A Blogger’s Top Five

Top 5 Concept Metal Letterpress Type

As part of my teaching sabbatical, every August I look back at the blog to see what people have found the most useful over the past 365 days.  I’m always a little surprised.  The list below has some of my personal favorites as well as one that warms my heart!

Here’s my summary:

Two of the top five discuss form in asana in two of our most common poses, which is both good news and bad news.  The good news is that people want to learn how to do them “right.”  The bad news is that they don’t already know.  ;-)

One discusses the meaning of Namaste, arguably the most common Sanskrit word used in yoga classes. Again, I hope this means that our students are searching for meaning, not that we’re sprouting off terms in class without defining them.

One that always makes the top five is how we can use yoga to decrease belly fat.  Need I say more about that one?

The surprise this year is the 50 ways to show authors some love article.  Published relatively recently compared to the others, it hasn’t had as many days to collect hits, yet there it sits solidly at #3.  That one warms my heart a little.

There they are below, for your enjoyment.  As we head into fall, may you have many enjoyable blog reading moments in the future!

Tracy’s Whole Life Blog’s  Top Five Blog Articles for the Past Year:

  1. Proper Form and Adaptations of Child’s Pose
  2. The Meaning of Namaste
  3. Fifty Ways to Love Your Favorite Author
  4. Does Yoga Reduce Belly Fat?
  5. Cakravakasana: The “Un”Cat-Cow

Namaste

Tracy Weber

Karmas a Killer (4)And if you want to show me some love, you can preorder my newest mystery, KARMA’S A KILLER, now at Amazon Barnes and Noble.

Yee haw, yippee, and yahooey!

 

 

 

 

 

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Fifty Ways to Show Readers Some Love (Part 3)

book pages

Today is my weekly posting for Inkspot, the blog for authors of Midnight Ink.  This week I post the final in my three-part series outlining over 50 ways authors can show their readers that they appreciate them.  Check it out, please share, and add to the list.  Above all else, rest assured that I love you!

http://midnightwriters.blogspot.com/2015/08/fifty-ways-to-show-readers-some-love.html

Namaste

Tracy Weber

Karmas a Killer (4)And if you want to show me some love, you can preorder my newest mystery, KARMA’S A KILLER, now at Amazon Barnes and Noble.

Yee haw, yippee, and yahooey!

Posted in Downward Dog Mysteries, Gratitude, writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

They’re Here, They’re Here, They’re Here!

a

August is an exciting time for me on so many levels.  I’m on sabbatical from teaching yoga, which means I can concentrate on my writing. Sounds simple, right? It’s significantly more complex than you might think.  Just as I was ready to dive into the second draft of my fourth novel, tentatively titled A TWISTED DEATH, I got requests to read and endorse two new fabulous mysteries, and my second editor at Midnight Ink got back to me with edits on my current novel, Karma’s a Killer.

This is the first time I’ve worked with Sandy, and I must say she’s AWESOME!  She brings an attention to detail that my work has rarely seen before. And, if I have to brag, I guess this is the time:  Karma’s a Killer is my best book so far. I truly believe it.  Even better, it’s definitely by far my best cover!

Just when I thought my excitement couldn’t get any higher, the advanced copies and press release for Karma’s a Killer arrived on Wednesday.  I keep burying my nose in the books, inhaling their new book smell.  Can you tell I’m excited or what?

Here’s an excerpt from the press release for this newest installment in the series.

The latest mystery by award-winning novelist Tracy Weber, Karma’s a Killer is a fun, fresh, feisty new mystery featuring Seattle yoga teacher Kate Davidson and her trusty canine companion Bella. 

About Karma’s a Killer: Yoga instructor Kate Davidson is about to discover that when it comes to murder, there’s no place like om.  When she agrees to teach doga—yoga for dogs—at a fundraiser for Dogma, a local animal rescue, Kate believes the only real damage will be to her reputation. But when an animal rights protest at the event leads to a suspicious fire and a drowning, a few downward-facing dogs will be the least of Kate’s problems…

The police arrest Dharma, a woman claiming to be Kate’s estranged mother, and charge her with murder. To prove Dharma’s innocence, Kate, her boyfriend Michael, and her German shepherd sidekick Bella dive deeply into the worlds of animal activism, organizational politics, and the dangerous obsessions that drive them.

And if solving a murder weren’t complicated enough, Kate will also have to decide whether or not to reconcile with the estranged mother who abandoned her over thirty years ago.  Not to mention having to contend with an almost-bankrupt animal rescue, a cantankerous crow, an unwanted pigeon houseguest, and a rabbit in a doga class. What could possibly go wrong?

A taut tale with more twists and turns than a vinyasa yoga class, Karma’s a Killer brims with suspense, wit and whimsy.  With a to-die-for plot, sensational storyline, and charming characters—of both the two- and four-legged varieties—Karma’s a Killer is a clever, colorful, and utterly captivating cozy mystery.”

Sounds like a book I’d actually like to read.  How about you?

Time to get working on scheduling those book launch events!

Namaste

Tracy Weber

 A Killer RetreatKarmas a Killer (4)

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series.  A KILLER RETREAT and MURDER STRIKES A POSE are available at book sellers everywhere! KARMA’S A KILLER is available for pre-order now!

 

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The Joys of Jury Duty

Dog is giving the oathMy husband and I suffer from what we’ve dubbed “The Vacation Curse.”  Whenever we go on vacation—as soon on we go on vacation—bad things start happening.  We’ve endured pretty much everything:  multiple business disasters at my yoga studio, car breakdowns that stranded us for several days, personal illnesses, several veterinary emergencies. I was even notified that my father had been hospitalized with a serious health condition—when I was literally halfway to Mexico. My studio assistant quit the day I came back from my one and only week-long cruise, saying that she couldn’t handle the stress of dealing with everything that went wrong while I was gone.

Welcome to my life.

Jury duty this past week proved to be no better.  By 9:30 AM on my first day, I was already desperately trying to find out why the instructor hadn’t shown up for our morning class and  scrambling to deal with a mistake by my publisher that forced me to pull back and re-write several newsletters, e-mails, and other marketing materials that were scheduled to automatically post later that day.

Before I go on, let me say that this is my fifth time on jury duty, so I have plenty of experience to put in my novels.  I’ve served on three trials—two of them about two weeks long. I’ve experienced the grace and the challenges of reaching a verdict, as well as the frustration and heartbreak of being a member of a hung jury. I’ve done my time. I’ve given to the system.

Yet the next time I’m called, I’ll do it again.  Happily.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m a survivor of a violent crime that happened about twenty years ago.  The person who committed that crime was sentenced to seventy years behind bars. Seventy years during which I can have a happy, productive, fear-free life.  Seventy years during which I don’t have to worry about him harming me again.  Seventy years during which he can’t harm anyone else.

That gift was given to me by twelve jurors and two alternates who donated close to three weeks of their lives to a trial.  Fourteen people who had business fires to put out, sick kids to nurse, life hassles to deal with, and lord knows what else.  Fourteen people who probably didn’t want to be there. Fourteen people who will never understand how important their time was to me and to the other women my assailant hurt.

And those fourteen people were there for him, too.  They listened to make sure that justice prevailed for him, too.  In some ways, that’s even more important. If I’m ever accused of a crime, I hope busy people (most of whom would rather be doing anything else) will temporarily put their lives on hold for me again.

So you see, in spite of the hassle, in spite of my frustrations, in spite of the curse that seems to follow me, I will never say no to jury duty—not if I can help it.  I hope you don’t, either.

As for vacations, well, that’s still to be determined.

Namaste

Tracy Weber

 A Killer RetreatKarmas a Killer (4)

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series.  A KILLER RETREAT and MURDER STRIKES A POSE are available at book sellers everywhere! KARMA’S A KILLER is available for pre-order now!

 

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Snacks & Blood Sugar Stabilization

Please welcome Nicole White to Whole Life Yoga’s blog today.  Nicole is a graduate of  Whole Life Yoga’s 200 hour yoga teacher training  program.  She can be reached at siennanana@gmail.com.  And be sure to check out her fabulous book!

Nourishing snacks, in combination with breakfast, keep your blood sugar stable. Snacks also give you consistent energy throughout the day. If you know your mid-day slump is at 3:30pm every day, set a timer for 3pm and eat your snack at 3pm (or sooner). Experiment with eating a meal or snack EVERY 2-3 hours, especially if you have any blood sugar or mood related issues.

Blood sugar issues affect more than diabetics or people with hypoglycemia. Certain foods, and stimulants such as caffeine, go through your blood stream quicker. Caffeine can give you a huge rise (why so many people feel that they MUST have it in the morning). Caffeine also acts as an appetite suppressant which disrupts your blood sugar balance.

When blood sugars get too low, you may become cranky, easily frustrated, shaky, light headed, etc. Remember this: Don’t make any important decisions on an empty stomach! Why? Because your brain does not have the proper balancing fuel it needs when your blood sugar drops too low.

1. STABLE blood sugar. Starting the day with a nourishing breakfast and then having snacks and meals throughout the day. Drinking purified water and incorporating the Magic Trio Combination (see below) into meals and snacks.

stable blood sugar

2. UNSTABLE blood sugar. Starting the day without breakfast or beginning with coffee and a refined sweet or processed food or cereal will give you that initial BOOST of energy you are looking for and then DROP you down low. Once you realize it, you may go for the quickest energy source available, more caffeine and refined sugars/processed foods. You have highs and lows of energy throughout the day.

Unstable blood sugar

Once you are able to Upgrade the items you love, incorporate the Magic Trio Combinations (see below) and eat at more consistent times. You will notice a Natural Rise in your ENERGY. This is the energy you have sought through caffeinated drinks and refined foods. The Easier and QUICKER route to Sustained Energy and Stable Blood Sugar is through Nourishing Foods, Snacks and the Magic Trio Combinations.

The Magic Trio Combination is:

1. Fiber

2. Protein

3. Fat

When you combine Fiber, Protein, and Fat your food cravings stabilize. For example, notice what you crave after eating a piece of fruit. Then notice what you crave AFTER eating a piece of fruit with some nut butter, nuts/seeds or full fat yogurt or raw cheese. Then create your ritual accordingly. Yes, there is the old saying ‘fruit alone’. However, with blood sugar issues it’s important to slow down fruit (natural sugar) with fat and protein (i.e. nuts/seeds etc.). This will take the fruit from acting like a fast carb to behaving more like a slow carb (which is what you want).

Want to learn more? Please visit www.upgradeology.com or pick up your copy of Upgradeology through Amazon.com

Nourishingly,

Nicole White, CHHC, AADP, RYT

Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Upgradeology-Upgrade-Your-Food-Life/dp/0990981614/ref=sr_1_1?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1436830688&sr=8-1&keywords=upgradeology

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series.   The second book in the series, A Killer Retreat, is available at booksellers everywhere!

Posted in Guest Writers, Teacher Training Graduate Stories | Leave a comment

Fifty Ways to Show Readers Some Love (Part 2)

 

book pages

Today is my weekly posting for Inkspot, the blog for authors of Midnight Ink.  This week I post the second of a three-part series outlining over 50 ways authors can show their readers that they appreciate them.  Check it out, please share, and add to the list.  Above all else, rest assured that I love you!

http://midnightwriters.blogspot.com/2015/07/fifty-ways-to-show-readers-some-love-part-2.html

Namaste

Tracy Weber

 A Killer RetreatKarmas a Killer (4)

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series.  A KILLER RETREAT and MURDER STRIKES A POSE are available at book sellers everywhere! KARMA’S A KILLER is available for pre-order now!

 

Posted in Downward Dog Mysteries, Gratitude, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Relaxing the Writer

Relaxing-Cover-600px-h-optimized-353x436-242x300[1]

This lovely work has been sitting on my desk for months, waiting for me to take a look at it. The book and its companion CD were developed by fellow writer and yoga teacher, Amber Polo.

Peppered with inspirational quotes, Relaxing the Writer covers topics often ignored but desperately needed by writers of all genres, including:

  • The ergonomics of writing
  • Stretches, including desk stretches,  hand stretches and eye exercises
  • Aromatherapy
  • Meditation
  • “Apps to relax” on iPhones, iPods, and iPads
  • Twenty other activities that can help a writer stay healthy, balanced and productive, including a chapter on yoga. My favorite was the chapter on laughter and smiles. Who doesn’t need more laughter?

Even better, the book comes with audio guides that help uptight writers relax to the sound of Amber’s soothing voice. Unfortunately, I can’t adequately convey the book’s artistic, easy to read, and compact format. You’ll have to check that out for yourself.  Suffice it to say that the book has tons of useful information in an easy-to-digest package.

My favorite quote from the book is an ancient Chinese proverb:

“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.”

I highly recommend this book for writers or artists of any type. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Tracy Weber

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series.  A KILLER RETREAT and MURDER STRIKES A POSE are available at book sellers everywhere! 

          A Killer Retreat

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Five Tips to Prevent Dizziness in Yoga

3D dizzy guy

Getting a little woozy while practicing yoga isn’t uncommon. The sensation can vary from an almost pleasant, slightly intoxicated feeling (like the rush after the first swallow of a good glass of champagne) to nausea accompanied by a frightening feeling that the room is spinning out of control. In severe cases, students can even pass out.

Although occasional wooziness while practicing yoga is no cause for alarm, if you regularly experience lightheadedness—during yoga or not—check with your doctor. If she gives you the green light to continue practicing, here are five strategies that may help.

  1. Eat a small meal before class. Yoga teachers generally recommend that students not eat for three hours before practicing asana. It’s not bad advice, as long as you’re not hypoglycemic. If your blood sugar tends to be on the low side, eating a light meal or a protein bar before class may make a world of difference.
  2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. People who get woozy when they stand up or when they move their head from below to above their heart often suffer from postural hypotension. Drinking lots of water before class helps pump up the blood volume and seems to keep blood pressure more stable.
  3. Practice in the afternoon or evening. Many of my clients with dizziness issues have significantly fewer problems if they practice later in the day. I can’t fully explain why, other than that increased food, fluid, and daily activity all probably contribute.
  4. Move slowly. Sudden transitions result in lightheadedness. Coming out of a forward bend, moving from the floor to standing, even sitting up from Savasana. Make each transition slow, mindful, and focused on the breath.
  5. Keep your head above your heart. This one is tougher, because it involves modifying the postures. Instead of going fully into a forward bend, try going halfway or keeping your chin slightly lifted. Sometimes a small change in form fixes the problem.

There are many causes for lightheadedness, including medication side effects, inner ear issues, low blood pressure, and low blood sugar. Some of them are much trickier to deal with than others. Remember: always check with your doctor if you have a health-related concern in yoga class.   Once your health care provider says all is well, try one of these five tips. They have helped many of my clients continue their practice with comfort and ease. I hope they help you, too.

Namaste

Tracy Weber

          A Killer Retreat

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series.  A KILLER RETREAT and MURDER STRIKES A POSE are available at book sellers everywhere! 

Posted in Asana, Teaching Yoga, Therapeutic Yoga | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Guidelines for Partner Yoga

partner yoga

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog article about partner yoga, or more accurately, everything I don’t like about it. Even if I think it’s unwise, however, my yoga teacher training graduates may not agree. If you still want to teach partner yoga after my last diatribe, here are a few guidelines.

  • Call it something other than yoga. I know I’m going to lose this battle, but I had to say it again. The classes I’ve seen that claim to be partner yoga, are really partner asana. Let’s reserve the word yoga for practices that wouldn’t make Patanjali cringe. That’s the last I’ll say on that subject.  ;-)
  • Provide clear guidelines on dress, hygiene, and appropriate touch. There’s a great Saturday Night Live skit in which Tom Hanks plays a sweaty yoga guy in partner yoga class. And I can only imagine that wardrobe malfunctions are all the more mortifying when someone’s standing on top of you. Don’t let your class become the next SNL skit.
  • Teach partner yoga in dedicated classes or workshops, clearly advertised as such. Don’t surprise students or add it on to the end of a non-partner class. Give people the clear choice on whether or not they want to have someone else “assist” in their asana practice.
  • Make sure students understand and can safely perform each asana on their own before they try it with a partner. Adding a partner increases risk. If a student can’t safely do the pose by themselves, how on earth can they be safe with a partner?
  • Teach both partners how to helpfully assist.  Do they understand their partner’s individual strengths and vulnerabilities? If the answer is yes, do they know how to accommodate them? If not, there’s a lot of baseline training needed before they should be hands-on with each other.
  • Think of partnering as support, not leverage. The partner should never move a limb further than it can comfortably move on its own. (That principle goes for yoga teacher assists, too!)
  • Pair students with appropriate height, weight and experience levels for the moves being attempted. A three hundred pound man pressing on the back of a hundred pound female is just asking for trouble.
  • Choose poses that have a low risk of injury if there’s an “oops” moment. And believe me, there will inevitably be an “oops” moment. It’s safer to have people fall like dominoes out of Tree Pose than Headstand.
  • Provide a safe word. I’m joking here, of course, but I think it bears mentioning. Whenever you teach something emotionally or physically risky, the student must feel comfortable saying no. State up front at the beginning of every class that no one should do any movement that makes them uncomfortable. Model that, compliment it, reward it. Doing so may save your student a trip to the ER and you a phone call to your insurance company.

The above guidelines are a bare minimum. I’m sure there are many others I haven’t thought of. If you teach or practice partner yoga, please let me know what should be added!

Tracy Weber

          A Killer Retreat

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series.  A KILLER RETREAT and MURDER STRIKES A POSE are available at book sellers everywhere! 

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Reflections on Smiling with Sonia

Please welcome Jen Boyce to Whole Life Yoga’s blog today.  Jen is a current student in Whole Life Yoga’s 200 hour yoga teacher training  program.  She can be reached at jpboyce@comcast.net.  How will your smile (or lack of a smile) impact your world today?

00001

For those of you who attend Sonia’s Friday morning class, you know she is into monthly themes. In April, when Sonia said the focus of the month was on “smiling”, I internally rolled my eyes and thought, “Oh, brother!” I have always valued being true and telling it like it is so smiling when I don’t feel the need feels inauthentic.  In general, I don’t smile unless I want to.  Not because I hate life or feel depressed, my face is just not designed that way.  I blame it on my under bite. Some people appear to have faces that rest in a slight smile.  Me, I have “mad face”, coined by my daughter when she was a toddler.  Add to that, I run on the reserved, serious side. I rarely laugh out loud and I dislike how I feel inside myself when I smile on command (i.e., for a photo).

Sonia quoted Thich Nhat Hanh who stated “…smiling is a practice, a yoga practice. Don’t say, “I have no joy, why do I have to smile?” Because when you have joy and you smile, that is not practice, that’s very natural. When you don’t have joy and you smile, that is a real practice.” The idea of a smile as “practice” resonated with me.   However, I still felt totally awkward smiling during class. It wasn’t until we were on our backs that I played with smiling without worrying about how I looked. And I did note a slight increase in energy.

The next day my family and I headed to Santa Cruz, CA for spring break. At the airport, we jokingly plastered smiles on our faces.  It helped to pass the time and though we found it interesting to note the return smiles from others, we still felt silly. Every time something went well like getting through security without a full body pat down, we jested, “Maybe it was the smiling!”

The “aha” moment came when we were in line to board the plane. A woman noticeably brightened and widened her smile when she saw us (a happy, perfect American family eagerly awaiting vacation <:). Ever the honest one, I felt compelled to explain, “We’re totally fake smiling.”  And then I laughed.  I thought it was funny. Not so.  Her face FELL.  That’s when it hit me. She was feeding off of our energy and I had just slapped her in the face.  Something to think about….

The next day I ran the Santa Cruz Half Marathon. The day was full of reasons to smile—sun, warmth, beautiful coastal views, and most of all, GRATITUDE that I was getting to run another half marathon.  Though this was my fourth half, my last one was back in 2011, shortly before I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Ever since returning to running post-treatment, I had been slowly working toward this moment. There had been bumps in the road, but I had made it. It was like coming full circle.  Definitely smile worthy.  But as one can imagine, there are plenty of instances during a race that are NOT smile worthy. It can be exhausting and painful. And sometimes, meditative. I find I go into another space for periods of time and “wake up”, realizing that a half mile has gone by and I don’t remember any of it.  I am guessing that I am not smiling then. Maybe I am.  Thich Nhat Hanh stated, “To meditate well, we have to smile, a lot…. Sometimes the mind takes the initiative and sometimes you have to allow the body to take the initiative.  Sometimes the spirit leads, and sometimes the body can lead.”  I ended up finishing 10 minutes faster than my goal.  It was my first race where there were actually some decent photos of me running (smiling!).  I looked like I was having a great time. And for the most part, I was.

Jen

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series.   The second book in the series, A Killer Retreat, is available at booksellers everywhere!

Posted in Guest Writers, Viniyoga, Yoga Philosophy | Leave a comment