While I was day dreaming about Wanderlust Festival this morning (as you do…) I had a memory come from out of nowhere about my first encounter with yoga. There was no guru in sight, nor was I in an amazing yoga studio where I was surrounded by inspiring individuals.
Far from it in fact.
Instead I was about 14 years old, home for the weekend from boarding school (we lived on a farm), and my feet were planted on shabby carpet in the lounge room and my eyes were glued to the old TV. Yep I was going solo and following an instructional video that I think I made mum buy me in a post office or book shop, because you know, there were no yoga studios or lululemon stores in Geraldton…
So that was my first time. I also remember randomly telling my mum that yoga helped with my depression/PMS. Even then before my health journey begun, I knew.
Since then I have flirted on and off with yoga for many many years and I dream of the day where I can go to Thailand Sanctuary and complete my yoga teacher training course and really commit.
Until then I continue to be inspired by the souls who are really living it. The lifestyle, the dream and walking (or stretching..) the talk. And there is no one more inspiring that this gorgeous gal I am about to introduce you to!
For the people who aren’t familiar with you (or just want to know more), tell us a bit about yourself…
I’m currently based out of LA but I spend most of my time traveling to teach all over the world. I began studying yoga & holistic health when I was 14yrs old and have a premed undergraduate degree in nutrition & medicinal plant biology as well as masters degree in Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine with a specialty in Sports Medicine. My teaching is inspired by over a decade of working with my patients and almost 2 decades of teaching yoga to create an anatomically informed practice. What really excites me is where by two careers meet as the ability to use yoga as medicine. Yoga therapeutics has grown over the years into something that more closely resembles restorative yoga and what I love is the ability to approach the ancient tradition of yoga with the awareness of the western understanding of the body to create a potent fusion that can be individualized for the student. Right now my big project is creating a community of teachers that are educated in the western anatomy & physiology so that they can apply yoga as a form of medicine and work with doctors & patients to create a potent addition to our medical system. For me that’s what lights me up and gets me going in the morning.
What made you choose the path of leading a healthy life and was there a particular turning point?
I started studying holistic health when I was 14 so it’s been a part of my life for most of my life.
Everyone is drawn to yoga for different reasons, what bought you to yoga and what keeps holding your attention?
As a kid I was really athletic so at first it was the physicality that really hooked me, what keeps me coming back for more is the many different layers and how much it reflects in our lives. There are days that I feel like I need to move or need more physical therapy from my practice and others when I need more of the mental or spiritual part of the practice. The beauty of yoga is that you can take whatever you need and focus on that. The philosophy of yoga is rich and the study of anatomy so deep as well that you could study your lifetime and always have more to learn. I also love that all the of the obstacles we see in our practice (physical, mental & spiritual) are a reflection of our lives, so we have the ability to start to look inward and see how our habitual patterns affect our choices and therefore have the opportunity to live our lives with mindfulness and the potential to transform our lives from that place.
You have trained in Acupuncture & Sports Medicine , how does this influence your yoga practice (personal and teaching)?
It’s always there really. Even if you don’t hear me talk about it, my background in Chinese Medicine & anatomy inspires and defines my teaching. Many times I will talk about it in class (I’m a brainy, nerdy person at heart so I always love to give food for thought) but sometimes its just the backdrop of my mind and how I develop my classes and work with my patients & students. For me its really difficult to separate them at this point, yoga is so much about seeing clearly and its really difficult to see clearly if you body is out of balance.
Tell me about your book – Optimal Health For A Vibrant Life, a 30 day detox for yogis?
My book is a 30 day detox designed to slowly transform the mind & the body from a holistic approach. It has nutrition, yoga, meditation, myofascial release and simple home remedies that I have gathered over the past two decades to put you in the drivers seat of your heath & well being. I’ve found that the best changes are the ones that are made over time so it was designed to be long enough to incorporate long-term changes to create a more healthy lifestyle. It has a lot of information in it so that you can take what you need and leave what you don’t and come back to it again and again. I just really wanted to create a resource for my patients to take control of their health and it happened to turn into a book.
How important is clean, nutrient rich food in your diet?
It’s so important to me, but its all about balance. You can be too rigid about it and have a negative effect on your health as well. Balance is key.
What does your usual daily routine look like – what is on your ‘must do’ and ‘must take’ list?
I always have my morning smoothie, even when I’m on the road I have a bag of my greens powder & protein. It’s not as yummy as my smoothies at home but it does the job. For me focusing on the quality of my food and eating as if its my fuel is the most important thing. Once you start feeling healthy and make a really clear connection between what you eat & do to your body and how it effects how you feel and live in your body it gets easy to make good choices.
Who or what has been the biggest influence on your health journey?
I’m not sure there’s any one thing that comes to mind, there have been so many people and things over the past two decades that have influenced me. Frank Lipman was like a mentor to me for a while; he’s an amazing doctor in NYC with a couple great books (Total Renewal & Spent).
What is your advice to people who are thinking of starting yoga?
Just do it. Try a few classes until you find a style & instructor that clicks with you. If you don’t have time or aren’t home much grab an online subscription, there’s so much great information online these days. I teach on www.YogaGlo.com and we have some incredible teachers right at your fingertips.
As your parting gift to us can you share your favourite health product?
My new favorite greens powder is an Aussie based company called Bare Blends http://bareblends.com.au/ (** this is my fave protein blend too! **), they make an incredible greens powder and a great berry blend. That’s a great place to start, grab your greens and get on your mat and you’re definitely on the road to feeling better!
You can take class with her on YogaGlo.com or check out her book – Optimal Health For A Vibrant Life, a 30 day detox for yogis.
For her full workshop, teacher training & retreat schedule visit www.TiffanyYoga.com | www.facebook.com/TiffanyCruikshankYoga | www.twitter.com/tiffanyyoga
If you want to see Tiffany in the flesh and do one of her classes, be sure to check her out on Sunday 30 March, 2014 at Wanderlust Festival, details http://syd.wanderlustfestival.com/