Monthly Archives: November 2014

Fiction, Gratitude and Real Change



Today is my blog day at Inkspot, the blog for the authors of Midnight Ink.  In today’s article, I discuss gratitude, “seeing” the homeless, and Real Change.

I hope you enjoy it, and that you have a fabulous Thanksgiving weekend.


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

Overcoming Eating Disorders with Yoga

Marlisa and her daughter

Marlisa and her daughter

Please welcome today’s guest, Marlisa Papp.  Marlisa has a powerful message about how yoga can help overcome eating disorders and other additions.  Please read my comment at the end, to learn more about her next steps in helping others fighting addiction.

According to, an estimated 24 million Americans suffer from an eating disorder and 1 out of 5 women struggle with some level of disordered eating. That’s 24 million people I want to help, not only because I feel strongly about it, but because I used to be one of them.

I have suffered from anorexia and bulimia for decades in my own life. I have been admitted to numerous inpatient settings as well as years of counseling. I was spiritually broken and disconnected from many things in life, including myself. I am now in recovery, not because of all the external help I received, but the fact that I was finally able to let go of control and surrender with the guidance of some very special teachers and mentors.

Most people who suffer from addiction state that they use to dull the pain or escape their problems through a detrimental substance or practice. For me, I turned to yoga. It helps me gain insight into how to stay with the pain and heal the underlying reasons. Everyone has pain, but we can choose to not suffer in harmful ways. I dabbled in yoga for many years as part of my own recovery, but did not truly comprehend the powerful transformation one experiences until I let go of what I thought was control and let my practice shape me in a way I never knew existed. What I found from practicing yoga for my own recovery and being dedicated to this practice on a regular basis was learning about limiting beliefs about myself that have kept me in my disordered eating, cultivating acceptance and trust, observing my thoughts and feelings by slowing my breath down, setting healthy boundaries, living in balance, non-judgmental awareness of self and others, and compassion and empathy towards myself and others.

People ask, “What is yoga?” It is a UNION with the body, mind and spirit, or a connection with the self and others. It is about recognizing the Lower self, ego, attachments, self-sabotaging behavior (like alcohol, drugs, food, gambling, workaholism, co-dependency, as well as lying and manipulating), and the Higher self (like the person who loves unconditionally, who has passions and a purpose in life, who is content, grateful, generous and honest). When we are aware of both of these sides in ourselves through slowing down and paying attention, then we have a choice to change. Yoga is a practice in life that brings about change physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually if one can slow down, accept and surrender.

This is the foundation to true freedom from addiction. All the answers come from within not what your family members, friends, community or society thinks you should do to change.

From Tracy: Are you interested in helping with her work?  Marlisa is currently raising funds on, the circle giving platform for important dreams, to establish a private practice in Montana (which is my home state!) to “help clients on their journey of recovery (alcohol and drug abuse, eating disorders, co-dependency issues, gambling, workaholism, anxiety and depression).

About Marlisa: I am a Holistic Health Counselor and a Licensed Addiction Counselor and I am currently participating in an Intensive Yoga Certification Program. I have been working for a state agency for years facilitating Outpatient, Intensive Outpatient and Intensive Relapse Prevention groups as well as individual sessions. At times I teach mindfulness, yoga and meditation as part of my patients’ treatment plan. They love it and find a new sense of peace in their recovery as they slow their minds and thoughts down long enough to grasp some of the underlying reasons why they participated in self-harm behavior.

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series. 

‘tis the Season to do Yoga


This week’s blog entry was written by guest author Sheryl Stich. Sheryl is a graduate of Whole Life Yoga’s 500-hour yoga teacher training program and a teacher at Whole Life Yoga. She can be contacted at

When I was a kid, the holidays were a time of joy and enchantment – but then I grew up! Now I look at the calendar and gasp “Oh my, the holiday season is creeping up too quickly!” My palms start to sweat slightly, my heart rate increases and my breathing is shallow. I need to start thinking about dinners, parties, presents and travel! I wonder out loud, “What can I do this year to ease my way through the holiday season?” Then, I remember my yoga practice. I bring my attention to my breath and pretty soon I am feeling calm and at peace.  Hmm…maybe I can experience the feeling of joy and enchantment during the holidays again.

Our yoga practice offers us a great opportunity to tune into the present moment, helping us become centered and focused, and find the calm and peace deep down inside. Take moments to really notice and enjoy your surroundings this year. The smell of trees, twinkling lights, candles in windows, holiday music (yes, even those old holiday songs can still bring some joy). The simple act of finding your breath—even in the middle of the shopping mall or at dinner with the family—will help you to connect to that ever-present calm within.

As you enjoy some time off of work, maybe a trip or vacation, lots of family – and lots of food – remember it can also mean you could find yourself out of your regular routine or away from your yoga practice – all when you could use yoga the most!

Drawing from my personal experience, I have designed a yoga class series, Yoga for Happy Holidays. If you are like me, your schedule is probably completely nuts during the holidays, but finding time to relax is essential for your sense of well-being. Have a wonderful and relaxing holiday season this year.

Sheryl Stich

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series. 

Five Questions to Ask Yourself when Choosing a Yoga Teacher Training Program

Who says yoga teacher training can’t be fun?

Seattle is  blessed with a wide variety of yoga teacher training programs.  Although I’m partial to the one offered at Whole Life Yoga, to be completely honest, many of the programs offered by other studios are also quite good.  So how do you choose?  Reflecting on the five questions below may help.

  1. What style of yoga are you drawn to? This question actually has two parts. Consider the style of yoga you personally like to practice, as well as the style that would best suit the audience you want to teach. Some yoga teacher training programs (including my own) adhere rigorously to a given lineage; others teach a blended approach.  Either way, make sure that you understand and can support whatever you’ll learn. Never embark on a teacher training program if you don’t appreciate the style you will be learning. Doing so will lead to frustration and disappointment.
  2. Does the structure of the program meet your learning style? Some students learn best when fully immersed in the teachings, as is the case with residential trainings. Others do better with what I call a trickle approach, in which bite-size pieces of information are provided consistently over a longer period of time. Are you more likely to learn when you remove yourself from the rigors of your daily life or when you integrate your yoga practice into it?
  3. Do the program’s requirements realistically fit your schedule? Find out the full program costs, time, and other commitments of the training.  Cost calculations should include any extra classes you’ll be required to attend, mentoring costs, materials, registration fees, and lodging. When you’re budgeting time, include the time you will actually spend in yoga teacher training classes, personal practice time, teaching time, and written homework. Are there make-up options if you miss class? Be honest with yourself. Choose a program that has the flexibility you need while still offering a rigorous learning experience.
  4. Are you drawn to the primary teacher(s) of the program? Some teacher training programs are taught almost exclusively by a single teacher; others use a panel of different instructors for different topics. If you’ll be studying with multiple teachers, who will be responsible for mentoring you and helping assure your success? If there is a primary teacher, get to know them. Do you respect them? Do you trust them? At a minimum, you’ll spend 200 to 500 hours of your life with this person. Hopefully your connection will last significantly longer. Make sure the student/teacher fit is a good one.
  5. Do you want/need a certification that is nationally recognized? Love them or hate them, Yoga Alliance is the only nationally-recognized regulatory body in the yoga community. If your program is registered with Yoga Alliance, you may have teaching opportunities that others do not. Not every person who attends a yoga teacher training intends to teach, however.  Is a nationally recognized certification important to you?

As with most questions in life, there are no right answers, only answers that are right for you. If you’re interested in learning more about Whole Life Yoga’s program, I’d be happy to meet and discuss our program in detail.

Best of luck to you in your yoga journey, whatever particular path you decide.

Tracy Weber

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, learn about our Yoga Alliance Registered yoga teacher training program, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series.