Research Proves It! Viniyoga Helps Kick Eating Disorders

surrealistic picture of an apple reflecting in the mirror

The study discussed in this article by Yoga Dork has special meaning to me, as I was involved in its design. One of our amazing Whole Life Yoga teachers, Liziah Woodruff, was one of the teachers!

The study (which was led by T. Rain Carei, Ph.D. of Seattle Children’s Hospital and published in the Journal of Adolescent Health) included over 50 teens ages 11 – 21, all with diagnosed eating disorders. Half of the teens had been hospitalized due to their eating disorder. Participants were randomized into either a control group that received the “standard care” at Seattle Children’s Hospital or a separate group that received the same standard care plus two hours of Viniyoga a week.

The results? According to the article in Journal of Adolescent Health:

“The Yoga group demonstrated greater decreases in eating disorder symptoms. Specifically, the EDE [Eating Disorder Examination] scores decreased over time in the Yoga group, whereas the No Yoga group showed some initial decline but then returned to baseline EDE levels at week 12. Food preoccupation was measured before and after each yoga session, and decreased significantly after all sessions. Both groups maintained current BMI [Body Mass Index] levels and decreased in anxiety and depression over time.”

More research is needed to see if this work can be replicated in larger groups, but so far Viniyoga seems to be a useful adjunct treatment for individuals with a variety of eating disorders.

Go Viniyoga! And I’m so pleased to have been a part of the design of this study protocol.

Tracy Weber

books available

PS–all three books in my Downward Dog mystery series are now available!  Learn more at http://tracyweberauthor.com.  Thanks for reading!

Murder and Mayhem Animal Style

My favorite childhood cow, Beauty. One of the many animals that have had a profound influence on my life.

Hey all!  This week I’m blogging at Inkspot (the blog for the writers of Midnight Ink)  about the many animals in my life and how they’ve informed my mysteries.  Check it out and leave a comment about the important animals in your life.  Who knows?  I might include them in one of my future books!

http://midnightwriters.blogspot.com/2016/01/mystery-and-mayhemanimal-style.html

See you there!

Tracy Weber

PS–all three books in my Downward Dog mystery series are now available!  Learn more at http://tracyweberauthor.com.  Thanks for reading!

Take your dog to a book store!

Hi all!  This week’s blog article is all about a fabulous event I’m doing at the end of this month with a group of four other authors called the Dog Squad!  Grab your best furry friend and hustle on down to Phinney Books for an afternoon of fun!  Support your local book store, chat with several local authors, and show off your best canine buddy at the same time! (Humans without canine buddies welcome too!)  😉

dog squad

Join Dog Squad authors Laura T. Coffey, Waverly Curtis, David R. Gross, and Tracy Weber for an afternoon of Fido fun! All four authors will read from their books, answer questions, and accept dog kisses. Come prepared to share your dog’s special talents. Who knows?  Maybe your pup will be featured in one of our future books.

Readings, signings, prizes, and dog treats!  What more could you ask for?

Well-behaved dogs welcome.

Saturday, January 30, 2:00 – 3:00 PM
Phinney Books

7405 Greenwood Ave N
Seattle, WA 98103
206-297-2665
info@PhinneyBooks.com

About the Authors:

Laura T. Coffey: My Old Dog: Rescued Pets with Remarkable Second Acts

Laura T. Coffey is a writer, editor and producer for TODAY.com, the website of NBC’s TODAY show, and the author of the non-fiction book “My Old Dog: Rescued Pets with Remarkable Second Acts.” An award-winning journalist with more than two decades of experience, Laura has written and edited hundreds of high-profile human-interest stories. She lives in Seattle. Her author website is http://www.myolddogbook.com/.

Waverly Fitzgerald and Curt Colbert (Waverly Curtis): Silence of the Chihuahuas

Waverly Fitzgerald and Curt Colbert make up the writing team known as Waverly Curtis. In 2011 when Curt showed up for one of their weekly meetings with the start of a novel within a novel featuring a talking Chihuahua. Waverly said she would like to help him write that novel (especially since it was loosely based on her daughter’s Chihuahua, Pepe) and the collaboration was born. Five years later they’ve written five novels and one novella in the Barking Detective series for Kensington books; the most recent is called The Silence of the Chihuahuas.

David R Gross: Travels with Charlize

David R. Gross graduated from Colorado State University’s veterinary school in 1960. Following private practice for ten years he enrolled in graduate school and earned a M.Sc. degree and a PhD degree from the Ohio State University. He taught and did research at Texas A & M University for sixteen years then became Director of the Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery Research Labs at the University of Kentucky Medical School for five years. Dr. Gross retired in 2006 after twelve years as Professor and Head of Veterinary Biosciences, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Since retirement, he published: ANIMALS DON’T BLUSH (Book Publishers Network), MAN HUNT (Whiskey Creek Press), SUCCEEDING AS A STUDENT (Book Publishers Network), and TRAVELS WITH CHARLIZE (Book Publishers Network). He blogs at http://www.docdavesvoice.com.

Tracy Weber: Karma’s a Killer

Tracy Weber is the author of the award-winning Downward Dog Mysteries series. The first book in the series, Murder Strikes a Pose, won the Maxwell Award for Fiction and was nominated for the Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Karma’s a Killer is her third novel. Tracy is the owner of Whole Life Yoga in Seattle. She and her husband Marc live in Phinney Ridge with their challenging yet amazing German shepherd, Tasha. When she’s not writing, Tracy spends her time teaching yoga, walking Tasha, and sipping Blackthorn cider at her favorite ale house.  For more information on Tracy and the Downward Dog Mysteries, visit her author website: http://TracyWeberAuthor.com/

Tours Both Virtual and Live

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I’m having a fabulous time on my virtual and in-person book tours!  Seattleites, come see me this week at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park on Thursday at 7 PM or at Whole Life Yoga this Saturday at 2:30!  Readings, prizes, signings, and all the hugs you’ll give me!  Both events are open to all ages, so bring the whole family!  The awesome Rene de los Santos will be present at the Third Place Books event to teach a short chair yoga class to prepare your bodies for sitting and your minds for reading!

In the meantime, I’ve been all over the net writing about yoga, writing, and Karma’s a Killer.  Check out some of my favorite articles below:

  • The Story Behind the Book About how a pigeon I rescued at Whole Life Yoga made an impact on this book. “There are so many stories behind Karma’s a Killer. The story of the neighborhood crows that have befriended my German shepherd, Tasha. The story of fractured family relationships. And of course, story of solving a murder. But the story closest to my heart is that of a pigeon I saved over three years ago…”
  • Cozy up with Kathy: Yoga for Dogs? “The practice of Doga actually has many benefits. Yoga practice in the presence of dogs is calming to both man and beast. Dogs are sensitive creatures—highly attuned to human energy. Anything that makes humans more peaceful also brings calm to their canine companions.”
  • Great Escapes Book Tours:  A fabulous review by a reader who doesn’t even like yoga!  Two of my favorite quotes… “With a big dose of humor Tracy Weber takes us on quite an adventure. ” and “This series is going in a fantastic direction. Animal lovers, you must read this story!! “
  • The Dark Phantom Review: An interview in which I discuss the craft of writing:  How to create compelling characters and settings:  “I use all five senses when describing a setting: smell, sight, taste, sound, and touch. I also use a sixth sense that I can only describe as energy: Some places feel light; others heavy; still others, prickly. And the energy of a space changes based on the perspective and mood of the character inside it.”
  • A Blue Million Books: A Great interview about writing, reading and social media.  And the all important question of who I’d most like to have at a dinner party.  “Stephen King, Mary Daheim, Doctor Seuss, Edgar Allan Poe, and Santa Clause. I mean seriously. Wouldn’t that be a hoot?”
  • As the Page Turns: Yoga, writing, and persevering practice. “Slogging through a first draft often feels less like making love, more like walking through hardening cement. When things get tough, I remind myself of one of yoga’s most important principles: persevering practice.”
  • The Writers Life: Writing, reviews, and author egos.  “Being a writer is a lot like being a Hollywood movie star. There are a few that make it big. The rest wait tables at your local Applebee’s. If making money is your goal, try something easier. Like brain surgery.”

Tracy Weber

books available

PS–all three books in my Downward Dog mystery series are now available!  Learn more at http://tracyweberauthor.com.  Thanks for reading!

Happy Book Birthday! Come Give Me a Hug!

WLY launch party

My third written child was officially released on last Friday, January 8, and the busy push of parties, appearances and publicity will soon take over my life for a month.  Who knew that writing the book would the easy part!  Below is a partial list of upcoming events and recent articles.  I hope to see you at a book signing soon!

January Book Signings and Events:

Launch Weekend Press:

  • Facebook Launch Party! According to Facebook, almost 250 people attended the event from all over the US and as far away as Australia. Even though the party is officially over, you can still check out the site to find excerpts, photos, games, and questions.  Check it out and join us live next year!
  • Examiner.com:  An interview with me about writing, yoga and Karma’s a Killer:  “I wrote this story, at least in part, to help readers truly get to know and understand Kate. Through this case, Kate discovers the origins of her pogonophobia—the irrational fear of beards—and learns why she has, at least up until now, has been so terrified of commitment. Although most of the book is about Kate’s sometimes-inept attempts at murder investigation, the most satisfying part of the book is rediscovering Kate.”
  • Page 69 Test: An excerpt from Page 69 of the book and my analysis of it: “Page 69 brings us to the end of a scene in Karma’s a Killer that is both similar and dissimilar to the rest of the story. My protagonist, Kate, has just learned that her mother, Dharma—who abandoned her thirty years ago—is back in Seattle and wants to reconcile. Kate doesn’t yet know that Dharma is about to be arrested for murder.”
  • Dru’s Book Musings: An interview with Blackie (a crow!) who has a very important role in Karma’s a Killer:   “I sure wish I could speak English. Not only was I here at Green Lake the day Kate overheard a fight between two women, but I saw one of those women get murdered later that night! I’ve been trying to tell Kate what I saw, but she doesn’t understand me. Bella, her crazy German shepherd, ignores me. Probably because I eat all of her cookies.If I leave Kate a clue, do you think she’ll figure it out?”
  • OmniMysteryNews: I interviewed yoga teacher/sleuth Kate.   She had this to say on behalf of her dog Bella…. “As for your canine readers,[Bella would] tell them to stay the heck away from her house, her yoga studio, and me. I’m her best-trained slave, and she’s not willing to share me. And Bella gave me a special message for the brown-suited, box-carrying psycho-killer that drives the UPS truck. She has her eye on you. One false move, and she’ll eat delivery man for dinner.”
  • Musings and RamblingsI talk about Seattle and what makes it the perfect setting for a mystery series:  “Seattle gets a bad rap for being gray and rainy, but the flipside is that you’ll never see a place greener or more lush outside of the tropics. Within an hour or two, you can visit a major university, climb a mountain, go boating, dip your toes in the ocean, ski, attend live theater, shop in a quaint island town, and hang out with a troll holding onto an actual Volkswagen. And don’t get me started on the annual nude bicycle parade…”
  • CBS8.com had this to say about Karma’s a Killer “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.”
  • Blog Critics:  An interview with me in which I talk about research, writing, and the writing life.  “An important character in the book, Blackie, is a crow that was raised as a fledgling and released back to the wild. I have been fascinated by crows since my own German shepherd, Tasha, befriended a crow in our neighborhood. Learning more about these intelligent, highly social, and quirky animals was one of the biggest joys of writing the book.”
  • Seattle Times! I was delighted to see Karma’s a Killer make the Sunday Seattle Times yesterday.  They even printed the book cover in color! Here’s a link in case you don’t subscribe…

That’s just a sampling, and lots more is scheduled to happen the rest of this month and in February.  Stay tuned, and please check out the series, and please come give me a hug at one (or more) of the events!

I hope to see you soon!

Tracy Weber

books available

PS–all three books in my Downward Dog mystery series are now available!  Learn more at http://tracyweberauthor.com.  Thanks for reading!

Dedications, and Thank Yous and Acknowledgements, Oh My!

Until I was a writer, I rarely read the acknowledgements section at the beginning of a book, but I know now that it represents the village of people it takes to write a novel. So, for your reading pleasure, here is a pre-view of the kudos coming when my book is released this Friday. I’m sad that my mom never got to see the dedication, but I was able to tell her about it before she passed. 

Dedication:

To my mom, Marcia. Your support of my writing means the world to me.

Acknowledgements:

First of all, I’d like to thank every reader who has contacted me to tell me that they enjoy my work. Each e-mail, Facebook post, and letter makes my day. Without you, I’m not sure I’d have the fortitude to continue writing.

Karma’s a Killer has a special cast of supporters I want to acknowledge.

My yoga students continue to listen to my grumblings, join in my cheering, attend my events, and support my writing in more ways than I could ever have hoped for. Special thanks to Katie West, who addressed and mailed a seemingly infinite number of packages to my street team members, and Katie Burns, who proofed the manuscript before I submitted it to Midnight Ink.  Thanks also to my agent, Margaret Bail, editors Terri Bischoff and Sandy Sullivan at Midnight Ink, and freelance editor Marta Tanrikulu, who all continue to give me invaluable help and feedback.

Special thanks go to Michael Westerfield, author of The Language of Crows. Michael graciously answered my many questions about crow behavior. His insights about crows raised as fledglings and released to the wild were invaluable.  Of course, if there are any errors in this work—about crows or anything else—they are completely mine.

My husband, Marc, and my real-life Bella, Tasha, continue to be the lights of my life. Anything I accomplish is only possible through their love and support.  Marc gets extra kudos for designing and maintaining my author website.  Tasha gets credit for introducing me to her crow friends and fueling my fascination for these intelligent, underappreciated creatures.

Finally, thank you to all of my street team members. These dedicated individuals spread the word about my writing, pass out my bookmarks, and make me smile on days that otherwise seem glum.  The best part of writing has been connecting with all of you.

Tracy Weber

Karmas a Killer (4)Purchase my newest mystery, KARMA’S A KILLER, now at Amazon Barnes and Noble, or a bookstore near you!

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

I Present to You….an Excerpt from KARMA’S A KILLER!

Today is my monthly posting at InkSpot, the blog for the writers of Midnight Ink.  You don’t want to miss this one–it’s a preview of the first chapter of my next book, Karma’s a Killer, which will officially be released on January 8!  Enjoy, and let me know what you think!

http://midnightwriters.blogspot.com/2015/12/i-present-to-youkarmas-killer.html

PS–Purchase Karma’s a Killer before January 8, 2016 and e-mail me at Tracy@WholeLifeYoga.com to receive an autographed bookplate!

Tracy Weber

Purchase my newest mystery, KARMA’S A KILLER, now at Amazon Barnes and Noble or a bookstore near you!

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

Reconnecting with the InnerWeb

Hi all!  Please welcome Whole Life Yoga 500-hour teacher training graduate Jayde Pryzgoda to the Whole Life blog today. Read on to learn how to build balance and social integration in the midst of our high-tech world….

Lately, I’ve noticed that my body is increasingly in this shape:

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This “pose” leads to a tight jaw, sore neck, strained vision, and hunched shoulders. Yet I willingly find myself this way many, many times a day.  What’s going on?

No, that’s not a book I’m holding…  About five years ago I bought my first smart phone.  And while I no longer need a smart phone for work, over last 4 years I have slowly come to enjoy being attached to this small, ever-present and convenient source of news, entertainment, and connection to friends and loved ones.  It is my personal portal to the world wide web.

I don’t consider myself very tech-savvy or dependent, but when I honestly assess my daily behavior these are some facts I find:

  1. I always know exactly where my smart phone is. This is more than I can say for my keys, my cat, and my husband!
  2. I check my phone every 2 hours, on average. I check the internet at my computer in between.
  3. I take my phone to the bathroom. Apologies if this is too personal, but it makes a point. I’m attached.

Turns out I’m not alone.  According to a Pew Research Center report from April 2015, 64% of adults own a smart phone and 46% of smart phone owners say they “couldn’t live without” it.

As I learn more about our interactions with internet technology, I recognize that my posture is only one of the things likely to change if I keep up this level of “connectedness.” In her recent book, “Reclaiming Conversation,” MIT sociologist and clinical psychologist Sherry Turkle, highlights some social impacts of our device-time:  decreased ability and comfort with face to face connection, difficulty being alone, difficulty knowing ourselves, and a shift towards presenting our idealized selves to the world, thus side-stepping authentic connection.  She proposes that device-time robs us of solitude- our quiet time to simply sit and be with our own thoughts, emotions, and inner experience.  And that decreased solitude ultimately leads to disruption in our deep connection with ourselves and with others.

So how can Yoga help?

The promise of yoga is the integration, or fluid working together of our body, mind, and breath.  We could say yoga helps us create our own inner-web.  The practices of yoga (movement of our bodies and breath, meditation, chant) provide us with many options for getting to know our inner experience, or in other words: opportunities for solitude.

So if you are into yoga, (and you must be to read this far!), you are in luck.  Building a daily practice may hold a key to maintaining the balance of solitude and authentic connection.  But as with all things, this hypothesis is best tested personally. If like me, you find yourself very attached to your internet time, join me in experimenting with some alternatives.

Some things to try:

  • Consciously set aside 5 or 10 minutes daily for a personal practice. For tips on developing your home practice, check out Tracy Weber’s blog entry Nine Tips for a Successful Home Yoga Practice
  • Better yet, before reaching for that phone or internet:
    1.  Take 10 mindful breaths
    2.  Go for a walk or find a quiet space for some gentle movements (think forward bends, warrior I, or just resting your forehead on your forearms.)
  • When you go to yoga class, arrive early, put your phone away at least 5 minutes before instruction starts, lay down and attend to your breathing. At the end of class, see if you can wait until you are out of the building and well on your way before checking your phone.
  • When you finally do find yourself squinting at the smart phone (or table, or computer), take a pause. Check your posture, take a breath, and scan your attention head to toe. How do you feel physically…mentally…emotionally? Listen to your answers and make a conscious choice about your next move.

Good luck – I’ll be out there practicing with you. Let me know how it goes!

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Jayde Pryzgoda is a WLY graduate, yoga teacher, and practicing clinical psychologist in the Seattle area.  She is interested in the intersections of yoga, mental health and physical well being and she starting a new blog to explore these topics and more.

www.thisonemoment.org

 

 

 

 

 

Community

Please welcome Sharon Gillette to the Whole Life Blog today.  I’m honored to have Sharon as part of my yoga community!

The communities that we live in, work in, and join because of athletic, musical, or other skill, all help to form, grow, and sometimes support us.  What is our responsibility to our communities?

When we become aware of the power behind a community simply thinking/writing/voicing good thoughts about somebody, how can we fail to take the opportunity to lift someone up who has lost a job, a parent, or hope?  Even day-to-day questions and cares, answered thoughtfully by community members, can make a difference in the sense of well-being of another.  What an honor for that person to know that someone noticed their challenge, gave it thought, and took even a brief moment to recognize it in some way.

The yoga community of teachers is strong, especially among those who trained together.  Learning from and supporting each other makes them more able to serve students.  Members of group yoga classes that meet regularly, often look forward to connections made there.  Specific-themed classes for prenatal, MS, cancer, or other health-related needs, sometimes see very beneficial bonds form among practitioners.  Be open to exploring these personal connections.  Care, and be cared for.

Having the opportunity to take the gift of community and add it to the content-rich forum of the internet, is a perk of modern life that should not be taken for granted.  Spend time reading the blog or the Facebook page of your favorite yoga teachers, and offer your thoughts.  Nourish, and be nourished.

However you find your yoga community, move forward by asking yourself what you can do to help that community.  Could you deliver a flower from your garden to the friend on the mat next to yours?  Might you give of your knowledge or from your heart, to comment in an online group?

Share of yourself in community.  Lift others, and be lifted.

SharonandPiperArboretum2015Sharon Gillette is a graduate of Whole Life Yoga’s 200-hour and 300-hour teacher trainings.  Connect with her at http://www.polkadotyoga.com/

 

 

The Purpose of Corpse Pose

A Whole Life Yoga student asks: what’s the point of Corpse Pose? I have a hard time relaxing when my mind is supposed to be completely blank.

This is a great question, and I’m not surprised you feel confused. In truth, no one can make their mind completely blank, at least no one I’ve met. Corpse Pose is, in many ways, a meditation practice. While it’s true that there can be moments of mental quiet during meditation, those moments are the gifts of meditation, not the practice. And they are fleeting gifts at that.

But let’s set the mind to the side for a moment. Corpse pose is at least partially for your body. A good yoga practice mobilizes healing energy called prana, which is very similar to chi in Chinese medicine. Corpse pose gives your system a chance to integrate that energy and send it wherever it is needed the most. Prana flows with the breath, but it is directed by the mind. Feel achy in your lower back after practice? Imagine warmth coating the area like a soft blanket. Feel tension? Imagine your muscles melting into the mat. The sensation you feel is the movement of prana.

Prana is a powerful source of healing, not to be wasted. Corpse Pose allows you to harness that energy without the distractions of movement.

Now, back to the mind.

The mind is designed to be active. Some say the mind is like a monkey, swinging from thought to thought like a monkey swings from branch to branch. Rather than asking the mind to do something impossible, give it a new job. Ask it to focus on something: the coolness of the breath in your nostrils; the delicious post-yoga sensations in your muscles; even the rhythmic snoring of the person next to you.

Whenever your mind wanders (and it will!) invite it back. You may find moments of quiet nothingness. Then again, you may not. In the end, it doesn’t matter. As soon as you notice them, they’re gone anyway.

Your body, energy system, and mind will benefit regardless.

I hope that helps.

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!

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