We welcome international model Aisha from New York to the Wilhemina Dubai family. Aisha travels all over the world not just for her exciting modelling career but takes care of herself on the inside learning and teaching yoga and meditation . She shares with us some of her insight, beauty tips and overall advice on how to stay beautiful inside and out.
How did you get into yoga, and where are some of the best places you have practiced yoga in the world?
I began practicing yoga per chance after sustaining a career ending knee injury while playing basketball. All my life, I had been an ardent basketball player with dreams of playing in the professional league. However, due to a freak injury, I had to undergo three knee surgeries and became devastated as my basketball dreams came to an end.
I went from being extremely active to basically having to learn to walk all over again and as an athlete, this was extremely difficult for me. A doctor suggested that I incorporate yoga into my rehabilitation and workout regime. To my surprise, I found that not only was I getting an intense workout physically but mentally things were beginning to shift as well.
After practicing yoga for about 5 years, my teacher encouraged me to become a certified instructor myself. In doing this I have been able to train and teach in some of the most exotic locations around the world. Last year, I traveled to Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. Earlier this year, I practiced yoga at base camps along the Inca Trail to Macchu Picchu and prior to arriving in Dubai, I spent some time in India where I practiced with some of the most amazing teachers.
What is your weekly exercise routine like?
As we are all unique, I found that when it comes to an exercise routine, the most important thing is that you have to listen to your body. Everything is not for everyone and therefore, what works for me, may not work for you. Nonetheless, I definitely think a good cardio routine or exercise is paramount, as it strengthens both the heart and lungs.
Therefore, I always start my workout with some form of cardio which I always tend to alternate. It can be 20 minutes of jump rope, or 30minutes on the bike a 45minute jog. Being a former athlete I also have become quite a fan of the bootcamp workouts. These short yet very intense workouts of 30 minutes to an hour gives you a full body workout, incorporating cardio-conditioning, strength, agility and a great core (abdominal) workout all in one.
What are some of your favorite beauty tips?
Our physically attractiveness is only one aspect of what makes a person “beautiful”
When it comes to my beauty regime, I am a stern believer that beauty emanates from the inside out. It is our duty to ourselves to love and take care of ourselves. Mentally, physically and spiritually.
I am quite fond Ayurvedic treatments and remedies. Ayurveda can be defined as a system, which uses the inherent principles of nature, to help a person maintain health by keeping the individual’s body, mind and spirit in perfect equilibrium with nature.
My mother used to always tell me, you are what you eat. Thus I try my best to avoid processed foods, eating most of my foods as natural as possible. I have also recently incorporated juicing in my diet and normally start my day with a green juice.. and of course water is a must, It helps to keep the body hydrated and it also helps to flush toxins from the body.
And lastly, I try to stick to the rule, if I can not eat it, I will not put it on my hair or skin. I am not always able to abide by this but I am very mindful of the fact that whatever I put on my skin is ultimately absorbed into my body and blood stream.
How often do you practice meditation?
Meditation for me, is on of the most powerful tool for balancing the mind and body. I find that when I dedicate an hour a day to doing some sort of mediative exercise, I am much more productive and no matter what is going on around me, I am at peace and better equipped to deal with whatever lies ahead.
I also make a point to do at least on mediative lock in a year. During a meditative lock in I normally go into silence for 10 days. Last year, I did a 10 day mediative lock in in Cambodia and next month I will be traveling to a monastery in Nepal where will do another meditative lock in while there.
How much has yoga impacted your life?
When the majority of people think of yoga, images of extremely flexible people in even more extreme positions come to mind. This however is only one aspect of yoga. or the asanas,the physical practice. Nonetheless, yoga entails so much more than this. In actuality, Yoga is a way of life. Yoga is all about harmonizing the body with the mind and breathe/or spirit. I am definitely more grounded and I have found a sense of peace and security in being myself. I have learned to love and accept myself just the way that I am. Yoga has allowed me to release negative attitudes I once harbored and I am learning to enjoy and appreciate every moment of my physical existence on earth.
Highlights of your modeling career so far?
I have been extremely blessed in my career. I have always dreamed of traversing the physical planet and my career has afforded me that. But there are two events thus far that I would have to say have been true highlights for me.
My first career highlight was the opportunity of working with the Lebanese designer Ellie Saab. It was one of my first jobs as a model and I will never forget the day. I arrived at the casting and was actually rudely turned away by the casting director. As I was leaving the building, I bumped into Ellie Saab himself, he stopped me in my tracks, asked me who was I and how come he had never seen me before. He then insisted that I turn around and go with him. I walked back into the casting, he handed me two dresses to try on, turned to the same casting director who initially turned me away, and said “Do you see this girl,” she is amazing, I want her to close my show.
Another highlight for me was being invited to Ethiopia as a guest judge, host and model coach for modeling competition for young girls. I have been blessed abundantly, and one thing I promised myself is that I would do whatever it was in my power to do to help others to attain their dreams and to provide the same opportunities to others that were bestowed upon me. Being a guest judge and model coach for those young girls allowed me to do just that. And of all the places I have been and all of the things I have done as a model. Nothing has been more rewarding than spending that time in Ethiopia with those girls.