Monthly Archives: March 2017

Tantris by Russell Simmons – Hottest new yoga studio in Los Angeles

I have been doing yoga for several years now. My favorite studio was Steve Ross’ Maha Yoga in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles. It was a nice warm flow to hip hop beats. I loved waking up on Saturday mornings and starting it off by getting a good sweat. I was really sad to hear that they closed down. I was happy to hear that entrepreneur, producer and author Russell Simmons opened up a new studio in West Hollywood and was eager to check it out. He also used to attend Maha yoga and take Steve’s class. They have been friends for quite some time.

Natalie Wilson and Russell Simmons

Russell’s studio is called Tantris Center for yogic science. When you walk in, you will notice sign that says “coexist” which is a theme throughout the studio (check out the window coverings, they are covered in tiny little religion symbols). The indian inspired modern decor is absolutely beautiful. There are lots of options for yoga classes with some great experienced teachers. You will also catch Russell here a lot, as he attends the classes regularly. My old teacher Steve from Maha yoga now teaches at his studio so I was excited about that and he still has Hip Hop yoga! You can catch him there Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:30pm and Sundays at 5:30pm (although this week he is on vacation). My friends are obsessed.

The two level studio is a big new space on Sunset Blvd. complete with an energy bar where you can sit down and enjoy a snack with a great selection of juices, bars, kombucha and free coffee, a retail section with their own brand of yoga clothing, a blow dry bar, an upstairs lounge to hang out and showers and lockers to rinse afterwards (you might want to do this because class is pretty hot and you will be pretty soaked). I got the cutest yoga pants and long jacket vest! Very high quality materials and the fit is amazing. They also sell skincare and hair products, jewelry and books. There is also a really nice backyard area which I’m sure will be nice in the summer time for events.

Although they have been open for several months already, they had an opening class last weekend followed by a lecture by Russell and Steve. Afterwards was a complimentary vegan picnic. The class was packed and Russell and Steve talked about their experiences of being yogis and their long practice of studying yoga and meditation. They talked about the importance of being present and that the ego is the sense of separate existence. That sense has to go for you to be fully happy. They explained that suffering is wanting things to be different from what they are. Accepting things the way they are gets rid of that suffering. They also talked about many other things including their dear friend Eckhart Tolle and his book The Power of Now.

I’ve been to Tantris a few times this week and have really enjoyed it. Last night I actually received a copy of one of Russell’s books: “Success through Stillness” which he signed and I’m excited to read it. He is very into meditation, which I need to do more of, so I do want to learn more about it. Steve also has a book as well called “Happy Yoga: 7 Reasons why theres nothing to worry about.” Both books are also available at the studio.

If you would like to check out the studio, there is another opening (FREE) yoga class this weekend (Sunday, March 5th) at 12pm followed by another lecture with Russell at 1:15pm. Sign up now before it is booked up. No need to bring mats and towels to this one since they are provided (but you can to future classes if you do not want to rent). Afterwards will be a free vegan soul lunch downstairs (and maybe you can take a pic with Russell)! You can get a free week to the studio if you want to check out more classes. The location is right next to Boa restaurant and valet is on Sunset which is $4 for the first hour, $8 after 3 hours. Otherwise you can find street parking on adjacent streets, just be sure to read the signs.

Read here to learn about Russell’s viewpoint on yoga and why he opened Tantris.

Hope to see you there!



Yoga with Steve Ross

Steve Ross











Activated Charcoal Benefits & Usage

So what is the deal with this trendy activated charcoal? Fitness fanatics and health enthusiasts seem to be gulping this stuff down and it seems every juice place around now has some type of activated charcoal drink or lemonade on its shelves. I researched this stuff and this is what I found.
Activated charcoal powder

A lot of people have been consuming activated charcoal to help with digestion. It cleans out your intestines and colon which helps with belly bloat and gas. Its alkaline properties pull toxins from the body and it is a strong detoxifier. It lowers cholesterol, makes you more clear headed and helps you have more energy (but isn’t as strong as caffeine). It helps to remove toxins from the liver and bloodstream after drinking alcohol. Because of its toxin pulling properties, it is good for people who have allergies and can also help reduce joint pain.

It is commonly used in the emergency room and has been for years for people that have food poisoning. The charcoal has tons of tiny sponge-like pores that bind to toxins and they get flushed out of your system. For this reason, it is not good to drink it within 2 hours of eating or taking any type of supplements or vitamins. The charcoal cannot differentiate between nutrients and toxins so it is not beneficial to take it at the same time if you do want to absorb (and not flush out) those nutrients.

It has also been recommended by Doctors to chemotherapy or long-term dialysis patients to reduce their side affects as well as pregnant women to reduce bile flow during pregnancy. Charcoal (capsules) have been recommended to athletes who get diarrhea when running marathons and also to people that have been exposed to mold since studies show it binds to mycotoxins (toxins in mold).

Activated charcoal drink

The pics above are from one of my favorite health food spots / juice bars, Kreation in Los Angeles. They have several locations including Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and my favorite location on 3rd street (West Hollywood/LA area). They offer to sprinkle a little bit in your water for free. They also offer a charcoalade there that contains activated charcoal, ginger which is great for nausea, coconut water for electrolytes, coconut sugar (antioxidant), lemon for energy and cayenne for your metabolism. Pressed Juicery (nationwide) also has a similar charcoal lemonade with lemon, activated charcoal, lavender and honey.

When buying activated charcoal, look for ones made from coconut shells or identified wood species that have ultra-fine grains, not ones in powdered form which end to have artificial sweeteners and chemicals. You can sweeten it naturally or with fresh juice.

While it is still fairly new and there have not been long term studies yet on its use, I wouldn’t go overboard on this stuff. Too much can cause constipation. Be careful, it can stain clothing and grout.

Activated charcoal has many alternative uses. Use charcoal to brush your teeth. It changes the pH balance in your mouth and helps prevent cavities, bad breath and gum disease. Just be careful if you have crowns, caps or porcelain veneers as it will stain them. If you try this, be sure to rinse until your spit is clear.

To treat acne, mix one capsule of activated charcoal with two teaspoons aloe vera gel and put on your face. Let it dry, then rinse. It binds with environmental toxins and dirt that cause acne. It’s also good for spot treatments.

Last, you can also treat spider and snake bites with activated charcoal. Just mix coconut oil and charcoal and wrap it around the bite and change every few hours. It will extract the poison.

There seems to be a lot of uses. So go get your charcoal on. That’s all I have for now!



Sources: Dr. Josh Axe / Lauren Minchen MPH, RDN, CDN, Registered nutritionist & Dietician / Judy Fulop, Naturopathic Physician