A Los Angeles based yoga teacher, Tiffany Cruikshank is an internationally reknown yoga teacher, author and health & wellness expert.
Known as a teacher’s teacher, Tiffany has written for and graced the cover of many prominent publications including: Nike, Lululemon, KiraGrace, Liquido Active and Yogi Tea; the cover of Yoga Journal, Om Yoga Magazine, Mantra Yoga & Health Magazine, Origin Magazine, Thrive Magazine & International Lifestyle Magazine.
Tiffany has a pre-med Bachelor’s degree in Medicinal Plant Biology & Nutrition and a Masters degree in Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine and a specialty in Sports Medicine & Orthopedics.
Tiffany is currently founder of Yoga Medicine where she uses her skills to train teachers all over the world to work more powerfully with their students. Yoga Medicine is a thorough, anatomically based training system that trains teachers all over the world to work more powerfully with their students.
In this exclusive interview Tiffany talks about how yoga and yoga medicine can help people heal and transform.
How long have you been doing yoga? What drew you to the lifestyle?
Over two decades, as a teenager yoga was a gift for me to learn to feel comfortable in my skin, over the years it has changed for me many times over. Sometimes being more of an exercise, fun arm balancing or now days more as a source of medicine for my mental & physical therapy as well as my spirit.
What do you love the most about yoga?
I love that yoga can wear so many different faces. It can be whatever we need at that time in our lives (exercise, physical therapy, spiritual practice, mental focus, cross training…). I love that the simple things can often be the most powerful, which is why I never skip my meditation practice.
Tell me a bit about yoga medicine and why you practice it. What’s the best part of teaching yoga medicine?
I’ve studied holistic medicine since I was 14yrs old. I apprenticed with an herbalist and then an acupuncturist while I was in high school & college then went on to Chinese Medicine school and continued on to complete a specialty in sports medicine so for me Yoga Medicine is the culmination of my life’s study.
It’s really exciting to me to be able to bring together both of my passions in one place. Our main focus is to create a connection with yoga in our medical system. Our teacher trainings are a full 1000hrs and are meant to be like medical school for yoga teachers so that they can understand the fusion of east & west into a more powerful system of treatment.
Our teachers are a resource for doctor & patients all over the world looking for teachers who are trained to understand the anatomy & physiology on a very deep level to be able to work with doctors & health care providers to create a more powerful approach to health.
Does yoga medicine work regardless of what style of yoga one practices, or is it specific to a certain style?
Yoga Medicine is about having a deep understanding of the eastern & western approach that can be applied to any style. The style you choose has more to do with what your body needs and your personal preference.
I like to train my teachers to think, to be able to see the body from multiple approaches and to understand that there is not just one way.
Yoga is not meant to be a straight jacket that we force to fit everyone, especially with those who are injured or sick. We have to be able to adapt the practice to suit our needs to extract the medicinal qualities from it.
I have dysautonomia, which means my autonomic nervous system doesn’t work right. Yoga has really helped me heal and become healthy after years of barely being able to walk up a flight of stairs. Is that unusual, or have you seen other practitioners go through such transformations? What was the most inspiring transformation you witnessed?
I’ve seen so many incredible cases over the past 18 years of teaching, everything from chronic fatigue to MS, cancer, serious injuries, auto immune disorders, etc.
All are significant and I’m still constantly amazed at its effects, which is what drew me to create Yoga Medicine.
We now have a place on our website called Share Your Story for people to share their story both personally & with their students to help doctors & patients see the huge potential yoga has to be therapeutic.
What are yoga prescriptions and how do they work?
Yoga prescriptions is the term I use for short individualized yoga routines for a therapeutic benefit. When I started my Chinese Medicine/Acupuncture practice over a decade ago I quickly noticed my yoga patients recovered so much quicker than the others so I started giving yoga postures to my other patients and sure enough, the results were eye opening.
What advice do you have for someone who wishes to heal and transform through yoga but doesn’t know where to start?
The first thing is simple, notice how you approach your practice. Just shifting your ability to approach it as a form of medicine can be really powerful, notice how the poses affect you & the little changes you make or poses you do that make a big difference and key in on those areas in your practice.
The little things often make a huge difference. The second thing is to find a skilled teacher to work with, having an expert eye pays off. Check out find a teacher page on www.YogaMedicine.com