Namaste

by

bridge1

I don’t know how to do anything halfway. I only have two speeds: On. Off.

It’s either eating lunch from the McDonald’s drive thru on a daily basis…

…or I’m a hardcore vegan.

I’m  either living like a sloth, and getting no exercise whatsoever…

..or I’m in the gym three times a week with my trainer, kickboxing and getting arms that are Michelle Obama-buff.

recently found this pic of me on my wedding day. Michelle Obama who?!?!

recently found this pic of me on my wedding day. Michelle Obama who?!?!

No shades of gray. I’m thick or I’m thin. I’m on or I’m off. I’m writing feverishly or I’m completely blocked.

I started blogging with no real goal in mind. It was a way to keep my mind (and my writing muscles) sharp during a time when work was slow. But it slowly snowballed into something else.

And then, it became a full time job.

I posted a thousand-word plus post every. single. day. I interviewed folks, researched stats, shot flicks, edited video.

Did I mention I can never do anything halfway?

Few weeks back, I started taking my Blackberry to bed with me so I could be sure to check my stats and read any new comments before I drifted off to sleep. Once, I woke up in the middle of the night. And I checked my Blackberry for comments before I went back to sleep.

And suddenly… I hated blogging. It became a chore. And I started to curse the computer as I dragged it across my lap to write a new post.

I hated it when my stats didn’t go through the roof after posting a story I labored over. (Particularly proud of my I hate talking food post. I interviewed the creative director who animated the Pop Tarts commercials! Just for you dear readers! Eh. Y’all weren’t so into it.)

Started taking this real personal. And lost my focus.

This has happened to me a lot in my life. I leap into something headfirst, lose myself in it and then start to drown. I want to break the cycle. And I think I’m on my way. And it starts with folding my body into ungodly poses for 90 minutes a few times a week.

Yoga is the most intense workout I’ve ever experienced. Don’t know if I’m losing weight. And I don’t know if anything is firming is up. (Though God, I hope so).

But I do know that yoga is quieting my mind in a way nothing else ever has.

Last week, my first day sitting cross-legged on the mat, waiting for the instructor to begin, I wanted to giggle. It was so quiet. Then I realized that I wasn’t used to stillness. Quiet. Being alone with my thoughts. Who knew that being quiet could be so scary? Am I the only one? How often do you all sit in quietness and empty your mind? I know that I never do it. Unless I’m not feeling well or I’m asleep. And even then, I usually vegetate with the television on and I always fall asleep with the television on.

Stillness and quiet are new to me.

I won’t bore you with talk of all the various yoga poses. But they kicked. my. ass.

The most common pause was something called Downward Facing Dog. Looks like this:

downward-facing-dog_enlarged1

Try it, dear readers. I’d like to know how long you can hold this pose. I can do it for about twenty seconds. And then I’m collapsing to the floor on my belly in a heap. The teacher was kind enough to ignore that I was the only one in class who couldn’t hold the pose very long.

Right now, as I type this, muscles I didn’t know I had are burning in pain.

ouch2

But holding the poses quieted my mind. Stopped the racing work-work-work thoughts in my head.

And it’s changed my focus on blogging too…

I’m still here. And I love what we have. I’m going to keep lacing you with my writing pointers and my random thoughts on life and work. There’s a new edict up in here though. I post when I want to. When I need to. Not because I have to. And I’m forbidding myself from constant stat-checking. I’ll always read and appreciate all the love from our commenters. (And much love to my lurkers who don’t comment but never miss a post and tell me so in person or in direct emails)

But I won’t be a slave to a line graph.

Taking things slow is not the same as not doing anything at all. I’m 35 and just figuring this out. Go figure.

I noticed something interesting in yoga. All the poses that involve moving forward are very difficult for me. I can’t do this:

9cd51efd-eb84-4c2b-8f88-a0c23d652607_7

Or this:

looks easy, right? It ain't.

looks easy, right? It ain't.

But all the poses that involved a strong back are easy for me. I can do this:

wheel

And this:

yoga_sciatica_book_105

And this:

3128856

My yoga instructor looked at me when I was having trouble doing a forward pose and said, “Most strong-back folks are not so good with forward poses. We’ll get you there.”

Interesting.

I feel like I am always moving forward at the speed of light. Both in my thoughts and in actions. Yoga is the one place where I have a hard time moving forward. Maybe my body is trying to tell me something.

Whatever it is, I’m listening.

Dear readers, I have several questions for you. Have you tried yoga? Do you like it? Do you ever sit still and quiet and try to empty your mind? What do you do to relieve anxiety? And can I hear from my fellow Type-A personalities who can’t stop going-going-going… How do you slow it d-o-w-n. And how long can you stay in Downward Facing Dog?!?!

I’d love to hear from you…

shoulder2

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20 Responses to “Namaste”

  1. aqua Says:

    I actually tried yoga for the first time a couple of weeks. I went to NYSC with the wife to take part in a free classed. Bumped into a friend of mind who quipped, “Let me guess; family outing?” But I digress…
    I was captain of my Varsity basketball team in high school, still play as often as I can but am by know means in tip-top shop. I’m no slouch but by the end of that hour I was sweating like a slave. I didn’t have too much difficulty with the poses but I stopped short of a pose that involved standing on your hands and another one that was basically a headstand. I have a whole new respect for Russell Simmons. Well, just a little more.
    I’ll do yoga again because after the initial soreness I felt hella limber. But for good ol’ relaxation nothing beats Maury Povich and my DVR’d SciFi and reality tv shows.

  2. Southern_Lady Says:

    Hey Aliya! I haven’t tried yoga. I know I’m so late!!! I have two-year old “free” pass to one of our yoga centers, but I never think about it. I have done stripper pole aerobics though. Awesome. I have a newfound respect for strippers.

    Aww, Aliya! Just be free with the blog. You’re such a good writer, I don’t care what you write about–I’ll still read. I know I can’t turn “off” and “on” with your writing. It just doesn’t work that way. Remember, blogs are FUN and free-spirited (hence your quirky topics!). I can’t pay your for blogging and you should definitely sleep at night (doggone BBs!), so “let go, let flow.”

  3. Brian G. Says:

    Aliya,

    No I have never tried yoga, looks painful.

    I don’t always comment on your post, but I truly have enjoyed each and every one of them. I’ll check back everyday like always, sometimes your post help me get through my day.

    I hope you find inner peace.

  4. Tremaya Says:

    Yoga, yoga, yoga…I used to think it was for she-she-poo-poo and not a “real” workout. That was until I took my first class and was introduced to Mr. Downward Dog and his other friends, i.e. Warrior 1, 2, 3, Table Top, etc. My legs burn, my arms tremble, I mutter bad words under my breath at my lithe teacher and then I just give-in and go into Child’s Pose. LOL!

    Yoga is NOT a joke and me being the whopping 5’11” Amazon I am, my limbs are not accustomed to being twisted and bent in those positions. But I love it and it does calm me and most importantly it works! I love the challenge of one day being able to look like a living pretzel (call me strange) and after months of doing it, I can definitely see the results. My teacher swears one day I’ll be as good as her and that she too could only bend over when she started, but I have a LONG way to go.

    I understand how you feel about your blog, I’m currently going through some of the same emotions…I’m just regrouping and realizing that it’s quality and not quantity that counts, and in that case YOU have nothing to worry about ASK.:)

  5. kanisia Says:

    MISS.KING,I LOVE YOUR POST.I NEVER REALLY LEAVE COMMENTS BUT I ENJOY READING THEM.THEY KEEP A SMILE ON MY FACE. IT’S THE FIRST THING IM CHECKING FOR IN THE A.M.

    ITS NOTHING WRONG WITH CUTTING BACK! JUST KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK..

  6. Yolonda Says:

    Relax, Relate, Release..whether thru yoga, meditation or just moments when all you do is deep breathing.

    PS. I love your blog. I must admit. At one point I was checking and double checking your site to see what you were blogging about, however, I realized in the last few weeks that I must MOVE AWAY from the computer and readjust how much time I spend reading blogs, facebooking, tweeting, etc. It actually happened when I signed up for tweet and realized I was addicted to sites like that and FB.

    Do you sweetie. We will all support you.

  7. Katura Says:

    Daaag. Felt like I was reading about myself (and not for the first time with your posts, Aliya.) I don’t know gray either. Nor quiet. Nor stillness. I recently tried meditation. I didn’t have patience for the process, got frustrated when my mind didn’t get or stay still, then finally got bored and abandoned it altogether. I am very goal oriented, and if I have no goal, I’ve tended to think I have no purpose doing whatever it is I’m doing. Forget about the journey. I’ve been all about the destination.

    Being a Type A is hard work, as you know. And because I can’t do stuff half way, I’ve made a point of getting better about saying no, and taking time for myself. I was actually glad when I checked your blog and saw you hadn’t posted that day. To me that meant to you were busy with other jobs (yay for you!) or you were taking time for yourself too.

  8. Lashonda Says:

    Yoga…never gave it a thought. I may have to try that is phase II of my workout goal. Right now spin class and the treadmill are enough.

    I started a blog about nothing really, my thoughts, books, etc and I am mad that some of my family and friends have said, yeah I read it, it was good, but no comment. I am like hello people, my book club family supports me and you can’t even type 3 words to me. then I got over it. I do not blog everyday, but have tried to be consitant with once a week.

    I have so much going on, my mind never rest, which is why I am waking up in the middle of the night and making notes or adding appointments in my blackberry. The best line for a review comes in the middle of the night. And unlike getting a pen and paper, which requires turning on a light, the blackberry is kind enough to provide a light on the screen and light under the keys. My husband has decided he never should have gotten it for me.

    I was happy to stumble across your blog because it is rather interesting.

  9. Antonio Says:

    Never tried yoga, though a few folks have told me it would help curb my stress levels.

    As far as going going going, that’s a common trait amongst folk with ambition. It’s taken me a few crash and burns to realize that I will drive myself to the ground if i don’t grind at more moderate speeds. Now, on days that i’m feeling wired, I stroll down to my local Starbucks and grab a cup of coffee to just be. Set the blackberry to “Phone Only” so you’re not disturbed by all the texts and emails and emails and emails.

    It also helps to have people around you who are equally driven and ambitious, but steady minded and grounded enough to remind you to take it easy. These would be the folks who want to see you succeed, but also want to enjoy your success with you in 20-30 years. One of my best homies is a big time partner at a law firm, and you would never know the level of responsibility he has because he’s just that cool and knows how to detach. I take a page from his book whenever I feel like running off of a cliff.

    And as a devoted reader of the ASK dot WordPress, I speak for all of us in saying that we enjoy your posts, whether they’re 1000+ words with pictures and streaming video; or quick, mindless 140 character tweet-like blurbs. It’s about your honesty and insight, so enjoy it for what it is and we’ll keep tuning in, ya dig?

  10. annony Says:

    Ao yoga makes yoj laY, huh? Lol. Bu seriously, Sounds like you’re about to OD on yoga to me. Maybe u should rethink what it really means to have balance.

  11. Elise Says:

    hey girl! As I have said repeatedly…i loooooooooooove your blogs. I keep telling everyone i know — “ya gotta read Aliya’s BLOGS.” I love your cleverness and feel like I am actually listening to you speak when i read them ( miss ya much mami!). Gotta admit – the talking food one was my least favorite, though I did pause and marvel to think – “how many calls did she make to get that animation guy to take that interview with her and why????” LOL. Your blogs are like CRACK…yesterday i checked in a few times to see when you were posting new one. (am I a loser for that…? not sure ;-) I see the future and I keep waiting for the day you announce — heeeeeey dear readers – i just got a newspaper column with my blog OR….PEPSI is paying me to BLOG OR heeeeey — Rolling Stone or Maxim wants to pick me up OR something great will come of all these extremely clever and well-written random nuggets…and I can say I was there at the beginning…until then…blog when you can sis

  12. Aliah Says:

    Came here by way of a FB friend, not only because we share a name…

    I’m able to do downward facing dog, but the beauty of yoga is that I know I’m not doing it right. I know that because I sit in that pose thinking of what needs to be done to get the pose perfected, to get my employees to the next level, to fix that problem at work, to get my mom comfortable…..Type A Ali(y)a(h)s unite!

    That said, for the few moments I can get myself to actually stop and be in the moment – never a better feeling. When I’m not present my body still hurts afterward with none of the benefits. When I AM present, I don’t feel the pain at all.

    Good luck on the journey. Keep sharing when you feel it.

    Aliah to Aliya

  13. Jovi Says:

    Only tried yoga on the Wii and not patient enough to enjoy. Maybe I need to slow down and enjoy the peace. The downward facing dog looks difficult to me. I have a lot of weight in my mid section so not sure how long I could hold all of that up.

    Keep up the excellent work. Whether its one a day or once a week I will enjoy what you have to offer us.

    Michelle has nothing on you. Go girl.

  14. MsQuiche Says:

    Hey Aliah, I also tried yoga once and could hardly run out the class fast enough after it finished. Didn’t get anything out of it. Too slow. Too uneventuful. I’ve got a 3 year old boy and since having him I have never been able to relax for more than five minutes. Never. For the longest while I’ve been trying to meditate due to the proven physical and mental benefits. But I can barely manage 2 minutes without my mind ruminating over my never ending to-do list, and then instantly I’m off again, washing dishes, paying bills or whatever.

    Regarding your blog, as mentioned by others, I thoroughly enjoy reading your posts. I know how time sapping it can be though, so totally understand your desire to cut down.

  15. MsQuiche Says:

    Meant Aliya by the way, totally hate when people misspell my name, so apologies!!

  16. jay1 Says:

    yoga is no joke. before i discovered yoga i had no idea it was possible to sweat while sitting still.

  17. Angela . Says:

    ok i have to admit im one of your readers who never comments but is tempted to reply but fears feeling some sorta of rejection like “who are you” lol . ive read your posts ever since i unexpectedly stumbled across your blog on jazmine sullivan and ive been an avid reader since , its sad to see you’ve cut down on posting, your posts are like my bedtime stories, i read them just before i knock out . my personal favourites were your blogs on Mariah Carey (didnt know she was REALLY like that) ,Mike Schreiber (awesome photographer), Where Everybody Knows Your Name (i gotta shop exactly like that its a fish & chip shop i live in Australia ,i think yous call it a “fish market” knows my name & family & been a customer since i was 13 im 21 now lol) & my favourite of all the Biggie Belt Saga ! (that mystery was too cool) . but getting back to what i was gonna write i personally have never done yoga , but i definatly find it hard to sit and think quietly , to me its like being in church & truly wanting to feel the Lord but want the feeling of him coming over you to HURRY UP ! hehehe, thus i get sidetracked and start looking at the people in front of me like “what the hell is she wearing” i know , not supposed to think like that in church , but im sure every woman in there is thinking the same hehehe . besides that im sorry to blabber on i just thought it was about time i got the courage up to write a lil something before id only see one blog a month from u :( .

    Cheeeeeseeeee .

  18. TG Says:

    i luv ur posts and your various frases like…

    “Michelle Obama-buff” lol that cracks me up

    and

    “This has happened to me a lot in my life. I leap into something headfirst, lose myself in it and then start to drown.” well you never were a very good swimmer

    anyways the truth is that when i do yoga with u im dying inside too! i just try to act cool and hide it. for some strange reason, even tho i’ve been told over and over that yoga is about being comfortable, i instead push myself untill i’m uncomfortable.

  19. Aliya S. King Says:

    @everybody: thanks for letting me know y’all still have my back.
    @aliah: welcome girl! ali(y)as unite!
    @angela: no worries. I’ll never go down to once a month, I promise!
    @TG: That’s because you, like your stepmom, is a Type-A. Yoga is about the journey not the destination. We’ll keep trying to get there together.

  20. Luvvie Says:

    I’m a Type A with way too much going on so quiet and stillness is so foreign to me. But even in my hussle and bustle, I sometimes wish I could have some quiet. I’m attached to all these technological devices and sometimes feel overwhelmed by it all, but cant seem to tear myself away.

    When I CAN tear myself away, I like to read for hours on end. I LOVE LOVE LOVE reading books and miss the times when I used to average one a week. I get reading spurts now where I read a book a day, and won’t read another for a few months. Must read more.

    LOVE your blog since I discovered it last month, and you are a permanent fixture in my Google Reader. No way around it, Ms King. You’re stuck w/ readers that love what you do.

    Luvvie

    P.S. Always wanted to try yoga. Maybe this summer…

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