Monthly Archives: October 2017

Will the Real Yoga Teacher Please Stand Up?

As a novelist, I’ve been blessed to meet many generous writers who have mentored me on the bumpy path to publication. Pretty much every seasoned writer I’ve met so far has given me one sage piece of advice: never read reviews.

I have to admit, I read them anyway.

Maybe it’s curiosity; maybe it’s excitement; maybe it’s simply my need to look for that ever-elusive stamp of approval, but I can’t seem to stop myself. I dig and I search and I devour every new review I can find. Most of the time, they make me smile. Occasionally, I learn something from a reader’s comments that will make me a better writer. Sometimes, however, a review leaves me shaking my head.

Some time ago, I came across one such review. I don’t even remember now if the reader liked my book. Something tells me it wasn’t her favorite. But one criticism stuck in my memory. She said that my protagonist wasn’t a realistic yoga teacher. If Kate were a real yoga teacher, the reader asserted, she’d be much thinner, more flexible, and less likely to lose her temper.

My protagonist is 5’3” tall and weighs 130 pounds, which is normal by most standards. Like many women, Kate has body image issues and hates her “chunky” thighs. All in all, she’s not a heck of a lot different than me, and she can do significantly more challenging yoga poses than I can. I’ve made my living teaching yoga for over seventeen years.

Yoga teachers come in all shapes and sizes. Some are lithe and can do amazing things with their bodies. Some are overweight. Some suffer from chronic illnesses and perpetually tight hamstrings. Some even start their yoga teaching career after retirement. The best yoga teachers know how to teach the students in front of them, in spite of their own personal limitations—or lack thereof. In fact, many of the best yoga teachers have imperfect bodies. If you can’t do a pose, learning how to observe your students and describe that pose becomes even more important.

Why do I care about this enough to write a blog article about it? The comment in the review highlights the very misperception of yoga that I’m trying to destroy: that yoga is only for the fit, the flexible, and the young. I have certified over three hundred teachers in the past fifteen years through Whole Life Yoga’s yoga teacher training, and I have met privately to discuss teacher training with at least three times that many. My heart always breaks a little when an otherwise wonderful candidate decides not to pursue teaching yoga because they can’t do all of the poses, they don’t have a size-four body, or they think they are too old. The world loses a lot of great yoga teachers that way.

Is the protagonist in my book likely to grace the cover of Yoga Journal? Probably not. But perhaps it’s time we let go of the yoga stereotypes. If yoga teachers are more diverse, our students will be as well.

What to you think?

Tracy Weber

PS: If you’re interested in Whole Life Yoga’s Teacher Training Program, you can check it out at this link.

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All four books in the Downward Dog Mystery Series are available at booksellers everywhere!

Arriving Home Meditation

Welcome to week 4 of my Meditations to Change Your Life series.  We all have special places–places we call home.  The great news is that we don’t have to travel to find them.  This meditation will take you there.  Enjoy!

happy Young romantic couple sitting on sofa in front of fireplace at winter season in home

Arriving Home Meditation:

  1. Sit comfortably, with your spine erect and the crown of your head floating up to the ceiling.
  2. Notice your breath—without intentionally trying to change it. Bring your attention to the warmth and coolness of the breath at the tip of your nostrils.
  3. After 2 – 3 minutes, or whenever you are ready, bring to mind a real or imaginary place that has all the best qualities of “home” to you. A place where you feel safe, secure, where you really belong and can truly be yourself. Hold the qualities of this place in your heart as you continue the meditation.
  4. Then begin a mantra meditation with subsequent breaths. Each time you inhale, mentally think the word “arriving”, and as you exhale, mentally think the word “home.”   Continue this mental repetition with every breath. Each breath, “arriving home.” When your attention wanders, just notice it, and invite your attention back to the sensation of the breath at the tip of your nose.   Then return to reciting the phrase “arriving home” with every breath.
  5. Continue this meditation for 10 minutes or longer if you’d like.

Tracy Weber

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All four books in the Downward Dog Mystery Series are available at booksellers everywhere!

A Meditation for Finding Peace (Or Anything Else You Might Want!)

Welcome to Week 3 of my series on meditations to help create–whatever you want!  Know that whatever you want to invite into your life, you can have it!  This meditation will help.

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Mantra Meditation:

  1. Begin with one of the breath focused meditations we learned in Weeks 1 and 2. Sit comfortably, with your spine erect and the crown of your head floating up to the ceiling
  2. Notice your breath—without intentionally trying to change it. Bring your attention to the warmth and coolness of the breath at the tip of your nostrils or to the feeling of softness in the belly with the breath.
  3. When you feel ready, bring to mind a quality you’d like to have more of your life. It could be greater balance, joy, health, forgiveness, or any other positive quality. “Name” that quality with a word or short phrase.
  4. Then begin a mantra meditation with subsequent breaths. Each time you exhale, mentally recite your work or phrase, and feel the energy of that quality pour through your awareness.   When your attention wanders, just notice it, and invite your attention back to the sensations of the breath.   Then return to reciting your word or phrase on every exhale
  5. Continue this meditation for 10 minutes or longer if you’d like.

Tracy Weber

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All four books in the Downward Dog Mystery Series are available at booksellers everywhere!

A Meditation of Hope and Light

Hi all!  Today is week two of my series of posts on Meditations to help you stay balanced in turbulent times.  Be well and happy!

Free happy woman enjoying nature sunset. Freedom, happiness and enjoyment concept of beautiful multiracial Asian Caucasian girl in her 20s. Image from Grand Canyon, United States.

Light visualization meditation:

  1. Sit comfortably, with your spine erect and the crown of your head floating up to the ceiling. Sitting either in a chair or on the floor is fine, as long as you are physically comfortable.
  2. Focus your mind on the sensations of the breath just inside your nostrils.   When you feel ready, think of a quality you’d like to bring into your life. Imagine that quality is a bright white light entering your body through your heart center and spreading throughout your entire body—from the top of your head to the tips of your fingers and toes. This light can represent any positive quality you wish it to–love, joy, health, healing, etc. Imagine that each cell of your body is illuminated by this light, and that the quality you’ve attributed to it flows into every cell.
  3. Imagine that this quality is replacing everything that clutters your life–anger, impatience, stress, desire, greed. As the light grows brighter in your mind, visualize its pure radiance washing those negative qualities away.
  4. If your attention wanders (and it will!) just notice it, and invite your attention back to the sensation of the breath at the tip of your nose. Then begin to focus on the white, healing light once again.
  5. Continue this meditation for 10 minutes or longer if you’d like.

Tracy Weber

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All four books in the Downward Dog Mystery Series are available at booksellers everywhere!