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Month: January 2018

Follow These Blogs to Correct Posture And Build Flexibility

These Wise Feet shares a list of the top blogs (including Yoga Medicine) you should be following to correct posture, and build flexibility. Learn how improper posture can throw off your biomechanics and cause foot pain.

The Top Blogs To Follow For Better Posture And Flexibility

If you are suffering from the myriad of foot problems out there (Achilles Tendonitis, Plantar Fasciitis, Forefoot Varus, Sesamoiditis and even Flat Feet), then Yoga/Pilates/Physical Therapy can be excellent tools to correct your biomechanical deformities and injuries.

Poses like the Chair Pose, Tree Pose, Warrior Pose, Half Moon Pose, and Eagle Pose help create awareness of your Foot Tripod. Thus improving balance, stability and overall posture. Furthermore, poses like Downward-Facing Dog and Dolphin Pose are excellent stretches for the calf muscles.

The benefits of these practices go beyond posture and flexibility and you need the right information to get started.

Click here to keep reading. 

Looking for more information on how yoga can improve your posture and flexibility? Here is another resource on the research and benefits surrounding yoga:

These Wise Feet shares a list of the top blogs you should be following. These blogs can help correct your biomechanics and posture, and build flexibility. Yoga Medicine makes the list.

The Top Blogs To Follow For Better Posture And Flexibility

If you are suffering from the myriad of foot problems out there (Achilles Tendonitis, Plantar Fasciitis, Forefoot Varus, Sesamoiditis and even Flat Feet), then Yoga/Pilates/Physical Therapy can be excellent tools to correct your biomechanical deformities and injuries.

Poses like the Chair Pose, Tree Pose, Warrior Pose, Half Moon Pose, and Eagle Pose help create awareness of your Foot Tripod. Thus improving balance, stability and overall posture. Furthermore, poses like Downward-Facing Dog and Dolphin Pose are excellent stretches for the calf muscles.

While the benefits of these practices stretch far beyond the aforementioned posture and flexibility, getting started with the right information is of utmost importance.

Click here to keep reading. 

Looking for more information on how yoga can improve your posture and flexibility? Here is another resource on the research and benefits surrounding yoga:

How to Open a Yoga Studio… and Succeed

Liz Krieger for Yoga Journal shares some advice from experts on how to open a yoga studio and succeed. Learn which decisions are the most important, where most people fail, and what Tiffany Cruikshank of Yoga Medicine has to say about starting a business.

5 Experts’ Best Advice on How to Open a Yoga Studio—& Succeed

Ever wonder what it takes to start your own yoga studio and make it successful? Follow along as we trail an enthusiastic pair of yogis through their business journey.

Brie Galicinao and Alysia Hendricks are on the cusp of opening a yoga studio in Santa Barbara, California. But, setting up all the business details has been challenging.

“It was tough to even get started. Visiting a bank with our financials, submitting a letter of intent on a lease, looking into copyrighting, and contacting contractors and equipment providers,” says Galicinao. “Even researching and looking at spaces for the studio took us a whole year”. (As of press time, they’re still in lease negotiations with a goal of opening by April 2018.)

Galicinao and Hendricks are Yoga Medicine teachers trained by Tiffany Cruikshank, certified personal trainers through the National Academy of Sports Medicine, and softball coaches at the University of California–Santa Barbara. They’ve both wanted to open their own yoga studio for years, but the idea became more appealing after they each used yoga to recover from head injuries (softballs are not exactly soft).

The Inspiration

Two years ago, Hendricks was pitching in a batting cage when a line drive ricocheted off the cage and smacked her on the forehead. She was diagnosed with a concussion. And, later, post-concussion syndrome. She suffered debilitating symptoms that persisted for months. “I had severe daily headaches, nausea, vertigo, and slow cognitive functioning,” Hendricks says, “I think the toughest part was having no guidance for how to get better and no timeline for my recovery.

Doctors were limited with their resources, insurance companies wanted objective medical evidence or test results, and my friends didn’t realize how much I was suffering because they couldn’t visibly see anything wrong with me.” Hendricks, a dedicated yogi, started a post-injury routine with some breathing exercises and a couple of seated postures, slowly building back up to an hour-long practice.

“Yoga was the only physical activity I could do for six months,” she says. “I was able to breathe into spaces where I was holding a lot of tension, slow my heart rate, and reduce the pain of my headaches,” she says. “Pranayama, in particular, gave me a starting point, or reset. It helped me be OK with the ups and downs of recovery as I tested my limits, including retraining my brain to process information and speak at the cadence I was capable of prior to the injury.”

Galicinao had a similar experience last spring after she suffered a concussion during softball practice. “Yoga was instrumental to my recovery,” she says. “It helped reduce my irritability, fatigue, and sensitivity to light and sound. All of which was as particularly difficult to manage when coaching an outdoor sport.”

Bridging the Gap for Head Injuries

Hendricks and Galicinao are now determined to bring yoga to other athletes suffering from head injuries. Their studio will also serve those looking to improve their mental functioning and overall brain health. During their own recoveries, they realized that there aren’t a lot of resources that bridge the gap between the medical field (neurologists and others who treat brain injuries) and getting athletes back to being active, so they believe they will be poised to fill a real need.

Armed with their decades of fitness knowledge, their deepening connections to the medical professionals who treat brain injuries in Santa Barbara, and Hendricks’s extensive business background (she’s worked in financial roles for Apple and the Tiger Woods Foundation), the pair plans to open MindShift Studio. Their studio will offer a combo of yoga, cycling, and specialized strength and conditioning training. The yoga classes will be centered on ways to improve cognitive performance through balance poses and breathwork. And they plan to offer indoor cycling in their space since they consider it a safe way to get a cardio workout and bring blood to the brain without flaring up post-concussion symptoms—mainly because your head stays relatively still on a stationary bike as opposed to the up-and-down bouncing during running or the balancing act of cycling on the road.

While they’re confident in their purpose, Galicinao and Hendricks know that they have a lot to learn when it comes to succeeding with their studio. To help nudge them along, Yoga Journal set them up with some business-savvy yoga mentors who took a glance at their preliminary business plan and offered some guidance on next steps. Read along for an inside look at what it takes to launch a studio, and for best practices when going into the business for yourself.

Click here to keep reading.

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 more crisp. 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 overdue the caffeine – check; tried not to get hangry – check.

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.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.

“…relaxation is a part of digestion…”

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. Down regulate 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 will power 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 RESTORE ROUTINE

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

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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.[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_3″ layout=”1_3″ spacing=”” center_content=”no” link=”” target=”_self” min_height=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”left top” background_repeat=”no-repeat” hover_type=”none” border_size=”0″ border_color=”” border_style=”solid” border_position=”all” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”” padding_left=”” dimension_margin=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=”” last=”no”][fusion_imageframe image_id=”36398″ style_type=”none” stylecolor=”” hover_type=”none” bordersize=”” bordercolor=”” borderradius=”” align=”center” lightbox=”no” gallery_id=”” lightbox_image=”” alt=”WOULD BE NICE TO HAVE PHOTOS FOR EACH STEP BUT I UNDERSTAND IF THAT ISN’T SOMETHING THAT WILL BE INCLUDED IN EACH BLOG POST.” link=”” linktarget=”_self” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”overlayed_image” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=””]http://yogamed.staging.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/img.jpg[/fusion_imageframe][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container][fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”no” hundred_percent_height=”no” hundred_percent_height_scroll=”no” hundred_percent_height_center_content=”yes” equal_height_columns=”no” menu_anchor=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”center center” background_repeat=”no-repeat” fade=”no” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ video_mp4=”” video_webm=”” video_ogv=”” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_loop=”yes” video_mute=”yes” video_preview_image=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”” padding_left=”” admin_label=”Image row” admin_toggled=”yes”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”2_3″ layout=”2_3″ spacing=”” center_content=”no” link=”” target=”_self” min_height=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”left top” undefined=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” hover_type=”none” border_size=”0″ border_color=”” border_style=”solid” border_position=”all” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”” padding_left=”” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=”” last=”no”][fusion_text hide_pop_tinymce=””]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.[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_3″ layout=”1_3″ spacing=”” center_content=”no” link=”” target=”_self” min_height=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”left top” background_repeat=”no-repeat” hover_type=”none” border_size=”0″ border_color=”” border_style=”solid” border_position=”all” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”” padding_left=”” dimension_margin=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=”” last=”no”][fusion_imageframe image_id=”36398″ style_type=”none” stylecolor=”” hover_type=”none” bordersize=”” bordercolor=”” borderradius=”” align=”center” lightbox=”no” gallery_id=”” lightbox_image=”” alt=”WOULD BE NICE TO HAVE PHOTOS FOR EACH STEP BUT I UNDERSTAND IF THAT ISN’T SOMETHING THAT WILL BE INCLUDED IN EACH BLOG POST.” link=”” linktarget=”_self” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”overlayed_image” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=””]http://yogamed.staging.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/img.jpg[/fusion_imageframe][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container][fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”no” hundred_percent_height=”no” hundred_percent_height_scroll=”no” hundred_percent_height_center_content=”yes” equal_height_columns=”no” menu_anchor=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”center center” background_repeat=”no-repeat” fade=”no” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ video_mp4=”” video_webm=”” video_ogv=”” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_loop=”yes” video_mute=”yes” video_preview_image=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”” padding_left=”” admin_label=”Image row” admin_toggled=”yes”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”2_3″ layout=”2_3″ spacing=”” center_content=”no” link=”” target=”_self” min_height=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”left top” undefined=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” hover_type=”none” border_size=”0″ border_color=”” border_style=”solid” border_position=”all” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”” padding_left=”” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=”” last=”no”][fusion_text hide_pop_tinymce=””]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.[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_3″ layout=”1_3″ spacing=”” center_content=”no” link=”” target=”_self” min_height=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”left top” background_repeat=”no-repeat” hover_type=”none” border_size=”0″ border_color=”” border_style=”solid” border_position=”all” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”” padding_left=”” dimension_margin=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=”” last=”no”][fusion_imageframe image_id=”36398″ style_type=”none” stylecolor=”” hover_type=”none” bordersize=”” bordercolor=”” borderradius=”” align=”center” lightbox=”no” gallery_id=”” lightbox_image=”” alt=”WOULD BE NICE TO HAVE PHOTOS FOR EACH STEP BUT I UNDERSTAND IF THAT ISN’T SOMETHING THAT WILL BE INCLUDED IN EACH BLOG POST.” link=”” linktarget=”_self” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”overlayed_image” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=””]http://yogamed.staging.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/img.jpg[/fusion_imageframe][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container][fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”no” hundred_percent_height=”no” hundred_percent_height_scroll=”no” hundred_percent_height_center_content=”yes” equal_height_columns=”no” menu_anchor=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”center center” background_repeat=”no-repeat” fade=”no” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ video_mp4=”” video_webm=”” video_ogv=”” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_loop=”yes” video_mute=”yes” video_preview_image=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”” padding_left=”” admin_label=”Image row” admin_toggled=”yes”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”2_3″ layout=”2_3″ spacing=”” center_content=”no” link=”” target=”_self” min_height=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”left top” undefined=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” hover_type=”none” border_size=”0″ border_color=”” border_style=”solid” border_position=”all” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”” padding_left=”” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=”” last=”no”][fusion_text hide_pop_tinymce=””]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.[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_3″ layout=”1_3″ spacing=”” center_content=”no” link=”” target=”_self” min_height=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”left top” background_repeat=”no-repeat” hover_type=”none” border_size=”0″ border_color=”” border_style=”solid” border_position=”all” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”” padding_left=”” dimension_margin=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=”” last=”no”][fusion_imageframe image_id=”36398″ style_type=”none” stylecolor=”” hover_type=”none” bordersize=”” bordercolor=”” borderradius=”” align=”center” lightbox=”no” gallery_id=”” lightbox_image=”” alt=”WOULD BE NICE TO HAVE PHOTOS FOR EACH STEP BUT I UNDERSTAND IF THAT ISN’T SOMETHING THAT WILL BE INCLUDED IN EACH BLOG POST.” link=”” linktarget=”_self” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”overlayed_image” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=””]http://yogamed.staging.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/img.jpg[/fusion_imageframe][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container][fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”no” hundred_percent_height=”no” hundred_percent_height_scroll=”no” hundred_percent_height_center_content=”yes” equal_height_columns=”no” menu_anchor=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”center center” background_repeat=”no-repeat” fade=”no” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ video_mp4=”” video_webm=”” video_ogv=”” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_loop=”yes” video_mute=”yes” video_preview_image=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”” padding_left=”” admin_label=”title area” admin_toggled=”yes”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ spacing=”” center_content=”no” link=”” target=”_self” min_height=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”left top” background_repeat=”no-repeat” hover_type=”none” border_size=”0″ border_color=”” border_style=”solid” border_position=”all” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”” padding_left=”” dimension_margin=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=”” last=”no”][fusion_title hide_pop_tinymce=”” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”20″ hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”green_h3_ead” id=”” size=”3″ content_align=”center” style_type=”none” sep_color=””]

UPCOMING COURSES & EVENTS

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Yoga for Stress: How a Daily Yoga Practice Can Help

Julia Dellitt for Aaptive shares the perfect short daily practice to promote relaxation. This stress-busting routine can help with chronic stress, and it’s physical and mental manifestations. Tiffany Cruikshank shares her best recommendations on using yoga for stress.

Stressed Out? Try These 5 Yoga Poses to Relax

Instead of constantly feeling like “fight-or-flight” is your only option, use yoga to train your body and mind to regulate chronic stress.

Yoga is well-known for reducing stress through restorative and strength-building postures, breathwork, and even meditation. But, if you suffer from chronic stress, then you might be wondering if a regular practice can really make a difference. The answer is yes—and here’s how yoga for stress works.

The Mental and Physical Impact of Stress

When your mind encounters a stressful situation, it initiates a response from your autonomic nervous system, which activates your sympathetic nervous system. This floods your body with certain hormones, like cortisol, that increase your heart rate and blood pressure, amplify your senses, and energetically rev up your brain.

In other words, you go into fight-or-flight mood. It’s useful in the case of a true emergency, not so helpful in the face of daily struggles. Over time, stress can become chronic, and that puts you at risk for health problems like depression, insomnia, physical pain, and cardiovascular disease.

How Yoga Can Help

Yoga trains you to breathe through stress and slow down. “Yoga, both from my experience and [from] the research that has been done, is a powerful way to regulate stress and its effects,” explains Tiffany Cruikshank, yoga teacher and founder of Yoga Medicine. “Depending on the style, yoga can affect this in several ways. The breath, when it’s the focus of the class, is proven to be a powerful way to induce the parasympathetic nervous system, or the relaxation response.

“Simple repetitive movements, like sun salutations or cat/cow pose, can also induce the relaxation response to help with chronic stress. The key to [yoga’s] stress-reducing potential really is in simple, mindful, non-judgmental movements linked with breath,” she says.

Yoga for Stress

Here are five yoga poses and techniques that Cruikshank recommends for anyone suffering from chronic stress. You can incorporate these poses and techniques into daily movement to help minimize the effects of stress. Cruikshank also advises students to use the first two poses to prepare to move with more ease, and then focus on the last two to help your body fully relax. You may also add sun salutations or other poses before or after downward-facing dog for a longer sequence.

1. Breathwork

Known as “even-count breathing” or sama vritti pranayama, this breathing technique helps decrease stress. Cruikshank recommends using this anywhere and anytime to relax the body and mind. Find a comfortable seated or supine position, and match the length of your inhale to your exhale. She says to start by inhaling for four counts and exhaling for four counts, without forcing the breath. Do this for at least two minutes, or up to five.

2. Mountain Pose

“From standing, inhale as you lift your arms, palms up, in front of you over your head, and simultaneously lift your heels,” says Cruikshank. “Exhale and slowly lower your heels and arms. Repeat five times. Try to make the movement last the length of a deep breath.” In mountain pose, you’re essentially standing, but stacking shoulders over hips over ankles, and finding a straight spine with an engaged core.

3. Downward-Facing Dog

Cruikshank suggests modifying this common pose with your head resting gently on a block, a yoga prop that provides extra support. “Choose the right height of the block so that you can rest only the weight of the head on the block, and the rest of the body is supported by the arms, legs, and core,” she notes. “Let your [forehead] hairline rest on the block so your neck is slightly flexed forward. Use your breath to relax here and imagine stressful thoughts dripping off your brain.”

Stay here for a few minutes. Remove the block at any time for a more standard variation of this posture. Remember to form your body into the shape of a capital letter A, with hands and feet about hip-width distance. If your hamstrings are tight, or you worry that you aren’t very flexible, don’t worry about it. Just bend your knees as much as you like. Keep your gaze back toward your knees with a long, straight neck.

4. Bridge Pose

Lay on your back with your feet on the floor, says Cruikshank, and then inhale as you lift your hips and arms overhead, and exhale as you lower back down to the ground. Extend your arms out at your sides, and breathe in and out from your nose. Instead of lifting and lowering, you can also hold in a lifted position with knees stacked over ankles and hips pointing upward for one to three minutes. This will help relieve tension through your chest and front body muscles.

You can easily modify bridge pose by placing a block under your back at the base of your spine or placing rolled blankets under your knees, shoulders, and neck.

5. Savasana

Savasana, also known as “corpse pose”, slows a racing heart and active mind to allow you to completely relax in a neutral position. You basically lay on your back with your arms at your sides and legs extended, then let the muscles in your body release and concentrate on just breathing. (Trust us, it’s harder than it seems!) “Close your eyes and stay for five to 20 minutes, noticing the quality of the body and allowing yourself this time to recharge by doing nothing,” Cruikshank says.

You can use additional props to make yourself as comfortable as possible. Try a bolster under your knees, a blanket to cover your limbs, or something to cover your eyes and minimize distraction. Neck support is most important, though, she adds. “The simplest way to support the neck is to use a blanket folded into a square,” she says. “Slide the blanket under your neck and shoulders, and roll the edge closest to your shoulders under to support the bottom of the neck. Because most of the nerves run through the neck, this part of the body is critical to support to allow the body and nervous system to completely relax.

“Stress can affect nearly every physiological marker, so keeping an eye on these points can be very helpful for monitoring your stress on a day-to-day basis before it becomes a more serious concern,” says Cruikshank. “It’s one of the reasons I believe yoga is so necessary for health and wellness.”

Read on Aaptive here.

J. Brown Yoga: Tiffany Cruikshank Interview

J. Brown Yoga interviews Yoga Medicine founder Tiffany Cruikshank on how she found her way into yoga & holistic healing. Learn more below.

Yoga Teacher, Wellness Expert, Author, Founder of Yoga Medicine

Tiffany Cruikshank, founder of Yoga Medicine, joins J for a discussion about her early challenges and roots into yoga and holistic healing modalities, and the process of developing her professional work as a teacher and educator. Their conversation includes:

  • Considerations of the changing paradigms in yoga
  • How she incorporates or separates her yoga with her work in sports medicine and orthopedics
  • Her experience of navigating the yoga industry
  • Developing training with a focus on fusing the two worlds of eastern and western medicine

Click here to listen to the full podcast.

Self-Care Products: 20+ Must Haves that Celebrities Use

Devin Tomb for Good Housekeeping Online shares celebrities’ must have self-care products for their Month of Me series. Tiffany Cruikshank shares her favorite “me time” product.

Woman in yoga pose with a yoga prop from the must have self-care products list.

20+ Must-Have Self-Care Products Celebrities Use for Their “Me Time”

For our Month of Me, which is all about doing what YOU want to do, well-known names including Alison Sweeney, Judy Greer, and Tiffany Cruikshank tell us the products they turn to when they finally get a moment alone. Copy ’em at your leisure!

Read the rest of this article here.

The Importance of a Morning Ritual

Kelly Bryant for Integrative Nutrition shares how a morning ritual can set your tone and intentions, and give you a boost in productivity. Learn how to set up your success by incorporating a morning ritual into your day. Explore morning rituals from experts like Yoga Medicine founder Tiffany Cruikshank.

The Importance of a Morning Ritual

Have you repeatedly heard the benefits of creating a morning ritual but found yourself either unmotivated to begin? Or maybe you’re just too comfortable to get out of bed? If the answer is yes, you are not alone. Beginning with intention allows you to cultivate a greater sense of vitality to bring into your day.

Why Set a Morning Ritual

Whether you are a night owl or morning person, learning to set time aside for yourself each morning can have a profound impact on how you carry yourself through your day. And I’m not talking about the morning routine many of us have. Waking up late and rushing to get changed and out the door is not a morning ritual.

A morning ritual should be a sacred time you have cultivated that empowers you to go through each day with intention and clarity. Yes, hitting snooze and lounging a few extra minutes can feel great in the moment, but designing a morning that nourishes your mind, body, and spirit will create more peace and vitality in the end, leaving you feeling better overall.

Designing a morning that aligns with what feels right for you is imperative, so be sure to create a space that resonates with you rather than simply following a routine that works for someone else. Remember, what works for one person may not work for you, and that’s okay. Some people have extremely detailed mornings. Others simply take five minutes to express gratitude for the life they have been given. Whatever you choose is perfect for you and will create a snowball effect of intention and self-honoring choices the rest of your day.

Looking to begin a morning ritual but still need a little inspiration? I’ve included some sample morning rituals for inspiration.

Some Inspirational Morning Rituals

Deepak Chopra, MD, wakes up at 4:00 am and meditates for two full hours before practicing yoga. His morning mantra is “Restful, alert mind. Joyful, energetic body. Loving, compassionate heart. But most important…lightness of being.”

Arianna Huffington says that what she doesn’t do is just as important as what she does include in her morning routine. “When I wake up, I don’t start the day by looking at my smartphone. Instead, once I’m awake, I take a minute to breathe deeply, be grateful, and set my intention for the day.” Huffington also reportedly includes up to thirty minutes of meditation and thirty minutes on a stationary bike followed by a few yoga stretches.

Mehmet Oz, MD, wakes up around 6 am and does a seven-minute yoga routine. At around 8 am, he’ll have a breakfast of yogurt and blueberries. He suggests to “not make any decisions in your morning if you can avoid it” and to “automate your morning.”

Tiffany Cruikshank, yoga celebrity and author of Meditate Your Weight, begins her days around 7 am and sets the tone for her day with a partner meditation. Next, she has a smoothie, practices yoga, and works on creative projects. Like Huffington, she avoids checking email or social media early in the day.

As you can see, everyone has a ritual that helps set the tone for the day ahead. Knowing exactly how the first few minutes of your day will look is a tool we can implement that will leave us feeling empowered as we face the rest of our day. It’s important to cultivate this sacred time for yourself and begin each day with intention.

Read the article on Integrative Nutrition here.

Stay Fit at the Office: Stretches for the 9-To-5

Kelly Bryant for Vitamin Shoppe shares some excercises and stretches you can do at the office to stay fit at work. Tiffany Cruikshank weighs in on the importance of working activity into your workday.

When you have one of those 9-to-5 (or 9-to-6, 9-to-7…) jobs that has you chained to a desk all day, it’s easy to fall into a stiff pose that leaves you feeling mangled and sore. It’s also pretty easy to fall out of shape—after all, no one ever broke a sweat at the copy machine.

The pitfalls of a sedentary lifestyle and the havoc sitting for long periods of time can wreak on your health have been the subject of many scientific studies, with each conclusion seemingly scarier than the next. For instance, a study published in the Journal of Lifestyle Medicine looked at the adverse effects of prolonged sitting on the general health of 447 office workers who spent an average of 6.29 hours sitting out of an eight-hour workday. The findings? “Our results indicated that long sitting times were associated with exhaustion during the working day, decreased job satisfaction, hypertension, and musculoskeletal disorder symptoms in the shoulders, lower back, thighs, and knees of office workers,” concluded the study’s authors.

Considering that precisely nothing about that conclusion sounds appealing, we asked experts how best to combat the adverse effects of a desk job—particularly if a standing desk isn’t an option in your workspace environment.

Flex In Five

When a lunchtime yoga session isn’t in the cards (and, really, is it for most of us?), Sherrell Moore-Tucker, a natural health and wellness professional who specializes in yoga and meditation, has a quick fix. She recommends incorporating the following few movements into your day, five times a day:

“Enjoy a nice mid-day inversion by bending forward holding onto your chair for support, or place your hands on your shins or touch your toes while releasing the head and neck (hold for 30 seconds),” she instructs. “Reversing gravity, begin to shake the head side to side and up and down as if you’re gesturing yes and no (for another 30 seconds).”

Moore-Tucker then suggests standing while rolling your shoulders slowly forward and back a few times, adding your arms by circling forward and back for one minute. Next, while holding onto your desk for support, step one leg back into a lunge to stretch your legs (for 30 seconds on each side).

“Bring the legs back together and stand tall with the arms overhead,” she says. “Lean the body to the right and then to the left a few times (for 1 minute).  Place the hands on the low back and stretch and lift the chest up and slightly back for a gentle back bend like the ones that we do early in the morning.”

For your final move, Moore-Tucker advises to finish with a seated twist by twisting your chest, shoulders, neck and head to the right and then the left (for 30 seconds on each side).

Energize Early

If you aren’t a morning person, the idea of setting your alarm even earlier than usual might seem like a punishment, but Tiffany Cruikshank, L.A.C., MAOM, RYT, founder of Yoga Medicine, recommends giving yourself a burst of exercise before you head to the office.

“So many of my patients and students are usually a bit burnt out and stressed out,” she says. “I prefer to try to get them to do something quick in the morning—when you want your cortisol higher. This helps support the natural circadian rhythm, which is helpful for so many things from fatigue to insomnia, and really helpful for supporting the adrenals, which tend to take the brunt of long-term stress.”

There are a plethora of apps that provide short, simple morning-jumpstart workouts you can do from home. Cruikshankl recommends the meditation and yoga app and site YogaGlo.com, which is “a great resource since you can choose from a variety of classes to suit your needs.” She also likes 8fit for people who want to build a habit of doing simple, exercise-based movements in the morning or during a break.

Skip The Shortcuts

Yes, that meeting is starting in a few minutes and, sure, it might seem more practical to take the elevator—but don’t. Embrace those moments when you’re moving through your office to the bathroom, to a meeting, or on the way to a lunch.

“Don’t take shortcuts or use labor-saving devices such as elevators (unless you need to!),” says Marshall Weber, fitness coach at Jack City Fitness. “Walk a few blocks for an errand rather than starting the car.”

Weber also recommends extending this into your life outside of work to combat the sitting you’re doing all day Monday through Friday.

“If you’re parking in a mall or grocery lot, park further from the door rather than circling the lot for a closer spot,” he says. “You’ll get more exercise and save gas. When you’re cleaning the house, put some music on and do some dance moves while doing your cleaning routine. It’s a small amount of expended calories, but every little bit helps. Do a yard project with the children such as plant a garden or a tree.”

Of course, when you’re working all week, it may be hard to hit the gym—but everyone should aim to do some form of cardio about four times per week, along with strength training about two times per week. HIIT workouts are helpful for people who want to make the most out of their time, since they’re short but explosive.

Posture Plus

As Michelle Golla, a personal trainer at Boost 180 Fitness in Denver, CO points out, the body was not designed to sit still.

“A good rule of thumb is for every 50 minutes you sit, walk for the next 10,” she says. “Not only does this help get your blood flowing to your muscles, but also to your brain, increasing productivity.”

Golla also notes that if you have to sit, it’s important to make sure the way you’re sitting is good for you: “A focus on good posture will also help combat the effects of sitting at a desk all day,” she says. “If you have the option not to use a standard desk chair, exercise balls are a great alternative for keeping your core engaged throughout the day. Furthermore, if you have the option for a flexible desk option that converts to a standing desk, that’s another great way to change the dynamics of your physicality during the work day.”

Read on Vitamin Shoppe here. 

Change Unhealthy Habits for Good

Samantha Cassetty for NBC News Online shares tips for getting your health back on track by cultivating healthy habits and changing unhealthy habits. Learn how to improve your willpower, meditate your weight away, and set better goals.

How to Reverse Course and Change Unhealthy Habits for Good

Slip up on our your diet and skip the gym today? These expert strategies will get you back on track.

The new year offers a fresh start to improve your health and wellness, and without a doubt, most resolutions focus on these aspects of our lives. Yet, a commonly cited stat suggests that the vast majority of people — over 90 percent— don’t feel like they successfully achieve their resolutions. Stack the odds in your favor this year with these tips from leading wellness experts around the globe.

EXERCISE YOUR WILLPOWER

If you think about willpower like a muscle, you’ll realize it needs to be conditioned. Jen Johnson, a mindfulness teacher, personal coach and counselor specializing in health and wellness recommends learning and practicing strategies for improving willpower. “These include practicing meditation, reducing stress, exercising, getting adequate sleep and relaxing,” she says.

JUST BREATHE

Many of the experts I turned to recommend the simple act of breathing as a way to stay focused on your goals. Johnson says a mindfulness practice helps build awareness, reduce stress and develop focus. This practice works, she says, because “people who are stressed or distracted are more likely to give into temptations and allow their impulses to direct their choices.”

If you’re a meditation skeptic, start with just a few minutes a day. “It’s a great way to bring some clarity and perspective to your day to keep you on track with your goals,” says Tiffany Cruikshank, L.A.c., MAOM, RYT, a yoga, meditation and wellness expert and founder of Yoga Medicine. “I recommend doing this first thing when you get out of bed to prepare for your day. It doesn’t need to be anything fancier than just finding a comfortable seat, closing your eyes and noticing your breath. When your mind wanders off, simply bring it back to your breath. Each time you bring yourself back to your breath it’s like doing a bicep curl for your mind,” she explains.

IMAGINE WHAT SUCCESS LOOKS LIKE

Nutritionist Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, author of Slim Down Now, suggests visualizing your goals. “I visualize myself experiencing the benefits tied to the behavior change or goal I’m working on. When I can envision my future self, it helps me to know that the benefits I’ll be gaining are worth the effort,” says Sass.

Cruikshank is also a fan of this technique — especially as a way to start your day. After finding a comfortable seat and taking a moment to notice your breath, she suggests vividly visualizing your goal. “Picture what it looks and feels like to have attained that goal. Picture yourself going through a typical day once you have attained your goal and make it as vivid as possible. Take a couple minutes to really let it sink in, then take a deep breath and a moment to feel content just as you are before you go off to your day.” The reason this is so effective, she explains, “is because when we approach our goals from a place of inadequacy, it’s much harder to maintain them long term.”

Though visualization is a technique that can be used for everyone, James P. Owen, author of Just Move!: A New Approach to Fitness after 50, has specific tips for older adults. “How older people think about themselves and their demographic peers is a huge impediment to fitness. Banish thoughts of yourself as old, slow and weak, and resist any comparisons to your younger self. In their place, picture the stronger, more youthful version of yourself that you’re on your way to becoming.”

BE YOUR OWN BEST FRIEND

What I’ve found from working with people over many years is that you’re likely your worst critic. You know that inner voice in your head? The one that that makes you feel ashamed when you’ve slipped up — whether because you skipped spin class all week or said yes to a few cookies during an afternoon slump. It’s time to quiet that voice.

“Perfection doesn’t exist so let go of that notion and instead, set positive intentions that are rooted in self-love and self-respect,” suggests Katie Cavuto MS, RD of Nourish.Breathe.Thrive blog. “Enter into your intentions with compassion and understanding that you are aiming to do your best, but realistically you expect that you may stray from your path. If and when you do, gently remind yourself of your intention and continue to move forward. Gradually, you will find that you stay centered more than not,” promises Cavuto. She also recommends some broad goals for eating better this year, such as ‘I eat to nourish my body’, ‘I am doing my best to eat more whole foods’ and ‘My intention is to eat more vegetables everyday.’ “These intentions focus on adding things to your plate versus taking things away,” she notes.

Owen is another expert who agrees with this approach. “Rather than scolding yourself or dwelling on ‘shoulds’ when your motivation flags, remind yourself of the kind of person you are and aspire to be — someone of action, strength and resolve. Think back to times when you’ve persevered toward a long-term goal, and to the promises you’ve kept to others. Now you’re going to keep your promise to yourself, because that’s who you are!”

SET YOUR SIGHTS RIGHT

If you’ve never run a mile, setting the intention to run a marathon might not be the right place to start. The same goes for weight loss. If you want to drop 40 pounds but haven’t been at that goal weight in decades, you may need to adjust your thinking. I often remind clients that these lofty goals are like the North Star — a good directional guide, but not necessarily the landing spot.

“You have to decide what’s realistic for you and your lifestyle,” says Vancouver and Bali-based lifestyle mentor Dai Manuel. “If you are someone who does no physical activity, adding in 15 minutes a day of movement with purpose is a great way to leverage one percent of your 24-hour day,” he says. “It’s not necessarily the time that matters as much as what you do with the time,” he adds.

Both Manuel and Johnson suggest making your goals more challenging as you meet each one. “The most important thing to note is that you are gradually increasing your limits based on how your body is responding, adapting, and ultimately, evolving,” advises Manuel.

FIND YOUR WHY

The pros agreed that beyond looking better, you need to dig deeper to connect with your reasons for seeking change. Ask yourself, “What do you want to be able to do, or how do you want to feel by achieving your intentions?” suggests Johnson.

Cruikshank offers other questions to consider. “Will you interact with people differently, will you care for your family differently, will your happiness at the end of the day be different?” she asks. Once you discover your own why, “tune into the most meaningful elements that you find and keep them in the forefront of your attention when you find your motivation waning,” she recommends.

BUDDY UP

Teaming up with a partner means you’ll have someone by your side to keep you motivated and weather the inevitable setbacks. “Surround yourself with a support system of people who inspire and help hold you accountable to stick to your goals. It can be family, friends, co-workers or a fitness community,” says celebrity trainer, wellness and lifestyle coach Rosalia Chann. She recommends finding someone with similar goals, or even introducing yourself to someone in your fitness class.

Certainly, you’re not restricted to just one teammate. Make getting fit a family affair, suggests Manuel. “Not only will you make fitness gains, you can also enjoy more time interacting together and building stronger relationships,” he says.

HAVE FUN AND STAY POSITIVE

How can you expect to stick with a resolution if it feels like an added chore? PilatesonFifthOnline.com founders Katherine and Kimberly Corpse suggest that “resolutions should be empowering, not punitive. If the plan you have created looks more punitive (even on paper) than it does inspiring, it’s probably not going to work.”

Dawn Jackson Blatner, RDN, and author of The Superfood Swap, gamifies her goals. “To stick to my resolutions, I practice seven-day challenges. For one week, I assign myself just one behavior I really want to change and make a record at the end of each day whether I kept on track. Keeping focused on just one behavior feels less overwhelming and recording the results keeps me motivated.”

If you want to eat better, find new recipes to try. If getting fit is your goal, seek activities — whether biking, hiking, skiing or yoga — that excite you. For those who want to meditate more, try an app that inspires you. It’s much easier to stay motivated when you frame things as fun.

DON’T TAKE AN ALL OR NOTHING APPROACH

It’s worth repeating that setbacks are part of the process. “We all have days when we feel low on energy and drive, so don’t get caught in the trap of ‘all or nothing’ thinking,” advises Owen. If you’re tempted to skip your workout, he suggests giving yourself permission to scale back instead. “For example, you could go to the gym and just do stretches and one or two exercises. Once you get moving, the chances are you’ll feel ready to do more.”

At the very least, gently remind yourself of your intentions and your motivations behind them. If you’ve gotten off track, simply take the next opportunity to steer yourself in the right direction. As I often say, if you’ve made a wrong turn while driving, you wouldn’t continue to head in the wrong direction. Take this approach to your wellness goals and you’ll be able to handle any detours.

Read article on NBC

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