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ECOTRAIL

Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers in India under serial No MAHENG/2015/65640

TM

June July 2020

Vol. No. 5 Issue No. 5

ON THE BRINK KEELED BOX TURTLE

Price Rs.10

EDUCATOR'S COLUMN India, a biodiversity hotspot

trailblazers recommends

#stayhome special

TRAVELling safe POST COVID

Quick fix yoga


CONTENTs

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the vulnerable FROMLearn THEabout EDITOR Indian Bison Vocal for Local

03 ON THE BRINK Keeled Box Turtle

05

EDUCATOR'S COLUMN India, A Biodiversity Hotspot

CAMP STORIES

Harry Potter & The Magic River

06

New frontiers Made in India

09 trailblazers recommends Travelling Safe Post Covid-19

know your gear

10

Surfing

LOOK FOR US ON Trailblazers.TheOutdoorSchool

Printed, Published and Edited by RANJAN BISWAS on behalf of TRAILBLAZERS ADVENTURE TRAVEL PVT. LTD. Edenwoods, Bay House, Ground Floor A, Gladys Alwares Marg, Off Pokhran Road No. 2, Thane (West) 400 610

Trailblazers - The Outdoor School Download softcopy from www.trailblazersindia.com www.trailblazerstraveltales.blogspot.com Call us to participate in our camps/activities: www.trailblazersfoundation.blogspot.com 022 21739737 or 022 21739732 OR email us on: contact@trailblazersindia.com

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Editor

: Ranjan Biswas

Associate Editor

: Sachin Sata

Research and Content Editor

: Nayantara Deshpande

Reporters

: Ojas Chavan, Himani Kende, Aalap Kulkarni, Sachin Sata, Nitisha Sethia Photo credits : Nayantara Deshpande, Himani Kende, Aalap Kulkarni, Sachin Sata, Sachin Sunny

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editorial Dear Readers, Welcome to yet another edition of Ecotrail! In this issue we look at the heritage of India and future travel. The sheer variety and diversity of our nation is often mind boggling. In addition to this the illustrious history of each region makes India a hotspot for heritage tourism. Amongst the many historical sites, some are as old as 12,000 years, giving us a sense of our past and how people lived then. Be it the cave paintings of Bhimbetka or the sculptures of Ellora, there is much to see and learn from them. The precise measurements of monuments built to match the astronomical movements of the sun and stars or the intricate designing of the Sun temple at Konark and the Meenakshi temple in Madurai, tell us about the scientific prowess of our ancestors. Ruled by many empires, our heritage has been influenced by a multitude of cultures. This is evident in the distinct architecture seen across the country, be it the Gothic or Greco Roman style of the British Empire, the minarets built during the Mughal rule, the stupas of the Buddhist reign or the pillars of the Mahavir temples. These are just some of the illustrations of the grand civilizational story of our great nation called Bharat or India. Every state of India went through the reigns of multiple kings and queens with stories of valour, conquest and sometimes even of their defeats and cowardice. It is true that history is written by the victors but often on digging deeper we come across different renditions of popular tales. Each of these has left an imprint on the land. And we continue to hear of them in the form of legends and sometimes bedtime stories from our parents and grandparents. Each state has a unique tale to tell and it is for us to unravel and learn about it. I would urge schools to look at destinations nearby their own city and town and rediscover scholastically its heritage. Interweave some of the local tales into the syllabus and pair this with a visit whenever possible. We need to give our children a firmer grounding of our civilization, history and its culture. This will allow them to have a better understanding of themselves when they are faced with questions about who they are. As a society we need to make the future generations aware of the wide possibilities and treasures our country possesses. Now more than ever, we need to push them to explore our nation's cultural wealth. When talking about heritage let us not forget the natural heritage that we are blessed with. In these tough times, we can always develop an appreciation for the environment with an act as simple as bird watching from our windows. The greater the curiosity for the world around us, the closer we get to discovering our purpose. This issue makes an interesting read and I would request all students, parents and teachers to go through these fascinating articles. Do feel free to write to us about your own experience with our magnificent heritage. You can send in your articles to ranjan@trailblazersindia.com with a cc to sachin@ trailblazersindia.com. The doors at Trailblazers will always be open to help you plan heritage based educational camps. Our experts shall help make history come alive using well researched pedagogies. Until we can step out and go exploring, stay home, stay safe and stay engaged. Ranjan Biswas Editor- Ecotrail | Managing Director, Trailblazers Adventure Travel Pvt Ltd | Trustee- Trailblazers Foundation

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STRIDES IN SCIENCE

ON THE BRINK

Keeled Box Turtle

Cuora mouhotii

The Keeled Box Turtle is an endangered species of turtle, endemic to Asia. Its scientific name is in honour of the French naturalist Alexandre Mouhot. It belongs to the family of box turtles known to have a high rounded upper shell (carapace) and flattened lower shell (plastron). When the animal draws itself into its shell it resembles a box, hence the name box turtle. The feet of the turtle are partially webbed due to its terrestrial lifestyle. Found mostly in South East Asia, in India, they occur in the forests of Assam and Nagaland. It prefers well wooded habitats associated with limestone areas, therefore they are usually found in caves and crevices. It takes almost a decade for a juvenile to reach maturity. To add to that females lay a clutch size of only 2 to 3 eggs per year, making their productivity low. Males can be differentiated from the females based on the eye and nail colour. Females have orange/red coloured eyes and shorter and thinner nails. Males have brown or black eyes and longer and thicker nails. Breeding occurs in the months of May to September. Females build nests of dry litter and soil in which the eggs are laid. There is no parental care similar to other species of turtles. Omnivorous in its diet, this species feeds on fallen fruits, vegetation, worms, and snails. The illegal pet trade is one of the major threats to this animal. Apart from this, their numbers in Vietnam have drastically reduced due to hunting. Destruction and alteration of forest habitats also plays a role in decreasing numbers of this species. However, conservation groups are working together to educate people on the illegal wildlife trade. Breeding programmes have also been setup to ensure the species is not lost completely.

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Rediscovered: Modigliani’s Lizard First spotted in 1891 and officially named the nose horned Modigliani’s Lizard in 1993, this species has evaded ecologists for almost 100 years. Named after the Italian explorer Elio Modigliani who first discovered the species in the forests of Indonesia, the lizard is called nose horned because of the protrusion from its nose. Ecologist, Chairunas Adha Putra spotted a dead lizard recently while he was conducting a bird survey near Lake Toba in Sumatra. After cross checking with herpetologist, Thasun Amarasinghe it was confirmed that the dead specimen in fact was the Modigliani’s Lizard. Efforts to find a living population were successful near a caldera at Lake Toba. The naturally vibrant green lizard is known to change colours just like a chameleon under stressful conditions. This discovery has been crucial as now conservation strategies can be prepared for the lizard. The population that was

found occurred just outside a protected area. This is of concern as the area is facing pressure from deforestation. Many such interesting lizard species are found often in inaccessible areas. This makes it a challenge for ecologists to study them. According to experts there are several lizard species that have not been spotted again after their initial discoveries. This makes protection of pristine habitats and their surrounding habitats the need of the hour.

Image Courtesy - C A Putra

PINK SNOW ON ITALIAN ALPS The Presena glacier, 3069 mts above sea level near Pellizzano in Italy is turning a pretty shade of pink. Scientists have discovered the occurrence of pink snow on the glacier and this is not good news. Caused by the growth of a snow alga, pink snow is a warning sign for climate change. Though it is a natural phenomenon, often seen in Greenland, the colouration can cause the glacier to melt faster. The alga identified as Chlamydomonas nivalis usually blooms during summer and spring in Greenland, this is the first time it has been seen in Italy in such abundance. In normal circumstances snow reflects almost 80% of the sun’s radiation, however due to the darkening of the snow, more heat gets absorbed hence increasing the rate of melting. As the ice melts faster, it causes an increase in the growth of the algae initiating a vicious cycle. Scientists are still trying to find the exact cause for the growth of this algae in the Alps. Some of them believe increased tourism, and growing construction of ski lifts, lodges could be

a problem. Another alga, Ancylonema nordenskioeldii had caused glaciers in Switzerland to turn purple a few years back. Around the world, there is a noticeable shrinking of glaciers due to increasing temperatures. Last year a study revealed that glaciers in Switzerland had decreased by almost 10% in five years. Climate change experts say the most effective solution to curb the melting of glaciers would be to considerably lower the burning of fossil fuels. Efficient and sustainable energy is the way to go.

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EDUCATOR'S COLUMN

india, a biodiversity hotspot

Mr Sudhakar Solomon Raj writes to us about India's natural heritage May 22nd is celebrated as World Biodiversity Day, exactly a month after Earth Day. In the previous issue we talked about celebrating the Earth. Biodiversity Day is about celebrating the rich natural heritage of the earth, this includes terrestrial and marine biodiversity. It can be said with certainty that we have no clue about the exact number of species on the planet. We are familiar with ecosystem diversity and have some understanding of the kind of species biodiversity, but genetic diversity eludes us unless we really study wildlife. A common misconception is that biodiversity exists only in forests or oceans. We often disregard the richness of species in urban landscapes.

Laburnum

Leaf cutter Bee

Those of us who practice vermicomposting may be familiar with two common species of earthworms (Eisenia foetida and Eisenia andrei). Did you know that India has over 400 species of earthworms, and over 270 species of millipedes? A millipede being the friendlier cousin of the centipede. Scientists discovered that they play as important a role as earthworms in enriching the soil. One of the most diverse groups of animals on the planet are Insects. Though they do not share the same limelight as charismatic species such as the tiger, insects provide many important ecological services. My friend Sunjoy Monga once told me that Praying Mantises are nature’s best camouflage artists and India has more than 160 species of them. Apiculture enthusiast may know the 5 prominent species of bees but not all bees are honeybees. India has over 45 species of Bumble Bees with Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh having the largest number, 28 and 21 respectively. You can also find Carpenter bees, Leaf cutter bees and even stingless bees! If you have noticed even, semicircular cuts on leaves, that is the work of a Leaf cutter bee. Bees play an important role in pollination and their decline has noticably affected the productivity of apples, among other fruits. Another group of insects that specialize in pollination are butterflies and moths. There are over 11,000 species of butterflies and moths in India. How many of us are conscious of their presence in gardens and around us? Butterflies are among the most dazzling of nature’s creatures and there is so much we can learn from them. They come in all shapes and colours and their life cycle is one of the most interesting! Around 1680 species of spiders can be found in India, an animal that is ubiquitous in all our homes. They help keep the fly populations in check. For some people I know lizards would

definitely be on the top ten list of most hated species. Very few of us know that what we call lizards are actually geckos and our country has around 200 species of them. Not all of them are drab, some, such as the Andaman Day gecko are brilliantly coloured. The amphibian diversity is close to 400 species, mostly frogs and toads, with nearly fifty percent of them being endemic, meaning they are not found anywhere else. I have talked about spiders, lizards, frogs and toads together because they often tend to receive negative reactions from the public. However together they are one of the biggest controls on insect populations. We focus too much on mammalian and avian biodiversity and sometimes on large reptilian biodiversity. Very rarely do we notice the smaller creatures. These myriad forms of life are what make the natural world so mystifying and interesting. It is also the incredible diversity in the lower life forms that sustains a flourishing diversity in the higher species. In all this talk of biodiversity once again an important component that goes unnoticed is the diversity of plant life. Plant diversity is fascinating, particularly that of bamboo which is a type of grass. India has 136 species of bamboo. India and China together have the largest number of bamboo species in the world. My list of favourite trees, includes the Horse Chestnut wood, Deodhar/Cedar, Rhododendrons in the Himalayas and the Hoolong in Arunachal. Some of the massive trees in the Shola forests in South India, including huge specimens of Jamun, the Karaya/Ghost tree, Palash/Flame of the forest, Jarul/ Queen’s Flower, Amaltas/Labernum inspire me whenever I gaze on them. Another tree that continues to humour me for its name is an endemic flowering tree with delicate white flowers, Lagestromia microcarpa locally called Nana in Maharashtra and interestingly called Nagna sundari in Kerala.

Millipede

Andaman Day Gecko

The Western Ghats and North Eastern states account for some of India’s richest biodiversity. Along with the Himalayas they are part of the biodiversity hotspots of the world. Yet these are the places facing extreme pressures. We need to improve our knowledge and understanding of the significance of these regions and help the government make informed decisions. May each one of us become more conscious of the biodiversity around us to begin with and eventually of the country . Start by actively noticing the species around your homes and gardens.

Professor Sudhakar Solomon Raj is a postgraduate in Political Science and heads the Political Science department at Wilson College, Mumbai. He is one of the founder presidents of India’s oldest nature club initiated by the World Wildlife Fund, India. Run independently since then, the Wilson College Nature Club celebrated its 40th anniversary last year and Professor Sudhakar continues to be a part of this thriving community of young nature enthusiasts. Sanctuary Asia has presented him with an award for his efforts in Nature Education and Conservation, celebrating the hundreds of students that have learnt to appreciate nature, thanks to his constant efforts at the Nature Club. www.trailblazersindia.com www.trailblazersindia.com

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CAMP STORIES

HARRY POTTER & the MAGIC RIVER Trailblazers conducts a themed camp in the outdoors Trailblazers-The Outdoor School organized a magical camp for the children of a Mumbai based international school revolving around the theme of Harry Potter. The camp was conducted for grades 3, 4 and 5 along with teaching and nonteaching staff. Together with the Trailblazers team members, the group set out to enter the magical world of Hogwarts. Harry Potter, a popular series amongst children and young adults traces the adventures of young boy and his friends as they try and defeat an evil lord, Voldermort. Every follower of this series has at some point dreamt of a life in this fantasy world. We wanted the participants of our themed camp to get a glimpse of life at Hogwarts, the school of Witchcraft and Wizardry. This involved everything from learning magic spells to solving mysteries. The objective was to give the children an opportunity to unleash their creativity and imagination, and to give them an experience that would stay with them forever. As a part of the training for the fight against Voldermort, the sprightly witches and wizards went through adventurous challenges; each challenge a little tougher than the previous one. This helped increase their confidence and overcome irrational fears. It also brought together the groups as they cheered on for their friends. Staying true to Trailblazers Safety Policy, all adventure activities were supervised by trained experts, along with a safety briefing before each activity. The students wholeheartedly participated in each of the tasks with enthusiasm and ensured all of them completed it. Trailblazers also focused on conveying the importance of nature on the camp to help develop a sense of empathy in the children towards the environment.

children will be more inducive to subjects such as environment protection, geography and even math. Overall, the camp was a great success. The children had a great time and enjoyed the experience of studying at Hogwarts, shouting their group chants and defeating Voldermort. The Trailblazers team was impressed by the imagination and confidence of the children. We look forward to camping with the students again!

Children playing the wizarding sport

Wizarding sport

The children engaged in the wizarding world’s favourite sport. They displayed great teamwork and leadership while playing the game. The sports tournament was a great avenue for them to be physically active and expend all their energy. The open grounds and breeze were a good change from the confinements of the city.

Magical Celebrations

On the last night, Trailblazers organized a celebration and a feast where all the participants got together to showcase their talent. The night was lit up with singing performances, dances, mathematics tricks, and street movements. The programme was hosted by the students themselves. The energy in the audience was unmatched as they cheered for their fellow classmates

Team chants session

Team Games and Camp Chants

Over the course of the camp, children also enjoyed a variety of fun team games which helped them bond as well as helped them display initiative and leadership skills. Team games also encouraged healthy competition and a spirit of sportsmanship in the students. Living in the magical world of Harry Potter helped Trailblazers deliver key concepts to the children. When put in a fun way,

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Greening the earth

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CAMP STORIES

HOMEJOY

Trailblazers conducts virtual programmes for students We call ourselves, The Outdoor School. However, since the onset of the global pandemic, all our journeys have come to a grinding halt. Confined to our homes, this has been an opportunity to rediscover relationships and hobbies. People have been utilizing this time to learn a variety of new skills, understanding the amount of effort that goes into running the house, catching up on their favourite shows, revisiting old movies and having virtual get-togethers. During this time, Trailblazers also took the opportunity to adapt to the new normal. The virtual space is a new and daunting terrain for us. But exploration runs in our veins and we were ready to tackle this obstacle as well. We believe that despite the new circumstances, the learning process must continue. This applied to us as well. Hence, we decided to engage students from all over the country through our fun virtual learning programme aptly titled “Homejoy�. Homejoy, a series of multiple unique learning sessions covered a wide range of topics from storytelling, Zumba, smartphone photography, financial literacy and many more. These sessions had an interactive format which made it an enjoyable experience for all the participants. Trailblazers

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also made sure that researched facts were shared with the participants. The participants learned about the mysterious world of frogs, the legends behind some of the constellations we see in the night sky and easy science experiments. We achieved what we had set out to do, which was help keep children engaged and connected in a virtual space even though we were all in separate places. Hoping to spread the joy even more, at the end of each week, Trailblazers held an activity for the whole family! The excitement, competitiveness and joy seen on the faces of the particpants during a scavenger hunt or dance session was something we looked forward to. With the overwhelming response received, we conducted three weeks of the Homejoy series. Though we had loads of fun conducting these sessions, we still dream of the day when we can be out amidst nature once again. Nothing can replace the social interactions and well being that the outdoors provides. Till then we shall keep on exploring the unchartered territory of webinars and live sessions. Technology is the future, and now more than ever we are realising its importance. Like everything else in the world we need to find a balance between screens and the outdoors.

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NEW FRONTIERS

made in india

Relooking at Indian Heritage

Shadow Puppetry

Buddhist Chanting

Kumbh Mela

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Rajasthani Turban Tying

The word heritage comes from the Old French word, iritage/eritage, meaning that which can be inherited. India’s geographical terrain is largely responsible for the myriad cultures and traditions that are spread over our diverse land. People and traditions have evolved together with the natural habitat that surrounds them. From the food we eat to the traditional clothes worn, everything is made from resources easily available to us. However, as the world becomes more open and accessible, developing countries start to get easily influenced by Western cultures. In this constant race to be recognized, we are slowly forgetting our roots. It takes diet fads and a pandemic for the most educated of us to realise that the best option is to opt for local resources. On April 20th, 2020, the Union Minister of Culture, Shri Prahlad Singh Patel launched the National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of India. What is Intangible Cultural Heritage? It is an irreplaceable piece of Indian culture, heritage and trait. These are valued as cultural goods, on a relative basis, for their exclusivity or their extraordinary value; traditional and modern at the same time. Intangible cultural heritages are not only acquired traditions from the past but also from present rural and urban practices in which mixed cultural groups take part. In the most niche of tribes, the practice of writing down the details of tradition has largely been absent. Therefore, most of our inherent culture depends on those, whose understanding of traditions and skills are shared with the rest of the community, across generations. These practices can only become heritage when it is recognized as such by the communities or individuals that create, support, and sustain them. Without their realization, nobody can decide for them that a given expression, practice or art is a part of their heritage. Classified into 5 broad domains given below, the national list is being updated on a regular basis. The categories are as follows: - Oral traditions and expressions, including language as a vehicle of the intangible cultural heritage - Performing arts - Social practices, rituals and festive events - Knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe - Traditional craftsmanship The full list can be viewed on the Ministry of Culture website. (http:// www.indiaculture.nic.in/national-list-intangible-cultural-heritage-ich). The ministry has also included a feedback form, where the public can suggest practices that they think should be included in the national list. On Trailblazers camps, we constantly endeavour to highlight some of these interesting aspects of our culture. We want our campers to learn and take pride in the diverse cultural wealth our country has to offer. Some of the experiences on camps that are a part of the intangible cultural heritage list are the ancient martial art of Kalaripaytu in Kerala, Patola weaving in Gujarat and a fun introduction to Yoga. The pandemic is a test for humanity, to ascertain what is most important to us. Local artist, weavers and craftsmen are some of the worst affected in these times. Do we continue to let these sentinels of our heritage disappear? Can we make tourism more than just seeing the Taj Mahal and clicking a selfie? We need to make an effort to actually dig deep into the history and geography of the places we visit. This is indeed the best time for us to go Vocal for Local. www.trailblazersindia.com


TRAILBLAZERS RECOMMENDS

travelling safe POST COVID-19 Will we be able to travel again?

For almost three months the world has been at a standstill. In this time people have gotten to know every nook and cranny of their homes due to the lockdown. Just when travel became a means of escape and self-discovery for almost everyone, the world was hit with a rude shock. Now these “#wanderlust” souls find themselves trapped between four walls. And even going to the grocery store becomes an adventure to look forward to. Slowly as we make peace with reality, the question in everyone’s mind is the same. Will the world go back to the way it was? Some have come to terms with the fact that there is going to be a new normal. Others still cling on to the hope that we will return to the good ol’ days. From the progression of things, one thing is certain, until a cure is discovered, the virus is going

nowhere. We must learn to live with it and adapt accordingly. Keeping this in mind, we need to redefine travel as well. In fact, the best way to boost our immunity is to increase our contact with nature. We need to take safety in our own hands, make sure to practice personal hygiene and be responsible. Most importantly we need to stay positive, meditate and be healthy. Travel has become a way of life, therefore it is almost next to impossible to say that one will not be able to travel again. Even as we write this article places within the country and outside are opening up for tourists in the coming months. Sri Lanka, UAE and Vietnam have extensive precautions in place to ensure the safety of their tourists. Below are some tips to help you travel safe.

Get back to nature, this is the safest place you can be. Always carry personal hygiene products – sanitizers, paper soap, masks etc.

Follow credible news sources, state guidelines and research the situation well before attempting to travel.

Keep contact tracing apps installed on your phones.

Wear a mask in crowded areas and while travelling in public transportation.

Travel sustainably, become a responsible traveller. Carry your own water bottles and cutlery as well.

Travel local, support local artisans and manufacturers.

Be respective of other’s safety. Do not travel if you have any symptoms Call helplines in case you develop symptoms www.trailblazersindia.com

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KNOW YOUR GEAR

SURFING

For the adventurous, inquisitive and passionate souls Surfing is one adventure sport that requires the most minimal gear. The sport dates back to the 1700’s and is said to have originated in medieval Polynesia. Tradition demanded that the best surfer would be presented a wooden surfboard made from the best tree in the village. Surfing gear has evolved a great deal over the centuries but retains its minimalist value.

ESSENTIALS1. Surfboard

The number one essential equipment for any surfer is the surfboard. This is the magic carpet that will let one glide over the waves. A surfboard has 3 parts to it, the nose, tail and fins. The front tip is called the nose, the back is called the tail, and there are one or more fins under the board helping the surfer in balance and drive. Modern surfboards are typically made of polyurethane foam. Surfboards come in over 5 types- Longboards, Shortboards, Funboards, The Fish and The Gun. Selection of a board is based on the wave conditions and the skill/experience of the surfer. The most commonly available boards at any surf school in India are the long and shortboards. a) Longboards As the name suggests, longboards typically have a length of over 8-9 feet. They are heavier, having more foam volume, thus giving better balance. It is ideal for beginners and for low wave conditions. However, the weight of the board makes it difficult to manoeuvre. b) Shortboards With a length ranging from 5-6 feet, shortboards are ideal for experienced surfers and bigger waves. The lightness of the board makes it easier for turns, but also makes it difficult to balance, especially when the surfer is just beginning out. Shortboards also need a good amount of swell under it to propel the board forward. The purchasing price of a longboard starts at around INR 15,000, and of a shortboard from around INR 5000. Due to the high price and low mobility of surf boards, many beginner surfers prefer to rent out boards at the surf school.

2. Leash

A leash is an essential accessory that connects the board to the surfer’s back leg. This ensures the board stays close to the surfer in case of a washout.

3. Rash vest and boardshorts

As the name suggests, a rash vest is like a t-shirt worn by surfers for protection against any rash from the sun, and from the constant friction of the upper body with the surfboard while paddling. This also helps in keeping the surfer warm against the cool wind and water. For lowers, quick dry shorts/ swim shorts that are comfortable and stretchable are ideal for surfers.

4. Wax

Surfers regularly apply wax on their boards to allow for better traction and grip while riding and paddling. Some modern boards come with a traction pad on the board surface and need not be waxed.

5. Sunscreen

Being a surface sport, surfers spend long durations of time exposed to the sun without any shade to protect them. Hence, sunscreen is also an essential item in any surfer’s pack.

ADDITIONAL GEAR-

Professional and advanced surfers use additional gear. Some of these includea) Surf watch, for measuring speed and forecasting surf conditions b) Surfboard bag, for protecting the surfboard from accidents while carrying it around c) Wet suit, boots, gloves, hood, ear plugs, needed while surfing in cold waters d) Waterproof camera, to film oneself and analyse mistakes Quicksilver, Rip Curl, Billabong, Patagonia, O’Neill are some of the best surf gear brands in the world.

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#STAYHOME SPECIAL

Quick Fix Yoga A remedy for the laptop weary Yoga, which originated in ancient India thousands of years ago, has enjoyed a modern resurgence. Its importance has grown manifold in the backdrop of the current pandemic Covid-19. Several individuals and institutions have modified Yogic practices to cater to various health requirements. What makes it easier to practice is that it requires no equipment except for a mat. While work from home has its own fallbacks one good thing about it is that we can take quick breaks between calls to stretch the muscles. A good practice would be to incorporate some of the yogic stretches combined with Pranayama to help fight fatigue, mental and physical stress and boost our productivity and immunity. We list down some of the exercises which can be easily practiced in between work calls at home or in the office. Suggestions: Remove footwear and loosen your belt. Do not eat at least 1.5 hours prior to your session.

Vajrasana

a) Kneel on the floor, stretching your lower legs backward and keeping them together. Your big toes and heels should be as closely held as possible. b) Gently lower your body such that your buttocks are resting on your heels and your thighs on your calf muscles c) Place your hands on your knees and set your gaze forward with your head straight. d) Close your eyes to concentrate on your breathing and to calm your mind. Try to stay in this position for a minimum of 5 to 10 minutes. Benefits: This asana facilitates digestion, helps relieve constipation & strengthens lower back, legs and thighs.

Neck roll

a) Close your eyes. Let your chin drop down to your chest. b) Begin the circular motion of your neck slowly, by moving the right ear to the right shoulder, taking the head backwards and then bringing the left ear to the left shoulder. c) Keep your shoulders loose and relax. Rotate your neck 3-5 times and then switch directions. Benefits: This exercise stretches the entire spine and improves spinal mobility.

Garudasana in sitting position or Eagle arms

a) Sit erect and place your arms at a 90-degree angle in front of you. b) Cross one arm over the other, interlocking them and placing your palms together. Lift your elbows and stretch your fingers upwards. Stay in this pose for 3-5 breaths before switching sides. Benefits: Eagle pose is a good preventative for carpal tunnel syndrome. It also strengthens the triceps, back and shoulder muscles.

Spinal twist

a) Sit sideways on your chair. Place your feet flat on the floor. b) Holding the back of the chair with both hands, twist your waist to the right towards the back of the chair. Turn to the other side. Repeat this exercise a few more times. Benefits: Practicing twisting postures helps to keep the spinal muscles mobile, increases its elasticity and improves blood circulation.

Tadasana

a) Stand straight on the ground and keep a small gap between your feet. b) Inhale, raise both your arms and stretch. Keep your arms upward by interlocking your fingers. c) Now come on to the toes while raising your heels. Feel the pressure of the stretch from the toes all the way to the fingers. d) Try to maintain this pose as long as you can while breathing slowly. e) Now come to the original position with deep breathing (exhale). Benefits: Tadasana helps in correcting your posture and improves your balance by making your spine more agile. It helps in increasing the flexibility of your ankles, thighs and joints.

Controlled Breathing exercise (Naadi Shodhan)

a) Find a quiet space, switch off your phone and other gadgets and request people around you to not disturb you for a while. b) Hold the right thumb over the right nostril and inhale deeply through the left nostril in 4 seconds. Close off the left nostril with the ring finger, then exhale through the right nostril in 8 seconds. You can repeat this 5-6 times. c) Switch the process by inhaling from the right nostril in 4 seconds and exhaling from the left nostril in 8 seconds. Counting of the seconds can be done in your mind while practicing. Benefits: Increases oxygen circulation and helps to calm and rejuvenate the nervous system. Remember that stretching and relaxing your body regularly is equally important to have a healthy body and mind. Next time you find yourself a bit stiff after hunching over the laptop, take a quick break and try out the above poses to feel refreshed. www.trailblazersindia.com

ECOTRAIL, JUNE JULY 2020

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Printed, Published and Edited by RANJAN BISWAS on behalf of TRAILBLAZERS ADVENTURE TRAVEL PVT. LTD. Edenwoods, Bay House, Ground Floor A, Gladys Alwares Marg, Off Pokhran Road No. 2, Thane (West) 400 610 Download softcopy from www.trailblazersindia.com Call us to participate in our camps/activities: 022 21739732 or 022 21739737 OR email us on: contact@trailblazersindia.com

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Profile for Ecotrail

Ecotrail June July 2020  

ECOTRAIL is a unique bimonthly magazine bringing you the latest news from the world of environment and education. Brought to you by Trailbla...

Ecotrail June July 2020  

ECOTRAIL is a unique bimonthly magazine bringing you the latest news from the world of environment and education. Brought to you by Trailbla...

Profile for ecotrail
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