Yoga Ashram


1) What sets you guys apart from other yoga studios?

We are different from other studios in that we offer authentic yoga sessions which don’t just focus on Asanas but on breathing and meditation too. We also offer the International Programs by Art of Living and International Association of Human Values ie. Happiness Program for adults and similar program for kids and teens. We also offer prenatal yoga, yoga for kids and beginner and advanced classes.

2) In a nut shell what are the benefits of yoga?

Yoga among its numerous benefits, can greatly enhance your awareness and alertness. It allows you to be present in the moment, be calm and work in a most productive way in the moment. This is especially important in our daily lives where we are constantly stressed and always on the go. Yoga helps to bring you back to the moment which can help you be effective at anything and everything you do

3) Can people who have no experience in yoga take classes at your studio?

Yoga is for everybody and its most definitely for those who at times feel intimidated and afraid of trying. To help those that are scared to start yoga we have beginner classes at the studio.

4) We would like your top 3 tips to anybody who wants to start yoga but unsure of how to go about it.

  1. Attend a Sri Sri Yoga Class near you as it is gentle yet works on the mind and the breath
  2. Always be with your own experience, never compare yourself to others or judge yourself. The body is changing all the time and if today you can’t do the asana, in the future you will be able to do it.
  3. Regular practice and being patient with yourself. Just start and enjoy the practice.

5) What are the different types of yoga offered at Yoga Ashram and what are the differences?

All yoga is derived from Hatha. A more dynamic form of practice is called Vinyasa. Mixed-Style Yoga is when the teacher mixes several styles and puts in his/her own characteristics to make it unique.

Our Iyengar or Traditional Hatha with props is popular as it is great in correcting your alignment. Sri Sri Yoga is gentle, yet very relaxing and great in bringing the body back to its natural balance with the mind and breath.

We are especially proud of our Yoga Therapy sessions for various ailments like diabetes, high BP and arthritis to name a few and the kids and teens yoga is also becoming popular.


In Shape Ladies Fitness Club

Image result for in shape ladies fitness club

1) In Shape Ladies Fitness club isn’t just a gym, you offer group classes as well. In your group classes, how do you accommodate varying skill and fitness levels?

In Shape Ladies Fitness Club is a boutique gym which means that it has a personal approach to women’s fitness for the simple reason that all our group fitness classes are not pre-choreographed workouts and also our classes are never over crowded. This makes it easy to keep an eye out for women who need assistance or instruction during the class. All our classes are designed by a team of very experienced trainers who have great insight and knowledge of the local demography we specifically cater for. Women of different fitness levels can attend all our classes because we can very easily modify exercises on the spot without disrupting the flow of the workout. Women feel that they are continuously receiving the personal care needed to motivate and encourage them to be active, fit and healthy.

2) As a personal trainer, how important is nutrition to you in creating a client’s regimen? Do you create a meal plan for them or just guide them on the right foods to eat?

As a personal trainer it is my duty to teach, instruct and educate. That means that anyone embarking on a fitness lifestyle or otherwise, nutrition is the corner stone of being healthy and fit. A properly structured nutrition plan is an essential and integral part of achieving specific goals whether it is fat loss or building lean muscle mass.

Macro nutrients, portion control and food choices are discussed to ensure the proper implementation of a healthy clean diet which is directed towards achieving the desired goal!!

Every client goes through a Body Composition Analysis that allows us to gauge fat%, Free Fat Mass% and (BMR) Basel Metabolic Rate which we use to create the perfectly balanced nutrition plan that gives the client a basic general guidelines on when to eat and what to eat!

3) What are your thoughts about organic food? What are your thoughts on a vegan diet? Do these really help in weight loss and fitness?

Going organic or following a vegan diet has no impact on weight loss and fitness! It is a personal choice. As long as the same guidelines are followed to create the optimal nutrition plan, then weight loss and general fitness will be achieved.

4) You’ve recently started group personal training classes. What was the motivation behind that and how does this help women?

Actually, it was only after I researched it and found that it is the fastest growing fitness trend in the rest of the world but unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be something that has been picked up in Dubai.

It is both cost effective, fun, motivating and gets amazing results. Groups are usually between 3-6 people and the trainer does not participate in the workout as in group fitness classes but focuses all her attention on the group in hand! Essentially it is “Personal Training” at one third of the cost.

5) What are 3 essential exercises you suggest for all clients?

When it comes to essential exercises it really isn’t easy to determine but I would say the plank for core stabilization, the push up for upper body strength and squats for the lower body!

6) In your 25 years of fitness knowledge and experience, what are a few misconceptions that people have towards fitness?

I think the BIGGEST misconception is the fact that the fitness industry is centred around weight loss!! Fitness in a nutshell is about how the body functions and the main components of fitness are Muscular Strength, Cardio Respiratory Endurance, Flexibility and Body Composition. So if a person successfully over time builds all these components to the required levels and couples it with a sound nutrition plan then we can confidently say that gradual realistic fat loss is possible.

The next misconception is that weight training creates bulky muscles, which is a virtual impossibility in natural body building. This is mainly because women don’t have enough testosterone levels. Also, female hormones are not considered very muscle bulking material!

When we workout we CAN”T spot reduce fat. Where we store FAT or LOSE it is predisposed by our genetics. Ladies! Fat can’t change into muscle because they are completely different cells! You can lose fat and build lean muscle mass.

All women must remember that a muscle that isn’t targeted through resistance training will look like a tyre with a puncture flat and flabby. Whereas, a trained muscle will look tensed, pumped up and shaped like a tyre that’s good to go! I personally hate the “punctured” look! Give me “pumped” look anyday!

About Laila Lallas

Laila is the owner and founder of “In Shape Ladies Fitness Club” and has been actively involved in the fitness industry for the last twenty years. It has been her passion to be able to relate the importance of making fitness an integral part of people’s lives, especially women.

She is a certified group fitness instructor and over the years has designed several modules of her strength circuit class Body Shape-N-Tone and Tae Bo Cardio Kick, a low impact high intensity workout. She is also a certified personal trainer with ISSA, a weight management consultant with ACE and has trained in functional training, Bosu Balance trainer, Swiss Ball, Anti Natal exercise and many more.

Take A Stand On Sitting

When you think about risky jobs, you probably think about mining, steel work, or commercial fishing, not typing memos in a corner office. However, researchers are increasingly raising the alarm that office jobs carry substantial health risks because they require people to sit for long periods. Sitting for 8 hours or more per day increases a person’s risk of premature death by up to 60 percent, according to a 2012 study of a million adults published in the Lancet. Sitting causes more deaths than obesity and poses as great a threat to public health as smoking, according to the researchers’ analysis.

Are you concerned your sedentary job may be harming your health or shortening your life? It’s time to take a stand against sitting. Keep reading to learn why frequent physical activity during the day is necessary regardless of how much you exercise, and discover how to move more at work to stay healthy and productive.

Exercise Is Not Enough

Health experts recommend approximately 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous exercise to maintain physical health. Unfortunately, more than 80 percent of Americans don’t get that much exercise. Worse, even frequent exercisers are at risk for health problems if they’re sedentary for long periods for the rest of the day. The human body is designed to move frequently.

What types of activities are best? Any movement is better than none. In one study, people who took the most frequent breaks from sitting during the day (even for just a minute) had significantly smaller waistlines and lower markers of inflammation than those who took the fewest breaks. In other studies, people who fidget are consistently thinner and healthier and have lower morbidity risks than those who don’t. In a large observational study, women who spent the most time doing light household activities such as cleaning, home repair, gardening, or climbing stairs had the lowest risk of breast cancer (Notably, vigorous exercise was not associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer in this study). To be healthy, a person needs to be moderately active during the day.

Take a Stand

With all of the headlines about the ills of sitting, a standing desk may sound like the solution. Warning: staying in a static position for a long time is hard on the body whether you’re sitting or standing. Moreover, standing for long periods, as people do in certain jobs, is associated with a significantly greater risk of developing serious varicose veins in the legs, according to a 2015 study.

With those caveats, sit-stand desks provide many benefits over regular desks because they allow office workers to change position more frequently and may encourage more walking. Research on sit-stand desks is in its infancy, but a few studies suggest standing for some of the time at work may also increase workers’ productivity by approximately 10 to 15 percent.

If you don’t have access to a sit-stand desk, you can fashion your own. If you have a laptop, it’s best to buy a wireless keyboard and mouse so you can keep your screen just above eye level and your hands at waist height. Then try one of these tricks:

  • Set a chair and low box on your desk. Put your laptop on the chair and the keyboard on the box.
  • Set a box on a waist-height countertop. Put your laptop on the box and your keyboard on the countertop.
  • Use a bookshelf. Put your laptop on a shelf at eye level and your keyboard on a shelf at waist height.

No matter which sit-stand arrangement you use, alternate standing with sitting and gradually transition to standing more. Aim for eventually standing for about one-fourth of your working hours. Use standing as an excuse to walk and move more, not less.

If possible, it’s also beneficial to sit on the floor for some of your working hours. Chairs are uncommon in many parts of the world, and some health experts argue chairs are not an improvement on the floor when it comes to sitting. Sitting on the floor increases the mobility of the hips, encourages good posture, and makes people want to naturally change positions often. It also requires people to rise from the floor to standing, a movement that requires a surprising amount of muscular strength, flexibility, and balance. Cardiologists can even predict longevity with the sitting-rising test, a simple assessment of whether a person can rise from the floor without using their hands.

Resting is a normal and natural part of life. Anthropologists have documented at least a hundred common resting postures around the world. However, it’s not optimal to stay in any one resting position for a long time. It’s better to move to new positions frequently, and get up and walk around often.

Jump on the Treadmill

What about walking while you work? Treadmill desks are growing in popularity and they offer benefits, according to some research. In one study, subjects who walked while they worked for two hours a day for two months slept better and significantly improved their blood pressure.

However, walking on a treadmill is biomechanically not the same as walking on land, and it can contribute to hip, knee, and pelvis problems in some people, according to biomechanist Katy Bowman. On a treadmill, you must use your hip flexors to propel yourself forward instead of your lateral hip and glute muscles. Moreover, if you’re typing at the desk, you can’t swing your arms as you typically would as you walk, which can contribute to lower back pain. The benefits may outweigh the risks, though, especially if the alternative is sitting all day, which is known to be hazardous.

Expect a learning curve if you decide to jump on the treadmill. New treadmill desk users performed much worse on tests of cognitive abilities than their seated colleagues in a study. Some new users also report dizziness and overuse injuries, such as foot inflammation. However, a longer-term study suggests workers are as productive as seated colleagues after using a treadmill desk for several months.

Escape the Desk Sentence

If you’re sedentary for long periods of the day, commit to being more active at the office. At first, set a timer for every 30 minutes to remind yourself to get up and move. Also, pay attention, and you’ll notice your body prompting you to get up periodically. Here are a few common signals: restlessness, inability to pay attention, fatigue, headache, eyestrain, and tension in the back, neck, and shoulders. Do these symptoms sound familiar? Take your body’s messages seriously – get up for a few minutes, and walk around. If possible, look outside at the horizon to relax your eyes. When you get back to your desk, change your position. You’ll feel better and be healthier, and you’ll probably also be more productive. Brief breaks have been shown to vastly improve the brain’s ability to focus.

No matter how much you move at the office, computer jobs are more sedentary than the daily work most humans did throughout history. When you’re not at work, commit to being active regardless of your age. Researchers used to think humans inevitably lost muscle mass, flexibility, and mobility as they aged. However, many of the physical changes we’d assumed were due to aging are actually due to physical inactivity, according to newer research. Regular physical activity keeps people strong and agile throughout life. Any type of movement is better than none. Walk, run, crawl, roll, squat, stretch, jump, swim, hang, and play. Or clean your house, tend your garden, mow your lawn, and commute and do errands on foot. Your body and brain will thank you.


The Hectic Holiday Guide to Keeping Your Health Goals

Fitting fitness in is difficult at any time of the year. I’m a personal trainer, I teach group fitness classes, and I love working out. But still, I literally have to add my fitness plans to my weekly calendar, make certain that someone is around to watch the kids, and be ready to adjust if a work emergency pops up (and let’s be honest: those emergencies seem to manifest once a day).

Add in holiday parties, end-of-year work deadlines, family visits, and travel, and it feels nearly impossible to make it all happen. Plus, the pressure mounts as the new year approaches and everyone starts asking: “What are your resolutions?”

Not to use an already over-used phrase, but it really is crucial to put on your oxygen mask first. Take care of yourself, and you can take care of everything and everyone around you.

So, let’s talk about a few hectic healthy holiday strategies that can help you stay on track.

Food and Diet

There’s something that’s just so nostalgic about holiday treats. Pumpkin spice invades the store shelves, everyone starts bringing cookies and homemade treats to the office, and you dig out the old family cookbook to create some of the most delicious and special meals from your childhood holidays.

It’s so easy to think, “It’s okay to overindulge, because I almost never get to eat these things,” or “I’ll make up for it after the holidays are over and go back to a more balanced diet.” But that quickly leads to not just one cookie, but three – or seconds and thirds when you’re already full.

One popular approach to holiday health is the 80/20 rule, where 80 percent of choices are healthy and smart, and 20 percent are fun and indulgent. It’s a way to feel fulfilled and enjoy some special treats without totally derailing your lifestyle. You can also apply it to your plate: 80 percent of what you pile on is healthy (roasted vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains), and 20 percent is whatever you want!

I find that that 20 percent guideline is incredibly helpful because it really reminds me to pick the things that are special and that I really want, and not just take some of everything.

Here are a few other tips and tools:

  • Rest up! Research shows that a bad night’s sleep can lead to poor eating choices the next day – maybe even an extra 300 calories, which add up quickly over a week.
  • Take a lap before filling your plate. You’ll likely eat the most of whatever you serve first, so if you can make it a salad with fresh vegetables, some hummus, or even soup, it can prevent you from overdoing it on the indulgent meats, sides, and desserts.
  • Use smaller plates. We tend to fill up the space we have, so if you use a salad or appetizer plate, it can make a big difference. Plus, you can go back for more servings, but use the break to ask yourself: “Am I really still hungry?”

Work and social engagements are a great way to celebrate the season, but it’s easy to fall into the trap of mindless snacking and extra treats. Because these events often fall on nights and weekends, when you might also be ditching your workout, making a few intentional decisions before you arrive can help parties from being a pitfall.

  • Eat a small but filling meal or large snack before you go to a party.
  • Stand more than an arm’s length away from tempting treats and snack foods.
  • “Thanks but no thanks.” Don’t feel pressured to eat or drink something just because someone offers it or encourages you to indulge. A simple ”No thank you” is very powerful, and you can always go back on your own and eat it later – when it’s your choice, not just a reflexive action.

Let’s all admit together that working out during the holiday season is hard. That just means that we need to choose to overcome that obstacle. Yes, you’re tired. Yes, you’re juggling visitors or packing for your own travel. Yes, just the gift shopping feels like a workout. And actually, it is! If you wear an activity tracker you know that you can get up to 10,000 steps just walking through a mall or shopping center.

I think the three keys to sticking with a routine are the following: find something fun, go with what you already know, and stay to play. Let’s break that down.

Find Something Fun

Honestly, my favorite thing to do is to put on a great playlist of music, gather my family around me, and DANCE. I add some sneaky bodyweight-bearing exercises like burpees, high knee runs, jumping jacks, and more – the kids love to keep up and don’t think of it as a workout at all! – and after 20–30 minutes, we’re all dripping with sweat.

Go With What You Already Know

I love trying new classes and workouts and committing to monthly challenges. But this is not the time to jump into something new that you may not end up loving or that may take more of your time than you can give!

If you’re already taking weekly yoga classes at the studio near work, stick with it – bonus points if you pre-pay for classes so you have an extra incentive to make it to the mat. Drag out that well-loved workout DVD and load it up at night so all you have to do in the morning is press play. Keep your current running club dates or personal training sessions, since they’re already part of your routine.

And if you’re not currently working out but want to, keep it simple. In the big picture of fitness, of course you want to mix things up to make sure you’re getting a good balance of strength training, cardio, and flexibility. But for this short period, it’s just about moving and making smart choices.

Stay to Play

The thing I hear most often when it comes to the hectic holiday period is that people just don’t have the time to go somewhere. Driving to the gym takes up time that could be spent on wrapping gifts or finishing work. When family is in town, it feels wrong to leave them and spend 90 minutes on a run or in a yoga class.

So, stay home – and invite everyone to join you! Thirty minutes a day can make a huge difference, and you don’t need a lot of fancy equipment. HIIT workouts (high-intensity interval training) are quick, sweaty, and very effective. You can knock one off while waiting for the Christmas cupcakes to bake!

Wellness and Self-Care

Finally, don’t forget to find some quiet time in the craziness. Yes, we focus on diet and exercise because it’s so easy to pack on extra pounds during the holidays. But meditation, self-reflection, and de-stressing techniques are a very important part of the package.

It can feel wasteful or selfish to take a hot bath while out-of-town visitors are downstairs catching up on stories. You might cringe at the idea of passing on a trip to the mall for last-minute shopping with your best friend, even though you’ve completed your list already.

Make time and space for yourself. It’s okay to say no. Remember that oxygen mask!

Mad About Dance Studio


1) Tell us a bit about MAD and what sets you guys apart from other studios

MAD (Mad About Dance) is a personalized and light-hearted approach to building activity into your lifestyle. We call it the perfect mash up of having fun and working out. We realize that if you have your favorite music going on while you’re working out in a non-gym environment (I mean a large open space, plenty of light, easy parking space, good location) and with a help of a good trainer, this can do wonders to your mind and body. That’s where we come in.

2) What are the benefits of dancing?

Benefits of dancing are endless. For the body – benefits include weight loss, toning, strengthening the core and muscles, increase stamina and improves flexibility and blood circulation. For the mind – It’s one of the best natural anti-depressants and can be very therapeutic too.

3) How is fitness incorporated in the dances?

When we teach technical classes such as contemporary form, regular warm up and stretching sessions are a part of the class. Ofcourse teaching dance is physical movement which done regularly is part of a fitness routine.

Having said that, we have specialized sessions for those who are primarily interested in taking classes for fitness or weight loss reasons such as Zumba, MADx and private lessons.

4) You have fitness specific dance classes such as Zumba, MADx, personal training sessions & Bhangra. Please explain what these classes are and how they are different?

Other than the dance workshops and classes that we teach, we also have dance –fitness programs that are targeted to losing weight for any age and any size person with any stamina level.

Zumba is good cardio. We also have our own programs such as MADx (the Bollywood fitness) that is 30 minutes cardio, and 20 minutes floor exercises or weights. Its almost losing 400 to 600 calories in that one hour. Which is quite a lot! We regularly do Bhangra workshops that’s again extremely high energy dancing on Bhangra music for non stop 1.5 hours straight.

That’s not it – we have one to one personal trainings to create a program according to one’s body needs. This is for those who do not want a group session and want a target or goal that they want to achieve in less time.

5) What are your top 3 tips for people who want to try a dance fitness class but are nervous?

Tip 1: When you walk in your first day, don’t bother putting up with others. Do as much as you can and enjoy the process. The fact that you made it to class is your win.

Tip 2: It’s happened with me many times when I feel that all others are much better than me. Why should I go anyway? But I realized that others don’t matter. Its our inner doubts that serve as a barrier. So ignore your inner demon and just go for it! There is a 99% chance you won’t regret your decision afterwards.

Tip 3: Dress appropriately. For eg- not having sport shoes, a water bottle or not wearing a sport Bra can affect your mood and elevate your fear in the class. If you go prepared, you will be able to focus on the class and improve over time. But most importantly remember to have a good time!


Make a Splash: The Health Benefits of Water Workouts!

The pool is an amazing place to get fit – and believe me, if you build the right workout, you’ll find yourself sweaty and sore after just a short amount of time! From using weights to some specific swimming drills, build strength and endurance the next time you’re in the water.

As a personal trainer, I can tell you that moving your workout to the water can be a great way to work up a sweat, build muscles, increase your cardiovascular fitness, and much more.

Before you go jumping right in, there are a few safety pointers to keep in mind:

  • Even strong swimmers can get a cramp, find themselves in deeper water than they can handle, or just need a break. So never, ever work out in the water alone. Grab a buddy or, better yet, buddies, so you can always have at least one person out of the water to keep an eye on things
  • If you’re in the pool, stay close to the side. Not only is it there for you if you need a rest, it’s a great place to do many of the exercises themselves!
  • If you’re outside, watch out for the elements! Slather yourself in sunscreen so you don’t get burned, take a look around to make sure you won’t be near any boats or other people, and make sure that you find safe footing in a sandy spot
  • Stay hydrated. Just because you’re in the water doesn’t mean the water is in you! And you may not feel yourself sweat, so be sure to stay on top of your hydration and take breaks if you need them

And as always, never start a fitness regime of any kind without your medical provider’s approval.

Let’s break the workout options down into cardio, strength training, and flexibility. You can focus on one or mix up your routine to include all three! Just make sure you warm up and cool down at the beginning and end of the workout.


Before you get in the water, make certain that your muscles are warmed up and you’ve started to get that heart rate going. Try marching in place for a few minutes, maybe even raising and lowering your arms to increase the intensity. A few static stretches may also feel good, so gently take one arm across your body and hold it there for 30 seconds before switching sides. Do the same to loosen up your legs: bend your right foot behind you and grab it with your right arm, bringing it as close to your glutes as possible. Hold for 30 seconds and switch sides.


Ready to Go?

Start with a few laps! If you’re a strong swimmer, I recommend that you do a short individual medley (IM). Try one lap each of butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle. Your form matters, of course, but you’re not in the Olympic trials, so just work on doing the lap as fast as you can.

  • Need more intensity? Try two laps of each stroke, and then go for several (3-5) sets. Add flip turns if you know how, or alternate sets with arms only (dragging your legs behind) and legs only (using a kickboard or putting your arms out in front for balance)
  • Too intense? The breaststroke is something almost everyone can do, because you don’t have to put your face fully in the water. But it still gets your heart rate going, so do as many laps as you can until you start to feel like you’re getting a good workout

Jog in place: Find a spot where your feet can touch but you’re underwater up to your waist or stomach. Start slowly, then pick up the pace. How high can you get your knees? Try doing this for 60-second intervals: one minute on, one minute off.

  • Need more intensity? Try jogging while holding both arms in the air, or even holding a light waterproof weight or block.

Squat jumps: Find a spot where your feet can touch but you’re underwater up to your waist or stomach. With your feet about hips-width apart, bend your knees until the water’s up to your neck, then push off and jump as high as you can.

  • Need more intensity? Go all the way underwater and clap your hands above your head as you jump up

Pool wall kicks: Starting with your face toward the wall, put both hands on the side and gently push yourself back until your body is floating, close to parallel with the ground. Flutter your legs up and down and start to pick up the pace until it feels like the right intensity. Try doing this for 30-second intervals.

  • Need more intensity? Put your face in the water and breathe from side to side, rather than keeping your face out of the water

Ready to change it up? Flip over so you’re on your back, with your arms resting on the pool wall, perpendicular to your body (in a T shape). Engaging your core muscles, flutter your legs up and down for 30-second intervals


Let’s build some muscle!

Pool arm dips: Starting with your face toward the wall, put your hands on the side about shoulder-distance apart. Keeping your elbows in so they’re brushing the side of your body, press down into your hands so your body comes out of the water. Push up as high as you can without locking your elbows, then gently lower your body back down. Try 10 repetitions, and then try to complete three full sets.

  • Ready to change it up? Sit on the side of the pool with your fingers pointed behind you (and your wrists facing forward). Gently lower your body into the water, but hold your body up so that your elbows and shoulders are at a 90-degree angle. Engaging your triceps, gently press down into your hands, straightening your arms, then lower again. These tricep dips can be pretty intense, so start with five repetitions and three full sets.

Wall push-offs: With your back to the wall, crouch down until you’re underwater to your shoulders. In one move, tuck your knees into your chest and bring your feet behind you, so you push off the wall as hard as you can. This is an explosive move, so the harder you push and the closer you start to the wall, the more you’ll engage your quads!

  • You can vary the intensity of this by keeping your head above the water or pushing off underwater and seeing how long you can swim without coming up for a breath.

If you have waterproof weights, add these in! You can do underwater tricep push-downs and kick-backs, underwater bicep curls, and much more.


It’s time to embrace your inner synchronized swimmer!

Synchronized starfish: Start by floating on your back, then extend your arms up so your body creates a long line. Keeping the arms straight, bring your wrists toward the sides of your body, dragging them through the water until your arms are straight down at your sides. Reverse the move so that your wrists go from your hips back up above your head.

  • You may need to keep a kickboard or float between your legs for balance!
  • Time to add on! At the same time as you bring your arms down, take your straight legs out to the sides, separating the ankles and stretching as far as you can go. At the end of the move, your arms will be at your sides and your legs will form an inverted V. Switch, so that your arms go back up and your legs come together.

Scissor stretches. Start by floating on your back, then bring one knee into your chest, wrapping both arms around it. Hold it there for 30 seconds, then switch sides. You’ll need to engage your core muscles to stay floating, and the more you pull the knee in, the deeper the stretch will be.


That’s the workout! And don’t be fooled – it may look like water dripping off your face, but a lot of it is sweat, so take five to ten minutes and really take it easy before leaving the water. I like to do a few laps of sidestroke or breaststroke, with my face out of the water. You can also float on your back, keeping still and bringing your breath back to normal. And remember, when you get out, a few static stretches can help ease the delayed onset muscle soreness you may feel a day or two after the workout.


Banishing Belly Fat

Belly fat. Cue the collective sigh, because we all know that the struggle is very, very real. On the one hand, we are surrounded by celebrities who seem to have perfect bodies, bounce back from a baby, and “age” with nary a fine line, while we work desk jobs and dream of that perfect Gisele midsection. What if I told you that your midsection isn’t as hopeless as you thought? That’s right, you can lose belly fat. But it is going to take a little work, and no, there is no magical tool that will do it for you.

First off, what are the reasons for excess belly fat?

Quite simply, your belly pooch has resulted from an imbalance in calories in vs. calories worked out. Regardless of who we are, the human body produces fat when calorie intake is in excess. Even so, you might be eating half the calories of your best friend, and she loses weight while you do not. The reason is that some people are simply blessed with high resting metabolisms. One more reason to envy Gisele.

Another reason you might be holding excess weight around your middle? Hormones. Estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone fluctuate with our ages, and imbalances of those hormones can result in weight being more likely to deposit in certain areas. Yet another hormone might be to blame: cortisol, aka the stress hormone. If you are stressed out (often about trying to lose weight, which just results in a vicious cycle!), your cortisol levels will rise, and your body will start to hold on to weight, often in your midsection.

Finally, some of us are just genetically predisposed to depositing weight around our middles due to our body shape or just the way that our bodies work. For example, “apple shapes” tend to retain weight around their middles, while “pear shapes” carry weight lower.

Beyond Vanity: Another Very Important Reason to Care About Belly Fat

Belly fat is more than just skin-deep: fat around your midsection can actually be a powerful indicator of your long-term health. Visceral fat – fat that surrounds your organs and is largely present around your midsection – is a major contributor to such health issues as Type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance, heart disease, and even certain cancers. In short, whittling down your middle can save your life!

How to Get Rid of Excess Belly Fat:

First, you must address the reasons for the belly fat in the first place: Diet and exercise? Hormones? Genetics? You might even need to get a doctor involved, particularly if you think that you are at risk for having visceral fat or hormonal imbalances that are preventing you from losing weight.

Most important in losing belly fat is to remember that you cannot “spot reduce,” or lose weight ONLY in a certain place. So while you might wish that you could just do 100 crunches a night for a six-pack, it might also comfort you to know that you don’t have to do 100 crunches a night to get a better, slimmer midsection!

Rather, you need to focus on burning calories by increasing your heart rate in a workout that incorporates both strength training and moderate- to high-intensity cardio. This will provide the added benefit of increasing your resting metabolic rate (remember that friend who can eat all the cheeseburgers?), because by adding strength or resistance training (lower immediate calorie burning) to moderate- to high-intensity cardio (high immediate calorie burning), you will increase lean muscle mass, which will increase your resting metabolism, and thus help you burn more calories just by being alive!

So get that heart rate up, even if you do so in spurts. Look for exercise classes that incorporate HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, principles, or add in cardio bursts to your circuit workout. Focus on total-body exercises, which will engage more muscles simultaneously, and thus burn more calories and develop more lean muscle

Some of the best core-strengthening exercises are traditional planks, side planks, leg lowers and raises, exercise ball pass-offs, and properly executed bicycle crunches.

Core-strengthening exercises should be incorporated into every workout you do, whether sprinkled throughout or in one 5-minute block.

Banish the Bloat: Dietary Changes That Will Combat Belly Fat

Working out does not guarantee a flat tummy, but a few simple changes to your diet and lifestyle can yield big results.

Watch sodium intake: Buy low-sodium products and add your own salt, preferably in the form of sea salt (not table salt)

Decrease processed foods and artificial sweeteners, which can increase inflammation and also cause gas in your belly.

Reach for whole, natural fats over “fake” or added fats. Think avocado or natural nut butter over salted butter. If you have to have butter, reach for smaller amounts of the real thing, and not margarine. But see if you really need butter as much as you think. You might not.

Increase fiber intake and go for whole grains. Aim for 25-30 g daily, but if you normally have a low-fiber diet, do so gradually so that you don’t inadvertently cause bloat as you stomach gets used to the new food!

Another added benefit of actually getting out there and getting moving? As you “work it out,” you may find that you are able to deal with some of your stressors, sleep better, and thus lower cortisol levels (which are causing you to hold on to that excess fat).

You might not be able to spot reduce, but by strengthening your core as you make some dietary changes, decrease stress, and increase your calorie burn, that killer body will be revealed as the fat melts away!


Sanjeev Krishna Yoga Studio

1)Tell us a little bit about SKY and what sets you guys apart from other yoga studios?

SKY is an institution of self-knowledge apart from all other stretches and postures that is generally understood at Yoga centers. What is self-Knowledge? A person will never say “I feel bored /life is boring,” if he or she has started understanding oneself. We human beings are a university by itself. Not understanding this uniqueness lands up in uneasiness in all levels, diseases in all aspects of health. If ignorant – we become a patient, if knowledgeable -we become the doctors for our own self. Learning / understanding and experiencing this knowledge to mature in wisdom and getting the best of every human life is why SKY stands as a unique institution than just the physical concepts of YOGA.

2) Many people think that yoga is just stretching and breathing, in a few words can you please summarize the essence of yoga.

Yoga is not just stretching and breathing. Yoga is the art to learn how to harmonize and manage oneself in daily life. To become a master to manage , self-health, family, professional life so that all other management in life attains success. Learning, understanding and practically implementing to maintain a balance in life is the essence of YOGA.

3) In your experience what ailments has yoga cured?

YOGA can cure many ailments, rest can only treat the uneasiness of others. Learning and understanding the source of the uneasiness by the individual alone can cure diseases. Hence uneasiness of the mind manifest as diseases having the source for all the psychosomatic ailments that the modern generations suffer.

4) Yoga is such a peaceful practice; can you explain to us what Kalarippayattu is?

A mother is said to be the greatest warrior when it comes to the protection of a child. Likewise, Yoga teaches the individuals to learn the art to self-management. Kalari, being a part of Yoga teaches the art to physically defend the physical body in adverse situation’s so life can be managed with confidence, courage, strength and fearlessness and this helps to develop the personality of the person at all levels.

5) Is yoga Nidra like hypnotherapy?

Yoga Nidra is the science and art to take away the deep impression set in the sub consciousness mind of a person. Hence this knowledge helps the individual to be guided to take all these phobias, neurosis, etc. from the sub consciousness mind and help the person to blossom to a beautiful personality and to help them succeed in life with all fullness.

6) We would like your top 3 tips to anybody who wants to start yoga but unsure of how to go about it.

Initially a person can start knowing about his

  1. body, by getting to learn hatha Yoga, the traditional method,
  2. his breath [breathing techniques]
  3. his mind [art of disciplining oneself with the practice of meditation]

and gradually learn the art of developing the knowledge of himself as a person and then master the art of self-management.

About Guruji Sanjeev Krishna:














Guruji, as he is affectionately named, is a Yoga Master & Guide based in Dubai, UAE. He learnt the ancient Wisdom of Yoga by thorough practice and training under the guidance of the highly skilled Yogis. Since the tender age of 12, he trained intensively with discipline, persistence, and passion and over the years began imparting the knowledge he gained onto others. In 2003, he formally started his own yoga institution in Dubai (Certified ISO 9001), which is now known as Sanjeev Krishna Yoga. Today, he stands distinguished from other establishments who focus around only “physical workout” by embedding the most crucial component of Yoga, which is the “Act of balancing”.


Carb Cycling for Weight Loss and Improved Fitness


Weight loss diets are nothing new. And weight loss itself involves a fairly basic equation: burn more calories than you take in, and you will lose weight due to the calorie deficit. Of course, the factors that go into the equation include much more complex things like metabolism, the nutritional quality of different foods, a person’s current activity level, underlying medical issues that may put roadblocks in an individual’s way, and much more.

As simple as it seems, there are a number of different approaches to creating that calorie deficit, and more to the point, to creating a healthier, more balanced and more lifestyle-focused shift that enhances a person’s happiness and overall longevity, rather than just making cosmetics changes.

One diet and fitness plan that has picked up a lot of interest in recent years is known as carb cycling.

What is Carb Cycling?

Carb cycling is a diet during which you eat varying amounts of carbohydrates in any given day, based on a strict schedule.

What does the diet look like? The more popular any diet gets, the more variations of it there are, so rather than presenting one true carb cycling diet, it’s more helpful to look at the basic foundation that most participants build on, which is a five-day cycle.

Participants can pick and choose which foods they eat, as long as they fall within those basic nutrient breakdowns and ratios in the illustration above.

Some participants will cut out all gluten, dairy, soy, and alcohol, while others will merely try to limit those foods. Some will strictly track their food intake in order to perfectly meet the macros, or nutrient ratios, while others prefer using a simpler system (for example, Yuri Elkaim, author of the best-selling book The All-Day Fat Burning Diet, who recommends using portion sizes to come close to the ratios without actually measuring and tracking).

Unlike a fully low-carb diet, which can result in negative side effects (less energy, more cravings, a drop in exercise performance), cycling can, in theory, give the body regular metabolism boosts while still helping lower body fat and increase performance.

First made popular in the bodybuilding and figure competition circles among people keenly interested in dropping body fat and seeing quick physical changes, carb cycling has become more mainstream, and even some registered dietitians and nutrition experts are using a version of it with their clients.

However, Katie Heddleston, MS, RD, warns that the term carb cycling may be used differently by different people, and always, it’s important to work with an expert who can tailor the plan to your specific needs and goals.

What the mainstream media and fitness industry refer to as “carb cycling” is technically “food cycling,” Heddleston tells me. “This type of diet takes focus and diligence, as there is a lot to keep track of during each day of the five-day food cycle.” She goes on to say, “For what I teach and do as a dietitian, this type of food cycling isn’t one I do with my clients. However, I do appreciate a cyclic diet. Our bodies are not static, so our diets shouldn’t be static. In the version of carb cycling I do with my clients, we focus in on cycling the carb amounts for each day, pairing them appropriately with a workout that requires that particular amount. For instance, a long run day or a heavy leg lift day, would utilize a higher amount of carbs. My method removes a bit of guesswork and avoids extremes, such as a 24-hour fast.”

It’s important to note: carbs themselves are not bad. In fact, they’re an important part of a balanced, healthy diet! Carbs help us have the energy we need to work and play and they can also help with recovery after workouts. Without them, we can experience mood swings (as anyone who has ever cut carbs for even a single day can attest). Plus, carbs are in some of the most delicious foods and snacks, and cutting out the things that bring us joy can make for an unsustainable diet plan.

But as with any nutrient or food source, there are choices that are better than others, at least in terms of meeting the goal of a healthier, more fit life. For carbs, it comes down to simple vs. complex as well as foods that naturally have higher or lower carbs.

Who Can Carb Cycling Work For?

Because of the varied carb intakes over the plan, there are several benefits that can happen to your body, including replenished glycogen stores (which means when you’re working out, you can do so at a higher intensity for longer periods of time), temporary spikes in insulin levels, which can help protect and rebuild muscle tissue, and maximized fat burning so that even after you’re done working out, your body continues to work efficiently on your behalf.

The takeaway is that carb cycling can help build muscle, drop body fat, and improve performance.

And while it has restrictions, it is not as restrictive as other plans, which means it may be a fit for people who are not ideally suited to other diets, including those with diabetes, high blood pressure, hypothyroidism, etc.

Carb cycling can help people break through weight loss plateaus, for example, or help someone overcome unhealthy food cravings without feeling deprived.

It can easily be adapted for beginners all the way up to advanced participants. Heidi and Chris Powell, personal trainers and hosts of ABC’s Extreme Weight Loss, are well-known for espousing a carb cycling diet and fitness routine, and they offer five different plans on their website.

Finally, because this is meant to be a lifestyle change and not just a short-term diet, people who follow a carb cycling plan may find that they can stay on it forever, or take short breaks before resuming it again.

What Does The Fitness Look Like?

While carb cycling by nature focuses mostly on the diet and nutrition side, most people who follow this plan also adjust their workouts and activity levels to get the most fat-burning effects from their food intake.

Rest, recovery, and efforts to relieve stress are crucial for making this plan a true body-mind reset.

What do The Experts Say?

It’s mixed! An Arizona State University study found that a low-carb diet offered no weight loss advantages when compared to a more traditional diet that features a calorie deficit but no specific rules on nutrient ratios (the study did not look specifically at cycling, with a mix of high- and low-carb days). But it’s important to note that carb cycling is not a low-carb diet, and even if it helps a person lose weight, it may not result in more rapid fat loss.

Others warn that any type of diet that restricts a certain type of food, nutrient, or other dietary behavior is a slippery slope, and that even if it’s successful for a short period of time, lifestyle changes are more effective than diets.

Many of the reviews of carb cycling are anecdotal. With any diet or nutritional plan, it’s smart to set wellness goals rather than physical appearance goals. I’m a big believer in non-scale victories, which have nothing to do with a specific weight or clothing size – things like “I can run further than I could before,” or “I was able to sit more comfortably in an airplane seat.”

I myself took part in a six-week carb cycling program, broken down into the five-day cycle listed above. There were highs and lows, and some surprising positive side effects. For example, by cutting out gluten and dairy, my infant daughter’s eczema significantly improved (I was breast-feeding her at the time), which helped me isolate foods that I might want to avoid moving forward. Also, after some rough days of cutting most sources of sugar out of my diet, I found that foods tasted better without a lot of added sweeteners. And I lost eight pounds over the six weeks.

Although of course, please consult with a medical professional before starting – that is so important, and I am not a registered dietitian myself.


From Exercise to Aquasize

The history of aqua therapy dates to the fifth century, when bathing in thermal springs was considered not only hygienic, but also as having remedial effects. It wasn’t until the 20th century that we began to see the use of water as an outlet for exercise. Since then, the therapeutic and remedial properties of water-based exercises on cardiovascular and metabolic health have been and continue to be extensively studied. Modern aquatic fitness classes take place in pools, and classes are designed with the intent of increasing your pulmonary and cardiovascular health without risking unnecessary joint and muscle pain.

Today, aqua fitness is a type of exercise that is performed in a vertical position, either in chest-deep water or while suspended in deep water with a foam flotation belt. This type of exercise uses water as resistance, which allows the constant engagement of complementary muscle groups. The waves created during a group aqua fitness class also add to the intensity of the workout by creating instability and turbulence, forcing participants to work harder to balance than they would have to on land.

Aqua fitness has extraordinary effects on your overall health. Because of hydrostatic pressure (the varying amounts of pressure you feel at different depths of the pool) a person’s heart and lungs are able to work between 30 percent and 60 percent harder than on land, while experiencing nearly the same amount of fatigue.

Who Does Aqua Fitness Benefit?

In short, aqua fitness has something to offer for everyone. In the water, most exercises are low- to moderate-impact and are suitable for a wide range of ability levels. Programs like arthritis therapy and aqua yoga are of lower intensity than Aqua Zumba but are not necessarily limited to senior participants or people with arthritis. Conversely, aqua jogging and general aquasize programs are not limited to higher-level athletes. Even in high-intensity programs, a good instructor will offer modifications for moves in order to make the workouts less impactful on weak joints, and enjoyable for a broad range of participants. If you are overweight, pregnant, or have painful joints, the sensation of buoyancy in the water creates a great sense of relief.

Every class has something unique to offer, and choosing the one that is right for you might take some time. Ask if there are any “first time free” classes offered at your facility to help guide your decision.

Which Class is Right for You?

Before joining your first aqua fitness program, it’s important to identify exactly what you’re trying to gain from it. Most aquatic facilities offer a diverse selection of classes to target the individual needs of their members.

Temperature Control

Because humans evolved to be endotherms – we generate energy and maintain our own body temperatures – and because water is a strong conductor of heat, even the subtlest drop in temperature may make it feel like you are swimming in the Arctic Ocean. People who are unable to move vigorously, have little body fat, or have little functional muscle mass are likely to become too cold during slow-moving/therapy-based exercises and may need to make some modifications. If you feel your body temperature starting to drop during a workout, there are several things you can do to maintain comfort:

  1. Stay in one spot.As you move around in the water, your body heat will disperse. If you have the option to perform moves without leaving your spot, the water immediately surrounding your body will stay warm.
  2. Bundle up!As long as your facility allows it, feel free to wear a light T-shirt, tights, or bathing cap during your workout. A wetsuit, while seemingly effective, will be too buoyant for most aqua fitness classes, and will be difficult to remove quickly if you become overheated.
  3. Increase the intensity.If you are instructed to perform a move that isolates one part of your body, such as your pectorals, and feel your core temperature dropping, move your legs vigorously to preserve your body heat.
  4. Increase the intensity even more.If you feel comfortable enough to increase the overall power of your moves, do it! You’ll generate much more body heat, as well as improve the overall effect of your workout.
  5. Stretch in the shower.Every class you attend should end in a five-minute guided stretch. If you find that you begin to shiver during this period, continue the routine in a warm shower.

On the other hand, higher-intensity workouts such as Aqua Zumba and aqua jogging are meant to be done in cooler temperatures, but it’s difficult for any facility to meet everyone’s needs. If you find yourself in an aquatic environment with only one pool and the temperature is too warm for the workout that you’re doing, you might feel uncomfortable. Some suggestions for keeping cool are:

  1. Drink cold water.Bring a water bottle to every class that you attend – even the ones in cold water. Keep the water bottle on the edge of the pool deck – out of the way of the instructor – and hydrate, or pour it over your head, as necessary.
  2. If you’re pressed for time or can’t afford to get your hair wet, try another suggestion for keeping cool. Alternately, if you’re planning on showering after the class, a quick submersion of your head works almost instantly to dissipate heat.
  3. Slow down.As moves get faster, your body will inevitably produce more heat. Assess which moves will help your reach your personal goals, and slow down the others.

The ways in which people use water has evolved greatly over the years, but its beneficial properties are undisputed. Water offers resistance, buoyancy, and comfort, all of which come together to help create workouts that are specific to individuals’ needs. Whether you choose to partake in an aquatic fitness program for rehabilitation, strength, cardio, or for the social aspect, the water has something to offer everyone. Water is abundant in pools, lakes, and oceans; take advantage of it.

Interested? Try a class at AquaFit and save up to 18% on (