Tiffany Cruikshank is an international yoga teacher, author and wellness expert. She has been studying and practicing yoga for over 20 years. Tiffany did her first yoga teacher training at 16. She also 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.
I first learned about Tiffany Cruikshank a few years ago when she was the acupuncturist at Nike headquarters. I had seen photos of her in these magnificent, very physically demanding yoga poses. As a long time practitioner of yoga, I felt my ego was impressed by such beauty, strength and ease in these poses. I too am passionate about health and wellness, so I bought Tiffany’s book, “Optimal Health for a Vibrant Life.” This is her 30-day program designed to detoxify the body and mind in order to provide support in making healthy and sustainable lifestyle choices. You will find step-by-step rules for diet and nutrition, mindset shifts, pranayama and pictures of a supportive yoga asana practice.
I recently had the opportunity to participate in Tiffany’s “Anatomy of Inversions” workshop. She immediately called the class to come in closer while she shared a bit about the benefits of inversions. Tiffany then dove into the anatomy of the shoulders specifically. Inversions have been something I have struggled with in my personal practice. They can be daunting and intimidating and can really bring up a lot of fear. I asked Tiffany to share some of the challenges of teaching inversions. “It’s always hard to teach inversions in a group class because you have such mixed levels.” Tiffany feels it’s important to “get people to take responsibility for their own body and their own practice.” Her approach is to teach the basics and allow people to get good at the simple stuff, which will eventually carry over to the more advanced. Tiffany reminds her students that they have a choice and they need to pay attention to where to stop. Building the simplicity in poses is key.
When asked about lulls in her personal practice, Tiffany says, “yoga has many forms.” She feels that over the years she has learned how to listen to her body and figure out what it needs. She has discovered many facets to her personal practice.
Tiffany has quite a bit of experience working with athletes so I wondered if she had any advice about working through injuries. She acknowledges the difficulty of going through an injury but feels once we do the investigation of what is happening this can be really empowering. We are learning more about our bodies and why this is happening.
Tiffany also has a very extensive anatomy background. She leads 200, 500 and 1,000 hour teacher trainings. Her recommendation for learning more anatomy is to keep researching, and maybe even pick a muscle group and make note cards. I love this idea! Even with all her anatomy training, Tiffany says she didn’t really learn it well until she started working with patients and applying it in classes.
There is no doubt Tiffany Cruikshank is very passionate about health and wellness. She and her team have created Yoga Medicine. This is a training program that educates teachers to understand the body and create individualized prescriptions for the student based on their understanding of the body and the practice of yoga.These teachers are trained in both Eastern and Western healing modalities. When I asked Tiffany for advice on advancing a career as a yoga teacher, she had this to say: “for teachers, you must get really, really clear on what you have to offer. What are your individual strengths and what does the world need? Looking at where these two intersect. What am I good at? What is my purpose right now?”.
As teachers, we strive to be unique and authentic. We must maintain this but still adapt to change. We are always growing and evolving and it’s important to ask ourselves these questions. The time I spent with Tiffany Cruikshank was quite a breath of fresh air.
When in LA, Tiffany teaches at yogaglo in Santa Monica