pain, yoga provides an escape. Just like alcohol, food, sex, and TV. We’re all humans and we all have our own journeys filled with ups and downs and reasons to find balance. It’s how we deal with our pain that is different (turning to yoga for healing is a much better idea than smoking crack).

So next time you see a calm and collected yogi, just know that perhaps he or she wasn’t born that way. Perhaps something painful happened in that person’s life and it has taken a lot of practice to appear that calm. Perhaps that ray of sunshine you thought you saw beaming down was a dark cloud before that person went to yoga.


PS. Dad, I’m sorry for snapping at you while writing this.