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Month: September 2015

Prevent and Treat Pain with these 12 Yoga Poses

“These postures represent what yoga medicine expert Tiffany Cruikshank of Yoga Medicine hopes will become standard medical protocol.” Tiffany shares yoga poses that prevent and treat pain, and help with inflammation. These poses can help treat knee and Back pain, Sciatica, Shoulder pain, Neck/Headache.

To read the full article by Jenna Bergen Sutherland on Prevention’s website, click here.

One yoga pose that can help prevent and treat pain

Why Fascia Matters

10 years ago the yoga world was all about the core. Now, it seems that fascia is coming up more and more. Conversations amongst my yoga teacher friends and an abundance of fascia vocabulary getting thrown around in classes that I have been going to. Problem is nobody is really talking about what it is, how it functions, or what it does and doesn’t do. Below, you will find a brief explanation of what fascia is and why it matters to you and your overall wellbeing.

What is Fascia?

Most of what you will hear about the fascia is that it is a continuous piece of fibrous material that wraps the body just underneath the skin. This is true of the superficial fascia but it is important, even for a basic understanding, to know that the fascia is much more than that. The fascia weaves its way into the body and forms the architecture for the soft tissue deep inside. Fascia connects muscles to bone and bones to bones by way of tendons and ligaments, respectively. It helps hold your organs in place and even helps support the bones of the spine via your spinal discs.

Fascia is everywhere, and new research is showing us just how important it is in relation to the healthy use of our body.

Hydrate Your Insides…

The fascial system requires hydration and not just from that glass of water that I know is sitting next to you right now :). Yes, you need to be hydrated, but if the connective tissue is bound up it’s not getting that hydration. You have to work on your tissues to unbind the sticky bits in there. Myo-fascial work and Structural Integration are two of my favorite ways.

Put Your Right Foot In, Put Your Right Foot Out…

Movement hydrates your tissues. Varied movement and varied tempos will hydrate your tissues even more. Find movements that are the opposite of what you do in your day to day activities. For most of us this means lateral movements and higher intensity movement.

The Leg Bone Is Not Connected To the Hip Bone…

Well, it is but via the fascia and the tensegrity model. This model is important for us to understand as it shows how important the fascia is to the overall health and wellbeing of our muscles and bones. This really is where the meat of why fascia matters is. Think about that tight IT band you might have for a moment. Do you ever experience knee pain? Think they might be related? How about that little fender bender you were in years ago and got whiplash? Do you experience neck or shoulder pain today? Think those might be related? The answer could very well be yes. When one part of the body is under stress iaffectsts all surrounding parts which in turn effect the surrounding muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones around it. The domino effect begins via the fascia.

Our understanding of the fascia and it’s relationship with the rest of the body is growing as new research is published. What I hope you take away from this is that your fascia is important, its hydration and pliability have a great effect on the overall health of your body. Vary your movements and allow yourself long stretches like a yin or restorative yoga class at your local studio/gym.

By Krystyn Strother.

Krystyn Louise Strother is a certified yoga and meditation instructor and a proud Yoga Medicine senior teacher and assistant. She is in the process of completing her 1000-hour teacher training certification with a focus on using yoga therapeutically to preventing and managing chronic pain. Krystyn’s intent is to provide a safe and fun environment for people to cultivate awareness, physical and mental strength, and an overall sense of well-being in all they do.

You can find out more about Krystyn at her website.

Tips For Reducing Workplace Stress

Tiffany Cruikshank of sits down with Forbes magazine to offer some tips on managing workplace stress, reducing the negative health effects of stress, and learning to take a break.

“In our modern world, things are moving and changing at a faster rate than ever with new developments in medicine, business, finance, you name it, all happening in the blink of an eye. If we want to succeed, if we want to support our families, if we want to build a legacy we must work harder than we ever have to get and stay ahead of the game. So stress just becomes part of the terrain. But what if that stress is also what’s halting your progress?”

Click here to read the full article on Forbes

Meditation for Kids: Teaching Calm

Anyone who practices meditation has probably wished at some pointed that they had started sooner. Being taught these tools as children could have certainly relieved a fair amount of stress during our teenage years. However, whilst mindfulness and meditation are increasingly embraced by the education system, it is still far from being fully embedded within schools.  I am going to go over a few options to get started with meditation for kids.

As a trainee Primary school teacher in an inner-city state school in London in 2010, I had a beautiful vision that on the first day with my new Year 5 class, I would practice meditation. Of course, the reality was quite different. Ink flicking, boogie picking, sneaky kicking. Clearly sitting in a circle and counting our breath wasnít going to cut it straight away. In order to inspire these children to meditate, I was going to have to be creative. I needed to make mindfulness and meditation irresistible. Whether you are a class teacher wanting to instill a little calm into your learning environment, a kids Yoga teacher needing inspiration for your next class or an exhausted parent in need of some peace and quiet, here are 3 irresistible ideas for introducing mindfulness and meditation.

Mindful Malteser

This is a great 5-minute activity is perfect for introducing children to mindfulness by teaching children to tune into their senses. Your class will practice their concentration skills as it requires the class to keep quiet and focused. Thereís no doubt that this activity will go well with your class. Itís super easy and deliciously good fun. All you need is a box/ bag of Malteser chocolates. Ask your class to sit in their places with their eyes closed as you place one little chocolate in front of each child. Once each child has a Malteser, they can open their eyes.

For the first minute, all the children are able to do is look at the little chocolate. Encourage them to analyze every aspect by asking key questions throughout. What shape is it? What is the texture? Does it resemble anything else? Once the time is up, invite your class to pick up their Malteser.

For the next minute, ask them to simply touch the Malteser. What does it feel like? What is the temperature? Is it the same all over? After one minute, the class are allowed to smell the chocolate. What does it smell like? Does it remind you of anything else? How does the smell it make you feel?

Once one minute has passed, the children can simply place the Malteser in their mouth but make sure not to bite! Just let it slowly melt as they consider what it tastes like. At this point, encourage the class to close their eyes explaining that it can help them to keep focused on the sensation of the chocolate dissolving on their tongue.

Jam Jar Meditation

Not only is this a brilliant way to teach your class how to focus their mind, but it is also really fun to make the resources. However, it does require a little preparation because each child will need a jam jar (donít worry, thereís no need to eat 30 pots of honey/ jam over the next week, just ask each child to bring one in). You will also need some water, soil and glitter. Itís so easy to do, just fill the jam jar up with water, take a pinch of soil and sprinkle it in the water. Following this take a tiny pinch of glitter (much smaller than the amount of soil) and stir it into the mixture. Carefully place the lid on top and once each child has finished their jam jar, ask the class to shake it up vigorously.

Then ask them to sit quietly and focus on just one piece of glitter. When you first start, time the class for 30 seconds before asking them to stop. You will be able to increase this time each time you practice.

Once the class has stopped, ask simple questions such as: How long can they keep focused for? Is it challenging? What helps you to keep focused? If you want, you can explain to your class that this is a little bit what our minds are like. Sometimes we have so many thoughts, it is difficult to focus on just one. However, with practice, you will be able to train your mind to make it easier.


Something children benefit from, yet has been pushed out of the school day as a result of the increasingly demanding curriculum, is quite simply listening to stories. For this reason, I have always made time to practice visualization with my classes. Not only does it require good concentration and listening skills, but it also allows pupils to use their imagination and escape to a magical place for a couple of minutes at any point during the school day, just like meditation.

It is a simple activity to do in class as well: simply ask your class to sit at their desks, make a pillow with their arms as they lay their heads down and close their eyes. My favourite story is called the Magical Secret Gardení where all animals and people are friends and can speak to one another. The garden is always somewhere new – sometimes itís a typical English garden and other times it is in the African bush. What makes the story captivating is the description; always pay attention to detail while describing the different senses to bring the story alive and focus their minds.

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