Do Awards Boost Anything Except Egos?

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Hi all!  Today is my monthly blogging day for my publisher, Midnight Ink.   I’m writing about my series, winning the Maxwell Award for Fiction, and why I think the two things together may save lives.

Check it out at http://midnightwriters.blogspot.com/2015/02/do-awards-boost-anything-except-egos.html.  I’ll be back here next week with a new yoga article!

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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Yoga for Health Fact Sheet and Yoga Research

I haven’t written much about yoga research lately, mainly because I’ve been heads-down in the book launch events for my second novel. But recently I stumbled across a fact sheet from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health that was too good not to pass on.

The article summarizes key facts about yoga, including side effects and risks, recent scientific research, and key points to keep in mind if you are considering starting a yoga practice. As a side bonus, there’s a detailed bibliography of additional articles and links to three videos, one of which includes a list of “dos and don’ts.”

Here are some of my key takeaways:

A carefully designed yoga practice has been proven to:

  • Decrease back pain
  • Increase range of motion
  • Decrease heart rate and blood pressure
  • Relieve symptoms of both anxiety and depression
  • Improve quality of life and reduce stress
  • Reduce insomnia
  • Improve overall physical fitness, strength and flexibility
  • Be safe for healthy individuals when practiced under the guidance of a well trained-instructor

And a couple of surprises:

  • Studies done thus far have not found yoga to be helpful for asthma. (Side note: I wonder how much pranayama—if any—was included. I’d have to look at the full study to weigh in on this.)
  • The benefits of yoga for arthritis are equivocal. (Some studies find it helpful, some do not.) Future research is ongoing to see if yoga has different benefits for patients with rheumatoid arthritis versus osteoarthritis. Scientists are also trying to decide if yoga practice may be more helpful for some joints than others.

This sentence, taken directly from the article, almost made my heart sing: “Everyone’s body is different, and yoga postures should be modified based on individual abilities.” This is, of course, the hallmark of Viniyoga. How could I not agree?

Future studies are planned to determine yoga’s effects on a variety of other health conditions, including immune function, diabetes risk, PTSD, and HIV. I can’t wait to see the results!

If you’re at all interested in learning more about yoga, particularly its therapeutic effects, I highly recommend you check out this article. Lots of great information packed into eight very readable pages. Let me know what you think!

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, Breath, Therapeutic Yoga, Viniyoga, Yoga Research | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Yoga Meditation for Childbirth

Please welcome today’s guest , Tess Jones.  Tess is a yoga teacher, freelance writer, and mother of two.  Thanks for joining us, Tess!

TessJones_3

Meditation is a great tool to use during the physical and mental challenges of childbirth. Slowing your breath and focusing on a meditation can calm your mind and allow your body to let the contractions come.

There are many types of meditations. Some guide you to clear your mind and focus on your breath, while others have you focus on a word, phrase, image, or object. Some ask you to sit or lay still, while others may guide you to move your hands or your body. Use what works for you, trying different things until you find something you connect with that brings you to a place of peace, calm, and grounding in your body.

Once you have a few that you like, practice your meditations in the months leading up to your birth so that you feel familiar with them and can recall them quickly. Teach them to your birth partner or doula, since during labor you may not remember to try them.

Below is a short meditation to try at home:

Grounding Meditation for Pregnant Mothers –Hands on Heart and Belly

  • Find a comfortable seat, or lay on your side. Use pillows to prop yourself until comfortable.
  • Take two full minutes to relax. Breathe naturally and evenly.
  • Place one hand on your heart and the other on your belly. Slightly tuck your chin. Fill your heart and your belly with breath on your inhales feeling them rise, and feel them fall on your exhales. Let go of any thoughts that you are holding onto. Feel a sense of inner strength, grounding down, and ultimate peace filling your body. Clear your mind as you calm your body.

If you’re looking for more meditations to try, there are two free downloadable audio meditations on my website circleheartbooks.com. These audio files can be added to your iphone and listened to for a quick calm-down moment during your day. I also have several other meditations in my book Yoga for Birth. Yoga for Birth is available on Amazon.com. It features prenatal poses, meditations, affirmations, philosophy, and more for pregnant mothers and their birth partners. The book was photographed and independently produced in the greater Seattle area.

About the Author

Tess Jones is a freelance writer and mother of two who has practiced yoga since 2002. She has studied hatha, vinyasa, prenatal, and postnatal yoga teaching. Her yoga focuses on mindful movement, self-awareness, and discovering the peaceful, grounded strength within ourselves. Her books and yoga-related articles can be found on her website circleheartyoga.com.

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!

 

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Saying Goodbye

Sixteen months ago, I led a retreat at the Grunewald Guild in Leavenworth, Washington. That wonderful weekend was the beginning of the journey that I started with twenty-nine other yogis. Ten days ago, I let a retreat at Jim Creek Recreation Area in Arlington, Washington. That weekend completed the journey.

I thought I knew what I was getting myself into. You see, each of those yogis was a graduate of my two hundred-hour yoga teacher training program. Two of them started with me in my very first class in 2003. Three of them—the assistants—had already taken advanced teacher training with me before.  Ten of the participants either were or had been my employees. Even the “newbies” had studied with me for at least a year.

So I should have known them, right? And I did, individually. But somehow when we came together as a group, something wonderful happened. This collection of kind, caring, honest, and intelligent people formed a community. A group that held together through automobile crashes, health scares, surgeries, breakups, job losses, and raising teenagers. A group that bonded and trusted and leaned on each other for help.

We had a few arguments (but shockingly few, honestly), and we got off track hundreds of times. We even had to cut some material. But I can honestly say that I don’t think I’ve ever taught a group that so truly got yoga at its essence. Connection.

To my newest graduates: Saying goodbye at the end of our final weekend together was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I told you that I needed another year to teach you everything you needed to know. That was a lie. In reality, you are already wiser than I will ever be. You already understand what’s most important. Then again, you always did. It was I who needed another year with you and your loving energy. I miss you already.

So today, in this blog, I sing to you the chant we sang at the beginning of each class—in English this time—and share it with my yoga friends reading this blog.

We have  come together as student and teacher to share this time of learning.
Let us have energy and awareness to fulfill this task.
Let us be protected, and nourished, and cherish our time together.
Om, peace, peace, peace.

I did, indeed, cherish our time together. I hope our paths continue to cross over and over and over again.

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 Gratitude, Teacher Training, Viniyoga | 16 Comments

A Great Big Thank You

Tracy MacDonald and Fiona

Tracy MacDonald and Fiona

Today is my blogging day on Inkspot., the blog for the authors of Midnight Ink.  And it seems only fitting at the end of my book launch to thank some of the great people who have helped me make it such a success.  Even better–I have never met any of these people in person!

The gifts of yoga live everywhere–even in people who’ve never done a single pose.  Check out some of my favorites at http://midnightwriters.blogspot.com/2015/01/liftoff-success.html

Thanks all!  Next week I’ll be back to my normal yoga blog!

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 Downward Dog Mysteries, Gratitude, writing | Leave a comment

A Killer Retreat Book Launch Week 2: Wrapping up the Big Push

 

Missi Svoboda Re-enacts the cover photo of A Killer Retreat!

Missi Svoboda Re-enacts the cover photo of A Killer Retreat!

My book launch actually extends well into February, but the first two weeks are the craziest.  Here’s a summary of what happened this week:

Reviews from Mystery Blogs:  Check out the fun reviews from posted by the bloggers below:  If you’ve seen any that I haven’t please let me know!

  • Traci Andrighetti’s Blog “As both a yogini and a dog lover, I particularly appreciated the way that Kate’s yoga practice and Bella (and her medical condition) were incorporated into the plot.”
  • WV Sticher:Tracy Weber provides a page turning read with Killer Retreat, the second book in the Downward Dog Mystery series.
  • Read Your Writes Book Reviews:A Killer Retreat is told in first person, which gives you a great look into Kate’s crazy personality.”
  • Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book:The story has it all, action, drama, humor and romantic tension
  • Libriamorimiei“If you love dogs and cozy mysteries is absolutely a book to read.”

Guest articles and interviews: In addition to this blog, I’m contributing guest articles to other blogs in the upcoming weeks.  The ones below posted in the past week.

  • Radio Interview on My Mama’s Kitchen (Aired Tuesday, January 13) This interview was special because it spoke primarily about yoga and why I love it so much.
  • Kelly P’s BlogYoga for Mystery Readers. Yoga is good for everyone! In this article, I discuss the key benefits of a consistent yoga practice for mystery readers.

More upcoming events: If you’re in the area, come see me!

  • Book signing at Third Place Books,  (Thursday, January 29, 7 – 8 PM)
  • Book signing at Shoreline Costco (Saturday, January 31, 12:30 – 2:30 PM) Shoreline, WA
  • Book signing at Garfield Book Company (Friday, February 6,  6 – 7 PM) Tacoma, WA
  • Book signing at Page 2 Books (Saturday, February 7, 1:30 – 2:30 PM) Burien, WA
  • Book signing at Barnes and Noble (Saturday, February 14, 1:30 – 2:30) Federal Way, WA

Thanks all!

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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A Killer Retreat Book Launch Week 1: So far, so great!

 

Fiona had to wait so long for book launch week that she outgrew her shirt!

Fiona had to wait so long for the book launch that she outgrew her shirt!

It’s been a fun and exciting book launch, and we’re just getting started.  Here’s a summary of some of the highlights so far:

Reviews from Mystery Blogs:  Check out the fun reviews from posted by the bloggers below:  If you’ve seen any reviews that I haven’t listed here please let me know!

  • Booklady’s Booknotes:  “A Killer Retreat is a humorous mystery that will give the reader page after page of stress free enjoyment.”
  • Shelley’s BookCase: “This is such a fantastic read. One that will have you reading until the last page.”
  • Mochas, Mysteries, and Meows: “Kate’s dedication to Bella and her serious medical issues are just one reason why I consider this a must-read series. Whether you are a yogi or not you will enjoy spending time with Kate, Bella, and their friends.”
  • Readalot:  ”Lots of mystery, lots of suspects, lot of Yoga, interesting characters and cute animals.”
  • Fresh Fiction: “Ms. Weber mixes up a delightful whodunit that sends the  reader down false trails much like Bella the dog and her search for rabbits….Readers  of  cozy mysteries will enjoy this mystery and look forward to  the next installment.”
  • Cozy up with Kathy A Killer Retreat, is the best sort of book. It’s one that raises awareness of important societal issues, explores the difficulties relationships present, makes us worry about the people and other animals who inhabit its pages, and, while doing all of that, still makes us laugh!”
  • Thoughts In Progress:A Killer Retreat is a charming cozy that provides relaxation and entertainment. This is a tantalizing series with the promise of more capers in the future.”
  • Just One More Paragraph:  “Another great humorous and quirky mystery that is sure to not only to draw you in but entertain you from the first page.”

Interviews: I’m continually surprised by the diversity of questions I get asked by interviewers.  There’s a tiny bit of overlap in the interviews below, but not very darned much.  I’ve highlighted some of the unique questions in each.

  • Mochas, Mysteries, and Meows:  This one is a lot of fun, because I got to write it from Bella’s (The German Shepherd in my series) point of view!
  • Edmonds News: Artfully Edmonds:  This local arts columnist asked some great questions about how to “make it” in the writing business.  Truth be told, I haven’t made it yet.  But if I ever do, it will be because of support from readers like you!
  • Christa Reads and Writes: In this one, you can read about my yoga teacher/sleuth Kate and how she compares to me.  Spoiler Alert!  We have some similarities!
  • Thoughts in Progress:  Learn about my writing process (or lack thereof, if the truth be known).  I’m not exactly known for my organized desktop.
  • Cozy Up with Kathy: This interviewer asked me to talk about my work, of course, but also two other topics in the series I feel passionately about:  EPI (the digestive disease my own dog has) and reactive dogs.
  • Omnimystery News This interviewer  asked lots of fun questions about my life, my characters, and my genre.  My favorite question, however was to complete this sentence… I am a mystery writer and thus I am also… How do you think I answered it?
  • Radio Interview on Conversations Live with Cyrus Web.  Cyrus hosted me on his program last launch and it was a thrill to talk with him again this year about my new book, getting to know my characters and encouraging other writers.

Guest articles: In addition to this writing blog, I’m a contributing author for several other blogs in the upcoming weeks.  The two articles below posted in the past week.

  • Writers and Other Animals:  This is actually an excerpt from the book—a scene in which Kate discovers Suicide Bluff, an area that will later become much more frightening than she could ever imagine.
  • Sequence Wiz Read about finding your passion by sharing yoga in unusual ways.

Upcoming events this week: If you’re in the area, come see me! The party at Whole Life Yoga will feature champagne, killer cake, and lots of door prizes!

Thanks all!  Have a great week and I’ll give you another summary next week!

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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Holy Book Launch, Batman!

Reader Missy Schwebach and her dog Heidi

Reader Missy Schwebach and her dog Heidi

It’s here, it’s here, it’s here!  Book launch week for A KILLER RETREAT.  The official launch is this Thursday, January 8, but I have tons of activities scheduled over the next several months.  Today’s article outlines my live book launch events through March.  For the next few weeks on the blog, I’ll post links to some notable interviews and articles, as well as some radio shows!  After that, we’ll be back to all yoga, all the time.  ;-)

Please join me for one, several, or all of the events below!  And please support these booksellers who have gone out of their way to support me!

Signings and Launch parties:

  • Thursday, January 8, 5:00 – 7:00 PM PST. Facebook launch party! Many of my readers aren’t in Seattle, so I’ve decided to host a virtual launch party this year.  I’ll be posting photos of settings in the book, offering excerpts, giving away a prize every 15 minutes, answering reader questions, and accepting virtual hugs.  To join in, Click on this link. Please also share with your friends.  The more the merrier!
  • Saturday, January 10, noon – 1:00Seattle Mystery Bookshop in Seattle, WA.  A low key meet-and-greet event.  But you don’t want to miss the opportunity to check out this Seattle landmark that devotes its shelves completely to mysteries.  Tons of fun!
  • Thursday, January 15, 5:00 – 8:00 PMEdmonds Book Shop in Edmonds, WA.  I loved being part of the Edmonds art walk last year, and this lovely local book store is a community favorite.  I’ll be hosting some drawings for book-related goodies.
  • Saturday, January 17, 2:30 – 4:00 PM.  Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, WA, co-sponsored by the University Bookstore.  This one is going to be a PARTY!  Cake, bubbly, yoga discounts, prizes, and readings.  We’re going to have a blast!
  • Thursday, January 29, 7:00 – 8:00 PM. Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park, WA. I had a great time in this open and inviting venue last year.  I plan to offer a short chair yoga practice to liven things up, a couple of readings, Q&A, and tons of prizes! Not to be missed.
  • Saturday, January 31, 12:30 – 2:30 PM.  Costco in Shoreline.  And you don’t even have to buy the book in bulk!  ;-)   Costco offers great prices and I’m thrilled that they asked me to come and do an event with them.  This will be another low key meet and greet, so feel free to come on by at any time during the event and say hi!
  • Friday, February 6, 6:00 – 7:00 PM Garfield Book Company in Tacoma, WA. This will be my first event at the bookstore at Pacific Lutheran University.  In addition to reading, I’m going to offer a class on yoga for students and other readers.  Please let all of your south end friends know!
  • Saturday, February 7, 1:30 – 2:30 PM.  Page 2 Books in Burien, WA.  Another fun new venue for me, in which I plan to tease the audience with readings, prizes, and maybe a yoga pose or two.
  • Saturday, February 14, 1:30 – 2:30 PM.  Barnes and Noble in Federal Way, WA.  I hope to see some of my old buddies from Weyerhaeuser there! Grab your honey and prepare to have a “killer” of a time!
  • Sunday, March 8, 4 – 5 PM. Village Books in Bellingham.  Bellingham has a large viniyoga following, so I’m totally thrilled to go back there and share my second book. I’m still firming up the plans, but I hope to have a local yoga teacher co teach this with me.
  • Friday through Sunday, March 12 – 15.  Left Coast Crime in Portland, Oregon.  This fun fan convention is offered once a year.  My panels and signings aren’t confirmed yet, but if you plan to attend, please hit me up for a drink!
  • Saturday, March 21, 2 – 3 PM.  Barnes and Noble, in Billings, MT.  What a complete and total hoot to be signing books in my hometown. I’ve invited another mystery author to join me, but I don’t want to jinx it so you’ll have to check with me in a few weeks to see if she can come. Readings, giveaways, and of course signings galore!
  • Saturday, May 9, 2 – 3 PM.  Barnes and Noble, in Bellevue, WA.  East side moms take note!  What could be better than a little “spa day” relaxation with A Killer Retreat!

I have to admit, typing this all out just gave me heart palpitations.  It’s going to be a BUSY few months!  Add to this three radio shows, ten guest articles, and seven interviews scheduled—so far—and I may never sleep again.  Please come see me at one of the events, give me a big hug, and let me draw from your energy.

And always, of course, come see me us at Whole Life Yoga!  Thank you for your support!

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 Downward Dog Mysteries, writing, Yoga Books | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Yoga Mysteries, Imperfect Sleuths, and Book Launches!

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Rene de los Santos waiting patiently for his copy of A Killer Retreat at Whole Life Yoga

Happy holidays, yogis!

Today is my blogging day on Inkspot., the blog for the authors of Midnight Ink.  As the publication date of my second book approaches (January 8!) I took some time to reflect on my beginnings with Viniyoga and how it can help heal wounds that are both physical and mental.  Check it out at  http://midnightwriters.blogspot.com/2014/12/yoga-mysteries-imperfect-sleuths-and.html

rutledge

Rutledge, waiting not so patiently….

I hope you’re having a wonderful holiday season!

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 is available for preorder now. MURDER STRIKES A POSE is available at book sellers everywhere

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Inviting Peace to All Parts of Your Life

This is the final of three blog posts that details practices mentioned in A Killer Retreat.   This poem can either be used as a chant, a daily intention, or a mantra for meditation. May we all find peace this holiday season.  

Bench

Like me, my yoga teacher protagonist Kate Davidson wants to live a meaningful life. She wants to be a good person. Heck, she’d even settle for being downright boring every now and again. But that’s harder than it sounds when you’re the prime suspect in a murder investigation.

You see Kate—like most yoga teachers I know–isn’t perfect. Not even close. But when she publicly threatens to strangle a woman who gets murdered less than an hour later…

Suffice it to say that some days Kate should keep her big mouth shut.

Kate is admittedly shaken by both the murder and the accusation, so she practices yoga to remain calm. One of her go-to practices is a beautiful chant I learned almost twenty years ago. Conveying the tune is difficult without teaching chanting notation, but saying the words or mentally reciting them in meditation should be equally effective.

A Poem for Full-System Peace

Anamaya Shanti—May my body have peace.
Pranamaya Shanti—May my energy system have peace.
Manomaya Shanti—May my mind have peace.
Vijnamamaya Shanti—May my personality have peace.
Anandamaya Shanti—May my spirit have peace.
Shanti, Shanti, Shanti—Peace, peace, peace.

There’s nothing magical about the Sanskrit words; the English translation has just as much power. Try setting this intention every day for the next week or mentally reciting it the next time you feel stressed.

I hope it benefits you as much as it does Kate.

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 is available for preorder now. MURDER STRIKES A POSE is available at book sellers everywhere

Posted in Downward Dog Mysteries, Meditation, Yoga Philosophy | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment