Juicing 101: Easy juices for every day of the week

 A ruby-toned glass of goodness—ABC Juice
A ruby-toned glass of goodness—ABC Juice

It’s been a while since I’ve started drinking, and enjoying, fresh juices on a daily basis. While the popular ABC juice has been my predominant favourite, I’d really like to include different fruit and vegetable juices into my diet. So I got down to researching and experimenting with different fruits and veggies.

I love the famous Apple-Beetroot-Carrot combo because the ruby-coloured juice tastes great and is a powerhouse of nutrients too. I also find that adding Chia seeds to my daily juice takes it up several notches, on both the texture and health fronts.

Want more fruit and vegetable juice inspiration? Head over to Polka Cafe, an informative website on which an article on my top juice recommendations was recently published.

Scent of a season

Droplets of rain
Droplets of rain

I wake up this morning in a bed that isn’t mine. I look around and everything seems rather unfamiliar. Everything, save one distinct fragrance—that of the rain-kissed earth. I feel confused, yet at peace. I am at home, yet far from home. Now, it slowly starts to come together. A 10-hour train journey the night before brought me to Goa. I’ve left the balmy city of Mumbai long behind for the verdant Southern state, albeit just for a week.

Feeling light and bright against the raging grey sea
Feeling light and bright against the raging grey sea

Through the window of my villa I see the rain kiss the red soil outside. Further in the distance, the sea is a roaring grey entity, its waves rising and falling in a manner that seems urgent—almost as if they are calling out to me.

I don’t have an agenda to follow now that I’m here. Or maybe I do. For now, the bed-to-balcony walk seems like the only route I’d like to take. Instead, I go a bit further. I feel the drops of rain gentle fall upon my skin as I stand on the moist soil. Today is a special day.

I am a monsoon baby. I was born in the month of July. I came into this world many years ago today, the 21st day of July. It might be the reason why I love the monsoons much more than any of the other seasons. But then again, who doesn’t love weather like this.

Endless cups of tea are always in order when the weather’s so fine. A book to read or my notebook to write makes for great company. The air is so much cooler at this time of the year. The awfully hot and seemingly never-ending summer that just went by has blurred into the distant past. Everyone looks much happier than they were a few months ago. That’s what the turn of the season can do.

Most fascinating about the rainy season is the fresh and natural scent that’s hard to ignore. That powerfully evocative fragrance of freshly rain-kissed earth is like no other. It fills the land with a fresh and lush feel that no Indian season could ever bring.

I recently read up about a phenomenon, also known as petrichor. In a bid to study the science behind the rain’s aroma in 1964, a pair of scientists coined the term petrichor by combining the Greek words petra (stone) and ichor (the blood of the gods).

An apt term, indeed. But why does the earth exude such a strong, distinct smell that’s unlike anything else? The study determined that one of the main causes of this distinctive smell is the blend of oils secreted by a number of plants during the hot, dry season. As soon as it starts to rain, compounds from the oils start interacting with each other and get released into the air.

I can’t help but be thankful for this natural phenomenon. It’s such a pleasant aroma, one that can only be associated with the rains. The scent of fresh earth is comforting and nostalgic. Childhood memories surface; one feels carefree and light all over again.

Nothing quite like the smell of rain
Nothing quite like the smell of rain

Now, if I had the chance to create my own fragrance for a perfume, I would try to recreate the smell of rain. I’ve always loved natural-smelling perfumes. For the most part of my life I’ve used just a single perfume — Elizabeth Arden’s Green Tea.

If there had to be another perfume or scent that I might want to use on myself or even as a pillow or air spray, it would most definitely be one that smells of the rain and the wet mud.

This post is my entry for the Godrej aer Inspire A Fragrance contest on Indiblogger.com, in which winning entries will help inspire Godrej to create new fragrance based on the participant’s entries. It’s a fantastic crowd-inspired initiative that allows the blogger to become a part of their think-tank. Let’s hope they are inspired by my love for the fresh smell of a rainy day.

Tried-and-tested Super Asanas

Source: By Kennguru (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0), via Wikimedia Commons
Source: By Kennguru (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0), via Wikimedia Commons
I’ve been regularly practicing yoga after an exceptionally long break. I’ve always loved it, especially the focus that each asana brings during the session and the mental clarity and energy that sticks with me all day long. Strangely, I had never managed to sustain my interest in yoga since the time I started practicing it, which was roughly eight years ago. So I’m really quite happy with this bit of progress that’s happening right now.

Everyone has a favourite yoga pose. I’ve come to realise that I particularly enjoy a mix of the standing and reclining asanas. I feel great after doing each one of them, and sometimes—when I don’t have too much time—I perform just these poses, or, what I like to call Super Asanas. If your excuse for not practising yoga has been lack of time, I’d highly recommend doing just these. You just need to try it to experience the bliss. Here are the Super Asanas that are sure to give you a host of immediate as well as long-term benefits.

Dhanurasana

Also known as the Bow pose, this asana is great if you want to tone your legs, strengthen your tummy muscles, beat stress, open up your chest, neck and shoulders, and add flexibility to your back. Even though I find this particular asana more difficult to perform than most of the other asanas, I still make sure to incorporate it into my daily yoga session. I especially love that feeling when the front of my thighs get stretched as well as that relaxing stretch on my middle and lower back.

Trikonasana

This asana, also known as the Triangle pose, has got to be my favourite! Unlike most asanas, one needs to keep their eyes open for this one. I love how it completely stretches my thighs, hamstrings, sides, shoulders, calves, groin and hips. And, with the my eyes fixed on the different movements (your eyes need to follow the tips of your fingers), I find it to be one of the best stress relievers! After doing 5 sets on each side, you’ll feel energised, focused, balanced and ready to take on the biggest challenges of the day.

Janusirasana

This head-to-knee pose is one of the best ways to stretch your leg, back and arm muscles. I try to hold this pose for five minutes for each leg. I’ve noticed that the more I practice it with a calm mind, the easier it becomes. As the days go by, my ability to hold this pose for a longer time without much muscle tugs, pulls or quivers, has improved. I also try to incorporate Janusirasana during my cool-down session, especially after a heavy leg workout. It’s an excellent way to allow your muscles to relax and cool off after exercising, besides making you more flexible. Don’t forget to exhale as your head touches your knee.

Utkatasana

Even though Utkatasana, also known as the Chair Pose, might look simple, it is actually a tad challenging. But its benefits run high! I love any exercise that involves focussing on a distant point. I’ve found that sitting in an ‘imaginary’ chair has helped to improve my concentration and awareness, along with strengthening my thigh muscles and lengthening my back. Do a few rounds of this asana and you’ll also notice that your posture improves to a great extent.

Surya Namaskar

Performed as a salutation to the sun, this practice is, in actual fact, a combination of asana and pranayama (breathing). I like to try and do at least 25 Surya Namaskars every day. Yes, I know, each Surya Namaskar takes at least a minute (if not more to complete, especially when you hold each pose). And sometimes it can seem like too much of a rigorous workout to even get into. But, once I’m done I can’t help but think about how amazing it makes me feel.

My flexibility has improved greatly as has my stamina because it’s much like a cardio workout (expect a bucket load of sweat). I’ve read that it helps every organ in the body to function to its optimum, besides purifying blood, improving blood circulation and the functioning of nerve centres. I like to start off with 10 sets, holding each of the 12 postures for as long as I can. I practice the next 15 using fluid and dynamic movements.

Shavasana

This asana takes me back to my college days when I first started practising yoga. I can’t, for the life of me, believe that I attended the 7 am yoga class at the Yoga Institute in Santacruz, Mumbai! Even today, it’s hard to imagine myself performing a series of contortions at such an early hour. Anyway, by the end of the class, after performing Shavasana, the sleepy-headed me used to enter such a heightened state of relaxation that I almost always fell off to sleep!

Jokes aside, Shavasana—generally performed as the last asana—is much like a cool-down of sorts and has the practitioner lying on his or her back while releasing all forms of muscular tension. There’s not a day when I don’t practice it now (minus the nodding off bit, of course). Whether I’ve done 120 squats or 50 Surya Namaskars, I find that Shavasana is, perhaps, one of the best ways for my body to completely cool itself down after stretching, thereby eliminating the possibility of injuries. I also perform this asana as a pick-me-up when my energy levels are running low on certain days.

* This article is based on my personal experience. Each posture is best explained by your yoga instructor, after consulting with your doctor, should you suffer from any disorders.