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Month: February 2015

Natural Headache Cures: Yoga Prescription

We all get headaches. Explore some natural headache cures with Tiffany Cruikshank and Well+Good.

“People get headaches for many reasons, just like people have stress for many reasons,” Cruikshank says. “The most common headaches are tension headaches, from tension building in your neck.”

Tiffany Cruikshank shares a simple yoga pose and holistic practice to nix a headache the natural way. To read the article on Well+Good NYC’s website, click here.


Featured Yogi – Dr. Francis Castiller

Happy March!

Yoga Medicine is pleased to feature our Share Your Story yogi Dr. Francis Castiller. Francis is a critical care doctor based out of Poughkeepsie, New York. He was introduced to yoga by his wife Debbie, a 200hr Yoga Medicine graduate, after a marathon training left his low back compromised and in pain from tight hamstrings. While Frank considered all the Western remedies for low back pain including pain medication, he opted for a more holistic approach that included acupuncture and daily yoga to help alleviate pain.

Read all about Francis’ insightful revelations regarding Western vs. Eastern medicine and how he uses yoga as a healing modality for his athletic lifestyle.

Balancing Western & Eastern Medicine as a Doctor

I’m a practicing critical care doctor and often, unfortunately, see the end stages of what chronic health issues can have on the human body and soul. I often wish I could intervene before chronic illness ravages the bodies of my patients. One common problem I see is back pain, which can eventually lead to people to adopting an unhealthy lifestyle. Back pain can eventually push an individual to a lifelong habit of not doing anything and blaming it on “back pain” to the extreme of becoming dependent or addicted to pain medicines. It is true that some forms of back pain are complicated i.e. structural spinal diseases but most are muscular in origin. I would like to share my personal story and how I became a believer and now promoter of “Non-Western” methods of well being.

I am blessed to have a beautiful and inspiring wife who Tiffany has recently trained, Debbie. As an avid runner, I always neglected the benefits of what yoga can bring to my training. One week prior to a marathon, I bent over to pick something up and had the most unbelievable back pain set in. It literally paralyzed me. Later, laying in bed, I thought about how many of my medical colleagues might treat me. Certainly, I would be given prescriptions for anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants and, if the pain was severe enough to warrant it, narcotics. I imagined the countless patients that presented in a similar way, which ultimately resulted in a cocktail list of prescriptions. I then thought about the patients that would fall into the habit of demanding and seeking this cocktail.

Exploring Eastern Medicine

I decided to seek other remedies and turned to my wife. There I was, a practicing internal medicine and critical care doctor seeking advice and relief from my newly trained yoga instructor spouse. I asked, “What would Tiffany recommend?” My wife knew the answer.

Firstly, I went to an acupuncturist. I was always skeptical of these folks but I went in with a lot of pain and an open mind. I saw results immediately. In fact, I was astounded by the results. The pain was better but I was still stiff and she recommended yoga. My wife used “yoga medicine” and taught me some basic maneuvers. Initially, I would have never thought how effective child’s pose can be for back pain. Within a few days, I was feeling a huge improvement. Ultimately, in one week, I was at the start line for my marathon. My wife had diagnosed my root problem. My tight hamstrings and resultant tight back muscles have been setting me up for recurrent back pain.

As a result, I now incorporate yoga into my daily training routine. It opened my eyes to the power of what you all can do. The challenge is reaching and touching the unmotivated, the chronically ill and those dependent on western medicine i.e. medications to make them feel better. Sometimes the power within and the guidance of practitioners like you can have profound healing effects. I am now a believer and will do my best to bring others to a better place.

Thanks, Yoga Medicine!!!!

Dr. Francis Castiller

3 Yoga Moves to Help You Fall Asleep Faster

You already know all of the good for you reasons to get a good night’s sleep. But if you struggle to get zzz’s, stress relieving yoga can be pretty helpful. Try this quick routine to help you fall asleep faster, and catch those quality Zs.

Before you start this 15-minute routine, dim or turn off the lights. You’ll also need two props: something small and heavy like a large book, and a couple of folded towels or thick pillows. Keep this up nightly and you should see results in a week or two.

Click here to read the full article on Redbook, and click here to read on Good House Keeping.


The Dangers of Sleep Deprivation

Tiffany Cruikshank and Fitness Magazine discuss the dangers of sleep deprivation, and some insomnia busters.

Fitness Magazine interviews Yoga Medicine’s Tiffany Cruikshank about the dangers of sleep deprivation. According to Tiffany Cruikshank, founder of Yoga Medicine, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and stroke can all be exacerbated by lack of sleep. “In fact, several studies have found that you can induce fibromyalgia when not sleeping,” she says.

Click here to read the full article from Fitness Magazine.

Back to Me – Featured Yogi – Colleen Boland

Yoga Medicine is happy to feature one of our 200hr teacher trainees, Colleen Boland, as our Share Your Story yogi of the month. Colleen recently relocated from Philadelphia to San Francisco with her fiancé for work. She is incredibly excited to finish up her 200hr and start teaching around the city. Colleen is a fierce athlete and her story is inspiring for all of us who have suffered from setbacks, both physically and mentally. Check out Colleen’s story below and remember to share your story with us at

Colleen and her 200h Yoga Medicine friends.
Colleen second to the right with her 200hr tt friends.

Back to Me

In a lot of ways, my path to yoga was a culmination of multiple life events. Retrospectively, I wouldn’t them trade for the world. Since age 3 I was a competitive swimmer & most of my life I identified as ‘athlete’…for most of both high school and college I accepted a path as a scholar-athlete didn’t leave room for a whole lot more. Along the way, I sustained 2 fractures in my lower lumbar spine (ages 14 & 19) which eventually ended my competitive career in the sport.

The next few years were frankly dark and it wasn’t until 22 that I started to build myself up…I started running with dreams of triathlon competitions – I was starting to feel like myself again. Unfortunately, I got in a car accident and fractured my lower lumbar spine for the 3rd time. I was totally devastated, and what felt like my climb out of the dark was derailed.

Making a Recovery

The first few months of recovery were difficult but I was determined to make a full recovery. A year later the doctors told me rehab was over but running was out of the question…I could go back to normal life but my activity would be limited to walking and maybe I should try yoga. I had never considered yoga but at this point felt like I had nothing to lose.

From the first class, I knew this yoga thing was something special. I felt a mind/body connection I had never experienced before & I dove in head first practicing nearly every day. I felt stronger both in body and in spirit after each practice and I couldn’t get enough…my whole life perspective shifted and it was like I was seeing the world through fresh eyes.

With the ebb and flow of life, I don’t practice every day; however, my practice has brought me back to the person I was when I was a little girl. The girl I was before the chaos of the world jaded my life perspective…I journal, I stop and smell the roses, I feel, and I find beauty just about everything BUT most importantly, I DON’T identify as ‘athlete’ because yoga has helped me remember I am so much more!

Follow Colleen on instagram

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