Tiffany Cruikshank is a renowned yoga, meditation, and wellness expert, and the founder of Yoga Medicine, an international resource of teachers trained in the fusion of yoga with anatomy and physiology. Tiffany currently lives in Seattle, Washington.
What is your morning routine?
My sleep is precious, so when I’m not on the road working, I usually let myself sleep in, which means waking up around 7:00am or so. First thing is to spend a little quality time with my partner and then meditate together before we start the day. Then it’s smoothie time. I’m not usually very hungry in the morning, but having a morning green smoothie with veggies, protein powder, and other goodies makes me feel and function better throughout my day.
Then I like to practice yoga and spend time creating. I spend the first part of my day doing the things in my business that only I can do (e.g., writing or creating new training manuals, reading, experimenting, planning). I try to stay out of email and social media for the first part of the day so that I can be more productive early on.
How long have you stuck with this routine so far?
It’s always evolving, but the mediation and smoothies have been part of my morning routine for a couple decades now. I used to wake up bright and early to do yoga first. As I’ve gotten older, though, I appreciate practicing a little later in the morning or afternoon, especially since I can make my own schedule when I’m home.
When I’m on the road, I just do it when I can. However, I always travel with my morning powder – it’s the only item I really need when I’m on the road. It carries me through my long, physically and mentally challenging days, and I like to add all sorts of vitamins, herbs, and probiotics to fine-tune it for whatever I need.
How has your morning routine changed over recent years?
I’ve recently been experimenting with staying off email and the internet for the first part of my day to allow me to create and complete projects that don’t get done when I spend all my time on email and tedious tasks. I’ve gotten really good at hiring great people and delegating tasks to them to allow me to continue to create excellent content for our community and stay healthy and inspired in the process.What time do you go to sleep?
Usually around 10:00pm, give or take an hour.
Do you do anything before going to bed to make your morning easier?
I like to look at my day ahead. That could be picking out clothes for a speedy morning or mentally preparing for classes or meetings. I like to be prepared so that I can start my day ready to go. But I never look at my schedule or emails after dinner – this is my wind-down and family time.
I’m a non-stop worker all day, every day. I love what I do. My partner inspired me to create some untouchable time to just be home, and it has been so helpful. When I’m on the road or my family is away, I work through the night and on the weekends; but when they’re home, that time is off limits. It’s helped me learn how to turn off and to enjoy my life.
Do you use an alarm to wake you up in the morning, and if so do you ever hit the snooze button?
I definitely use an alarm clock when I’m teaching on the road, but when I’m home I let myself sleep in so that I can be more productive during my day.
How soon after waking up do you have breakfast, and what do you typically have?
I usually have my smoothie or protein/greens powder within an hour or so of waking up.
Do you have a morning workout routine?
I usually do my yoga practice sometime in the morning. It helps me feel better during my day and be more mentally efficient. I used to exercise to stay in shape, but now I move to feel good. That could mean working on sore areas, balancing a life of sitting at a computer or on a plane, or dealing with stress and tension.
Do you have a morning meditation routine?
I like to keep it simple. I usually do a simple mindfulness meditation.
Do you answer email first thing in the morning or leave it until later in the day?
I like to wait until at least 10:00am to start on email; otherwise, it’s a never-ending process.
Do you use any apps or products to enhance your sleep or morning routine?
I use Enzo for meditation. You can set it to ring at specific intervals to keep you present, and you can set a different ring at the end so you know when you’re done.
How soon do you check your phone in the morning?
I like to check my daily appointments right away but nothing else (email, social media, etc.) until at least 10:00am.
What are your most important tasks in the morning?
The morning hours are my most productive, so I like to schedule bigger projects at the beginning of my day, along with projects that need creativity, since my mind is freshest in the morning.
What and when is your first drink in the morning?
I drink a large glass of room-temperature water first thing in the morning to get my digestion going. I’ve done this for probably twenty years or more.
How does your partner fit into your morning routine?
It’s important to us to make time for each other every morning (when we’re both home, since we travel a lot for work), even if it’s just a few minutes of skin time where we do nothing else but appreciate our time together.
We really enjoy meditating together in the morning; even though there aren’t any specific interactions, it builds a deeper layer of intimacy between us. My partner is a tech entrepreneur, so he gets my life and my hectic schedule. We’ve learned to make it all work and to make time for each other in the process. It’s a juggling act, but all couples have to find a balance that works for them.
Do you also follow this routine on weekends, or do you change some steps?
I never used to take weekends off, but I have since learned the value of the weekend. I like to leave weekends that I’m home open for anything. No alarm clocks on the weekend, but when we wake up we usually meditate and then have a smoothie – similar to a weekday.
I think sleep is an underrated, critical component of good health and cognitive function, so I always make it a priority – especially on the weekends. It’s hard to stop working when you love what you do, but after so many years of doing it I’ve learned that balance is key to longevity. I’m no good to my business if I don’t also give myself some time off. I do love to get an early start on the work week, so when I’m able, I work a little on Sunday night – even if it’s just for thirty minutes – to prepare for the week ahead.
On days you’re not settled in your home, are you able to adapt your routine to fit in with a different environment?
I’m on the road the majority of the year, so absolutely! I have my road routines as well. They aren’t too different from the home routines, but they usually involve an alarm clock, since my days are more structured.
What do you do if you fail to follow your morning routine, and how does this influence the rest of your day?
I don’t feel as good nor am I as productive, especially without my smoothie or meditation – those are crucial to my daily productivity and my physical and mental health. Everything else is flexible.