Egypt Independent: Living-Main news en Thailand closes diving sites over coral bleaching crisis <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>More than 10 diving sites in Thailand&#39;s national marine parks have closed due to widespread coral bleaching, amid the country&#39;s continued efforts to seal off its famous tourist attractions to protect the environment.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>At its worst in over six years, coral bleach has spread widely between 40 percent to 80 percent of the reefs along both the east coast (Gulf of Thailand) and the west coast (Andaman Sea), according to Nattapol Rattanaphan, Director of the Marine National Park Division (MNPD).</div><div>Koh Ma Prao and Koh Chumpon are the worst-hit areas with up to 80 percent of their corals having turned white, Rattanaphan told CNN.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Bleaching occurs when algae that live inside corals and give them their color are expelled &mdash;&nbsp;either due to increased sea temperatures or extreme weather events.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><img alt="Known for its palm-peppered islands and beaches with crystalline waters, Thailand is strengthening its bid to conserve the environment and its vulnerable coral reefs." src="" style="height: 301px; width: 536px;" /></div><div><em>Known for its palm-peppered islands and beaches with crystalline waters, Thailand is strengthening its bid to conserve the environment and its vulnerable coral reefs.</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;Sea temperature has been unusually high, reaching 34 degrees Celsius at one point,&quot; Rattanaphan said. &quot;This happened around early April to early May this year and lasted for several weeks.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Coral reefs would start to bleach if water temperatures go above 30.5 degrees Celsius and continue for two to three weeks, Rattanaphan added.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The move comes after Thai authorities closed Koh Tachai, a popular island known for its idyllic white beaches and excellent diving in the Andaman Sea, blaming tourist activities for damaging the ecosystem.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>High tourist numbers produce problems such as litter and food waste, as well as gasoline from tour boats leaching into waters, a director general of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation told CNN earlier.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>Oceans warming</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The El Niño of 2015 has played a part in the bleaching phenomenon and the damage caused along Thailand&#39;s coast was predicted, according to a press release from the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>El Niño is characterized by warmer-than-average ocean temperatures in the Pacific Ocean and El Niño years frequently contain the worst bleaching in Pacific region reefs.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><img alt="El Niño, characterized by above-average ocean temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, has played a part in the bleaching phenomenon, according to the Marine National Park Division." src="" style="height: 301px; width: 536px;" /></div><div><em>El Niño, characterized by above-average ocean temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, has played a part in the bleaching phenomenon, according to the Marine National Park Division.</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The full scale of bleaching is still not known. The MNPD has requested diving companies to help gather information or underwater photos for analysis.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Coral reefs are important to ocean ecosystems and continued bleaching events from ocean warming and acidification will damage reef-based fisheries, increase exposure to coastlines from waves and storms, and hurt economies that depend on ecotourism.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>More closures to come</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The Department of National Parks is considering shutting more islands to save corals.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Rattanaphan told CNN another meeting will be held to decide whether the Phi Phi Islands, Phanggha Bay and Nopparattara Beach should also close down.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>With some exceptions, most of marine national parks are already off limits to tourists for safety during the monsoon season and to rehabilitate the corals, Rattanaphan said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><div><img alt="The MNPD has asked divers to help gather data or underwater photos for analysis." src="" style="height: 301px; width: 536px;" /></div><div><em>The MNPD has asked divers to help gather data or underwater photos for analysis.</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div></div><div>The department has encouraged tourists and tour operators not to feed the fish or get close to the coral areas in order to restore the natural ecosystem.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>However, according to Rattanaphan, some tours are still bringing tourists into these ecologically sensitive areas. The penalty for such infringements are just under US$30.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><img alt="Coral reefs are vulnerable to bleaching if water temperatures go and stay above 30.5 degrees Celsius, MNPD&amp;#39;s director said." src="" style="height: 301px; width: 536px;" /></div><div><em>Coral reefs are vulnerable to bleaching if water temperatures go and stay above 30.5 degrees Celsius, MNPD&#39;s director said.</em></div> Sat, 28 May 2016 12:27:00 +0000 CNN 2469964 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/07/20/501184/thailand.jpg These yoga trends are too cool not to try <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Whether you&rsquo;re a beginner, expert, or even a bad yogi, the latest trends in yoga could be just what you need to get you started on the mat, or even in a hammock.<br /><br />From adding new accessories such as weights to finishing your flow with a cold beer, here we round up our favourite of the newest yoga classes which are taking a fresh look at how to practice and a new way of finding your zen.<br /><br /><strong>Aerial Yoga</strong><br /><br />Ex-gymnast and Broadway dancer Christopher Harrison&rsquo;s AntiGravity Fitness is one of the leaders in aerial yoga, founding the fitness technique AntiGravity Aerial Yoga back in 2007.<br /><br />Classes are available worldwide as well as having been licensed to well-known fitness centers. Harrison has even invented his own AntiGravity Hammock for the practice.<br /><br />By using the hammock in your yoga practice, Harrison believes that AntiGravity yoga can not only help improve your technique for a more effective workout, but by being suspended in the air the practice can also help you become lighter mentally, as well as of course physically, allowing you to open up your mind and have fun with the your new suspended yoga poses.<br /><br />And if you can&rsquo;t find an AntiGravity Fitness class near you, Unnata Aerial Yoga also offers classes around the world. Also incorporating a soft, fabric hammock, Unnata Aerial Yoga promises to help you deepen your practice, relax and realign the body, focus the mind and energise your flow.<br /><br /><strong>Yoga Sculpt</strong><br /><br />For those who are no longer challenged by a Downward Dog, why not add weights to your yoga poses in a new Yoga Sculpt class.<br /><br />Not only will Yoga Sculpt help to rev up your metabolism and build extra lean muscle mass, it will also prevent overstretching, something that can happen with more experienced yogis.<br /><br />As with any weights-based exercise, paying attention to your form and technique is important for a safe and also more effective workout, making this a class best done in the studio with an instructor.<br /><br />And although Yoga Sculpt is already a huge trend in Los Angeles, classes are now starting to pop up across the country, with many yoga specialists now adding Yoga Sculpt to their schedules.<br /><br /><strong>Rage Yoga</strong><br /><br />If you practice yoga, but still can&rsquo;t find your inner peace, or your place within the yoga milieu, then Rage Yoga could be the yoga for you.<br /><br />Wanting to offer a more relaxed way of looking at yoga, and with classes held in a pub, Rage Yoga promises a stress-busting Vinyasa yoga class but with less seriousness and more jokes, swearing rather than meditation, and an after class pint of beer, not a green smoothie.<br /><br />And although Rage Yoga is all the rage in Alberta, Canada, where it was founded, don&rsquo;t worry if you can&rsquo;t make it to a live class, this alternative attitude to yoga is spreading, and you can always try an online class with Bad Yogi.<br /><br />With a similar concept to Rage Yoga, Bad Yogi is for those who want to practice yoga but who don&rsquo;t see themselves as a yogi in the traditional sense. And as the classes are at home you can practice how you choose, with no one to judge you.</p> Fri, 27 May 2016 14:00:00 +0000 AFP 2469942 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/11/28/43/yoga.jpg Virtual reality therapy could help people with depression <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>To test virtual reality therapy as a possible new treatment for patients with depression, teams from University College London (UCL) and ICREA-University of Barcelona, recruited 15 patients with depression aged 23 &ndash; 61. The patients were asked to wear a virtual reality headset which gave them a new perspective from the point of view of a life-size &lsquo;avatar&rsquo;, or virtual body.<br /><br />The patients could see this avatar in a mirror, moving in the same way as their own body, giving participants the feeling that it was in fact their own body, an experience known as &lsquo;embodiment&rsquo;.<br /><br />During the study the patients were embodied in two different avatars. In the first, participants were in an adult avatar, and were trained to express compassion. They had to use this training to express compassion towards a distressed and crying virtual child, who eventually stopped crying and became calmer in response to the patient&rsquo;s compassionate behavior.<br /><br />So that they could then experience this compassion, the patients then switched roles and were then embodied in a virtual child before they saw their own adult avatar behave compassionately towards them.<br /><br />This short, eight-minute experience was repeated with the patients three times at weekly intervals.<br /><br />When there was a follow-up with the patients a month later, the team found that nine reported a decrease in the severity of their depressive symptoms, with four of the nine reporting a clinically significant reduction in symptoms. The researchers also saw an increase in self-compassion and reduction in self-criticism, both common problems in patients with depression.<br /><br />Although this study shows promising results, as a small trial without a control group it does have limitations, making it difficult for the researchers to say for sure that it was the virtual reality world that was responsible for the reduction in symptoms.<br /><br />The study&rsquo;s co-author Professor Mel Slater said, &ldquo;We now hope to develop the technique further to conduct a larger controlled trial, so that we can confidently determine any clinical benefit. If a substantial benefit is seen, then this therapy could have huge potential.<br /><br />The recent marketing of low-cost home virtual reality systems means that methods such as this could potentially be part of every home and be used on a widespread basis.&rdquo;<br /><br />The findings were published in the journal British Journal of Psychiatry Open.</p> Fri, 27 May 2016 13:52:00 +0000 AFP 2469939 at sites/default/files/photo/2016/02/18/43/depression.jpg Turn your breakfast into an energy booster, so easy too <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>It&rsquo;s often called the most important meal of the day, yet rather than sitting down to a healthy breakfast many of us are still guilty of grabbing something to eat on the go, or even skipping it all together.<br /><br />Dalton Wong, founder of TwentyTwo Training, co-author of The Feel Good Plan and the man behind Jennifer Lawrence&rsquo;s healthy and happy lifestyle, gives us his top 10 tips for enjoying a nutritious and delicious breakfast to improve health and give you the energy to enjoy everything life throws at you for the rest of the day.<br /><br /><strong>1. Take advantage of the fact that your metabolism is most efficient in the morning.</strong><br /><br />People who eat a large breakfast and a light dinner typically lose two-and-a-half times more weight than those who eat a small breakfast and a big dinner.<br /><br /><strong>2. Variety is the key to getting all the nutrients you need.</strong><br /><br />Experiment with different foods and mix up your menu. Pancakes, smoked salmon, blueberries with creamy Greek yogurt &ndash; they&#39;re all good.<br /><br /><strong>3. Eggs are the most filling breakfast.</strong><br /><br />A complete egg delivers the perfect balance of protein and healthy fat, and the yolk contains the most nutrients. They only take three minutes to cook &ndash; or even faster if you keep a bowl of beaten eggs in the fridge, ready to go.<br /><br /><strong>4. Sneak greens into your breakfast.</strong><br /><br />Add asparagus to poached eggs or throw last night&#39;s sautéed veggies into an omelet. In addition to their many vitamins and minerals, adding more magnesium-rich foods into your diet such as dark leafy greens can also help you to sleep better. If you don&#39;t fancy eating vegetables in the morning, blend a green juice and drink them instead.<br /><br /><strong>5. If breakfast isn&#39;t breakfast for you unless it involves toast and cereal, choose the feelgood options and add protein.</strong><br /><br />Try scrambled eggs on rye or porridge with a scoop of protein powder. The protein will also help you to feel fuller for longer and resist any unhealthy mid-morning snacks.<br /><br /><strong>6. Watch out for hidden sugar.</strong><br /><br />It will set you up for a mid-morning slump. Muffins and pastries are obvious no-nos, but sugar also lurks in 90% of processed foods, including ketchup, granola, flavoured yogurt and orange juice.<br /><br /><strong>7. Want a healthy sweet fix?</strong><br /><br />Chop strawberries into cereal or grate apple into your bircher. Or add some fresh blueberries to your Greek yogurt, their high levels of Vitamin C will help you feel calmer and get your morning off to a better start. Fresh fruit beats juice or dried fruit every time as you get more flavour, more fibre and less sugar.<br /><br /><strong>8. We&#39;re all dehydrated in the morning</strong><br /><br />Eight hours without fluids makes us sluggish. Have a big glass of water by your bed for when you wake up and another with your breakfast. Within 10 minutes of rehydrating, your metabolic rate rises 30 percent. For an even bigger health boost add some fresh lemon to balance the acidity of your blood.<br /><br /><strong>9. Is it coffee o&#39;clock yet?</strong><br /><br />Make your coffee count by drinking a cup when cortisol naturally dips in the day, so you feel more alert in an energy slump. Caffeine increases the production of cortisol, the stress hormone, so try waiting until after breakfast to have your first cup. Around 10 am is the perfect time.<br /><br /><strong>10. And finally, if you don&#39;t feel hungry, it&#39;s crazy to force yourself to eat.</strong><br /><br />It takes four days for your body to go into starvation mode and suppress metabolism, so a missed or mid-morning breakfast won&#39;t mess you up. Enjoy an extra 15 minutes in bed in the morning or get up and do some stretches, then eat when you&#39;re ready.</p> Fri, 27 May 2016 00:56:00 +0000 AFP 2469910 at sites/default/files/photo/2016/01/09/43/screen_shot_2016-01-09_at_11.30.59_am.png