These foods not only scale high in the taste-meter but they rate very high in the romance dept too

These love foods are sure to add the X-factor to your romance
By Vijayalakshmi Sridhar

These foods are special and each of them has one exciting quality: they can add a dash of oomph to your romance. Go, get them now:

Raspberries: Red is the colour of love

Its ruby-red color is the first mood-lifter. Second is its exoticism. The more exotic it is, more is the excitement for it. Raspberries awaken a feeling as sweet as their taste. They are also claimed to have rich antioxidant properties that alert the senses and keeps it on the ready. Pop a raspberry in your champagne glass or feed your partner from the bowl to set the pace for your romantic night or getaway.

Chocolate: Dark is deadly

Dark chocolate is found to possess chemicals that change our moods and turn on the pleasure sensors. The presence of phenylethylamine injects us with euphoria by promoting dopamine in the blood. Dopamine is the kicker. It works directly on the central nervous system: initiating a feeling of stimulation and excitement that is followed by enjoyment and gratification.

Saffron: Those glorious, golden strands 

Saffron is all about the calm before the storm. With its rich flowery smell and sweet taste, saffron milk is supposed to be one of the most effective smell seducers. A glass of warm milk infused with saffron can really put you in a romantic mood. The warmth of saffron creates a curious buzz that drives the sensual pleasures.

Maca: Root for your romance

A root grown in Peru, Maca is found to strengthen the libido and romantic drive and also cure minor dysfunctions in performance. It is also a rich source of potassium, vitamin C, iron, copper and Vitamin B. You can cook, bake or mix powdered or gelatinous Maca in smoothies and puddings. Its mild, earthy taste pairs it well with chocolate.

Garlic: Stinky seduction

Absolutely dislikable for the stinky odor it produces in the breath, garlic deserves no place on the list of aphrodisiacs. Men who have a lot of garlic, have a more attractive body odour. Adding to this plus point, garlic has some effect on circulatory and muscle strengthening. This stimulates the psyche and directly influences the chemistry between those in love.

Vijayalakshmi Sridhar’s
stories explore human relationships and their dynamics. She is enjoying her journey as a writer of fiction and features.

Are you supressing your inner Masculine and Feminine side? These are the benefits of balancing them!

If we want to live at optimal levels, our masculine & feminine energies need to be balanced.
By Nikita Jhanglani

You must have heard phrases like "don't cry like a girl" or "man up." This kind of talk reflects the gender stereotypes that exist in society. The gender roles which are most commonly demarcated into male and female are embedded in our subconscious and inform all our thoughts and actions.

But, do you know about the two gender energies that reside within each one of us? Yes, our soul has both a masculine and a feminine side. If we want to function at the highest level of our potential, a harmony between these two sides is a must.

We spoke to Natalie Matos, Singer, Song Writer & Reiki Master, to know more about gender energy and how we can strike that much-needed balance.

Meet your inner Masculine and Feminine

Our masculine side is our ability to:
  • focus
  • plan
  • provide the structure for the implementation of our plans

Our feminine side is:

  • our creative flair
  • passion
  • intuition and inspiration

Harmonizing our inner Masculine & Feminine

When the inner Feminine envisions an idea, it is the inner Masculine that provides the planning and action needed to implement it.

So, creativity and flow are as important as structure and planning; the Arts must come together with Science and Engineering.

Natalie says, “The most beautiful explanation I received of the masculine and feminine energies was that the male side is like the banks of the river—strong, protective and present, guiding the flow. Our female side is like the river itself needing to simply ‘flow’. Therefore, when we get it right, the male side can provide the structure we need to let the female side flow, in full trust that she will be fully held."

What happens when either energy is suppressed?

We all know people who are controlling, power hungry, and rigid; they cannot bear if things don’t go as planned.

Or the highly creative, highly emotional people who can’t complete anything and only get through life in a haphazard haze.

They belong to the classic stereotype of the ‘shadow’—people who suppress a side of their personality.

Empower your masculine and feminine energies

We operate at optimal levels when our masculine and feminine energies are well-balanced. Which means, we need to do stuff that empowers both.

Ask yourself if your life reflects areas of the ‘shadow stereotype’ or the ‘long flowing river’?

If it is more like the stereotype, now is the time to work on yourself and restore the balance.

To strengthen your masculine energy:

  • Indulge in mathematical, analytical, and physically aggressive activities
  • Compete in a sport, construct something physical, or carry some weights or heavy items

To strengthen your feminine energy:

  • Express your emotions freely
  • Paint, guide people using your experiences

About Natalie Matos
Singer, songwriter and Reiki Master Natalie Matos has been giving treatments, teaching and leading music and healing workshops since 2004. Her primary passion has always been to help people get the most from life. In 2014, she developed ‘Conscious Voice’, offering multiple uplifting techniques that combine the power of music, meditation, healing, and voice, to create a deeply relaxing and transformative class. As well as her Sound Meditations she offers healing treatments (including distance treatments by Skype) individual voice coaching, group singing workshops, and live performance. We are proud to have her on board as a Thriive-verified therapist and she can be contacted here:

About Nikita Jhanglani

Nikita Jhanglani is a technical and creative content writer, editor and book blogger. Currently, she is into world domination, one checklist at a time.

Are you having an emotional affair? These signs say yes!

Can a non-physical connection be termed as cheating in a relationship?

By Ashika Mehta

Love spending more time with your "friend" than with your significant other? Do you find yourself sharing your intimate thoughts and feelings with your "friend" than with your spouse? Are you confused whether it's a friendship or an emotional affair? Be it an online or an IRL relationship, there was not much clarity about where one should draw the line before it turns into "cheating". We had a lot of questions so we asked them to Pyschotherapist Ashika Mehta and she helped clear our doubts: 

Thriive Art & Soul:  What is an emotional affair?

Ashika Mehta:
A deep friendship would usually be platonic. However, if a person is withdrawing emotional intimacy from their partner and putting in the same emotional investment into somebody else it would be considered an emotional affair. Essentially, an emotional affair is when the need for emotional intimacy is being fulfilled by somebody you feel attracted to at the cost of the primary relationship.

Thriive Art & Soul:What are the signs that a relationship is an emotional affair and not a friendship?

Ashika Mehta: Emotional infidelity often goes unnoticed because it is more ambiguous and harder to define than physical infidelity.

Some signs that this may be something more than a friendship include if you are pining to see or speak to this person, you make more of an effort to look better when you see this person, you are talking about this person more than usual, you start sharing important events with this person before sharing with your partner, you get butterflies in your stomach when you see the person or they call.

Basically if you experience romantic excitement about someone it’s a warning sign.

Thriive Art & Soul:Is an emotional affair considered to be cheating in a relationship?

Ashika Mehta: The very definition of cheating has two parts. First, when there is deception or secrecy. And second, is when one has a pact, understanding or promise with someone that you will turn to each other for the fulfilment of certain needs and desires. When you breach this agreement, it is cheating.

In many ways an emotional affair weakens the emotional and sometimes even sexual connection between the couple. It can result in fantasizing about the ‘other person’ which opens the doors to something more in a vulnerable moment.

Thriive Art & Soul:What are the after-effects of an emotional affair on the original relationship?

Ashika Mehta: As one withdraws emotional engagement from one's partner, it can lead to distance, emptiness, loneliness, lack of communication, lack of connection and a breakdown of the primary relationship.

Thriive Art & Soul: How can one avoid getting into an emotional affair? How can one deepen the bond with the current partner?

Ashika Mehta: People get attracted to individuals outside their primary partner for various reasons. These reasons could include an issue that you yourself are struggling with or that your partner is struggling with.

Reasons that can incite an emotional affair include:
  • resentment towards a partner
  • a fear to trust and create true emotional intimacy in the relationship 
  • unconsciously repeating dysfunctional relationship patterns
  • viewing differences as a threat 
  • economic stress on the relationship 
  • long distance pressures, to name just a few.
Either way if you are able to identify these issues in yourself or in your partner, have an open and honest chat about it and see if you can consciously work on it together.

Couples may also choose to go into individual or couples therapy to address these issues.

Communication that is open, honest and consistent is important to set the foundation and maintain emotional intimacy.

About Ashika Mehta

Ashika Mehta practices psychotherapy in Mumbai. She has completed her Master’s in Clinical Social Work from Columbia University along with a BA in Psychology from Vassar College. Ashika also facilitates training programs for corporates, and has conducted trainings for YPO and ASCENT.

Ashika has done intensive post-trauma work with those affected by the 26/11 terror attacks at the Breach Candy Hospital and facilitates therapy groups for those with chronic illness.

Ashika is passionate about working towards the prevention of the sex trafficking of at-risk women and children. As a Board Member of Apne Aap Women’s Collective, Ashika helps rehabilitate women in prostitution and creates educational and job opportunities for the children of sex workers.

What the heck is self-love? We asked Spiritual Coach & Mentor Greg Friedman and you'll be surprised to know what he said!

Self-love posts get highest ‘likes’. But what is it exactly? We asked for some answers and got them from Greg Friedman

What is Love?
It’s such a huge question. It has been explored by scientists, philosophers, and you and I. Love is what we are all looking for. Love is a need as vital as air, food or water, but what is it? And most of the time we are thinking of loving another when we pose the question.

But how can we love another unless we learn to love ourselves?
Rumi says, “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”

So what are the largest barriers to our self-love?
We, as humans, often refuse to see what is going on here and now and instead, we default based on patterns of both happiness and trauma from our past.

Love is being present
Are we willing to be present with ourselves and look at our own reflection without turning away, judging or criticizing? Unfortunately, the answer to that is often no, we are not willing to recognize ourselves, to be with ourselves, to be present with ourselves without fading or fixing, or judging.

To love ourselves is to forgive ourselves
Forgive for what? I don’t know but you do. We all have little things that we don’t embrace. Little places that we find dark and cold within and if we can beckon those areas of ourselves over and wrap them in the warm embrace of forgiveness then we begin to love ourselves in a healthier, happier, more accepting manner. Then we can love another similarly and also open ourselves to receive from another in a happier, more embracing manner as well.

Self-love is recognition of ourselves
Our essence is always love. To me, Namaste means the essence of me sees and recognizes the essence of you in this moment and acts accordingly. Namaste’s literal translation in Sanskrit is "Nama" (to bow), "As" (I), and "Te" (you). Put it all together, and it means “I bow to you,” therefore I bow to love.

One of my favorite and oft quoted sayings is, “Everything on this planet is either love or a call for love”.

Self-love is an act of courage and surrender
With love, there is no room for fear or ego or suffering, there is only now, this moment and the present moment is always filled with the effervescence of the beauty of love.

Will you choose to forgive, will you choose to love, the invitation is always there.

Show yourself some love every day in some way:
  1. Look at yourself in the mirror and say aloud, “I love you.”
  2. Book yourself for a massage or a Zumba class.
  3. Indulge yourself with that special something you’ve been putting off (but don’t break the bank, that’s despair, not self-love).
  4. Give expression to your creative urge: paint, sing, sew, or cook something new.
  5. Meditate
About Greg Friedman

Greg Friedman is a modern version of that which has existed in every culture, a Spiritual Guide and Mentor. He builds bridges and helps clear paths, in part, by taking the ancient wisdom of indigenous cultures and making it applicable to us in our everyday lives.

Greg hosts the world-renowned FM radio program, “Inner Journey with Greg Friedman”, as well as working with clients one on one as well as teaching workshops. He has been taking small groups of people all over the world to work with indigenous elders in remote destinations including the Amazon Rainforest, Macchu Picchu and the Daintree rainforest among others.

He has studied and done ceremony with Peruvian Shamans, Aborigine elders and elders from various Native American tribes including the Yaqui, the Deer Tribe, the Lakota and the Abanaki. To know more about Greg Friedman, please visit

Here’s how meditation can make you a better entrepreneur!

Boost up your own valuation through meditation
By Shreans Daga

Entrepreneurs are known to live life on the edge. And it can often take a toll. Meditation is the one way to prepare yourself for the ups and downs of an entrepreneur’s life and come out on top. Who could tell us how to do this better than Thriive Pillar & Vice Chairman of Pyramid Valley International Shreans Daga. 

The story of how he discovered meditation and how it changed his life completely has inspired us completely. 

So, we asked him how meditation could become an important tool in an entrepreneur’s business kit and here’s what he had to say:

Changing Negative Emotional Patterns & Beliefs
Meditation helps us change our subconscious negative emotional patterns. Most of us carry past emotional conditioning. Between the ages of 3 and 5, we learn new things. But after that, 90% of the time, we repeat the same emotional patterns, again and again. The choices we make are also usually those that suit our emotional addictions as they generate the same chemical reactions in our body.

Our beliefs, often shaped by social conditioning can disempower us too. Feeling guilty for taking a holiday or going for a massage, negative thinking like something bad is going to happen, thoughts like “no pain, no gain” – all these form negative emotional patterns.

But, when we begin our meditation practice, we can change it all. Erasing our negative emotional patterns and replacing them with self empowering ones becomes easy.

Making Right Decisions

When we meditate, we move from survival-based emotions to creative-based emotions. The choices we make depend on which state we are in. So, when we are in survival-based emotions, even the choices will be based on those emotions, coming out of fear, insecurity, competition, hatred, greed or lust. The right decisions will come when we move to love-based emotions. These decisions will come from abundance, love, joy, peace and oneness. And at that moment, you’ll choose something with a lot of clarity and full belief. That will be the right choice.

Attracting Abundance
Meditation makes me happy from within. So, when I can feel the abundance, the good health and the joy without depending on the external environment, I begin to draw more of the same into my life. The law of attraction works this way. So, I’m no longer living the life of cause and effect, instead, I am causing an effect.

About Shreans Daga

Vice-chairman of Pyramid Valley International, Shreans Daga has aided hundreds of masters in spreading their light around the world, and guides people to transform their lives through love-based changes to create a brand-new, empowered reality. Shreans’ main focus and research has led him to discover the world of Quantum Energy Medicine and the Science of Spirituality. He is also the Founder President of the Mumbai Pyramid Spiritual Society.

If you’ve always wondered about meditation but never experienced it, now’s your chance to give it a shot! Thriive Art & Soul’s Moon Magic Meditations are very popular. Call 7506424584 or email [email protected] to get your invite in advance.

I’m A Thriiver – Here's how Yoga and Dance saved Capt. Sumisha Shankar's back and gave her a new life

Capt. Sumisha Shankar shares with us her story of how she overcame a debilitating back injury and depression to waltz back to wellness and help others to do it too and it is just so awe-inspiring

Born to Excel
I was born in a simple middle class family to extraordinarily talented parents who had themselves taken the less traveled path in life. My father is a scientist and my mother is a renowned folk singer and the founder of Surangama Kala Kendra.

They bequeathed my siblings and me a highly disciplined life of both academics and performing arts in a state like Bihar. Our ethics and freedom came encoded with the right ethos of life.

As a child artiste in my mother’s troupe (more than 1200 shows till date), I traveled far and wide, soaking in the aesthetics of art & cultural traditions. I excelled in both dance and academics: Graduation with Honors from Miranda House; Indian classical Kathak from the National Institute – gold medalist and scholarship holder.

Unknowingly, I set myself such high standards of achievements that I began suffering from performance pressure.

The Army Experience

Life took a different turn when I became one of the 50 women from all India who were chosen to serve in the Indian Army. It was a brilliant move by Life. It was a challenge I took head-on, in my default over-achieving mode. And the result was a back injury during training. I was out on my back, literally. Even after regular treatments and medications, my back did not regain its full fitness.

I was in the army for 5 years but soon the adventurous and challenging nature of being in uniform could not satisfy a growing internal need to express and fulfill myself creatively.

It was a tough decision to leave the Indian Army but I finally chose what my soul was craving for. I landed in Mumbai.

I was an onstage person – I pursued my dream run with a reality show, dancing, theater.

Plunged into Depression

Capt. Sumisha shares her story with us

But life was not all hunky dory. Societal pressures were mounting – I was nearing 30 and my parents were getting nervous about my non-marital status. Fending off unwanted propositions, suffering heartbreak, practicing dance and acting which meant I was on my feet for almost 8 hours a day - was taking its toll. My siblings had also left to pursue higher education, leaving me alone.

I had never seen such a string of failures in my life. LONELY. That is what I felt, and one day my back too gave up.

I collapsed and couldn’t breathe. Doctors said it was a panic attack. I had gone into depression.

During this time I cooked and danced a lot. I was in a sort of house arrest; I’d stopped going out or meeting friends. Cooking was my act of self-validation. Dance helped me to reflect and shake out my fear.

The Breakthrough

I suffered it for a year before I had a breakthrough with myself: after 15 years of searching for a solution for my injured back, Iyengar yoga revived it. My dance had found yoga. My soul found its soulmate.

I started Antardhwani to inspire people to simplify their life to the basics and find their authentic self to rediscover and refuel their vitality because real empowerment begins from real self.

As a Wellness Coach and artistic director of Antardhwani, I create and implement multidimensional training programs for self and team development through a mix and match of science, military ethics, dance, music, theater and painting.

I bring my dad’s scientific temper and my mother’s artistry to this endeavor. The audience has responded with a BIG YES!!

I live an organic life in an urban space. I reflect and communicate in my relationship too. Being with Mumma Nature is the practice I love the most.

Deeper truths felt and shared

My journey has been and continues to be about looking beyond the sharpness of the intelligence to find the center where the head and the heart meet. Stumbling blocks are part and parcel of the pursuit of the authentic self. Being aware of these can make the journey easier:
  • Avoid getting trapped in your own bloated ego. 
  • Being a creative human/artistic is the only way one can feel the divinity of life. 
  • Pursue originality and develop it beyond stereotypes. 
  • The world of yoga is not just about asanas. It’s about a mindset which wants to be in harmony with the forces of nature.
  • Emotions make us human and we need to know how to express ourselves from a space of authenticity and self-power.

We are proud to have Capt. Sumisha Shankar on board as a Thriive-verified Holistic Wellness Coach & an International Dance Meditation Healer. You can connect with her here:

Kala Ghoda Festival 2019: Last day (10th Feb) to nurture your soul and spirit at Mumbai's beloved cultural festival

Kala Ghoda Festival has something for everyone in the family: Art, craft, food & fun
by Kajal Kapur 

In its 20th edition, The Kalaghoda Arts Festival invites Mumbaikars to celebrate Mumbai in its own unique way. With many special treats planned to celebrate that milestone, this festival which began on the 2nd of February, draws to a close tomorrow. If you’ve never visited or are still sitting on the fence, jump over and spend the whole day imbibing the culture and the heritage of this city. This event is not only for adults; it also hosts engaging activities for young minds.

Here we list the five events that will get your artistic side grooving:

Ooey Gooey | Feb 10, 2:00 pm- 3:00 pm | CSMVS lawns | (Age: 4 to 9 yrs)
Combine chemicals and make your own slime; engage in experiments through amazing chemical reactions. This season engage your children so that they can spark their imagination and encourage their creativity in a free and resourceful way. Learning with fun cannot be defined better than this.

Know your Art | Feb 10, 3:00 pm- 4:00 pm| CSMVS lawns | (Age: 6 to 12 yrs.)
Dabble in steam sessions based on mathematics, geometry, shapes and colour curated by renowned artist S.H. Raza and take home your masterpiece.

Shakti Awakening | Feb 10, 2019 | 9:30 pm - 9:55 pm | Cross Maidan
The Odissi performance by Sangeeta Rajan & Swati Apte traces the blossoming of the feminine from a meditative awakening to its full manifestation as the warrior Goddess. 

Kabir Café | Feb 10, 2019 | 6:00 pm - 6:45 pm | Cross Maidan
Playing the poetry of the 15th century Indian Mystic – Kabir, this neo-folk fusion band, Kabir Café, mixes contemporary genres of Rock, Reggae, Pop and Carnatic music. 

Sense it Paint it - Blindfold Art Workshop| Feb 10, 2019 11:30 am - 1:30 pm| Artists' Centre
Workshop offers a unique experience of creating your own work of art, blindfolded. Specially curated by Siddhant Shah this promises to tantalize your senses.

Installation that got our heart

Toybank Installation- Development Through Play
Pic Source
At the venue you cannot ignore the massive installations that have been put up. We're very excited about the one prepared by Toybank, Rachana Sansad and Sculptor Arzaan Khambatta called Roots To Sky which depicts play-filled childhood ensuring a bright future. 

Grab a piece of the culture fun before it's time to say good-bye till next year.

Kajal Kapur is a perpetual dreamer, a mind-vagabond and an eternal optimist who is also a published writer and works as Operations Head at Penmancy.

Journaling: The most creative and fun way of overcoming the worst of heartbreaks

Write it to right it
By Nikita Jhanglani

Are you trying to get over a heartbreak but feeling that your heart will stay broken forever? Breakups can be soul-wrenching but staying gloomy forever can steal away one’s chance at finding happiness again. Here’s a key that can help one heal: Journaling. Yes, with just a diary (or a book or…ahem…a journal) and a pen (or pencil), you can join all those broken pieces and become whole again.

Here’s why journaling is super effective when it comes to dealing with pain:

  • Journaling is like meditating: It creates a sacred space for you to spend time with yourself.

  • It frees you of the negativity that comes with a heartbreak: It brings you face to face with your deepest, darkest secrets in your own space, without worrying about judgement or having to filter your thoughts.
  • It makes you mindful: You’ll probably realize that the signs of discord were always there, but you didn’t see them. Or, that you could have handled a situation better or how you had begun to lose yourself completely in the relationship.
  • It rebuilds your self-confidence: After a heartbreak, one’s self-confidence takes the biggest hit. Journaling reveals the positive things in one’s life as well as one’s achievements and also what you want from a relationship. You will begin to exercise better discretion in choosing your most apt partner, in the future.
  • It helps process emotions like anger and jealousy: Write…write…write…till the harsh, acidic words have flowed out completely to be followed by soft, smooth words of love for yourself.
Open the doors to happiness… 

… with these simple tips: 

  • There’s just one way to journal: your way.

  • You don’t have to be a ‘writer’ or have a good handwriting to journal.
  • Initially, it is likely to make you feel sad. However, the more you do it, the easier it gets.

Nikita Jhanglani is a technical and creative content writer, editor and book blogger. Currently, she is into world domination, one checklist at a time.