Tag Archives: health

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

How to get 6 pack abs

We always envy people with abs. It makes us want to get in shape. It makes us think to ourselves, why can’t I have abs like that? Well… you can!


[Photography by Jennifer Ona]

I always get compliments on my abs and friends or people at the gym ask me how I get them so I decided to do a post about it.

The first step in obtaining defined abs is lowering your body fat percentage. You must lower that first before being able to see your abs poke through otherwise the below tips are pointless. Once you get in a regular work out routine and cut out fried foods, processed foods, fast food and lower your sugar/dairy intake you will be on the right track (Start looking at labels and how much sugar is inside, ideally 5% or less is low). Instead enjoy protein, veggies and carbs. When I say carbs I mean healthy carbs such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, avocados, whole fruits and whole grains (oats, brown rice and quinoa) not bad carbs such as white bread, fries and potato chips. You will definitely see results in 1-2 months depending on how much you stick to this until you notice a difference (then we can talk about cheat days). If you drink a lot, that’s another story, lets address that first! There is TONS of sugar in alcohol. Cut that out first if you really want this or limit yourself until you see results.

Now for the exercise part. In the gym, here is my go to for when I head over to the mats for my floor exercises. This was recommended to me by the trainer of many professional models: David Hicks of LifestylecoachLA :

You definitely feel the burn on this one!! Just power through it. Try it 3-5 times a week in addition to your work out routine. It will get easier. You can do it! I may be a weirdo but I now enjoy the burn.

The other main work out I do in which I definitely found great results with is sprinting! When I go over to the park to jog or run around the track to warm up, I head over to the grassy area afterwards for sprinting, lunges and ab exercises. This is when my abs really started to show! I would do this several times a week. Sprinting increases your metabolism and  the calories continue to burn off long after your sprinting is done! It burns off the stomach fat and tones the muscles underneath. Make sure you engage your core while sprinting. It is the most explosive training you can do. You will build your glutes, quads and hamstrings and will also strengthen your core. You engage all of those muscles at the same time. 90% of athletes include sprint training in their workout routine. Try sprinting about 110 yards ten times 3-4 times per week.


  1. Lower your body fat percentage by exercising regularly.
  2. Lower your body fat percentage by eating healthy protein rich foods, lowering your sugar and dairy intake and by cutting out processed foods, fried foods, fast food (and cut off alcohol or at least limit your drinks to a couple drinks per week for now).
  3. Do the above 6 Minute 6 Pack ab routine 3-5 times a week.
  4. Sprint 10×110!  110 yards 10 times 3-4 times a week.

Try these workouts and let me know what you think!




Fitness in Pioneer Town

I have been obsessed lately with fitness gear and working out a lot. From circuit training at the park with my boyfriend, to pilates, to yoga, to bootcamps, to lifting at the gym with my trainer friend Sirem, to bar class, to hiking, to you name it. I buy a lot of fitness clothes and love trying new brands and practically live in them. I recently visited Pioneer Town which wasn’t on the agenda but was on the way to Joshua Tree, our destination.  Pioneer Town is in Yucca Valley which is in the Morongo Basin (East of the San Bernadino Mountains and north of Coachella Valley). It is located within the Mojave Desert and in the High Desert region of Southern California. It was a little over a 2 hour drive from Los Angeles. After we got off of the exit, it was a 4 mile scenic drive down Pioneer Town Rd. full of joshua trees, shrubs and the little mountains made of the largest rocks I’ve ever seen.

The town was a live-in Old West motion picture set built in the 1940’s and was a place for actors to live and film. When we arrived it was a ghost town and there was literally no one there. It definitely felt like I was in another time period or in one of the old western movies I grew up watching with my dad. It was an interesting experience. Walking down Main Street you will see a jail, bathhouse, an old bank, a pen with real live chickens inside (you can put a quarter in a machine to get corn kernels to feed them with), livery stables, a saloon and many other western places. It was pretty cool to see. So we decided, why not take some shots here?

Hello chickeeeen!

It was super windy and not hot as I imagined (in fact it was freezing oddly enough, not warm like LA and definitely not 10 degrees warmer as I thought it would be. It totally messed up my blow out, LOL). My hair was a mangled tangly mess but I was like well, it’s a fitness shoot so it will work.

I wore sporty black leggings and a work out bra top. I wear these as regular leggings a lot in addition to working out because they are super comfy. I believe mine are the low rise version. If you purchase these, make sure you wash on the delicate cycle and do not put them in the dryer, it is best to hang dry these (as I do with all my work out gear so they last longer).

My shoes I purchased from my favorite shoe store and I wish they had more. I am obsessed with bright sneaks and completely solid colored ones. These are mens shoes, believe it or not. They also had some bright yellow ones I wish I had bought but it looks like they are still available! Click the link I listed at the bottom of this post.

When you get a chance, you must visit Pioneer Town. I believe the whole set is open on weekends (and the stores / adjacent bar). Right next door is a little Pioneer Town motel which looks super neat. Also within the lot is Pappy & Harriet’s which is should also be on your list to visit. It’s a large BBQ restaurant & bar that was really packed once it opened at night (otherwise I wouldn’t have thought a single soul existed in this town) and it was such a fun place!!! Live music from locals (kind of like a mini concert) and oddly, they feature other singers from around the world and all types of music! When we were there, there was a rapper from China and singers from Sweden, kid singers, adults, you name it. Luckily we got a table right in front, facing the performers. It was an interesting mix of tourists, trendy hipsters and western / southern looking folks. I went the weekend after Coachella so I’m not sure if it is a busy time but they have amazing reviews on yelp and it definitely felt like a popular place.

Welp, that’s it for this post. I hope I have inspired you to work out and also to visit Pioneer Town with friends or your significant other. It will definitely be fun and like nothing you’ve experienced. I plan to go back with my boyfriend. Sadly, I won’t be working out for a while since I am recovering from a complex foot surgery I had a week ago, but luckily I still have some content to post. I will get back at it once I am on my feet.

Y’all have a good day and make sure y’all come back now, ya hear?

Photography by Tommy Cuellar 

xx, Natalie



What I wore: 

VS Bra Top

VS Leggings: Low-Rise & High Rise

Shoes: Asics Tiger Gel Kayano Trainer

Sunnies: Ray-Ban