June 15, 2010

Shibani Kashyap's fitness and beauty secrets

Fooled by her dainty looks, you might want to dismiss Shibani Kashyap as just another wannabe Bollywood singer or a Sheryl Crow look-alike who is riding high on the strength of a pretty face. That is, only until she opens her beestung lips and belts out a foot-tapping, sizzling number like 'Zinda hoon Main', that you you discover that she's an extremely talented vocalist and singer. Shibani sings like a soprano, plays a mean guitar, writes her own lyrics and exhibits a remarkable talent in her compositions. Here Kashyap speaks about her fitness strategies, beauty secrets and how she keeps her voice healthy.


What do you do to keep yourself fit?
Fitness is a very fundamental need for me, but I'm not into the gym scene. I take the traditional route - artistic yoga - which I learnt from Bharat Thakur 5 years back and practice at home, At the end of every 30-minute session I come away uplifted, like a power has been unleashed within me. I feel as if the breathing techniques like Kapalabhati and Naad Brahma asanas cleanse my lungs, in fact, my whole system. And I do at least 25 to 30 rounds of Suryanamaskar for a strong fore and flexible back. Apart from Yoga I also engage in a bit of running. My work as a composer involves a lot of sitting which can easily turn me into a couch potato. So it's 3 days of yoga and 2 days of running at the Jogger's Park or the running track.

Do these activities help enhance your voice?
Yoga in particular has helped me tremendously. Singing as an activity is all about breathing. The better control you have over each inhalation and exhalation, the better you will sing. The more air you take in, the better your pitch. For the same reason you need powerful lungs to hold in all that air. Running helps to strengthen my lungs and Yoga further nurtures it. the Naad Brahma, in which you close your eyes, ears, mouth, nose and hum from within, is a great exercise for the vocal chords.

Do you have a special diet to keep your voice healthy?
Luckily I don't have too many vices, dietary or otherwise. But I've had my fair share or bad throat days when I've woken up with a sore throat despite religiously avoiding ice creams and soft drinks. Greasy, spicy foods leave me with acid reflux, esp if I've had them late in the night before a recording. So my dinner is over by 8 PM, and I may have just a soup or chocolate milk before bed.

What else do you do for your voice?
I keep my recordings for the latter half of the day. My voice needs time to clear up after waking. The early morning smog also tends to coarsen it a bit. I take great care not to be among smokers, as the toxins can damage my throat and lungs. Also during my stage performances, I ask that the fog machine ne turned off. Though their effects may look wonderful to the audience they're deadly for a performer. But even with the best of precautions there are times when your voice can fail you. on bad throat days I turn to my favourite antibacterial herbal brew of tulsi (basil), ginger, Kalimirch (black pepper) and dalchini (cinnamon). Good sleep and loads of water are other factors that keep my voice smooth.

Shibani's tips for improving your vocals:
Give it a rest."Overuse is your vocal chords worst enemy. So, zip those lips when you can and get plenty of sleep."
Get wet. "Water is lubrication for a voice coarsened by dryness. Keep a bottle handy all through the day. Alcohol has the opposite effect."
Do some voice yoga. The humming exercises in Nada Brahma really flex the vocal chords."
Eat, for the sake of your vocal chords. "Singing -- at any pitch requires energy. An empty stomach also sets off acid reflux which can coarsen the voice."

Shibani's Beauty & Makeup Secrets from Cosmopolitian India

You don’t leave home without...
Sunblock. It’s ridiculous to see women with great skin ruin it all by not using adequate SPF.

Brands that have caught and held your fancy?
Loads, but I dig the shower gels from Body Shop and the FX Compact and Spice (lip colour) from M.A.C. And all the L’Oreal shampoos and conditioners—they work great on my hair.

Basic beauty routine?
The basic Cleansing Toning Moisturizing every morning followed by application of sunblock before I leave home. If I’ve got makeup on for a show or shoot, I scrub every inch of it off the second I get home. It’s critical to let your skin breathe.

Parties vs free weekend... how different would you dress your face?
My weekend look would differ for both day—on Saturdays I’d go bling, while Sundays would be totally casual, no makeup! For a party, it would depend on what I’m wearing. LBD equals smoky eyes and nude lips. But an elaborate dress means I limit makeup to eyeliner, blush and a swipe of gloss!

Your haircare routine?
My hair is my crowning glory on which I lavish the most attention, in the form of a twice-a-week oil massage. But I've never been tempted to color it! Once a month I take a trip to Kaya /skin Clinic for a cleanup.

Your beauty indulgences at the salon?
I love head massages, hair spa treatments and I’m addicted to a good mani-and-pedi session.

Failsafe makeup tricks you want to share?
To make eyes look bigger and well-defined I use kohl not only on the rim of the lower lid but also on the upperlid rim. And to give your body a more toned and sun-kissed look, extend that bronzer all the way to your limbs!

A beauty must have:
A MAC compact and a sun block.

Beauty Crime:
Never overdo your make up and never overdress.

Style Statement:
Is my mood, my vibrant dresses and the smile I wear along with it.

Fashion is to you:
Is being trendy with a combination of me, my personality and my attitude.

Up for grab on your shopping list:
I love perfumes and can buy them anytime.

Favourite Fragrance: Burberry Weekend for Women, Pleasure by Estee Lauder, Jean Paul Gautier

Designer Label: Guess and Mango

(Guest Post by Smitha)

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  1. Anonymous8:53 AM

    The warm ups I used to do for vocals were a bunch of weird versions of the originally scale. I had some with the "do re mi fa sol la ti do" and the switching back and forth of notes. Some were just the scale with weird sounds instead of your normal "ahhh" (you know).

    Anyways, it's been too long since I've been in choir to really say what warm ups you can do. All I know is, don't drink stuff like soda before you sing, it definitely doesn't help and just practice singing as much as you can. Practice is what has increased my vocal range immensely in the last year, and has actually bumped me up from alto in Varsity Choir for next year.

  2. Anonymous8:58 AM

    I hate it when people dye their hair an unnatural platinum blonde and then allow their hair to become so damaged it looks like a bird's nest. The sad thing is they pay a ton of money to upkeep it and it's so not worth it.

  3. unknown9:03 AM

    I shampoo and condition my hair every other day.
    I use anti frizz serum twice a week.

  4. Run as fast as you can. This type of cardio is suited to interval training. Explode with as much power as you can, keeping your stride length as long as possible. Kick your heels up behind you and stretch forward with your feet before you plant them. You should lean forward somewhat as you sprint to keep your center of gravity slightly unbalanced in the forward direction. Stay on the balls of your feet for the first few seconds of acceleration then stretch it out and plant with your heels. Your arms should be pumping powerfully and your head should stay looking straight forward. You can try finishing longer runs with a sprint at the end, just to finish strong or test your willpower or just to beat your running partner.


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