I’ve been a long time admirer of Tiffany Cruikshank via YogaGlo and social media. She’s an inspiring source of information for teachers and students, and is one of the clearest teachers of anatomy that I’ve met. I was so excited to see her on the lineup for Wanderlust Vermont 2013, and blown away that I would have the chance to sit with her and ask a few questions. I met up with Tiffany (and Lulu) on Thursday morning at the festival, and found her to be gracious and genuine.
Here’s what we talked about:
What are you most looking forward to this year at Wanderlust?
What I love most about Wanderlust is the community gathering. There are people here from all over, one of my assistants even came in from Finland to be here. These are people who don’t always get to see and practice with each other coming together and creating a community to support each other, even though we don’t know each other. I’ve been teaching here about the ability to show up and support, both directly and indirectly, just by showing up to our mats. There’s a connection of a community both locally and globally.
When you are leading big events like this one, what is your preparation like? Is it different from how you would normally think about teaching?
My preparation is not much different, but I think the biggest thing when you’re teaching a festival like this is that you have to be aware that people are practicing all day, all weekend. The content is going to be a little bit different. I compare it to running a marathon, each and every person at a festival is running a marathon this weekend, I’m not going to blow them out by teaching like I would teach an hour and a half home class. But my preparation is the same, I like writing out sequences, I enjoy that even if I don’t always follow them, it helps me have a clear purpose for my teaching, what am I hoping to get out of this.
What is the most major “wow” moment of your career this far?
I feel like there have been a lot of those moments, I feel like they happen all the time. When someone shows up and tells me the story of how something changed their life, I don’t know if there is any one bigger than the other. It’s all been amazing, I still feel really grateful just to be able to do what I love.
What does a festival like Wanderlust mean for your practice and your teaching?
I love it because I can come here and teach and connect with people from different places, but then I’m also able to take classes. I feel just as exhausted as the students by the end because I’m taking classes all day long too and I love that. I love that pure exhausted bliss at the end of the weekend from taking four classes a day. I squeeze in as much as I can, it’s stimulating as a teacher and your mind is inspired to think in different ways, and come up with different things in your own practice. I love this time of year, it’s my time of year to fuel up, too, and to learn from the teachers around me. There are so many great teachers here, and many that are new to me that I get to meet for the first time.
How do you think festivals and conferences like this one fit into modern day yoga?
I think whether you are new or more experienced a festival is a great way to deepen your knowledge, and really immerse yourself. It’s a great way to sample out a lot of different teachers, and maybe find the teacher that you want to seek out and learn from. It’s one thing to go and study with just one person in a retreat setting, or to come to a festival and get overloads of tons of teachers. As long as you approach it with a mindset of having fun and take it at your level, I really think anyone can attend a festival. Yoga is growing so much, and it really becomes a lifestyle. And it’s so nice to be able to come to a festival and have vendors and people who will help support and inspire a healthy lifestyle.
What is on the horizon for you that you are really looking forward to?
That one is easy, I’m in the process of moving to Sydney, and moving Lulu, to be with my fiance, Duncan Peak. I’m starting to figure out how to juggle my schedule next year so I can still do all the fun things I love, so now it’s just trying to figure out how to schedule it all well. But; I’m excited just to be there! And Lulu is excited to be on the beach.
I was thrilled to have the chance to attend two of Tiffany’s workshops at Wanderlust. The first on the Anatomy of Hips, a workshop specifically for teachers that addressed the musculature of the hips and how they are worked or stretched in our practice. I am always happy to go over more anatomy, there is always so much to learn and remember again. Tiffany is so clear and a bit playful with her work, this was a fun chance to learn and meet other teachers at the festival.
My boyfriend and I also made it to an 8 am Sunday morning Intermediate/Advanced Inversions practice with Tiffany. If you’re a yogi, I think you can identify with early morning Sunday practice after a long weekend of tons of yoga and late night dancing with MC Yogi! (if you can’t identify with this, you should come to Wanderlust 2014 and get the experience!), but I was completely happy to be in Tiffany’s class Sunday am and LOVED it. Lots of playing with handstand and headstand, and also lots of interesting arm balance practice. Tiffany has a way of teaching these advanced asana that make them accessible for me, and keep me engaged. I don’t consider myself an expert inversion practitioner, but I still got a TON out of this practice. I also met the lovely Alison Bernasco who was assisting Tiffany in this workshop, she was a great help and is a sweet soul who lives and teaches in Northern New Jersey.
A big thank you to Tiffany, and Lululemon Athletica who made this possible for me!
Until next time, Namaste!