A Yoga Angel Sent From Above: Azmat Alibhai

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Time to get your mojo back

 

I am someone living in Pakistan with a genetic neurological disorder that no one in the country seems to know anything about. My long awaited appointment with Dr Mughees Sherani finally arrived; what a fun guy, I thought to myself as he smiled while talking to me.

My major concerns were my faltering balance and inability to focus; then Dr Sherani talked about a girl named Azmat who had suffered a stroke and cured herself with yoga and meditation. Amazed by this revelation, I asked to see a picture of her. Azmat, it turned out, was the same über cool intimidating chick in the yoga class I had stopped going to a year ago because it became difficult to manage. Apparently Azmat was now seeing Mughees’s patients at home and working on their problems with yoga, breathing and meditation.

I walk in to an architect’s paradise and find my way to a lounge, patiently waiting for Azmat. She walks in dressed in the most fashionable gym clothes I have ever seen, at first sight I think to myself maybe she isn’t Azmat, this can’t be her, she’s fine.

As Azmat begins talking to me I am wondering whether she would be able to help me get back on the yoga mat. The following week I attend my first class and I am surrounded by some, who have conditions worse than mine, which motivates me further. With a handicap like mine, a regular yoga class just makes you uncomfortable and awkward because you can’t do most of the poses, which results in you sitting on the floor half the class. The best thing about Azmat’s classes is that she thinks about every person attending her class and whether they will be able to actually actively challenge themselves to get into poses. Don’t get me wrong; it does hurt, and it is hard, but I know I can do it!

When I told Azmat she was a ray of hope for every handicapped person that knew of her classes, she said that it was her social responsibility; yoga did wonders for her and she sees it helping other people too. I don’t know about you, but I hardly know such selfless human beings, people who have no prerogative and just do.

Azmat has treated a number of people from professionals to a girl as young as 13 years old – here is what some of her fans have to say about her.
“Yoga helped me become fully focused, truly refreshed my mind, body, heart and soul. My yoga instructor, Azmat, has been created to teach yoga and she does it beautifully. She has taught me some great yoga moves, breathing techniques and challenged the way I view yoga and my world. It’s like moving from distress to de-stress.”- Tushna Dubash, Engro.

“Yoga in the evening after a hectic workday not only releases stress but also super charges my body to spend quality time with my family back at home and hence be ready for the next [day’s] challenges. I have also noticed significant reduction in my knee pain since I started yoga with Azmat around 2 months ago. Strongly recommend Yoga to everyone in general and to the so called busy working professionals in particular for much needed physical & mental wellness to enjoy life at fullest!”- Ifitikhar Ahmed, Engro.

“When my daughter-in-law told me that I was going to meet a stroke survivor I was very happy – it’s very nice to compare notes.
When I met her I was shocked – she was beautiful and was wearing heels so what the hell! Stroke victims should have no balance, can’t walk, probably can’t sit with balance and no peace of mind. I was  angry and jealous. What does Azmat know? So I was cold and didn’t talk much. I cried and cried when she left.
Few days later I was told she wanted to teach yoga to people with physical issues – so my husband forced me into going and I loved her. I couldn’t do much but I tried. She is so gentle and soothing and there is pain in her eyes. I want to get well and for my brain to get well and clear. I want to live life again.”- Asma Usman, stroke survivor

“Yoga has helped me in numerous ways.  Both internally and externally, not only has it helped increase my lung capacity, it has helped my difficulty to breathe. Yoga has helped me relax and relieve stress and has improved my flexibility as well.  It has opened doors for me internally.” – Nadya Habib, 13.
“You have three choices in life. Give up, give in or give it all you have.”

 

 

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An Ode to Sabri

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What makes a nation? It’s artists, the culture and its history; in Pakistan we seem to be withering away our foundations with the passage of time. Our greatest thinkers, activists and artists; all targeted in cold blood, forgotten like torn pages from a book. Today we sit back in our chairs and reminisce everything Sabri was, and what he meant to us. Amjad Sabri’s rhythmic voice was mesmerizing to listen to, with his lyrics deep and meaningful gripping your soul. Let’s remember him with his beautiful harmonious music sealed in our memories forever.

Laila

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There was a time when I was your Laila but now I could be just anybody’s. 

  • There was a time when I mattered
  • You cared 
  • You loved
  • You were selfless 
  • I was wrong
  • That was never you to begin with. 

Life spirals

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Life spirals out of control sometimes,

so out of control that you just cant grab a moment, a fragment, a piece of yourself

your labelled to be someone your not, why are you so badly misunderstood?

You’re not that bad a human being and even you know that, everything you ever said meant nothing.

The one person who is your world, you mean nothing to him because wise men once said “the apple does not fall too far from the tree” its all the same to me.

Had she been here to protect me, this day, these times would never come, but no you labelled her too to be the same scum that you think i am.

Who gives you the right? I did, i gave you every opportunity to do me wrong and now you are, just as i never meant to do to you, do me wrong a million times, break these foundations because they were built on your lies.

It’s all the same. It’s all the same. It’s all the same

 

 

This amazing solitude

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“she isn’t lonely,” “she doesn’t know what it feels like to be alone,” that’s right i’m not alone because i enjoy this solitude, this time to be on my own. This time to find myself, to re-structure, to remember why i ever gave up.

In my mind, i travel the furthest boundaries, i’m limitless, i’m free, i’m ataxia free, i’m running. It’s an ambition, it’s a hope and what is life without hope, what are dreams without ambition? Nothing. So i will soar and run through the skies holding your hand Susie and together you me and reens will pour all the Pinot noir in the world and run through sunflower fields with the wind in our hair.

That will be my heaven to walk endlessly right beside the angel who gave birth to me and my soul sister, the older sister i never had and together we will paint the sky.

I have escaped my reality and found peace in your eyes, in her eyes, in my eyes..As i glare i’m warped into this ecstacy.

So, here is my tomorrow. Be the best version of myself and fight this to my dying breath, die fighting, live healthy. Today, tomorrow and everyday will be focused on getting better, stronger, tougher, smarter, flexible.

And it wont be hard, because i have this dream and i want it to come true.

It’s not Karachi, it’s my comfort zone

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When people say they miss home, they miss Karachi, do they really think about what they say? I’ve been away too many times to mention and i always felt like i missed Karachi.

No, it’s not Karachi. In all its grandeur and traffic light muggings, the power breakdowns, the random strikes, violence, the little girl running around the streets with no shoes on, making your heart melt. Not to forget the conveniences!

For me? Its none of the above. When i say i miss home. I miss my kitchen, I miss my apartment, I miss my candles, I miss the constant smell of my delicious brownies, I miss my comfort zone.

Hey, don’t get me wrong, i’m still a patriotic Pakistani, well at least i think I am. Karachi has done so much for all of us but taken so much away too. I would be anywhere in the world and run back to my country. My naivety always told me that i could make a difference to my country, i could help, i could change. But constantly fearing being alone, not feeling secure, having a gun to your head for a stupid iPhone is just not worth it.

So, no i don’t miss Karachi anymore. No, i don’t go crazy for my country anymore because my many failed governments took that away from me. ALL OF THEM, and there is no hope that my feeling of loving my city will ever come back. I don’t quit, it’s where i will be anyway, but thank you Karachi, i just don’t trust you anymore.

For now, back to fascinating about my oh so awesome comfort zone, where i can lock the door and lock all those damn demons out!