Naushina Shaikh, Fashion Stylist and Yoga Coach talks to Monarose Sheila Pereira about handling multiple careers.
What are your qualifications?
I am a gold medalist in the International Yoga Olympiad Championship. I have a Diploma in Fashion Designing, Masters in Yoga and Philosophy, Diploma in Dance- Ballet, Contemporary, Jazz, Ballroom, Belly Dancing and Zumba. I am trained in martial art forms like Kalaripayattu and Taekwondo, Gymnastics and Mallakhamb. I conduct Yoga workshops, sessions, retreats, camps etc, workshops in stress, ailments, lifestyle management, image management, Zumba, specialized events, choreography for dance festivals.
Why did you choose these professions that are quite opposite in nature?
Even though I was good in my academics, I have always been creative. So I chose fashion as my career over a stable corporate job. Fitness was always part of my lifestyle, being a trained dancer, martial artist and yoga practitioner. Eventually, teaching yoga professionally just happened and today it has become my parallel profession. Fashion designing and styling has helped me explore my creative side and style some prestigious editorial magazines, reputed brand campaigns, gorgeous celebrities. Where Fashion restricted me to beautify the external, teaching Yoga has helped me reach out to all stratas of societies and heal everyone.
How do you manage so many professions?
I converted my passion into my profession. I am extremely disciplined and organized. That’s the only reason I can multi-task so easily. Remuneration depends on the type of assignment you are doing. For a fresher it is advisable to assist someone. Initially you draw a stipend but you end gaining knowledge. For a fresher, fashion styling should fetch you a minimum of Rs.5000 per day and yoga personal training should be Rs. 500 per hour. With my personal experience I had started working professionally while I was pursuing my education. But everyone has their own journey, I would suggest you to go with the flow and never give up.
What is the remuneration in your fields?
If you have built your brand name and people know you in the industry they call you for your work as they trust your skills and will be willing to pay you what you deserve. A high end fashion designer can charge you a 200% mark up on the cost price of her label, depending whether its couture or prêt. A reputed fashion stylist would charge Rs. 30000 to 1 lakh per day depending if it is a magazine shoot or styling a film. A yoga trainer can charge Rs. 3500 to 5000 per hour depending if it is for training a personal client, celebrity or a corporate workshop.
What are some of the advantages and disadvantages in these fields?
There are many advantages in having multiple careers. It is always good to be open to opportunities and not be rigid in life. Flexibility helps you grow not only professionally but also as a person. There is more to learn, more experiences and of course your source of income doubles up as well. You will learn to constructively utilize your time. My work is as glamorous as mining. It is a lot of hard work, no short cuts. Being a freelancer can be unstable as you may not get continuous flow of work. Sometimes you may not get paid your worth. In the fashion industry, sometimes you may not get paid after shoot is done. I have come across reputed film makers and actors who do that. It is better to take advance for costumes at least even if your styling fees are receivable later. In yoga if you are a specialized therapist you cannot be put in the bracket of a yoga teacher, you need to be paid your worth. You need to prepare to compete with not just established pioneers but unfortunately with untrained freshers who offer their services for peanuts.
What do you say to those who believe yoga is against Muslim tenets?
To those who say that Yoga is against the muslim tenets I would like to explain that Sufism, in Islam resonates ideologies of – a) Hatha Yoga where Sufi saints did penance, b) Bhakti Yoga where they would go in trance with music, c) Meditation through songs and dance, d) Pranayama where Allah Hu said with forceful breath expulsion, e) Guru shishya parampara is seen in Pir and Murid, f) Positive vibrations in Ayats from Quran resonate mantras. Gurdijeff drew similarities between fakir, monks and yogis who were self sufficient in the path of spiritual needs.
What are your plans for the future?
For the future I intend doing my Ph.D in Yoga. I wish to combine fashion and wellness for grooming and healing. I would love to open a Yoga Shala where people from all walks of life can come to learn without any discrimination between celebrities, corporate, patients, slums. I wish go teach jail inmates as well. It is their basic right to health and wellness. Everyone needs to be healed.
What message do you have for students?
You need to have the passion to keep going; especially if you have multiple professions you need to balance both with discipline. It is important to be commercial but never let it overpower your creative instinct and passion. I would like to take this opportunity to reach out all you people struggling that there is no harm in accepting the situation and switching your field, you never know where you flourish.