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Month: October 2017

Restorative Nutrition: Digestion & Health

Frankie Newot for Yoga Medicine shares how fall can be a great time to explore restorative nutrition, and how the digestive system impacts health and relaxation. Next, explore the restorative yoga routine for your digestive system.

Fall in Love with Your Digestive System: Exploring Restorative Nutrition

The transition into fall is strong on the senses. Those first evenings where the light starts to drop its angle and the first mornings that feel a little crisper. The heat of summer is cooling off, preparing our bodies for a shift inside. Done with the sweat and the go-go-go of summer. We cut our winter squash, clip the last of the cayenne peppers for fermented hot sauce and eat Caprese salads like they are going out of style.

It was this season, a few years back that inspired my exploration of Restorative Nutrition. It was the idea that sometimes our diet seems to move as fast as our busy schedules and the hectic to do lists. Ate breakfast – check; made sure I packed protein snacks – check; rushed home in time to get a decent meal put together for the loves – check; drank water and didn’t overdo the caffeine – check; tried not to get hangry – check.

Relaxation and Digestion

In my practice as a functional nutritionist, relaxation is a part of digestion. Period. For a lot of folks, the parasympathetic nervous system is a foreign and unknown destination. We spend our days planning, doing and for a lot of us … stressing about what is ahead and what is behind us. This rev of the nervous system day after day never allows us to explore the “rest and digest” side of ourselves. So, it is easy to believe that most people struggle with some part of digestion though, for each person, there can be a unique batch of signs and symptoms.

I am a believer that for a lot of us, it is difficult to care for what we do not know. Restorative Nutrition gives people an entry point to get to know their digestion and care for it deeply. As we cruise into fall, carve out some time to lie on the floor with your hands on your belly.

Take a trip inside to imagine your digestion, to give thanks when it works well and love it deeply for the energy it brings. Downregulate long enough to explore. I think this is where are our relationship to our food can flourish, where we start to make decisions that soothe and heal us. It isn’t about the merry-go-round of good camp/bad camp or the willpower to stay away from the sweets as much as it is getting to know our inner body. Care for it like the precious resource that it is and enjoy, deeply.

Digestive System Restoration Practice

Here is a 10 minute, 360 degree routine to restore your digestive system this fall:

1. Place a block under one end of your bolster, running long way on your mat. Create a gradual slope with the props. Then, scoot your seat about 5-6 inches from the end of the bolster that is on the ground. Lay your spine along the bolster. Legs can be long or knees bent leaning in on one another.
2. Take your hands to your belly and as your breath begins to move your hands up and down, let your imagination follow. Imagine bringing circulation and rest to your belly. Stay here as long as you would like and try visualizing the digestive system from the mouth down to the belly.
3. When you are ready to move again, bend your knees if they aren’t already and let them fall to the right. Lift your torso off the bolster and begin to twist to your right until the front of your chest lays on the bolster ramp. Let the hands relax on either side. Take some big belly breaths into your twist. Allow the gaze to face whichever direction feels less straining.
4. Place a block under one end of your bolster, running long way on your mat. Create a gradual slope with the props. Then, scoot your seat about 5-6 inches from the end of the bolster that is on the ground. Lay your spine along the bolster. Legs can be long or knees bent leaning in on one another.
5. Place a block under one end of your bolster, running long way on your mat. Create a gradual slope with the props. Then, scoot your seat about 5-6 inches from the end of the bolster that is on the ground. Lay your spine along the bolster. Legs can be long or knees bent leaning in on one another.

Warm Up Stretches to Improve Overall Fitness

Stepfanie Romine for BeachbodyOnDemand shares how to incorporate stretches into your warm up & cool down to improve your overall fitness.

The Best Stretches for Warm-Up, Cooldown, and Everyday Flexibility

Despite what you might see on Instagram or in your local yoga studio, stretching isn’t just for human pretzels. Stretching is essential for improving flexibility, which is an important component of overall fitness, along with strength, power, and endurance.

Read on to learn which stretching exercises are best for warming up, cooling down, and improving overall fitness.

Click here to read the rest of this article and Tiffany Cruikshank’s insights!

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction: Sacred Practice

Dr. Rashmi S. Bismark shares how she learned about Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction as a secular tool for the medical world, and how secular became SACRED again.

S.A.C.R.E.D. Practice

When I first discovered Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) as an evidence-based medical intervention for patients with a variety of stress-related indications, I was absolutely thrilled. MBSR was elegant. It teaches contemplative practices and mindful movement through a beautifully thought out curriculum. And better yet, it fits perfectly within the medical professional sphere. It was the perfect way for me to bridge my traditional self-care practices with patient care in a secular format…

My proud use of the word secular was rightly challenged a few years ago while attending my first professional teacher training retreat through the Oasis Institute (University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness). Well-respected mindfulness leader, Saki Santorelli, EdD, who co-created MBSR with Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, was one of the teachers.

In one of his key lectures, Dr. Santorelli expressed that secular literally means devoid of sacredness. “Is this work we do with mindfulness really devoid of the sacred? From the beginning, it has never been anything but sacred. Sacred in the same way the doctor-patient relationship is and always has been sacred. Held deeply in the spirit of the Hippocratic Oath to do no harm.”

Read the rest of the article here.

Guided Meditation: The Best Videos Under 10 Minutes

Bella Gerard for Health.com shares the best short guided meditation videos available for free. Tiffany Cruikshank’s 5-minute meditation video makes the list.

The Best Online Meditation Videos Under 10 Minutes

You exercise to keep yourself in shape physically, but what about staying balanced mentally? Meditation is an amazing way to get centered. Incorporating it into your daily routine can decrease stress and soothe anxiety.

Not quite sure where to begin? Because we’ve rounded up the top guided meditation videos for any and all occasions! There’s one for increased focus, another for overcoming self-doubt, and even a guide to meditation for a better night’s sleep! Even better: These meditations are all 10 minutes or less, meaning even the busiest bee can manage to fit in a little “me” time.

Read the rest of this article, including  – click here!

My Yoga Medicine Teacher Training Experience

Louise Flannelly shares her personal experience participating in Yoga Medicine Teacher Training. She has completed the 200hr level of training and is eager to continue on to the 500hr program.

My Yoga Medicine Teacher Training Experience

Whilst living in Western Australia, I regularly attended a fantastic yoga studio there called The Yoga Vine. It can sometimes take a while to find the perfect yoga studio and teachers who are inspiring and dynamic; so when I found The Yoga Vine, I became a loyal yogi at the studio.

I had attended this studio for a while when I noticed an upcoming yoga workshop with a guest US yoga teacher, Tiffany Cruikshank. There was a lot of excitement amongst the dedicated yogis that Tiffany was coming to town. She was doing three yoga workshops over a weekend, so I decided I’d go along to all three and signed up on the spot.

Getting Hooked on Yoga Medicine

From the first yoga workshop I was hooked. Tiffany had started her own yoga business, Yoga Medicine, where she led teacher trainings and workshops all over the world. She had an in-depth knowledge of anatomy and the effect of different yoga poses on strengthening and stretching specific muscles. I found all of this fascinating as I have a degree in anatomy and was thinking of signing up for a yoga teacher training course. After attending Tiffany’s workshops and researching her trainings, I knew she was offering the right teacher training for me. So I signed up for her 200hr teacher training which was starting six months later!

My yoga teacher training journey started in Mexico in October 2015. Now I won’t lie, I was a little nervous! When I arrived at the resort, everyone was really friendly; and I shared a beautiful beach hut with a fellow trainee teacher, a sweet American girl. Waking up to the sound of the ocean was just glorious every morning. We ate local fresh organic food for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Intense Training in Paradise

The training itself was as it said in the brochure… intense! Morning yoga practice started at 7 am for two hours, then we had breakfast for one hour, then lectures mostly on anatomy for three hours, then lunch for two hours, lectures for another two-three hours, a restorative practice for one hour, dinner one hour, an evening lecture for one hour and homework. Phew! Full on packed days! But I thoroughly enjoyed every moment.

The amount of knowledge I gained in that one week was incredible. I loved that the course had a very strong focus on anatomy. Tiffany is an amazing teacher, and her teaching method really helps you remember all the fine details. We learned all about the major muscles in the body and which yoga poses work to lengthen and strengthen the corresponding muscles. Tiffany used an anatomy app as a teaching tool, which gave a great visual of the specific muscles she was teaching on.

We learned the art of safely adjusting students in numerous yoga poses by first watching Tiffany and her assistants and then practicing on each other. By practicing adjusting each other in various poses, it taught us how to apply the right amount of pressure and watch out for our own safety and posture while we were adjusting students. I met some incredible people from all around the world and learned so much in that first week.

Homework Time

At the end of Week 1, we were given three assignments to complete over the next three months before we came back for Part 2 of the training. The first assignment involved choosing a book from the provided reading list and summarizing our findings on how the information we learned would influence our teaching. The second assignment involved observing ten yoga classes and writing on these experiences. Finally each Sunday we received ‘homework’, which was uploaded to our online class forum. The homework was to be completed during the week and consisted of videos, yoga sequences to practice and teach to friends, a meditation practice and otmini-assignmentsents. We were assigned a group leader who was always available to answer any questions we had in relation to our homework or assignments. It was great knowing we had that support network available to us.

Back to Paradise

The second part of my teacher training was scheduled for the end of January 2016. The training was held in a beautiful resort in Hawaii. This was a beautiful place full of trees (including avocado, oh to have an avocado tree!) and wildlife. The first evening at the resort was filled with excitement as we were reunited with our fellow teacher trainees.

Part 2 of our training began, and at this point, what we learned over the past few months really came together as we found our unique voices as teachers. I think we were all a mix of nerves and excitement. We started our days at 7am with a two-hour yoga practice, then our mornings were filled with lectures or practice teaching, which gave us a chance to teach each other mini-classes based on a specific theme.

Teaching the Teachers

There were about 60 of us in the training altogether, so we were split into smaller groups and each of us had a group leader. Each person in the group had to teach a 20-minute class to their group and team leader. This took place on the last two days of the training. Much of the week was focused on preparing for this class.

The theme of my class was “Releasing Stress Through the Psoas”. I took the group through a breathing exercise to begin. The breathing meditation I choose is called the “So Hum” meditation. This helped calm everyone down including myself as the air was electric with nerves! I guided the class through a dynamic flow with plenty of nice, juicy, hip openers whilst physically adjusting students and finished the class with a well-deserved savasana. At the end of my class, my group leader and fellow yogis gave their comments on my class, both on what I had done well and where I could improve. This information was invaluable as it really helped to improve my teaching in “real life” classes. It was a very supportive group and a really positive experience.

The Aftermath

Afterwards, I was flooded with emotion. I felt so proud of everyone in our group at how far we had all come in just a few months – from being nervous teacher trainees to being fully qualified yoga teachers. That night we had our graduation where we were all presented with our 200hr teacher certificates. I felt a mixture of emotions. Happiness, relief, sadness that it was over. But also proud. Proud of myself for having the courage to go on this amazing journey. This was just the beginning.

I am so glad I chose this training course. I now feel confident in teaching my students about the anatomy of the poses and creating dynamic classes in which the poses complement each other, creating a seamless flow. This was the perfect course for the anatomical aspect of yoga – exactly what I wanted. I would highly recommend Yoga Medicine for anyone considering doing a teacher training. I now hope to continue my yoga journey with my 500hr training.

Can Foam Rolling Reduce Cellulite?

Julia Malacoff for Shape.com talks to Tiffany Cruikshank about if foam rolling to reduce cellulite could work. Learn about the effect of foam rolling on fascia, muscle and fat.

Can Foam Rolling Really Reduce Cellulite?

Ah, cellulite. Pretty much everyone’s got it. “Approximately 80 to 90 percent of women will develop cellulite at some point after puberty,” says Sonia Batra, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and regular co-host on The Doctors. In other words, it’s extremely common and normal. And though most women have it, countless hours are spent trying to figure out how to get rid of it. While we’re all for *not* caring about having cellulite, we also get that many women want to try to eliminate it.

One of the most popular natural treatments out there these days? Foam rolling. Yes, self-myofascial release is more of a recovery technique than an aesthetic solution, but it does keep your fascia healthy, which in theory could help reduce cellulite. But does it actually work? Turns out, experts say foam rolling can have an effect on cellulite, but probably not in the way you think.

Read the rest of this article here!

Tiffany Cruikshank Interview for Thrive: Stick to Your Strengths

Thrive Global shares the Tiffany Cruikshank Interview for Thrive Questionnaire. Learn about the first thing she does in the morning, what drives her, and why she believes in sticking to her strengths.

Tiffany Cruikshank Interview for Thrive Questionnaire:

A Renowned Yoga Instructor On the Value of Sticking to Your Strengths

When you have the opportunity to ask some of the most interesting people in the world about their lives, sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions. The Thrive Questionnaire is an ongoing series that gives an intimate look inside the lives of some of the world’s most successful people.

Thrive Global (TG): What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?

Tiffany Cruikshank (TC): Meditate (with my partner when we’re both at home.)

TG: What gives you energy?

TC: Creating, helping others, teaching. Doing what I love for work.

TG: What’s your secret life hack?

TC: I really really love what I do. Also, I place the same value and priority on the things that keep me in balance as I do my work. Most importantly though, I know what I’m good at and I stick to that. It really allows me to be focused and efficient.

TG: Name a book that changed your life.

TC: I am a book junkie, there’s no way I could choose just one! I have hundreds of books on my bookshelves, each one I adore.

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?

TC: No way, I don’t usually touch my phone from 8 p.m.-10 a.m. If I need to create or write content or manuals I turn my phone and emails off completely. It’s the best way to increased productivity.

TG: How do you deal with email?

TC: At the beginning of the week I make sure I carve out the time I need to do other things whether that be meetings or chunks of time to create things for our business and then I let the emails fill in the rest of the time. If not I would spend all of my time on email…

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?

TC: Meditate. It puts things in perspective, makes the rest of my day more productive and at the end of my day I feel better with this.

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out? Why?

TC: The worst was right after I finished my masters in Chinese Medicine almost 15 years ago. My adrenals were totally shot. Building my body and mind back up was a long road and it made me really respect my body and learn to find a better balance. Since then I would say the times I feel burnt out are the times when I am not taking time for myself and when I lose the excitement for what I do. That’s when I go back to the drawing board to see what needs to shift.

TG: When was the last time you felt you failed? How did you overcome it?

TC: I’m a perfectionist so I always feel like what I do can and should be better. There’s a constant voice inside me that needs everything to be perfect that I have to ignore on a daily basis or else I would never do anything.

TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.

TC: “Just do it! (There’s no better time than now!).”

Read on Thrive Global here.

About Tiffany:

Tiffany Cruikshank is an internationally renowned yoga instructor and educator, author, and health and wellness expert who travels the globe training both yoga instructors and students on how to use yoga as medicine. She is the founder of Yoga Medicine and makes it her mission is to help people everywhere to create healthy a lifestyle that allows them to thrive (not just be alive.) Tiffany was previously the Acupuncturist and Yoga Teacher at the Nike World Headquarters in Portland, Oregon. She has a pre-med Bachelor’s degree in Medicinal Plant Biology & Nutrition, a Master’s degree in Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine and a specialty in Sports Medicine & Orthopedics. She is the author of two books – Meditate Your Weight and Optimal Health for a Vibrant Life

By Thrive Global.

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