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Month: January 2017

17 Ridiculously Easy Ways to Increase Metabolism

By Hallie Levine and Diana Vilibert for Redbook Magazine.

Ever wonder why your best friend can go through a pint of Ben & Jerry’s without gaining a pound while just one spoonful goes straight to your hips? The answer lies in your metabolism, that little engine in your body that burns calories all day, every day. Because of genetics, some women burn fat faster than others. But age, weight, diet, and exercise habits also play a role.

“As women age, their metabolisms slow down. This is mainly because they are losing five or six pounds of muscle each decade starting in the mid-20s,” explains fitness expert Wayne Westcott, Ph.D., fitness research director of the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, Massachusetts. Translation: You may be burning 100 fewer calories a day at 35 than at 25.
But there are easy things you can do to stoke your fat-burning potential. “There’s no reason you can’t have the same metabolism in your 30s and 40s that you had in your 20s,” stresses Pamela Peeke, M.D., author of Fight Fat After Forty. Here are some experts’ tips on how to boost your metabolism — so you, too, can guiltlessly binge on Ben & Jerry’s every now and then.

Sneak peek at #15: Treat Yourself

If you’re cutting calories to lose weight, add 200-300 to your daily intake once in a while, says Amanda Bonfiglio-Cunningham, a senior Yoga Medicine teacher. “The body will get used to a calorie deficit diet, adjusting by slowing the metabolic rate. By allowing yourself a day of indulgence (not overindulgence!), you’re creating a healthy balance,” she explains. “The extra calories raise leptin production, a hormone that regulates appetite and energy. This rise triggers thermogenesis, the body’s natural tendency to create heat, which results in burning calories.” Pass the dessert menu!

Check out the full Redbook article here.

Amanda_YMAbout the Author:

Teacher, philanthropist, wife, dog mama and business owner, Amanda has been practicing and teaching yoga for a combined 15 years. Click here to learn more about Amanda Bonfligio-Cunningham.

Fight Workplace Fatigue with Yoga at Work

By Amanda Bonfiglio-Cunningham. 

Yoga at work beats workplace fatigue!

As a studio owner and full-time marketing coordinator, I feel the struggles of deskwork. I’d much rather be moving on my mat than sitting behind a desk, but my bank account prefers the latter. So how do you economically incorporate yoga at work? To beat office fatigue and stagnation, add these 4 yoga poses and meditation to your 9-5 routine. Easily done at your workspace, or in a quiet spot at the office, practice this quick and easy yoga at work sequence to feel refreshed, grounded and energized.

Chair Spinal Twist

Spinal twists increase blood flow and circulation, re-align vertebrae and can lessen stress levels.

Turn on your chair so that the backrest is against your right arm.

Ground down through both feet while twisting your torso to the right.

Hold onto the back of the chair; on the inhale lengthen your spine, on the exhale twist. Be sure to bring your chin and vision towards your right shoulder.

Repeat for 3-5 breaths and switch sides.

Stand Up, Wrist Stretch

If you’ve been sitting most of the day, stand up! Like most of us, we use our dominant hand to type, text and move a mouse. The extensors and flexors in the forearm become tight with this repetitive use.

Once standing, flip your palms to face your desk, wrists to face your computer and fingers on the edge of the desk.

Lean away from the desk whilst trying to flatten the palms as much as possible.

Sway side to side to change the stretch and stay for 3-5 breaths. If you feel any pain, try backing off a bit or allow the palms to hover an inch above the desk.

Chair Warrior II (chair optional)

Not only is this pose grounding; it will increase stamina, and stretch and strength your legs, ankles and hips.

Widen your stance 3-4 feet while creating a heel-to-arch intersection between your feet.

Front knee bends at 90 degrees and that kneecap should track towards center toe.

Shoulders stack over the hips. Extend the arms parallel to the ground. Chest and hips are open to the side.

Now begin to engage. Even out the weight between both feet, lengthen the torso, relax the shoulders, reach with the arms, turn the head forward and gaze past your fingers.

Hold for 30 seconds while breathing deeply and repeat on opposite side. *Optional to add the support of a chair under your front thigh.

Foot Myofascial Release

Make it a habit of keeping a tennis ball at your desk. This pose will open the Superficial Back Line of the body while stimulating the plantar fascia of the foot. Great for flat feet and for those who wear high heels.

Slip your shoes off. This alone may give you a sense of relaxation, as the feet feel free to wiggle and move about. (Socks optional)

Put the tennis ball on the floor and step onto it with one foot. Apply as much pressure as you need by standing over the ball.

Roll the ball from heel to toes. Try to touch every part of the foot, even the inner arch and outer edge. Allow the toes to separate and the heel to feel pressure. If you find a trigger point, or a spot that gives you more sensation than another, pause and apply pressure to that spot for extra release.

Continue for 1 minute and switch sides.

Workday Meditation with Diaphragmatic Breathing

In addition to yoga poses, meditation is a powerful tool to utilize during the workday. I suggest slipping it in at the same time everyday so it becomes a habit, or take a moment for it when you’re feeling higher stress levels. Just 3-5 minutes can have a profound impact on clearing and energizing the mind. This allows the nervous system to leave fight or flight and restores balance between the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems. This can be done at your workspace, in a quiet spot at the office, outside in nature or even in your car during breaks. Commit fully by closing your computer and putting your phone on silent.

Un-attach from what you think meditation should look or feel like. It is simply a time set aside for you to become quiet and still.

Meditation Method

Sit in anyway you feel most comfortable. Try stacking shoulders above hips so that the spine is anatomically straight. Place one hand over your heart and one hand over your naval. Ground the seat to the earth and close your eyes.

Hone in on your breath. Breathe in and out through the nose creating long and full breaths.

As you inhale, imagine your belly and lungs expanding like a balloon. Feel it press into your hands, expand your spine, massage your organs, inflate your chest and tickle the back of your throat. Let the balloon of air touch all parts of your body.

As you exhale, imagine the belly and lungs flattening like a pancake. Focus on emptying the balloon, down to every last drop of air. The belly pulls in, the diaphragm domes up and all the air releases from your body.  In essence, you soften throughout.

If you would like to set a mantra to this meditation, or a repeated phrase, try this: on the inhalation repeat (in the mind) “I feel air” and on the exhalation, “I feel earth”.

Continue this for 3-5 minutes or as long as you need. If in the middle your mind wanders, simply come right back to the start. Your awareness of the wandering mind is the practice of meditation.


You don’t have to take an entire hour out of your work day to incorporate yoga at work. In as little as a few relaxing minutes you can increase your health quickly while letting off a little stress!

Click here to see the original article on


About the Author:

Teacher, philanthropist, wife, dog mama and business owner, Amanda has been practicing and teaching yoga for a combined 15 years. Click here to learn more about Amanda Bonfligio-Cunningham.

Sugar Cravings: How Meditation Can Help you Beat Them

Mia De Graaf for DailyMail shares the ultimate guide to beat sugar. Learn how meditation can play a key role in beating sugar cravings. How? Keep reading.

Sugar cravings

The ultimate guide to beating sugar: From meal prep to meditation, 7 ways to keep YOUR January diet on track

January is in full swing, and the internet is buzzing with detoxes, juice cleanses, gym memberships… the lot. But almost two weeks in, we all start to feel the pinch. That’s when sugar cravings set in. Our brains fantasize about sugar when we’re thirsty, hungry, tired, or under-caffeinated – yearning for a quick hit, like a drug. However, succumbing to the sweet stuff is the worst thing you can do.  Two weeks into January diets, cravings start to kick in. Here are tips on how to fight them…

Click here to read the full article with tips from Tiffany on meditation to stave your cravings.

How to Use Meditation to Beat Sugar Cravings

Yoga Medicine Founder, Tiffany Cruikshank explains how you can use the power of meditation and mindfulness to get to the root of what’s driving your sugar cravings. By understanding the root causes, you can overcome your sugar cravings without eating more sugar.

“When it comes to weight loss, sugar is one of the most difficult cravings to manage. It creates an endless cycle of wanting more. Besides tanking our blood sugar, driving up our cortisol, and trip wiring our metabolism, sugar drives us to constantly look for our next fix. Whether we’re on a diet or not, most don’t feel calm or content after we eat sugar. We just want more more more.”

“I believe that it’s healthy to give in to these cravings from time to time. But how do we find a balance?… Obviously, what we eat for the rest of the day is also very important, but our mental awareness of why we eat is also crucial to restructuring our metabolism (and often overlooked in diet plans and books).”

Meditation Healthy Lifestyles

Emotional Drive

“Consider the emotional purpose of your cravings. If it’s sugar you’re craving, reflect on what sort of sweetness you need in your life right now. Are you craving sweetness or affection from your partner? Are you craving more energy? Self-love? Are you craving attention, appreciation, connection, approval, stillness, less stress, less pressure, a vacation, time with your family, love from your children, love from your parents?”

“When you’re hit with a craving, can you sit with it long enough to consider what’s under it, even for just one minute? Doing that – taking that one-minute pause – can honestly have the most profound effect on your health and your waistline. Can you broaden the gap between craving and filling your mouth?”

“Become aware of these emotions, shine a light on them to see what’s actually happening underneath your cravings. Once you do that, you have created another option for yourself: Do I eat the brownie, or do I talk to my partner? Do I eat it, or do I sit and meditate, even for just a few minutes, to consider what’s happening and what my body actually needs? Can I find a way to answer that need from the body in a way that leaves me feeling more content?”

Try this 5-minute guided meditation:

  1.  Set your phone’s timer to five minutes.
  2. Begin with a minute or two of just watching your breath and becoming an observer. Then, as you begin your meditation, notice what you need right now in this moment. Pay attention to what is necessary to be alive at this moment.
  3. As you continue, notice how cravings come up in your meditation, things like wanting to move or thinking about things on your to-do list. Notice whether you’re hungry and craving certain foods, or maybe craving something like sleep or love or movement. See if you can notice those cravings and the feelings around them. Do you feel anxious or excited, happy or guilty? Are there any emotions attached to cravings? Then, even more important, notice the sensations that these thoughts create in your body. Notice what you feel and where you feel it. Notice if it feels uncomfortable to sit with these feelings and not respond.
  4. When the timer goes off, take a minute to finish by just watching your breath again.

Learn more about how you can use the powers of meditation with Tiffany’s 21 day guide: Meditate Your Weight: A 21-Day Retreat to Optimize Your Metabolism and Feel Great.

Want to read more?

Yoga Expert Tiffany Cruikshank On How You Can Meditate to Lose Weight and Control Cravings

Click here for the original article on Further Food’s website.

Tiffany Cruikshank Interview with Native Society

Native Society connects aspiration readers with inspirational content, so an interview with the founder of Yoga Medicine seems all too fitting. Read on for an insight into Tiffany’s goals, aspirations and personal quirks!

Yoga Medicine flyer 2017

Tiffany Cruikshank

Tiffany Cruikshank is an international yoga teacher, author, health and wellness expert. She has a master’s degree in acupuncture and Oriental medicine with a specialization in sports medicine and orthopedics and is the founder of Yoga Medicine. She has also treated more than 25,000 patients from around the world using yoga, acupuncture, nutrition, and holistic health. Additionally, she has been featured in Prevention, Forbes, Women’s Health, Yoga Journal, Self, Marie Claire, and many other publications.

What do you do best?

My personal strength is in the fusion of western medicine concepts (anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics) with eastern healing traditions (yoga, meditation, acupuncture) in a relevant and accessible way that also allows us to individualize the approach to each person.  As a healthcare provider myself, I saw the desire for healthcare providers to utilize yoga and meditation as an adjunct therapy but they did not have the tools to use it.  Nowadays, there are so many teachers and so broad a spectrum of training it can be overwhelming and near impossible to find one someone with a deeper understanding of the western body in order to work within the medical world.  Our goal with Yoga Medicine is to provide a resource of teachers with a depth of training in both east and west to be able to work more efficiently within the medical world.

What makes you the best?

I definitely don’t see myself as the best, but I see myself as a connector to open up a platform for teachers and healthcare providers to have educated conversations.  I don’t believe there is one right answer to most questions, especially when it comes to the human body.  The body is too complex to distill it down to one appropriate alignment cue for everyone.  However, we have to do that to some extent or we would have no guide into the poses.  What’s important to me is that we keep our perspective open to different ideas and ways of working with the body. Above all, it’s important to have informed conversations and different methods of helping the individual from many different perspectives and medical approaches.

What are your aspirations?

To bring yoga into the medical communities as an important adjunct to medical care and preventative measures.

Biggest Success?

I’m not sure, I feel really grateful for so many things in my life right now.  My relationship, our new home, the Yoga Medicine community….

Most Challenging Moment?

Finding balance, I can be a bit of a workaholic.  Working through my own insecurities to extract some important life lessons.

Favorite Motto?

Just do it.

Favorite People?

My man, my dog, my friends, and the Yoga Medicine community.

Favorite Places?

Home, there’s no place like home!!

Favorite Products?

KiraGrace, DoTerra, Rad rollers, Pangea Organics.

Current Passions?

Finding balance in my life and enjoying the simple moments.

Check out the original article and other Native Society contributors here.

21 Experts Reveal Their Healthy New Years Resolutions

Lauren Brown West-Rosenthal for Eat This, Not That shares some healthy New Years Resolutions made by some top health and fitness experts.

21 Diet & Fitness Experts Reveal Their 2017 Resolutions

From personal trainers to fitness experts to healthy eating pros, we look to them for inspiration and that extra boost we need to set our goals, reset our diets, and get on a fitness regime. So it got us wondering about their resolutions. How do these shredded and healthy living gurus top themselves year after year? Read on to find out—and feel free to “borrow” one of their resolutions for yourself.


“I am a very healthy eater. I mean, it is my way of life and career after all! But I want to up my green game and get two cups of dark leafy greens like broccoli rabe, collard greens, swiss chard, kale, or romaine per day. Every day!”


“Staying hydrated is one way I’ll look to improve my overall health and well-being. If your hydration levels drop by only two percent, you may experience fuzzy thoughts, lack of concentration, and fatigue—making it difficult to stay active and motivated to eat healthy.”


“I don’t get in as many workouts as I would like each week, due to my hectic schedule. Although I have a very healthy diet and use that to regulate how my body looks and feels, I really want to schedule in more workouts because of how they make me feel. I’d also like to meditate each day for at least five minutes.”


“At the beginning of each year, I set year-long goals for work, health, family and personal. I stick to one big goal for each category and then make a list of other small goals I want to consider. I make a repeating appointment in my calendar for the first of each month so that I check in on them on a regular basis. Nothing is off limits and I try to make my goals as specific as possible. A whole year allows me to think big and the repeating appointment gives me a reminder and shows me that it’s attainable, based on my past goals.”


“For 2017, I also plan to go 100 percent vegan with at least 80 percent coming from raw plant-based nutrition. I’ve been about 80 percent vegan for a long time, but now I am ready for the next level. I feel such a great clear and healthy energy from this way of eating now.”

Read the full article on Eat This, Not That.

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