Saba Danawala has found her true calling in the work she does. Intrigued by the mysterious and beautiful process of birth, she went out of her way to understand the process like no one else. Her discoveries and passion to help the growing community of young mothers has translated itself into her passion project: Rise and Rebirth. This unique yoga experience helps women sort through not only their physical; but mental health conditions for the duration of their pregnancy and early stages of motherhood.
1) How did rise and rebirth come into being?
For years I was not sure if I ever wanted children. In response, all I ever heard was “haw haye” as if I was some sort of freak. I didn’t touch the topic and mostly avoided it – until I got married. I realize that the process of pregnancy and postpartum is quite scary. And the horror stories don’t help. I decided that rather than just listening to stories, I wanted to explore the world of birth more closely. With evidence from observing real labor (and so far, I have not fainted nor thrown up), and collecting data that backs best practices. I wanted to explore how women have been dealing with their pregnancies and coping with motherhood for generations; all over the world. I then wanted to combine this with factual evidence and take a more scientific approach towards the birthing process. It was in this exploration that Rise and Rebirth was born (no pun intended).In my prenatal yoga check-ins, women express similar feelings to the ones I had: not feeling as though they have enough emotional support during this overwhelming period; or feeling dismissed. And in many ways through them, I learned the power and gift of being able to nurture. We always talk about nurturing babies; but who holds and nurtures the mothers who carry them? And this is why I started Rise & Rebirth. So that it could be a space to nurture young mothers through this tough but beautiful time.
2) What are some of the qualifications and experiences you had to gain before launching a program
such as Rise and Rebirth?
I myself was born and raised in the US, but both my parents are from Karachi. I came to Pakistan only after I got married. Before moving here, I earned my master’s degree in public health (MPH) from the University Of Texas Health Science Center; and I’ve worked in the public health sector for almost 10 years on various health issues. But my passion has always been reproductive and maternal health. My first practicum was with a neonatal health intervention in South Asia. I am also a yoga alliance certified prenatal yoga teacher (RPYT-85) and a 200-hour teacher in hatha, Vinyasa, and Kundalini yoga from my home state of Texas! Currently I'm completing my training with CPPD London as a mental health counselor specializing in maternal mental health; and am seeing clients with clinical supervision.
3. What made you decide to combine yoga with mental health therapy?
Gradually more and more evidence has come about to point to a fundamental truth that we are only now starting to see: the body and the mind are not only deeply connected, but the body is an imprint of the mind. As well as all our past experiences, beautiful or painful. A job that focuses on both body and mind requires constant learning, exploration, and a deep understanding of what the body needs. I am still learning how to do this myself. My favorite work around this topic is by Bessel van der Kolk and the way his research has helped create the movement around trauma-informed yoga. I see yoga as a great avenue for connecting with the body, but it is by no means a substitute for the work that needs to be done in therapy. For too long, the conversational model of therapy has dominated the mental health space. It’s a pleasure to see more practitioners breaking that mold to incorporate more of the body.
4. Becoming a parent is a drastic life change. How do your classes help couples to prepare for this
Our classes help couples to build honesty with each other and actually acknowledge how they feel about the upcoming birth in a safe space. Being a parent is difficult on both partners and there are very few reminders that this is a team effort. These classes are about a relatively new change in our society- the involvement of the father. Fathers in our society have been seen with such a rigid lens during birth: to fulfill materialistic needs and leave the physical exertion to the woman. I find this more harmful than helpful, and it only perpetuates the stereotype that the birth process and childcare should be in the hands of women. I have even noticed two prominent scenarios: husbands who walk into my couples’ sessions are either very caring and want to support their wives. Or they are a little apprehensive and genuinely just need help and training on how to be there for their wives; that’s perfectly fine! The feedback I’ve gotten from these new mothers is that their husband’s constant reminder to breath, affirmations, and techniques of soothing go a long way in making the birth experience not a chore.
5. What are some of the best measures a couple can take to get into the right mindset to welcome
Acquiring knowledge and being open to the changes that take place in a marriage when a child is born. Couples must try to create the optimal environment for the baby even before it leaves the womb. Perinatal psychology points out how important it is to understand the circumstances around a child’s birth. So, a couple who prioritizes their marriage and builds that trust and team-effort- mentality is more likely to be able to cope with the difficult times.
6. In a country where having a mental health illness is heavily stigmatized, how do you manage to break the ice and make your clients feel comfortable?
It’s all about the relationship; building that trust, respect, and being able to hold space for our clients. I don’t care what swanky technique you’re using or what big words you throw out, clients must connect to us as therapists – and as humans.
7. What are some of the most common problems your clients face in maintaining a positive mindset and what is your advice to combat such problems?
The last thing anyone who is feeling low wants to be told is “be positive”. Nobody can be positive all the time. Even to get near that level takes a lot of mental effort and clients would have to reframe limiting beliefs. They often face some tough situations in their lives: a stressful job or education, no support at home from family, societal pressure to conform to, and so much more. I refrain from giving advice because each client knows their truth better than anyone else could. What I encourage is that clients should take it slow. One day at a time. They should be around people and things that can take them out of their minds and into their bodies. They should really embrace the concept of continuous “healing” rather than wanting to be “fixed”.
8. Can you offer any advice to new mothers who may be struggling with postpartum depression or
with maintaining a healthy mindset?
Seek outside help if you aren’t getting the support you need at home. You aren’t crazy and it isn’t all in your head. And to all families out there: postpartum depression is not made up. It can be experienced by mothers AND fathers (yes, you heard that right). It includes good and bad days, and it is not the same as baby blues, so please refrain from comments like: “yeh sab ko hota hai”. If your loved one who delivered anywhere from 0-2 years ago is exhibiting any of the following signs, please don’t ignore them! Fatigue. feeling sad, hopelessness, and/or overwhelmed, trouble sleeping and eating, feelings of guilt and worthlessness, losing interest in things that you once used to enjoy, withdrawing from family and friends no interest in your baby, thoughts of hurting yourself or your baby.
9. What are some of the physical benefits that yoga can provide for pregnant women?
There are so many! But above all, the biggest one I’ve seen with my ladies is keeping prenatal anxiety contained. Here are some of the others:
-Improved sleep. Rested mama = happy mama
-Increase the strength, flexibility and endurance of muscles needed for childbirth.
-Acts like a relaxant to help the body undergo changes.
-Decreases lower back pain, nausea, headaches and shortness of breath.
-Helps you focus on yourself and your growing baby without outward distraction.
10. Pakistanis often feel that mental health issues are more prevalent in western countries; having spent time in the US do you think there is any truth to this assumption?
There is no truth to such an assumption. It is extremely painful to watch families deny mental health issues. If we can’t even talk about it, much less report it, then we can’t have a prevalence rate either (thank you, public health degree!)
11. Who would you recommend the rise and rebirth programs for?
Prenatal/Pregnancy Yoga: For women 12 weeks along into their pregnancies
Postpartum Support Group: For women anywhere from 0-18 months after delivery
Mindful Yoga: Perfect for beginners, those looking to reduce stress and/or COMPLEMENTARY
psychotherapy, and postpartum moms
Labor Preparation Workshops: For couples wanting to work through the physical demands of labor.
Hum Style Awards 2020 – The Good, the Bad, and the Dazzlingly Hottest
Hum Style Awards 2020
The enchantment and glitz of a perfect Saturday night, and with the true spirit of a star-studded affair, Hum Style Awards 2020 kickstarted the year with a bang. Held at Expo Center Karachi, the Hum Style Awards was indeed filled with glamour and graced by big names of the fashion and entertainment industry and turned out to be a compendious evening. The red-carpet ceremony began with a spark with megastars including Reema Khan, Tariq Amin, Zara Noor Abbas, and Mira Sethi among many, walking along and flashing their brightest smiles and deluxe attires. However, the zing started to fade after a few hours, turning into a drabber experience, and the diminutive size of the red carpet relative to previous years just added to the walk being shorter and people getting bored quickly.
The event turned out to be unusually timely, and before it was half past nine, the hall was filled and the show about to begin. The stage was remarkably gorgeous with the graphics setting a starry-night mood, mirroring the space with so many of the industry’s stars. Though the hall space was relatively cramped, making it appear congested at a few spots, especially when there was movement. And what better way to start the show, than with a splash of patriotism invigorating one’s spirits through our beautifully melodious national anthem.
The boost of patriotic sentiment was followed by a performance by a rap dup, Young Stunners, which turned out to be moderately successful in energizing people. It even managed to make the audience laugh at some spots, especially with the comical references to videos of celebrities that went viral on social media – the actor Ali Rehman Khan’s video leak where he is repeatedly seen saying to a restaurant’s staff, “Aap ko pata hai main kaun hun?” (“Do you know who I am?”)
Adnan Siddiqui, the host for the night, gave the show’s opening note, which was perhaps the only part of the hosting that can be termed enjoyable. The other hosts that followed, namely Aamina Sheikh and Usman Mukhtar, steered the event in a way which could have been made more entertaining if it were Adnan Siddiqui paired with Aamina for the show, as Mukhtar’s part sounded rather clumsy, with forced jokes in between. His Hum Smile Awards segment left a lot of the peers watching the show super perplexed, as his supposed impression of PTV’s host Tariq Aziz, was downright vague. The only thing that seemed spontaneously amusing about the hosting, was the use of political jokes here and there, which is rarely observed in Award ceremonies. From the comment on how Imran Khan is the only Prime Minister without his own business and hence, is bent on erasing all business from Pakistan, to the “boot polish” statement, the spritz of comedy was like a breath of fresh air in the otherwise mundane script.
The performances were energetic, and made the audience recall all the classic, vintage Pakistani music, while appreciating the present-day music that is part of our television and film industry. The second performance by Ahsan Khan and Sara Loren was riveting, though if the music is to be viewed separately than the dances, both the performers lacked the energy and the vibe of the tunes, despite being great at dancing usually.
The highlight of the event was the performance by Zara Noor Abbas, who appeared to be an embodiment of grace and art, rhythm and style, as she moved to the beat of the classical songs. Her performance was thoroughly refreshing and delightful, one which reminds you of not only the beauty of the art itself, but also the ability of a great artist keeping the viewers fascinated, throughout.
Dancing to the superhit tunes of the blockbuster film of last year, Superstar, the power-couple Farhan Saeed and Urwa Hocane brought life to the show, as they shook the stage with their dynamic moves. The flow of the choreography and the beat of the dance numbers kept the fun alive till the next performance, which was undoubtedly another key feature of Hum Style Awards. The said performance was a splendid concert by Abrar ul Haq, instantly making the audience fall in love and sway with the hit Punjabi beats. However, had the concert been live, it would have added more of a buzz in the environment.
The Award Categories included the Rising Star 2018-2019 won by two of the Nominees including Mush Kaleem, the Hair and Make-up Artist of the Year 2018-2019 secured by Qasim Liaqat, Fashion Photographer of the Year 2018-2019 bagged by Alee Hasan, Best Model Female 2018-2019 won by Zara Abid, Best Model Male 2018-2019 won by Aimal Khan, Designer of the Year Lawn 2018-2019 received by Zara Shahjahan, Most Stylish Performer 2018-2019 won by Asim Azhar, Timeless Beauty won by Reema Khan, Most Stylish Actor Television 2018-2019 won by Sonya Hussyn in the Female Category and Mikaal Zulfiqar in the Male Category, and Most Stylish Actor Film 2018-2019 won by Mahira Khan (Popular) and Kiran Malik (Jury) and Ahad Raza Mir in the Female and Male Category, respectively.
Surprisingly, despite Superstar being one of the highest grossing film of the previous year, Bilal Ashraf was not nominated for the Most Stylish Actor Film category. If there were two awards given in the Female category in the name of Jury and Popular Choice, there surely could have been made room for two awards being awarded in the Male category as well, deservingly giving one of the awards to Bilal Ashraf.
Other Categories included Most Stylish Sports Personality 2018-2019, won by Hajra Khan, Captain of Pakistan Women’s National Football team. This was a novel deviation from the usual practice of recognition being granted to cricketers alone, as well as the fact that a woman bagged the award.
Style Icon given to Aisha Omer, and other prestigious awards that were part of the ceremony were Best Model Male and Female, Designer of the Year Pret Wear, Bridal, Menswear, Demi-Couture, and Lawn, as well as Retail Label of the Year and Excellence in Interior Designing and Furniture Manufacturing.
Sublimity with Oomph and Grace- Anaam Chaudhry
We sat down with the lovely and beautiful Anaam Chaudhry and talked about her luxury pret-a-porter line, future plans and personal style statment. We have to say, her work is absolutely stunning and praiseworthy. In the world where starting a clothing business has become a hobby, she stands tall with her phenomenal craftsmanship and wonderful aesthetics.
Here is what she shares.
1) Your personal style statement in wedding\formal wear?
In wedding wear, I love old school clothes. I think when you dress up in eastern clothes, one should go all traditional. So I would say my style statement is very ethnic.
2) In this modern age, where contemporary and traditional go hand in hand, how difficult is it to maintain both elements in an outfit?
I don’t know about others but for me, it can get a little tricky because like I said I love going all traditional with my eastern wear. So to add contemporary in it can be a task. But as many people love modern and fun clothes, I like to play around with my cuts and silhouettes.
3) What makes You, as a designer, a cut above the rest?
I don’t think there is anything as being above the rest. We all are trying to represent our style and our work in the best way we can. So everyone is above in their own genre.
4) Which prominent designer is your role model?
Coco Chanel. The brand has always been loyal to their type of fashion.
5) Do you like the idea of showstopping with an actor\actress rather than a renowned model?
I think fashion shows look the best with models being the showstoppers as that’s their job and they know to carry a designer’s show-stopping outfit as well.
6) How the modernised era has affected wedding trends? Do you see a drastic change??
I love new trends and I’m happy to see how modern brides are willing to experiment on their big days. I love the simplicity of some brides but I love how some want to go all out and extra!
7) Which clothing trend was predominant in this wedding season and which one you liked the most?
I think shalwar kurta really made its debut this wedding season and I’m glad it did. I’m my opinion, long kurtas and shalwars are a classic.
8) How the trends in clothing have changed over time and according to you what is missing nowadays?
Like I said before everyone is becoming more daring when it comes to experiments so that gives designers a free hand to explore their creativity as people are willing to wear new things. Nothing much is missing but yes, I really hope that individuality becomes a trend again.
9) What keeps you motivated every day to design and do the same task again and again?
I have a passion for what I do. It genuinely makes me happy to make beautiful clothes and it makes me even happier when people wear my thoughts which eventually change into the clothes they wear.
10) If you could change one thing about today’s fashion industry, what would It be?
I feel there is a very fine line between (ideally positive) criticism and bullying. We all need to mind it.
11) What does it take to be a good designer?
Individuality is very important. Being expressive about your designs and sticking to your style is key for me.
12) Have you ever sensed any kind of monopoly in the fashion industry since you are relatively new?
Yes, of course. That’s in every field. Old brands cash on their names not quality. Whereas new brands have to work double to make a name and sell the best quality. As in our society, it’s all about the brands even if they serve you nothing.
13) Do you think that we are losing old school charm with these budding trends in the wedding and formal wear?
Mostly, we are. But there are some people who still love wearing ethnic wear at weddings. Plus, I think very soon the old school style will make a big come back.
14) What is your main philosophy while designing a dress?
For me, it’s all about playing around with colours and different kinds of thread and embellishments. It all begins with that one colour.
15) We have seen your designs. They are classy yet so beautifully traditional, what’s your take on this?
Thank you! Me and my team, together we try our best to make and do justice to traditional wear. So that, its element in today’s world can stick around.
16) What are your next plans?
To expand “Anaam Chaudhry” even more, and to maybe step my shoes in the skincare world. Who really knows?
5 Models who Made it Big!!!!
Modeling is an extremely underrated career. Walking on the ramp or posing in the sweltering heat or freezing cold weather is considered a comparatively easier task. Comments like “Oh, anyone can do that”, “she looks so different without makeup”, “damn she is so skinny” can be typed comfortably from behind the keyboard but no one knows the real struggle and diligence that is being put forward by these talented and gorgeous women in order to produce a quality work.
These are our favorite 5 models of 2019 that quickly made their names to the list of big brands and powerful campaigns and are moving forward in 2020 at an even faster pace.
The social media queen, known for being unapologetically honest, Eman Suleman achieved a successful career in a very short span. Not just in modeling, people have loved her acting skills in the series “Akhri Station” and her new film “Zindagi Tamasha is soon to be aired all across the country. Perfectly flaunting those short hair and quirky fashion sense, Eman Suleman has got a huge fan following on social media as well as real-world with her eccentric aura and an amazing sense of humor.
Walking the ramp so effortlessly, making her name to the biggest brands of Pakistan, Saba Sarfraz is going places. Eastern or western, she manages to rock every outfit with her magical aura and seamless talent. With her powerful expressions on the ramp and ability to carry any outfit with grace, she is likely to work her way up to the status of a supermodel real soon. Not only modeling, but she has also shown her immense talent in the field of acting as well. For her amazing skills and brilliant performances, there is a possibility that we further see her on TV screens in the coming year or so.
2019 has definitely been a successful year for the model from wining a LUX style award to walking at Milan Fashion Week. She also paved her way to L’Oreal Bridal Week as a showstopper for many notable designers and is expected to be the first choice of many designers in the future as well. With her distinct style statement and confident personality, Mushk has won over a huge following on the internet and has also been recently nominated in the category of “Rising Star” at Hum Style Awards 2020. Let’s see what the year 2020 brings for this bundle of talent.
Despite being a mother and an entrepreneur, Kiran Malik has gracefully made her name in the world of the fashion industry. known for her powerful performance in Pinky Memsaab, Kiran Malik has earned great applause from the audience as well. Such a lethal combination affirms that she is a powerhouse and a complete package adjusting into every role with sheer talent and charm.
In a world where everyone is ready to buy and sell fairness creams, Zara Abid has set standards of talent that are beyond the idea of complexion. She has proved that the color of the skin is not a parameter to measure success and abilities. The fashion icon has become designers’ favorite with her cool and quirky style sense, strong impressions and pure hard work. In 2019, Zara was also nominated for the LUX style award in the category of the “model of the year”. For the coming year, this young and energetic woman is likely to be a part of some really big brands and fashion shows across the globe.