Developing Core Strength through L-Sit

A strong core plays an important role when it comes to fitness. It helps ease poses and movements that require the body to move itself with control. In Yoga, the core is engaged mostly during inversions and arm balances. Mastering the art of body control, knowing that a strong core can firmly hold the body, is one precious investment one can have.

Lift That Dandasana! 

Practicing L-sit is one of the most basic and most effective ways of developing a strong core. L-Sit is basically Yoga’s Staff Pose/ Danadasana but in this version, the legs and body are lifted off the floor. It does not only strengthen the core, but it also develops strong arms and tones thigh muscles. This is a movement that anyone can master if approached through an efficient set of progressions. Here’s how you can achieve your L-Sit from zero to hero in no time!

Beginner’s Tip: Some individuals may think that their arms are not long enough to lift them off the ground. Wrong! Everything that you need to master this pose is already available within. It’s just a matter of practice to discover the technique that suits your body the most. In this case, you can use Yoga blocks or a pair of the thesaurus for elevation. But be careful because the elevation may cause bad form. To avoid this, always keep the shoulders drawn away from the ears.


Tucked Lift:

Progression 1: Start by sitting on the floor and placing your hands on a Yoga block. Try lifting yourself off the floor by pushing through the shoulders while your feet are still on the ground. Practice this till you can comfortably hold the pose

Progression 2: Perform Progression 1 and hold for half a minute then lift one knee close to the chest and hold for 30 seconds. Take a rest and do the same technique on the other leg.

Progression 3: Full tucked lift. Begin in a seated position with your hands planted on an elevation. Inhale, fill your lungs and bring your knees close to the chest. Exhale then fully lift yourself off the ground while your knees are still tucked to your chest. Push through the shoulders and contract your abdominal muscles to keep yourself lifted. Become comfortable with this progression, holding the pose for 30 seconds before progressing further.

One Leg Extended

From full tucked lift, extend one leg while keeping the other tucked. Keep the extended leg’s knee locked and its toes pointed to fully engage your thigh muscles. Do the same process on the other leg. Develop the strength to hold this position for 30 seconds then you can advance to next progression.

Full L-Sit

Start by performing a tucked lift and slowly extend both legs. Make sure that your legs are parallel to the ground and the shoulders are not drawn towards the ears. Push through your shoulders, engage the core and keep your feet pointed to make sure your legs are activated. Progress holding the full pose for 10 seconds and advance to 20 seconds, then 30.

If you are suffering from high blood pressure, any heart ailment or a hernia, please refrain from doing this pose. Consult your physician before starting any physical activity. Practice with patience and consistency. Stay motivated even though some days the practice may seem impossible to do. It is during the tough times that we become stronger! Be open to your body and mind’s possibilities and surely you will be unstoppable!

Svadhisthana: Bringing Balance to the Second Chakra



If the previous first (Muladhara) chakra was all about survival and affirming our right to have, this second, Svadhisthana chakra, is all about emotions and pleasure as we progressively learn to assert our right to feel.  With its Sanskrit word standing for “the dwelling place of self”, this second chakra is located above the pubic bone and below the navel and it is the center for all emotion, pleasure and creativity related energies. When this chakra is in balance we tend to feel joy, satisfaction, wellbeing and abundance. If this chakra is out of balance however, we may feel emotional instability or numbness; sexual dysfunction, reluctance to change, addictions, or depression.

Some of the more concrete physical and mental expressions derived from an unaligned or blocked second chakra may involve lower back pain, urinary tract infections, problems in the lower abdomen or pelvis, bladder and kidney issues, impotence, ovary cysts, or other reproductive complications; addictions, repressed emotions, or lack of creativity.

Five asanas or yoga postures that can aid you with unblocking and re-aligning the Svadhisthana chakra are:

Gomukhasana or Cow Face position

Upavistha Konasana or Open Angle pose

Seated pelvic circles

Baddha Konasana or Butterfly Pose with forward fold

Bhujangasana or Cobra Pose


It is important to canalize a light of compassion and understanding while we seek to recover this second chakra; as once you start paying attention, it is easy to see how our society has unfortunately this infinite ingrained creative nature of ours under pressure and at the same time twisted our view of sexuality and pleasure. Most of us have been given perimeters in which we are constantly pushed to fit in order to gain the approval and respect of others; sadly, disconnecting ourselves completely from our own feelings and bodies, without realizing that the one and only approval and respect we need is that of our own selves. It is therefore necessary to approach this balancing of the second chakra with patience and kindness in order to start re-learning how social acceptance and respect over our own authenticity is not truly what we are looking for.

Open this chakra by honoring your body, by creatively expressing yourself in whatever way you want to without worrying about failure; as well as by working consciously on building a healthy relationship with yourself, with others, and with pleasure. Remember, building a healthy relationship with yourself involves listening to your own emotions, digesting them in a healthy way (learning the underlying lesson), and letting them go.

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Other tools that you may want to consider for when working towards aligning the Svadhisthana chakra is its corresponding sound “Vam,” its color orange; gemstones such as amber, calcite orange, carnelian, or hematite which you can place on the chakra’s region while lying down, also using essential oils like cardamom, sandalwood, or bergamot and eating orange juicy foods like oranges or mangoes, adding ginger and cinnamon to your diet, and drinking lots of water.


Get Hot with Bikram Yoga

A lot of yoga styles are about comfort. They are about relaxing into movements that require concentration and precision without causing pain or discomfort. Bikram yoga is a little different. With this form of yoga, you get hot, sizzling hot. Doing Bikram yoga is like an Australian summer, it requires that you prepare beforehand for the heat and take precautions. This may sound unpleasant, but the truth is that Bikram yoga can be both beneficial and feel amazing.

Everyone likes to take summer holidays at a beach location. There is nothing quite like being warm and in a bathing suit when everyone at home is complaining about the cold, or even slogging through the snow. We naturally seek out heat and sun and Bikram yoga takes this idea just a little further.

Bikram yoga classes are held in rooms where the temperature has been raised to between 35-42 degrees Celsius, which is about 95-108 degrees Fahrenheit, with the humidity at about 40%. The heat is said to warm your body more quickly, which means that postures are safer because muscles stretch more easily when they are warm. Students also report that they are able to go deeper into postures because of the increased temperature and humidity.

The fact that people sweat a lot in Bikram yoga is not just because of the heat. The moisture in the air, or humidity, is increased for Bikram yoga classes to increase sweating and for other health benefits. Most experts agree that humidity gives protection against colds and viruses as well as other respiratory problems such as asthma. Sweating also encourages detoxification, accelerates cardiovascular functioning, and helps increase calorie burning for weight loss.

Bikram yoga is easy to learn. There are only 26 postures plus two breathing exercises, and the focus is on working the muscles smoothly and safely. There should be the ache of fatigued muscles but no sharp pain throughout the session, and if you do feel pain it means you have gone too far.

One of the most essential elements to Bikram yoga is your water intake. You will be sweating a lot through the session, and that’s a good thing, so you must keep your water intake up. Sip, but don’t swallow copious amounts of water as it might make you sick and sit down if you feel lightheaded at any time. Make sure you also have a steady intake of water before and after your class.

The extreme heat in Bikram yoga studios can also make people feel dizzy. If this happens, sit down and breathe through your mouth and the dizziness should ease. It’s also strongly recommended that you arrive at your class half an hour before it starts so you can sit and get used to the heat.

Bikram yoga is an increasingly popular type of yoga both for its relative simplicity and for the health benefits. Although the heat might seem intimidating, the body has systems to adapt to it, and it can feel really good to be in a warm environment. Give this type of yoga a try and you may discover further depths to your practice that you never imagined.

Nourishing Your Brain With Foods

We are what we eat? The single most important organ of our body and the powerhouse controlling every other function and organ of the body is the brain. Everything we eat effects the messengers within the brain. These are called ‘neurotransmitters’. And like everything else, and more than everything else, our brain, the control center of our body, needs nourishment and the right type of foods.

The brain produces chemicals in response to different stimuli. For example, adrenaline is released when in a ‘flight and fight’ state. Serotonin is released when the body is under stress. Eating proteins can have an effect to alert the body, and eating sugars can help the brain to relax. Hence, we can see how each process in this highly differentiated and complex organ of our body is effected by what we eat.

So, what do we need to do in order to nurture, sustain and nourish our brains? Here is what we need to keep in mind when planning our meals.


Omega-3 Fatty acids

It has been shown that’s foods rich in this type of acid, which is present in ample quantity in nuts and fish such as salmon, aid in fighting depression. Many brain disorders such as schizophrenia and attention deficit disorder (ADD) can also be prevented by consuming a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

Fruits and Vegetables

These natural and organic foods help in fighting toxins and maintaining a healthy weight. Obesity and toxins can affect the health and function of the brain, including a decrease in the cognitive ability of the organ. Antioxidants in fresh, leafy green vegetable such as broccoli, eggplant, and kale are especially advantageous. These are foods that help protect the function of our brains.


Several vitamins, such as vitamin B6, are important for the production of neurotransmitters in the brain. Furthermore, age related decline in the number of brain cells can also be decreased with the help of vitamin C. Similarly, thiamine and vitamin B are vital for the normal cognitive functions of the brain. These nutrients are rich in sweet potatoes, fresh fruits, vegetable and nuts.

Avoid unhealthy foods

It is not just important to supplement our diet with foods that are good for our brain, but also avoid those that cause harm to it. Foods high in saturated fats, such as red meat and man-made fats are harmful for the brain.

Check out this interesting video about Dr. Bernard and his research on power foods for the brain.


So basically, food for thought? Yes, but the right food for the ‘best thought’ is what’s best for the optimal functioning of our brains. Our brain is a miraculous organ, with infinite abilities, many of which still remain untapped. Hence it is important to be able to use this powerhouse of ours to the best of its functioning ability. Better nourishment, better brain, and of course, a healthier life! Thanks for reading!