THE INDIAN ACTRESS ON HOW TO BE PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY FIT INDOORS
by MOHNISH SINGH
SHE may have made a name for herself in a variety of film, television and streaming projects, but Shama Sikander has also won admiration for her determination.
The talented Indian actress has spoken openly about her bipolar disorder, inspired others with her fitness regimes and taken on personal and professional obstacles that have come her way.
She has been spreading the message of not giving up and that ability to face up to challenges is serving the strikingly beautiful star well during the current Covid-19 lockdown.
Eastern Eye caught up with Shama via telephone to talk about life under lockdown, indoor fitness tips and how she thinks the coronavirus pandemic is going to change humans forever.
How have you been spending your time amid the ongoing lockdown? Well, I have been at home completely. I have just been taking care of my health, and I have been chatting with my family and friends more and doing a lot of meditation and workouts. I have also been doing daily household chores, you know.
We all know that you are a fitness freak. But in a time when gyms are closed, how have you been keeping yourself in shape? Nowadays, there are so many videos available on YouTube you can follow. There are so many home workouts you can do with your own bodyweight. And trust me, it’s harder than the gym workout because you really work on your core. And it’s good enough to sort of keep you in shape if you are already in shape. If you want to lose some weight, walks are preferable and so is your diet.
Did you make any changes in your diet after the lockdown was imposed? Right now, in this scenario, I would not want any weight loss. It’s very important for me to eat healthy, eat well and keep my mind healthy, and happy. What we eat affects our mind, and we need to be very, very careful about that. So I eat very healthy and nutritious food and, at the same time, do certain amount of exercise. I do an hour every day at least, to keep fit and going because I look at it as all my negative toxins getting out. Think positive, and be happier, healthier and moving. You need to keep moving, because if you get stagnant, your body will go into spasm and other problems will occur.
Would you like to share some of your non-equipment workouts? I do a mixture of power yoga, pilates and body combat. I mix my workouts and don’t train in just one area. I do planks with push-ups, some shoulder tapping and jumping jacks. I also do squats and jump. Ten to 15 reps in each round. Three sets of that and believe me, if you do that for 40 minutes, you will be fit like anything. I don’t need any workout stuff for that. I have loop bands at home. If anybody has a loop band at home, they can do amazing workouts with them. They are so good.
You must have been watching a lot of OTT shows these days. Tell us about your favourite shows, which have got you hooked… I always love to watch content on OTT platforms because it’s just amazing. My top recommendation would be Money Heist, Dark and This Is Us on Netflix and The Morning Show on Apple TV.
Are you reading any books currently? I am a really bad reader. My eyes start straining and my mind sort of shuts off for some reason. I think that I am a visual person. I can see things better. My mind grabs it well when I am seeing something. Also, it is easier for me to sort of absorb it and keep it in when I am seeing something. When I am reading, somehow, it just shuts me off and puts me to sleep. I don’t know why.
What are you missing the most amid the Covid-19 restrictions? I am missing human touch the most. I miss being able to touch and hug my family. I am missing meeting my friends and being able to hug them. I miss the normal freedom that we had to just get out of our homes anytime we wanted. I am missing that incredibly. We took it for granted and today we can’t get out.
What is the first thing that you would like to do after the lockdown is over? The first thing I will definitely do is meet my family and hug them. It’s okay to hug because no human contact is unhealthy. A lot of people die of depression because of not being social. Being social is a right thing. It’s not going to parties or anything, it’s to be able to converse with others, to hug people and feel the human interaction and energy.
After the prolonged lockdown do you think it is going to be difficult for everyone to go back to their previous schedule after it gets lifted? It will be difficult, yes. It takes 21 days to form a new habit, and we have already crossed that period. And if it goes longer, we might actually get used to this habit and then it will definitely be difficult to kind of go back to our regular schedule. But again, we are very adaptive beings. If you do the same thing again for 21 days, it will be fine and you will get back to a routine, but of course, initial months will be difficult for all of us. Now we wake up and sleep at different times. When the body clock changes, everything changes with that.
How do you think the pandemic is going to change us as humans? I can’t guarantee how others are going to change forever, but I really believe and hope all of us will. I believe that whatever this time is teaching us, we take it seriously and become more conscious and aware. We stop hurting one another and ourselves in every way possible. I hope this silence brings enough awareness within us and helps us know ourselves better as human beings, as responsible beings on this planet Earth and we take individual responsibility to keep it clean, to be compassionate and to be kind to each other.
So self-awareness is key… I would really like people to learn that once you are aware, the awareness will bring responsibility automatically and force you to be responsible. We are so engrossed with the world, with what is happening in the world and on social media. We never let our subconscious mind really work. We are always working with our conscious mind and the only time our subconscious mind works is while we are asleep.
What do you mean? While we are asleep, we affect our subconscious mind with so much corrupt data that it starts to think negative. So we have to learn to undo all this negativity and make it our new habit and keep it going. We need to learn how to be responsible for each other and be kind to one another. I hope this time also teaches important lessons to those who were running behind money so much and thought being with their families is going to cost them, but it hasn’t. I hope they can learn that the world is still running in spite of nobody going to their offices and saving a lot of money on top of that. Today, a lot of people are not only saving money, but saving a lot of negativity that has been created in their offices by bullying, and by looking down upon others.