A Breath Practice for Insomnia

Hi everyone!  I’m feeling uninspired this week, so I decided to re-post about this simple breath practice for insomnia.  Enjoy!

It is amazing to me how difficult it is for people to get a good night’s sleep. I personally have suffered from chronic insomnia since I was a teenager, and have been impressed with yoga’s ability to help. Although, when people typically think of yoga they envision postures and movements, some of yoga’s most powerful tools don’t involve movement at all. One such tool is called pranayama, and it works specifically on the energy system in the body.

The word pranayama is derived from the words prana and ayama.

Prana means life force energy, which is a concept we don’t really have in the West. It’s the energy that animates us and gives us life. When we have it, we are alive. When it is gone, we die. It is also the energy of healing, and is very similar to the concept of “Chi” in Chinese medicine. Prana already exists within each of us, but it is mobilized by the breath.

Ayama means to lengthen. So the practice of pranayama is literally the practice of lengthening life force energy by extending the breath.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of pranayama practices that can be used to get dramatically different effects. I call one of my favorites “Tracy’s Sleeping Pill,” because it is a practice I regularly use to help me fall asleep. It can easily be done lying down in bed, and unlike many sleeping medications there are no unpleasant side effects the next morning.

I’ve given this practice to many clients over the years, and for most, it really makes a difference. So the next time you have trouble sleeping, give this a try. And, if like many of my clients, you never finish it because you fall asleep in the middle of practicing, so much the better!

The Practice:

  1. Lie in bed, on your back in any position that is comfortable.
    Gradually, over 6 or more breaths, lengthen both your inhale and exhale. Make your exhale at least as long as your inhale. Stay at this lengthened breath at least 6 breaths.
  2. Break the exhale portion of your breath into two approximately equal parts, with natural pauses both between the parts and at the end of the exhale. Maintain this breath for at least 6 breath cycles.
  3. After at least 6 breaths, break the exhale portion of your breath into three approximately equal parts, with natural pauses both between the parts and at the end of the exhale.
  4. Continue this breath for at least 12 breath cycles. Do not strain the breath. If you do start to feel strain, go back to the two part breath in step 3. Then continue with that new breath for the rest of the practice.
  5. Once you finish 12 or more complete breaths in step 5, release the pauses completely and breathe with a lengthened breath for at least 6 breaths. Then gradually allow the breath to come back to a normal rhythm.

Namaste, and may you have a great night’s sleep!

Tracy Weber

My newest Downward Dog Mystery, Pre-Meditated Murder is available now  in e-book and paper back copies everywhere! Check this link for some local ideas. http://tracyweberauthor.com/buy_premeditated.html

All healed! (Sort of.)

Question:  What do you get when 90-pound adolescent German shepherd decides to charge downhill and her five-foot-two-inch owner refuses to let go of the leash?

Answer?  This.

X-ray of Tracy’s collar bone the night of the great dog-walk disaster.

I basically flew like a kite behind her and landed on my shoulder.  Ouch.  Big time. The ER doc told me with 100% certainty that I would need surgery. Basically, I’d end up with lots of screws and a plate I couldn’t eat off of.

Fortunately, she was wrong.

I celebrated the three-month anniversary of the incident this past Thursday by getting repeat x-rays and meeting for the third time with the shoulder surgeon. The news was good.  Sort of.  The collar bone has completely healed.  I’m cleared to teach yoga, carry groceries, and hold Ana’s leash while trying to avoid a repeat performance.

Tracy’s broken collar bone: Another view

Three months later: All healed!

There’s only one problem: Now I have  a shoulder  issue.  Evidently wearing a sling for five weeks did a number on my shoulder joint capsule.  The surgeon was quite pleased that I’d avoided surgery, but he sent me back for six more weeks of physical therapy. I feel like Punxsutawney Phil forced into my cave  for six more weeks of winter.

The good news is, this will all likely clear up with time and some effort.  My 60 to 90 minutes of daily shoulder exercises  aren’t ending any time soon, but I AM seeing improvement. I have less pain and more movement every day. I’m back teaching yoga at Whole Life Yoga, though I use a body double for some demonstrations, and I’ve hired a cadre of people who can help me take care of Ana whenever I need it.

Best news of all?  My hubby now helps me cook Ana’s food!

Here’s hoping summer brings warmth, light and most of all, health!

Tracy Weber

My newest Downward Dog Mystery, Pre-Meditated Murder is available now  in e-book and paper back copies everywhere! Check this link for some local ideas. http://tracyweberauthor.com/buy_premeditated.html

Celebrating New Beginnings

Many of you know that I recently sold my yoga studio, Whole Life Yoga, to the fabulous Kim Tull-Esterbrook.  Yesterday, Kim celebrated the studio’s re-birth, which seems so appropriate in this season of spring, Easter and new beginnings.  For those of you who weren’t able to attend, here’s a photographic tour of the day.

If you who don’t know Kim, you’re missing out! She is the lovely lady giving me a hug.  Kim has been my student, my assistant, and my friend for many years.  I adore her.  As I said at the party, selling Whole Life Yoga to her is like passing down my legacy to family.

She’s made a few improvements to the space, and I love them!  that shade of blue is one of my favorite colors.

But she’s also carrying on some of the old traditions, like serving my favorite vegan chocolate mousse cake!

The event began with a chant and blessing of the space led by the talented Julia Fay.

Kim invited me to say a few words.

Then she added some of her own.

After the formal part of the festivities, I snagged the first piece of that cake!

But I wasn’t alone.

Kim had a great turnout that spilled from the studio space …

to the lobby.  The gentleman below wearing the hat is Kim’s husband, Gavin, who she called the new Marc!  Another fabulous Whole Life Yoga instructor, Julie Miller, is the woman facing the photo.

People often ask me if I feel  melancholy now that the transition is official.  It would make sense, since the studio was a huge part of my life for 17 years.  But I can honestly say that I don’t. I feel gratitude that I have found someone to take over who honors what I’ve created, will improve it, and guide it into the future.  Please join me in supporting Kim and helping keep Whole Life Yoga alive and vibrant for the next 17 years!

Namaste

Tracy Weber

 

My newest Downward Dog Mystery, Pre-Meditated Murder is available now  in e-book and paper back copies everywhere! Check this link for some local ideas. http://tracyweberauthor.com/buy_premeditated.html

It’s a New Audiobook!

Today’s blog article will be short and sweet.  I’m delighted to announce that my third Downward Dog Mystery, Karma’s A Killer, is now available on audiobook!  I love, love, love my narrator, Anne James.  Give it a listen, and let me know what you think!

https://www.audible.com/pd/Mysteries-Thrillers/Karmas-a-Killer-Audiobook/B07BNVBQCJ

Have a fabulous week!

Tracy Weber

My newest Downward Dog Mystery, Pre-Meditated Murder is available now  in e-book and paper back copies everywhere! Check this link for some local ideas. http://tracyweberauthor.com/buy_premeditated.html

 

More information, still no clarity. Still #NotYoga.

Hi all.  I’ve been writing a lot lately, but on my much-behind-schedule next novel.  I’d planned to skip this week’s blog, but an article showed up in my e-mail this morning, and I decided to share it.  Three very different   perspectives to what happened at the NW Yoga Conference.  If you’re interested, read on.  At this point, I am more confused and disappointed than anything, so I will not comment on any of them.  If there’s a path toward clarity, I don’t see it yet.

An interview with Savitri and her family

https://seattleyoganews.com/northwest-yoga-conference-incident/

The viewpoint of several yoga teachers, most of whom were presenters at the conference.

https://seattleyoganews.com/2018-northwest-yoga-conference-incident-teachers-response/

The viewpoint of Bob Smith, another presenter at the opening ceremonies, where the whole debacle took place.

https://seattleyoganews.com/bob-smith-2018-northwest-yoga-conference-incident/

Namaste, peace, and love to all.

Tracy Weber

Northwest Yoga Conference. An Update that Explains Little. Still #NotYoga. Not Even Close.

Hi all.  Last week I wrote about in incident that deeply disturbed me at last weekend’s Northwest Yoga Conference.  I spent much of the following days asking questions and trying to get clarity.

  • What happened before the video was taken? (Because there was obviously a backstory no one was sharing.)
  • What would make a yoga professional behave so truly awfully on camera?
  • Why did the conference continue to make the matter worse by throwing Savitri and Aadil out of the event?
  • How can we find learning and healing in all of this?

I posted questions on Facebook.  I read statements from both parties. I spoke to people with insider information.  It brought up MANY more questions, but I still have no answers.  Just a heart that’s a little bit broken, and a spirit that is horrified by the hate, name-calling, and vitriol that erupted from supposed yogis on the discussion groups. Frankly, I’m surprised the obscenity filters even let many of the comments through.

I sent the e-mail below to my current yoga teacher training group on Saturday, and it sums up how I feel today.  I want my words to build clarity, not fuel more anger, so unless more information is revealed from both parties involved, at this point I’ll remain quiet and hope for a future reconciliation.

“Hi.  This issue has continued to take up much of my headspace over the past week.  Since our last class, I have been made privy to some information that the NW Yoga Conference has chosen not to make public. Nothing I’ve learned excuses what Melissa did in the video in my mind, but it does explain what happened after, at least partially.  If Aadil, Savitri, and Melissa ever get together with a professional mediator, I’ve agreed to participate.  I wish we had the full story, but I don’t think we’ll ever get it at this point.  The more I learn, the sadder I become.  I wonder if even the people involved have a clear memory of what happened anymore.  I’m particularly saddened by the social media comments and the severe language and vitriol written there by people who are supposedly yogis.

Melissa has dropped from the NW Yoga Conference Facebook page and has deleted her personal Facebook account.  I don’t blame her.  I don’t know what the future holds for her or the conference.  May we all work toward holding everyone involved in healing light and hope that what happened can be a catalyst for each of us to examine our actions, reactions, and beliefs in a way that brings greater equality and peace to our world.”

Namaste

Tracy Weber

#NotYoga

I avoid political topics on my blog like the plague.  But ever since I saw this video yesterday–which was taken at this weekend’s  Northwest Yoga Conference in Seattle–I haven’t been able to repress a growing feeling of nausea.  So much so, that I’m posting this blog article one day early. I have to do something.

In this video, Savitri accepts a reward on behalf of her husband, Aadil, who was sick with pneumonia.   I do not know Savitri or Melissa (the other woman in this video, who was one of the conference organizers). I have, however, met Aadil.  We were on a yoga teacher training panel together many years ago.  Aadil is a yoga master with four times my years of experience. We come from different lineages, so I often disagreed with what he was saying, and vice versa.   In spite of my junior status to him, he listened to me and treated me with great respect.

Much more respect than was shown his wife this weekend.  To see what I mean, please fast forward or listen past the first five minutes.

Meditation Master disrespectfully KICKED OUT of yoga conference!

Meditation master, mother and wife of yoga master Aadil Palkhivala disrespected and KICKED OUT of conference for no reason! Female, Indian Meditation Master, and my mother, Savitri, who has been practicing and meditating on Love and Light for 35 years, was aggressively kicked out of “Be the Light” themed Northwest Yoga Conference just when she was going to speak about the Light. She was supposed to have 10 min to speak and accept an award for her husband Aadil Palkhivala, yoga master, who was unwell and couldn't attend. This exposes the falseness of modern yoga culture. Thank you for all who recognize and live true Yoga."To make it clear, I was given the honor and 10 minutes to speak. I asked Savitri, meditation master and my wife, to accept the honor on my behalf and speak in my place as I had bronchitis and pneumonia and could not attend. She very graciously agreed. It was a blessing to the conference to have a true master of light in their presence. No, there was no time issue. Because she did not even get the time of 10 minutes allotted to me but, the event started on time and the previous person who was also honored, humble and precious Bob Smith, simply accepted the honor and did not speak which meant that they had 10 extra minutes. It is sad that someone who claims to do yoga cannot even recognize a living master of light." – Aadil Palkhivala, co-owner of Alive & Shine Center and co-founder of Purna Yoga.The Story:Savitri and Aadil were to be both teaching at the Northwest Yoga Conference as well as paying for having a booth for their college and studio. Savitri graciously gave her income for her teachings as a gift to the Northwest Yoga Conference, and was intending to not make a profit.Aadil Palkhivala learned asana from BKS Iyengar since the age of 7 and has been teaching and living yoga around the world for over 50 years. He is known as one of the founding fathers of yoga in the US. He is also known as "the teacher of teachers" in the yoga world, featured in Yoga Journal and all over the world teaching teachers with numerous awards for integrity in yoga. He was to be awarded tonight at the Northwest Yoga Conference for being a respected yoga influencer, it was an award voted for by the yoga community. Savitri has been learning and teaching meditation and lifestyle techniques for over 30 years, helping thousands around the world find their light within. She is the founder of Heartfull Meditation practiced around the world. She had a traumatic life, her parents death as a teen, her sisters murder, her own deadly illnesses and much more. Her strength and wisdom has inspired many to make huge changes and find self-love. She is also a devoted mother and teaches around the world. Aadil and Savitri are co-founders of Purna Yoga College and Alive & Shine Center for over 25 years.Savitri was there to receive an award on Aadil Palkhivala's behalf and speak for the allotted time of 10 minutes. The audience was enjoying and so happy to hear Savitri's vote for female empowerment and real yoga when Melissa pulled her aside and had Savitri and her students/employees escorted out of the building. She then kicked Savitri and Aadil out of the conference itself, kicked the Alive & Shine Center employees and students out without reason. This is also after Alive and Shine Center had paid to have their booth and Aadil and Savitri were noted as teachers at the conference. Melissa, Northwest Yoga Conference director, disrespectfully interrupted, took Savitri off the stage at 5 minutes, though Aadil was promised 10 minutes.After this happened, many attendees left the room and told Savitri they were very upset what Melissa did, people even cried saying that it was unjust how Savitri was treated. Melissa has caused intentional infliction of emotional distress. Savitri was kicked out of the conference, even when their studio paid to have a booth and attend. This moment in the video is when Savitri was receiving Aadil Palkhivala's people award for being a master in the foundation of yoga today, and she spoke on the importance of light, love and integrity in yoga. She also spoke of the importance of female strength, empowerment and energy in all industries including yoga before being kicked out. Alive & Shine Center, Aadil and Savitri have now been kicked out of the conference for no reason at all.COMMENTS FROM ATTENDEES:"It was just so so strange. She was saying the most beautiful things. I was looking around while she was talking and seeing everyone nodding their heads and smiling and lighting up in response to her words. And then without any reason or explanation, she was rudely cut off and asked to leave the room, as if she had done something criminal. I’m truly shocked, and honestly still shaken by it." – E.P."As jarring as the interruption is, especially to the quietude of a yogic soul, I'm so warmed by the fact that Savitri didn't just smile and accept this. She spoke up and in so doing stood up not just for women (her topic at the time) but also for Aadil, herself, and the Yoga which they both so graciously hold." – G.K."Still stunned by witnessing this turn of events…..Savitri talking about Love and Light, capturing the hearts of the audience, and in the next minute…CENSORED!!!! And by force!!! Whats up with that? Feels Orwellian!" – M.R."My dear teachers Aadil Palkhivala and Savitri Savitri have been kicked out of the Northwest Yoga Conference by Melissa Phillips-Hagedorn for no reason! This is absolutely disrespectful! Aadil Palkhivala was nominated by Pacific Northwest community as a luminary and leader of the yoga world and was too sick to receive his award. His wife went to receive it on his behalf and was aggressively kicked off stage. Aadil has been featured countless times in Yoga Journal, won countless awards from 425 Magazine, filmed for Yoga International and Alive & Shine Center (formerly Yoga Centers), their home studio has won Best of Western Washington, best of 425 Magazine every year. This is NOT YOGA!" – M.Y.

Posted by Zenia Lumeria on Friday, February 23, 2018

Savitri is a yoga master in her own right, and, of course, a human deserving of respect.  There is obviously a backstory here, and I have no idea what it is.  As of this writing, the conference has declined to comment and has deleted any negative comments about the incident on social media. What I do know is that this was handled atrociously.  At the very best, they overreacted to a person who was less than one minute over her allocated time.  At the worst? Well, I don’t want to think about the worst.

Even though I’ve made my living teaching yoga and training yoga teachers for 17 years, I’ve never felt part of the “yoga community” in Seattle.  Instead, I’ve created community with my students. I’ve been wondering lately if that was a mistake.  Honestly, I’m still not sure.  Watching this, however, I’m convinced  that the issue holding me back is real.  Yoga is losing it’s ethics, it’s roots, and it’s power.  Yoga was never about trendy fashion, competitive stretching, or perfecting your handstand.  It’s about finding clarity, personal balance, and fostering active compassion.

May we get back to that soon.

Tracy Weber

Life, Change, and Embracing a New Career

Whole Life Yoga is Under New Leadership!

After over sixteen years in business, I recently sold the studio portion of Whole Life Yoga to the truly lovely Kim Tull-Esterbrook.  Kim has been my studio assistant and a teacher at Whole Life Yoga for years. She is also a graduate of my advanced yoga teacher training and a dear friend.  There is no one I trust to carry on my legacy more than Kim.

I still own Whole Life Yoga’s teacher training program.  In addition to leading yoga teacher training at the studio, I plan to expand my private yoga therapy practice and teach more specialized classes, starting with Yoga for Anxiety next week http://wholelifeyoga.com/anxiety.html.  And I will still maintain my weekly blog about yoga, dogs and writing.  In other words, I’m not going anywhere!

Many things will stay the same in this transition:

  • The studio will remain in the same location.
  • Your class passes will all be honored.
  • The studio will remain dedicated to Viniyoga.
  • You will still have the same great teachers.

And many things will get better:

  • The front room, web site, and newsletter will all get much-needed upgrades.
  • Fun new workshops and classes will be added.
  • There will be an enhanced emphasis on building community.

In short, this is fabulous news!  Please join me in supporting Kim and helping the studio thrive for the next sixteen years.

On a fun side note, I am pursuing certification to become an applied animal behaviorist.  I’ve wanted to work with animals my entire life, and I am delighted to finally have time to go after that dream.  If you need a dog trainer or a consultant for problem behaviors, keep me and my new dog training business, Peaceful Pups, in mind!

If you would like to stay in contact and hear about my yoga classes, animal behavior work, and writing, please e-mail me at Tracy@TracyWeber.net and I will add you to my personal mailing list.

A Note from Whole Life Yoga’s New Owner, Kim!

Dear Whole Life Yoga Community,

I am so excited and honored to be taking on this new role and helping to guide Whole Life into its future. This has been my yoga home for almost 10 years now and the teachings that have been passed down to me from Tracy, have transformed my life. I vow to continue to honor those teachings and the space that Whole Life provides for all of us to deepen our connection and dedication to those teachings.

There will be some surface changes – a freshening of the look, updating registration systems as planned, and some additional class offerings, geared towards deepening our sense of community. The yoga tools, however, remain the same! I hope that you will continue to bring the power of your presence to the studio!

I feel confident in taking this on because Tracy will still be here teaching, guiding and supporting me. I know many of you, but for those in the community I have not had the chance to meet, I hope that we can practice together soon! I value you, and this opportunity that has come into my life. I know that together we can keep this community strong and vibrant.

Namaste,

Tracy and Kim!

My newest Downward Dog Mystery, Pre-Meditated Murder is available now  in e-book and paper back copies everywhere! Check this link for some local ideas. http://tracyweberauthor.com/buy_premeditated.html

Visit Me at Killer Characters

Hi all. I’m still one-handed, so this will be short and sweet. This week I’m blogging at Killer Characters. Actually, I should say that Michael Massey’s sister Shannon is there, talking about the mess her brother’s gotten into in my latest book, Pre-Meditated Murder. Check it out!

http://www.killercharacters.com/2018/02/my-baby-brothers-been-arrested-for.html

Tracy

PS–Want your very own copy of Pre-Meditated Murder?It’s available now  in e-book and paper back copies everywhere! Check this link for some local ideas. http://tracyweberauthor.com/buy_premeditated.html