The Spine in Spain

My Beginning, Middle and Never-Ending Yoga Journey.

I began a regular yoga practice as a way to manage stress and low back pain.  I was the owner of two businesses and I was in a master’s program at the time studying the art process as a method of stress reduction.  There was a lot to juggle and yoga was a source of comfort.  The moving meditation allowed my mind and body to rest and get stronger.  I wanted to share this change that had come over me.  I felt called to get certified to teach.  I enrolled in a yoga teacher training program in my hometown at a studio that was owned by a well-respected and gifted yoga teacher, Catie Nawrocki of Latitude Yoga Company.  Catie’s priority is to care for, serve and guide you in a way that builds a strong yogi that is ready to serve others. She has taught me that each person’s yoga journey is their own.  I can take what I have learned and use yoga as a tool to care for myself and be in service to others.  For me, she was the pastor that asks how are you serving God today through yoga?  I am grateful for her love and mentorship.  After graduating I began teaching at a local studio.  I have been an educator for many years and I love the excitement of sharing knowledge and watching students grow.

My husband and I vacation in Palm Beach, Florida every February.  On a visit a few years ago I took a yoga class at Little Ocean Yoga in North Palm Beach.  Little Ocean is owned by Lizzy Moore, a kind, funny and incredibly knowledgeable yogi.  I had only been a yoga teacher for about a year when we met.  It was Lizzy that brought me to the path I am on now.  The way she lead us through our practice told me she understood the way my body worked.  There was an ease to the way she taught.  When I got home I could feel that my teaching was better because of the time I had spent in her classes.  During the month I practiced with her we discussed her education and she told me about Yoga Medicine.

“Yoga Medicine teachers are rigorously educated in a fusion of anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics with the traditional practice of yoga. We extensively train our teachers to work with you and your healthcare provider to find a yoga practice that is a therapeutic adjunct to your medical care.”


Yoga Medicine is an anatomy based 500 and 1000-hour program that looks to intertwine western medicine and yoga.   This path towards therapeutic yoga offers a personalized private yoga practice for clients looking for comfort, pain management and better range of motion.  Clients are encouraged to be a part of their self-care routine.  Private therapeutic sessions are about helping clients to overcome their challenges and gain independence through a consistent meditation and movement practice.  Yoga Medicine doesn’t teach a specific style of yoga.  It provides a strong foundation on how the body functions and trains the yoga teacher so that they can process that information in that way that is best suited to a client’s individual needs.  A unique element of the program includes the opportunity to travel the world training alongside an incredible group of worldwide yoga teachers. 

I completed my first training module with Yoga Medicine in May of 2018.  I studied the functions and dysfunctions of the Spine in Cadiz, Spain at the Suryalila Retreat Center.  Suryalila is in the foothills of the Sierra de Grazelema.  There are 45 acres of land that include a working olive farm with 350 olive trees.  The Center grows organic fruits and vegetables and raises chickens for eggs.  Suryalila’s accommodations and vegetarian menu are stunning and delicious.  While there were a variety of rooms inside the main facility, I had chosen to stay the week in a two-person yurt in the tent village.    

We spent the week with Yoga Medicine founder, Tiffany Cruikshank, Teacher Trainers, Rachel Land and Alice Blunden and Teaching Assistant, Lisa Forhammar.  After applying and being accepted to the program I had spent the year getting to know Tiffany and her work.  I began taking classes with her on YogaGlo and I read her book Meditate Your Weight, a 21 Day retreat to beginning a daily meditation practice.  Meeting her in Spain was exciting for me and I had to keep the “fan girl” inside of me calm.  Like Catie and Lizzy, Tiffany was humble, kind and full of knowledge.  She was excited to share with a group of 60 yoga teachers from all over the world, Australia, Italy, Barbados, Singapore, Abu Dhabi and more.

We reviewed the anatomy of the Spine, including the bones and muscles and how these structures allow the body to function and move.  The latter half of the sixty-hour module discussed conditions such as herniated discs and scoliosis.  We worked with partners to practice interviewing, assessment and testing skills.  The last day we applied our new learning to case studies and gave presentations that included how we would approach certain spinal conditions from a yogic point of view. I grew as a yoga educator because the information learned, the incredible yogis that I shared space with and the time I had to recharge and rest.  I am grateful and looking forward to more travel with Yoga Medicine.  In September, I am headed to Colorado to take part in cadaver dissection for yoga teachers at the Laboratories of Anatomical Enlightenment.