Join the Women's Health Online Training

Learn More

Most Popular Articles

Month: January 2018

100 Ways To Live Healthy: Numbers 1 Through 10

By Johane van den Berg for Longevity.

Just for you! We have compiled 100 simple ways to be healthy and how you can change small things that lead to big results. Before long, you’ll find that these habits start to accumulate, and these changes can stick. In no time, you’ll wake up and discover that you’re leading the healthy, happy life you’ve been aiming for. This article contains the first 10 ways.

1. Sip Green Tea Before You Walk.

This habit will help you to shed those unwanted kilos. Research shows that the caffeine in green tea frees fatty acids so that you burn fat more easily. The antioxidant content in green tea has also been shown to increase calorie burn.

2. Switch Out Your After-Work Sweatpants For Workout Gear.

This will have two results. The first is that it will be easier for you to move, so you’re likely to put more energy into your chores and work up more of a sweat. The second is that it increases the chances that you’ll go out for a jog or engage in a little indoor strength training.

3. Oxygenate With Fresh Morning Air.

We all know how important oxygen is for our health. Neuroscientist Dr. Tara Swart says it is crucial to proper brain function. But when is the best time for us to breathe deeply? Early-morning air is optimal for a deep-breathing session, as there has been little to no traffic throughout the night and the air is at its cleanest. Want to know more? Click here to find out.

4. Disinfect Your Office Doorknob.

Research from the University of Arizona has shown that using disinfectant wipes on commonly touched objects, such as doorknobs, can reduce the spread of cold-and-flu-causing viruses by up to 90%.

5. Make Your Own Salad Dressing.

While we all love to add a little flavor to our salads, most store-bought salad dressings are full of unhealthy ingredients. Don’t miss out; make your own version of your favourite salad dressing at home. There are hundreds of quick and easy, healthy salad dressing recipes online. Some of them are more cost-effective, too.

6. Read Labels.

To stay healthy, you must know what is going into your body. Dietician and former president of the Association for Dietetics in South Africa, Claire Julsing-Strydom, says there are no hidden salts and sugars. The amounts are right there on the label; you just have to look for them. It is also important to look up ingredient names that you don’t recognize, and decide which ingredients you are – and aren’t – happy to eat. Knowledge is power.

7. Know Your Numbers.

For better health and vitality, Dr. Vash Mungal-Singh, CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa, advises: “High blood pressure and high cholesterol are known as ‘silent killers’, as they usually don’t present with any symptoms. It’s important to know your numbers by having your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose levels checked regularly, to know if you are at risk.”

8. Eat Sardines Twice A Week.

Sardines are packed with lean protein and omega-3. Omega-3 is crucial for brain functionality, gut health and reducing levels of chronic, low-grade inflammation. This form of inflammation has been found to be the root cause of all disease, and our modern lifestyle choices make it worse. Sardines are an affordable way to get good quality nutrition and fortify yourself against illness.

9. Kick That Addiction.

Addiction affects our physiology, making us more susceptible to premature aging, according to clinical psychologist Dr. Sandrina Haeck. Substance addiction can lead to long-term cognitive impairment, damage to neurotransmitters, increased stress levels, sleep disorders, weakened heart muscles, increased risk of stroke, cancer, liver disease, lung disease, sexual dysfunction, infertility and a damaged immune system. Click here to find out how addiction affects your health in different ways.

10. Meditate In The Morning.

Tiffany Cruikshank, an internationally renowned yoga instructor and the founder of Yoga Medicine, says: “I start my day with a simple meditation practice; it sets the tone for my day and clears my head to prepare for what is to come.”

Yoga & Chinese Medicine: Unwinding the Back Line

Allie Geer, Yoga Medicine Instructor shares a yoga practice that is perfect for winter. Learn about the Chinese Medicine concept of the Back Line, and how to use it to find balance, and treat tightness and pain.

A Nourishing Practice for the Winter

“My hamstrings are tight.” “My low back hurts.” “My feet are sore.” These are such commonly heard phrases both in and out of a yoga studio. Up until recently, I addressed these issues by picking different poses that I felt might be able to provide some relief. Great, right? But as a yoga teacher maybe it’s even more important to look at the interconnectedness of the whole body, using the big picture to create balance. When we look at the fascial connections in the body, we can clearly see that it’s all interrelated. What’s also compelling to me as a teacher is a connection to our health through nature and our energetic body with Traditional Chinese Medicine.

The Superficial Back Line

The Superficial Back Line is a continuous line of connective tissue extending from the bottom of the foot up the back side of the body over the top of the head. Tension, movement patterns, trauma, or strain here tends to transmit throughout this fascial line. In our body, this line has both a left and a right side. In Yoga Medicine’s recent cadaver dissection, I had the honor of meticulously dissecting this superficial back line. This process gave me a hands-on experience of just how interconnected these tissues are and helped me to see in person why so many of us (myself included) struggle with pain, weakness, or resistance here. I believe the answer tends to lie within our own fascial restrictions.

The muscles involved in this line are some of the most common culprits for back, leg and foot pain. Rather than thinking of them or working with them as separate entities, it’s important to work with them as a team.

Landmarks of the Superficial Back Line

  1. Plantar fascia of the foot
  2. Gastrocnemius
  3. Hamstrings
  4. Sacral Tuberous Ligament
  5. Erector Spinae
  6. Epicranial Fascia

Connection to Traditional Chinese Medicine

What I find most interesting about the superficial back line is the connection to the bladder meridian in Chinese Medicine theory. In fact, their pathways are almost identical. In Chinese Medicine theory, the bladder meridian is part of the water element which is associated seasonally with winter. Winter represents the most Yin aspect in Chinese Medicine. Qualities of yin are slow, dark, cold, an inward energy compared to those of yang which are fast, bright, hot, an outward energy. Winter is an important time to nourish the yin qualities through introspective practices to harmonize and balance the body, and its relationship to nature.

The following practice focuses on the connection between the superficial back line and the kidney and bladder meridians. May this practice nourish your body and mind from the inside out and help you to settle into to the winter months. Enjoy!

Practice to Cultivate Balance through the Back Line

Myofascial Releases:

1. Begin standing with a tennis ball or myofascial release ball near a wall for balance. Roll out one foot at a time, working the arches, ball of the foot and even into the heal. 30-60 seconds. Pause between sides in a brief forward fold to notice the difference. Repeat the second side.

2. Seated, using tennis balls or myofascial release balls, one leg at time roll the calves (using a block under the calf for support), then roll the hamstrings, switch sides.

Pose 1: Supported Calf Myofascial Release
Pose 2: Hamstring Myofascial Release

3. Roll the erectors, using your myofascial release balls or tennis balls. Sometimes it’s helpful to put 2 balls into a sock (use the wall as a gentler modification).

4. Roll back of the neck with a block on the medium height. The closer edge of the block should sit at the base of the skull so the neck is off of the block.

Breath Exercises

1. Lying on our backs with feet into the mat about hip-width take a moment to observe sensations in the body. Begin to connect with the breath.

2. Adding belly breath, begin to contract the transverse abdominals (TVA). On the exhale, draw in around the spine, cinching around the waistline as if you were putting on a belt. Notice the connection we have from the front body to the back body through our diaphragm and abdominal wall.

Yoga Poses

1. From all fours take some variations on cat/cow.

Pose 1: Cow
Pose 2: Cat

2. Bird Dog (lifting alternate arms and legs in tabletop) paying attention to the connection around the waist and through the back side of the body.

3. Salabhasana noticing the awakening of the back line from heels to head. Draw in around the belly to support the spine.

4. Crescent Lunge to Warrior 3 variation, moving slowly and mindfully.

Pose 1: Crescent Lunge
Pose 2: Warrior 3

4. Seated, perform a forward fold of choice (Paschimottasana, Janu Sirsasana, Upavista Konasana) adding any props to support the body in a longer hold. Let the focus and intention be on the breath. Create stillness in the body to tune in and listen.

5. Lying on back Supported Bridge with either a block or bolster under the hips/sacrum.

6. Supta Padangusthasana with a strap, hold each side for 2-3 minutes with a pause between sides.

14. Set up Savasana in the Divine Heart Opener. Accordion fold a blanket( about 2 inches in width) so that it rests down the length of your spine. Let the hips be free on the mat or can rest on a folded square blanket for support. A bolster under the knees might feel nice if there is any lower back pain.

Tiffany Cruikshank: The Yoga Teacher for Yoga Teachers

Reto Hauri for Huffpost interviews Yoga Medicine founder Tiffany Cruikshank. Learn about her story, why she’s so passionate about yoga, and why Yoga Medicine is so powerful.

Meet the Yoga Teacher for Yoga Teachers, Tiffany Cruikshank

“I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for the work I do every time we run a training. I am also floored by the impact that our thousands of teachers have on their communities. I feel such awe watching the ripple effect of our work touch the lives of so many people all around the world. That’s the exponential power and the beauty of training teachers: every time I help one, I’m helping the thousands of students they will come in contact with as well. My work really feels like such a gift and a privilege.” – Tiffany Cruikshank, L.AC, MAOM, E-RYT

Meet Tiffany Cruikshank

I had the pleasure to interview Tiffany Cruikshank. Tiffany is the founder of Yoga Medicine and an internationally renowned yoga instructor, who has spent the past 20 years crafting a methodology for teaching and practicing yoga, wherein the practice is melded with Eastern and Western notions of medicine. Cruikshank’s background as a holistic health practitioner, acupuncturist, and sports medicine expert also supports her work perfectly. Based in Seattle, Cruikshank teaches regularly for YogaGlo, and travels extensively around the world. She is also the author of Meditate Your Weight. Her approach has helped thousands of yogis around the world see their practice in a new light as a result of Cruikshank’s innovative thinking and dedication to the practice.

Read the rest of the interview here.

Join The Yoga Medicine® Community

Subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date with
our latest trainings and resources.

Yoga Medicine
Scroll to Top

Find Out More