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Stepping into a Refreshing Lifestyle with Bisha Shabir

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Being one of the popular forms of exercise, yoga focuses on breathing, strength, and flexibility. It has innumerable physical and mental health benefits. Since 2012, the percentage of people practicing yoga has increased to a good number in adults as well as children. It encourages to exercise more, inspires to eat more healthfully, improves sleep quality and reduces stress levels.
In the time of this deadly pandemic, we all are staying home and searching for healthy outlets to survive. Through general research, it has been established that “yoga” is one of the trending activities that people are opting for in this situation to stay positive. Different experts are conducting online yoga classes and Bisha Shabir is one of them. She is the founder of a yoga studio called “The Yoga Wall”. Her tips are as interesting as her sessions to pull through this time in a productive and refreshing way.
We had a short conversation with the yogi and she definitely has important points to share.
Tell us about yourself? 
I first started practicing yoga in 2002 and taught for the first time in 2011; since my first class, yoga has always been a way for me to create greater physical space and emotional awareness in my body.
The joy I feel from teaching comes from being able to deconstruct physical postures and theories (traditional/contemporary) in a way to make them accessible to everyone. Yoga can look and feel so different to two individuals and it is empowering to understand what works for your body.  And that for me, is the foundation of self-healing.
I have studied anatomy and biomechanics in the context of movement as well as diving into work through understanding the nervous system and mindfulness practices. All these help bridge the gap between mind and body. Everyone and I mean EVERYBODY can practice yoga. You just need to figure out what that may look like for you and through this, I hope to inspire my students to develop long-term, sustainable practices for better health. Concepts of mindful-movement and therapies of the like support the development of yoga on and off the mat.
As a teacher, I am registered with The worldwide Yoga Alliance (as an E-RYT 200, RYT 500 and YACEP) and credit my teachers Holly Warren (YogaLondon), Jason Crandall (Vinyasa Method), Judith Hanson Lasater (Restorative Yoga), Tara Brach (Mindfulness Meditation) and Eka Ekong (YogaWorks). I am also fortunate to have studied with and/or influenced greatly by the teachings of Tiffany Cruikshank, Corrie MaCullum, Andrew McGonagall, and Celest Perera.
What exactly is “The Yoga Well”? 
The Yoga Well supports my dream to see the individuals depend on their relationship with their inner selves through practices that promote connection to the physical self and awareness across mental states. The human experience is a closed-loop, with the players being the physical body, the nervous system/mental space and our external environment. Mindfulness (awareness-based practice) helps the circulation within the loop to move smoothly.
The studio plays host to yoga classes, courses, free talks and by the end of the year, Yoga teacher training!
When did you realize you wanted to be a yogi?
A coach of mine made a suggestion that I add yoga to my training; I was 16 at the time and like most, I had preconceived notions on what the practice looks like.
I remember falling in love with yoga in my first class; since then, my personal practice has evolved and been a great influence on the way I view the world.
Teaching was happenstance- I was asked to assist in a workshop and then shortly after cover a yoga class. After that, as they say, the rest is history.
How do you keep yourself motivated for yoga every day? 
After experimenting with different ways, I figured that I am motivated by choosing smaller, shorter practices. This may range from laying on my back with props for five minutes in the day to a stronger, hour-long session. I discovered that the more planning involved kept me from getting onto my mat. So I choose according to my mood at the moment; what is calling out to me that particular day. I do have one requirement though- that I do something for at least five minutes a day.

This has been my personal experience but not necessarily how others may work. Some individuals thrive by setting out a specific time each day to do something on their mat; others need guidance in a class setting that may motivate them to practice regularly.
“Yoga doesn’t help you lost weight” – Your views? 
I think weight loss through yoga is an individual experience but cannot be marketed widely. Weight loss through yoga may be a by-product for some individuals but it is not guaranteed for all; burning fat is a metabolic process and while some people’s fat-loss is supported through a yoga practice, they are likely making other lifestyle changes to facilitate it.
I believe that yoga should not be approached as a means to influence the physical shape/outline/body fat percentage but to better understand what your mental habits are, how you move and how all of it reflects in your overall lifestyle.
It is important for me to reiterate here that yoga is a practice for the mind more than the body. Working in a physical way is a resource and tool to prepare the mind space.
Depression is home to the empty mind, what do you suggest for working women\men to do while working from home? 
I encourage everyone I meet to take some time to develop a short mediation practice every day. It takes five minutes to sit and notice your surroundings, eventually resting the attention on the breath to get you in the habit of meditating regularly. There are many helpful phone apps that can set you up!
5 general steps to stay away from depression these days? 
– Movement of any kind: yoga, training, running, climbing stairs, whatever gets your muscles moving. Remember to start small!
– Talk to people! Social engagement is important; it stimulates a safety response in our nervous system; thus alleviating stress and anxiety from being in self-isolation.
– Eat nutritious food; healthier food boosts your immune system, keeping your energy levels (and your mental state) balanced
– Take a pause every now and then. Just a minute or two to connect to your breath. Notice what it’s like. It’s depth; how it makes you feel. Is it full? Shallow? No matter what the reasons may be, simply notice what the breath FEELS like.
–  Similar to the breath practice, it helps to journal your thoughts a few minutes a day. Write about ANYTHING that comes to mind.
Are energies real? Do they really affect us?
You’ve probably heard the statement “your vibe attracts your tribe.” 
What we as humans project out energetically is what you bring back to ourselves. If you view the world through a guarded filter, you in effect, bring more of guarded energy to your life. If you view the world through the lens of understanding, compassion, you can better respond to challenges that arise.
How important is it to introduce physical activities in our routine in the current situation? 

There is an anatomical principle: “if you don’t use it, you lose it;” It’s super important for our muscle and mind memory to continue working, even from home. 
Movement and brain health are interconnected; doing something every day can reduce a feeling of restlessness. Our landscapes have changed drastically and the mind is still trying to catch up. By moving, you can bring back familiarity to your routine.
What has been your favorite spot in the north where you love performing yoga? 
I can’t choose one spot but I’ve had the pleasure of practicing outdoors in spaces with minimal human intervention. There is a certain peace and joy from being in an open space.
What are the 5 yoga poses that can help reduce stress and should be incorporated in daily routine?
1. Savasana (Corpse Pose)!
 It’s usually the last and final rest pose we practice in all yoga classes. A little tip though, you can practice Savasana on its own too! I teach restorative classes that only focus on different shapes of this pose and it’s incredibly grounding and stimulates a healing response in your body. It’s also very simple to do!
2. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog)
 Downward Facing Dog is incredibly therapeutic. It energizes the body through strength as well as stretches bigger sets of muscles.
3. Viparita Karani (Legs up the wall) 
Laying on your back with your legs elevated is deeply relaxing and soothes the nervous system. Great for those who have trouble sleeping.
4. Set Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge pose- best with props) 
Laying in the bridge, with support under your sacrum is quite comforting, You can add some stretch by straightening your legs forward.
5. Balasana (Child’s pose): 
Again, a passive pose to help you slide inward.

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REHBRA: Tale Of Two Soulmates

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REHBRA, the Pakistani rom-com action packed film, directed by Amin Iqbal and produced by Saira Afzal has been released in cinemas on June 24 across Pakistan.

The film stars Ayesha Omar, Ahsan Khan as lead and Saba Faisal, Sohail Sameer, Sarish Khan, Adnan Hyder and Ghulam Mohiuddin in pivotal roles. It also includes a special dance number by Rimmal. The trailer of Rehbara promises romance, action, drama, and comedy, in one pack.

The title song of the film is sung by Asim Azhar, and composed by Simab Sen, was picturised across select locales of Pakistan.

Rehbara’s director, the veteran Amin Iqbal terms his film a rom-com action flick with a social message that is bound to be appreciated by audiences.  He said that Rehbra had been a labour of love and as much a journey of self-discovery for the protagonists.

Iqbal further explained his film, a story that revolves around a journey of love, hatred, adventure and discovery of a soul mate where least expected, “Rehbra highlights that love is not a destination but a journey.”

Talking about the social message in the film, he elaborated, “In the film we see how when situations change in life, so does our thinking, but when we act on our thoughts and perceptions, life does not change accordingly. Like the antagonist in the film says, ‘When a situation is as bad as this, one wishes more for death than life!’.”

The film is film is backed by the debutant US-based Pakistani producer, Saira Afzal, who has done courses in production management from NYC. She has also worked with various theatres including Lambs, WPA and American Theatre. She is hopeful about the project as her team have invested a lot of time, money and hard work in the movie, “My passion for film-making led me to this unique journey, a first for any Pakistani woman settled abroad with no prior connection to the film industry. It is a gamble that I am hopeful will bear fruits for us all.”

 Afzal believes that her experience will also be enjoyed by the audience when it would come on silver screens.

The leads of Rehbara, Ahsan Khan and Ayesha Omar, are acting together for the first time in this film. They have hosted shows earlier.  

Khan was excited yet hopeful about his pairing up with Ayesha Omar and admitted that he enjoyed the whole experience if working with her and regarded her as a great friend.   

He also recalls the experience, he and Omar had while shooting the film but specially the title song which was shot in some beautiful lands but difficult weather conditions. 

Ayesha Omar shared the poster of the film on her social media and called Ahsan Khan her “Rehbra”. Omar stated, “This baby of ours is a labour of extreme hard work, patience, perseverance and love.” 

Ahsan Khan also expressed his emotions via social media where he shared the trailer of the film stating: “Expect the unexpected; life is full of wonderful things just waiting to surprise you!”

An SA Entertainment film, Rehbara has been distributed by Mandviwalla Entertainment.

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Quaid-e-Azam Zindabad Brings A New Hope For Cinema

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After a hiatus of two and half years, Pakistani cinemas are now screening the Pakistani content, which remained pending in those years due to the pandemic of COViD 19. We saw the big banners release of four Pakistani feature films on eif-ul-fitr which made quite a stir among cinema goers. The Eid-ul-Azha this year will also be filled with two heavy duty films with big makers and giant stars. They are London Nahin Jaonga and Quaid-e-Azam Zindabad, Both films started before a year when the COVID took over the world and closed it. Now they are ready to hit the screens on coming eid in July.  

Here we are talking about the most anticipated movie of the year Quaid-e-Azam Zindabad starring Mahira Khan and Fahad Mustafa as lead and produced under the banner of Filmwala Pictures owned by the creative duo Fizza Ali Meerza and Nabeel Qureshi as Producer and director respectively. The story is also conceptualized by the duo. This is first time that Fahad Mustafa and Mahira would be seen on screen together for the first time. This Khan’s first project with Meerza and Qureshi and this is Mustafa’s first film in which he shows some action. 

The trailer of the film has been launched, where the star cast and the director/producer talked to the media about their hard work behind and expectations behind the film.   

The Paperazzi got the opportunity to talk exclusively to the cast about the films and their roles.

Mahira Khan, while replying to what she has been missing in all those years when she had to refuse Fizza Ali Meerza films for any reason, she said great content.

“The content that Fizza and Nabeel produce is always different and comes with an interesting story. Whenever they put their script before me I was ‘wow what a play’.”

The reason why she excused those scripts from Filmwala Pictures was her adjustment of time, “I had just started doing films and found myself locked on so many projects one after another. Moreover, because of my lazy nature, I gave myself a break after one wrap up. So in between, I missed many offers. When I heard the storyline of QAZ, I just decided to do that. I wanted to be a part of it because of the story. Working with Fizza, Nabeel and Fahad Mustafa, was enough to say yes.”  

Sharing the experience of working with Fahad Mustafa, Khan acknowledged that she was actually riding on his muscles throughout the film. “Fahad is going to carry me through this film,” she added.

Khan revealed when she entered QAZ, there was already a team of four; Fizza, Nabeel, Fahad Mustafa and Javed Sheikh. They had done many projects together before. Obviously I was nervous in the beginning yet tried to adjust but they were amazing and took care of me really well. Nabeel is one of the finest directors and Fizza is the best producer around. Fahad Mustafa was so amazing.

She summed up her team as; Fahad Mustafa, rock star, Nabeel Qureshi, disco dancer and Fizza Ali Meerza cool.

What are her hopes for QAZ, when it is going to be screened in cinemas exactly after three years on Eid-ul-Azha. “I believe if there is a good and entertaining movie in the cinema, people would come to watch it. There is no substitute for cinema as watching romance, dance and action on the big screen is an experience, one cannot acknowledge on any other medium. So I want people to come and watch QAZ, LNJ as well. I hope that these two films will help in awakening and reliving the cinema in Pakistan.”

She confessed that it was thrilled to be on screen again after three years and the excitement was really like the one which she felt on her first film.

Fahad Mustafa, whose doing his fifth film Fizza and Nabeel duo, said, “QAZ was made with our hearts and a lot of hard work.  I won’t say it is a big budget but a big scale film. One will agree after watching the film that the budget is put wisely and with utmost care.”

Fahad assured that QAZ was a paisa vasool film, a complete entertainer with an interesting story and catchy music. “It is very relatable to every Pakistani, irrespective of which part of the world they are living in. I think this is the biggest USP of QAZ.”

About Khan as his pair in lead, Mustafa said that he was happy that finally they were working together as before they both kept on missing this opportunity for some and other reasons despite being offered many projects together. “I think QAZ I was the right time. I believe everything happens on its time.”

Mustafa admitted that he considered QAZ the biggest film of his career, “I consider it big yet different as I have done a lot of action in it. Moreover, my previous roles were very character driven, even in Actor In Law, there were a lot of other characters who played crucial parts in the film. In QAZ everything revolves around my character of Gulab. Every actor wants to do such a central role which makes movies iconic.”

He was hopeful that with an additional bonus of a big name of our industry like Mahira Khan and his central character, QAZ would do something substantial on screen.

About the business of film, Mustafa believes that cinema is not as same as it was four years back when his last film ‘Load Wedding’ was released in 2018. “At that time the business for three films collectively was about 125 hundred crores. It was a good growth for a relatively new industry. Then COVID came, which disturbed everything in our lives for which we were not prepared.”

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MY Genre Of Work Is Comedy: Danish Nawaz

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Danish Nawaz needs no introduction when it comes to acting and direction. Hailing from a family of artists, Nawaz entered into showbiz industry after completing his bachelors in mechanical engineering. Since then, he has established a career in Pakistani television and films mostly in comedy roles. His comic role on sitcom Nadaniya is still remembered by viewers. Another forte of Nawaz is his direction skills. He has many successful television plays on his credit as a director like Kashf, Chupke Chupke, Dobara and Hum Tum.  

The talented star took out some time to talk to The Daily Paparazzi from the sets of his recently aired Ramazan Special serial Hum Tum. Here it is.

What was special for the audience in your Ramzan Special drama serial Hum Tum?

It is just a family entertainment to make people happy and bring laughter to their faces. Our lives have already become very chaotic, vanishing every fun element from it. We have become intolerant as well and people get offended by little jokes. Therefore, I wanted to make a little change in every household in Pakistan through this light comedy television drama.

You had an ensemble cast in Hum Tum. How was the experience with them?

It was wonderful.  All actors are experienced. Luckily they have worked under the banner of Hum TV, so know the style of production there. Everyone enjoyed the sets as they were already aware about the genre of the play. Moreover, yes! Most of them knew me as well

Did you face any problem during shoot like timings, availability of actors and locations as the cast was big, and time was very limited to record the play?

Not at all. Instead, it adds to my enjoyment and excitement when I have a big cast to work with. Beside the leading cast, I have seniors like Muhammad Ahmed, Arjumand Rahim, Adnan Jaffer and Farhan Ali Agha, Uzma Baig and Munazzah Arif, and two child stars Aina and Anoushay as well. I was lucky enough to work with this talented team. Everything was managed quite well. Moreover, we had a wonderful script of Hum Tum written by Saima Akram Chaudhry. She has an expertise of writing family stories.

What when gets a weak playwright, and has to put more effort as a director to make it ready to run with directions and choice of actors

It has not happened with me yet but yes whenever I am doubtful about anything in the story, I sit with the writer and try to solve the confusion. We have a special content department in MD Productions at Hum TV, where we discuss these things. I try my best to get the script up to mark before going on set. I believe that strong content is very necessary for any director. Without a proper plot, we can never erect a strong building.

Besides comedy and light stories, you have also directed plays on very serious issues, which have been very successful as well. What do you enjoy most?

I think the genre of comedy is quite difficult though I enjoy it a lot. Actually, everyone has his or her sense of humour when it comes to comedy and jokes but as far as serious stories are concerned, people somehow accept it especially when it is on a social issue. Yes, I am comfortable directing serious plays but there should be a message in that. In many plays, I try to convey the serious issue in a comic way.

Now come to your acting. You opt mostly in comedy roles. When are your fans going to see you in a serious role?

To be honest, it would be a bit difficult for me. I think comedy is my own style, and find it more comfortable and easy doing comic roles. You need to make an extra effort especially when putting glycerine for tears in crying scenes. I have an idea that even directors and producers would not suggest me for the serious role nor would people accept me in a crying scene. I have a trademark image of a comedy actor. Yes, I might work in a very tragic play or film but my role would be of comic relief in that.

Don’t you think doing the same kind of roles hinders actors’ versatility?

Honestly speaking it is not my genre of acting. I sometimes find serious roles very funny. Again yes, if I get something, which really attracts me, I would try but really not the public would accept it or not.

After a successful career as a drama director, when are you going to direct a film?

Oh, yes. It is in the pipeline. For film, I am looking for a good script, which is an integral part of the whole product. For dramas, I get too many scripts and always have options to select one. Films are expensive, need heavy investment. That is why one should work on ideas, which can appeal to the public so they are ready to spend on cinema tickets to watch them. Our budget is not very ample like Hollywood and Bollywood. We make films on any script of our choice.

Unfortunately, we are still confused about what our masses actually want to watch. When we make a film with a strong storyline, critics rate it a television drama and if we incorporate more action, it is called a copy of Tamil films. Therefore, it is very tricky to make a film in Pakistan. I hope I will soon get a clicking story soon and will definitely direct a film.

Do you have any idea or story in your mind on which you want to make a film?

No. Not at this moment.

In the end, any message for your fans

Keep watching and appreciating our dramas and films. We try our best to give you the best entertainment, which at the same time sends little messages, which can improve your current and future life and vanquish the regret of past life.

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