Health & Wellness Blog


Considering Taking Up Triathlon?

If you’re taking an interest in endurance sports, but dread the monotony of performing the same arduous activity day in and day out, the multi-sport of triathlon be your niche.

Many people, whether to lose weight or improve cardiovascular health, jump right into sports like running and cycling, only to drop out after a month of growing boredom. There is no doubt that doing the same sport on consistent basis can get a little old. However with triathlon, there are three sports in which you can enjoy and get better at.

But what’s more than just getting in shape via swimming, biking, and running, is the outcome and personal development you can gain from triathlon. Taking on three sports takes dedication, preparation, and effort. Triathletes are often health-minded and highly-driven individuals, and those characteristics often reflect their complete lifestyle.

Why Tri?

Participating in swimming, biking, and running can surely get you into top shape. All three sports work various muscle groups and all require a fair degree of strength and cardiovascular effort. Furthermore, each sport offers its own advantages compared to the others.

Some triathletes are prone to impact activities, such as running. Although they will still run on occasion (such as during races or during training periods,) this breed will typically focus more on swimming and biking, which are low impact sports. Conversely, some individuals don’t have access to a pool or lake. These triathletes will often emphasize their training around the biking and running aspects of the sport.

The flexibility of triathlon gives health-minded individuals the opportunity to mix up their training regime. This can help ward off boredom from doing the same exercises and activity over and over. Regardless of whether or not you planning to do a race, involving yourself in the three disciplines of triathlon can help you become a greater individual.

Triathlon for Health

Considering Taking Up TriathlonThe sport of triathlon also contributes to great sense of well-being, both mentally and physically. The physical aspects are obvious, for the three sports of triathlon involve a great deal of coordination and energy expenditure. An often overlooked benefit of the multi-sport is the mental health benefits.

Triathlon, particular for those involved with racing, requires a significant amount of organization and preparation. From building training schedule to planning out meals and nutrition, the indirect aspects of the sport are major factors to being mentally healthy. The typical triathlete is usually a very conscious person, in that he or she is usually well aware of one’s diet, feelings and emotions, and overall lifestyle choices.

Endurance sports naturally make humans feel good. The endorphin release during and after a solid work-out promotes optimism and greater sense of presence. These emotions reflect the rest of the day, and thus can enhance our way of life.


Ashtanga Yoga: A Deeper Practice

Yoga helps your body and mind. It keeps you healthy and helps you rediscover your fullest potential spiritually and psychologically. Yoga has three basic practices that help you gain awareness and control of self. These are Ujjayi Pranayama (proper breathing), asanas (postures) and driste (gazing point).

Whether you're a beginner, or practice yoga regularly and are considering a yoga retreat in the future, there's immense benefits to be gained. In essence, you will get steadiness of mind and body if you are devoted and you perform Yoga regularly.

Ashtanga Yoga for Health

The 8 Limbs of Ashtanga Yoga

The term Ashtanga literally translates to 8 limbs. This refers to:

* contemplation or Samadhi

* abstinences or Yama

* observances or Niyama

* breath conrol or Pranayama

* sense withdrawal or Pratyahara

* postures or Asana

* concentration or Dharana

* meditation or Dhyana

The different limbs have to be used together. The asana (posture) practice is pivotal in pranayama and the development of niyamas and yamas. Asana, pranayama, niyama and yama, the 4 externally-oriented limbs, are the most important since the 4 internally-oriented limbs spontaneously evolve with the passage of time.

Get Your Flow On

Vinyasa refers to movement that is breath-synchronized. Breath-synchronized movement is very important in Ashtanga. You generate intense internal heat when you practice locks (Uddiyana Bandhas or Mula together with the breath-synchronized movement. The intense heat is important because it purifies organs and muscles.

This has the effect of nourishing the body, achieved through the massaging of sweat back into your skin, the release of beneficial minerals and hormones and the expulsion of unwanted toxins. Breath-synchronized movement helps in the regulation of the vinyasa and it ensures there is efficient blood circulation. This ensures that your body is light and strong.

The Ashtanga system is made up of 3 sequence groups. The first (primary) series in the sequence is Yoga Chikitsa. This works by detoxifying and aligning the body. Nadi Shodhana is the second (intermediate) series. It works by purifying the nervous system through the opening and the cleaning of energy channels. The last (advanced) series in the sequence is Sthira Bhaga works by integrating grace and strength of the Ashtanga system. It requires great humility and flexibility.

One Step at a Time

It is important that you develop in each level/series fully before you go to the next one. It is also important that you follow the correct order of asana since the postures are arranged in such a way that one prepares the way for the next. You will not have the necessary balance and strength if you go to advanced postures without mastering the easier ones first.

It is difficult to overemphasize the importance of deep and even breathing while practicing Ashtanga Yoga. Breathing is important in that it feeds your actions and these actions feed your posture. With proper breathing, your movements will be precise and gentle and you will have great balance.

Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and Sri T. Krishnamacharya in their ‘Breath is Life’ teach us that proper breathing has a divine essence, with inhalation being inspiration from God and expiration being movement towards him. It is only through practice that you will achieve the results you need in Ashtanga Yoga. Contrary to how Westerners view yoga, Ashtanga Yoga is actually accompanied by sweat, stamina and strength.


Ready Your Allergy Arsenal

According to Estelle Levetin of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology aerobiology committee, allergy seasons are getting worse year after year since pollen levels are increasing. In 2012, fall allergies are likely to affect over 12 million Americans and they will last about 27 days longer than in the previous year.

To prepare your allergy arsenal, you first have to know what to expect in terms of symptom and the triggers of these symptoms. Different allergies have different symptoms and different triggers. Most fall and spring allergies cause itchy eyes, running nose and sneezing. Spring allergies run from February towards the end of July. They are mainly caused by tree pollen, weeds and grasses. Fall allergies start from the middle of August and end at the beginning of the first fall frost. These allergies are mostly caused by ragweed plant pollen, dust mites and mold.

Pollution Induced Allergies

Pollution does not help issues. According to Jeffrey G. Demain who is the director of the Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Center of Alaska, global warming now means spring allergies are now starting sooner while fall allergies are ending later. Global warming is being fueled by the burning of carbon-based fuels which generate greenhouse gases. These gases trap heat within the atmosphere and causes increase in temperatures.

Allergies in PollenAccording to Jeffrey G. Demain, carbon dioxide emission from the burning of fossil fuels, especially by car engines and factories, has the effect of increasing the amount of pollen generated by each plant. This is particularly so in urban areas where cars and factories are concentrated. The high CO2 emissions are also contributing to the high levels of allergies in that they are making the pollen more potent.

According to Estelle Levetin, temperature increases due to global warming prompt plants and trees to flower earlier each spring and they delay the death of the ragweed plant from frost in the fall. The fall allergies are now going into winter. The high temperatures also increase mold growth and the production of its spores.

Allergies Growing in Numbers

According to the National Institute of Health, the number of Americans who have allergies is 2 to 5 times higher than it was 30 years ago. Genes can be attributed to this. Estelle Levetin asserts that we are cleaner than we used to be, leading to the overreaction of our immune systems whenever they find pollen and other harmless substances. We are cleaner at a time when the environment is dirtier.

The modern diet is contributing to the rise in allergy levels. According to Gary Huffnagle of the University of Michigan, we are eating processed and preserved foods, foods that do not have the tough fibers from grains and plants our ancestors used to eat. This throws off the delicate bacteria balance in our stomachs and makes us more sensitive to allergies.

It is important that you ready your allergy arsenal months in advance since chances are that somebody close to you will have an allergic reaction this spring or fall. You could go online for the latest information on the allergies and what you require to prepare for them.

There are websites, blogs and discussion forums where you can get the latest information. Your arsenal could comprise of natural remedies, unfiltered honey, pills, rinsing to keep the sinuses clean and several others.


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