Mystery and Mayhem—Animal Style!

Hi all!  Today is my inaugural post on Pens Paws and Claws!  Check it out and learn the real-life stories that have inspired my fiction. Horses, and cows, and kitties and crows–oh my!Check it out at https://wp.me/p908hl-mH.  Enjoy!

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

Refilling Your Energy Bucket: A Meditation

A Note from Tracy:  Research has proven that yoga is an effective tool to help overcome depression, according to  this article recently published in Harvard Health Publishing.  Effective yoga practices to combat depression are about more than movement, however.  Breath and meditation are equally, if not more, important.  In this series of articles, I will share six practices (some movement, some breath, and some meditation) from my series Overcoming Depression with Yoga.  Enjoy!

For many of my clients, depression  manifests as a lack of energy. Energy to do the things they love, energy to take care of themselves, energy to live life to the fullest. We all have things in our life that deplete our energy, just like the holes that drain water from the bucket above.  Some energy drains can be avoided, but others are necessary, such as earning an income and taking care of  loved ones.  If we can’t plug the holes, then we need to find ways to refill our bucket.

The meditation below is designed to help you reconnect with with everything that brings you joy.

Filling Your Energy Bucket Meditation:

  1. Sit comfortably with your spine erect and the crown of your head floating up to the ceiling, or lie comfortably in a position that allows you to be pain free yet still alert.
  2. Allow your eyes to close and notice your breath—without intentionally trying to change it.  Bring your attention to the sensation of movement in your belly as you breathe in and out.
  3. After 2 – 3 minutes or whenever you feel ready, begin imagining all the things in life that fill you with energy and give you joy.  Examples include people you love, hobbies or things you enjoy doing, gifts of nature, or even something as simple as a hot bath or time spent resting in front of a crackling fire.   Let these thoughts float through your awareness as images, sensations, smells, or whatever else has the most power for you.
  4. If your mind wanders to anything else,  bring it back to the sensation of the breath.  Then re-focus your attention on all of the things in life that bring you energy and joy.
  5. After several minutes ask yourself one or both of the following questions:
    • How I can increase energy and foster joy and community in my life?
    • What actions can I take to invite more energy, joy, and gratitude into my daily life?
  6. When you become distracted by other thoughts, simply notice those thoughts without frustration.  Then, with your next inhale, invite your attention to the above questions again.
  7. Continue this meditation for 10 minutes or longer if you’d like.

Enjoy, and if you’re interested in learning more about my private yoga therapy practice and yoga teacher training, visit my website at http://svanayogaseattle.com/

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

Nadi Sodhana (Alternate Nostril) Breathing to Overcome Depression

A Note from Tracy:  Research has proven that yoga is an effective tool to help overcome depression, according to  this article recently published in Harvard Health Publishing.  Effective yoga practices to combat depression are about more than movement, however.  Breath and meditation are equally, if not more, important.  In this series of articles, I will share six practices (some movement, some breath, and some meditation) from my series Overcoming Depression with Yoga.  Enjoy!

According to the yoga teachings, the nadis are energetic pathways that are similar to meridians in Chinese medicine.  The simple breath practice below balances these energy pathways, which is especially important when trying to overcome depression.  Try this breath practice, and let me know what you think!

Nadi Sodhana (Alternate Nostril) Breathing:

  1. This breath practice must be done seated. Begin by sitting comfortably on a chair or on the floor with the spine in a neutral (extended) position.
  2. Lengthen both the inhale and exhale, making them approximately equal.
  3. After several breaths, begin the alternate nostril breathing technique described below.
    • Raise your right hand, folding down your index and middle finger, as in the photo above. Seal your right nostril at the bottom of the nostril flap with your right thumb.  Partially valve the left nostril with your ring finger near the cartilage. Inhale through the partially valved left nostril.
    • At the end of the inhale, close the left nostril with the ring finger and partially valve the right nostril at the groove near the sinuses.  Exhale through the partially valved right nostril.
    • Inhale through that same valved (right) nostril.
    • Seal your right nostril at the bottom of the nostril flap with your right thumb. Partially valve the left nostril with your left finger and slowly exhale through the partially valved left nostril.
  4. For the next 12 breaths, continue this process, changing the valved nostril  with each breath.
    • Inhale through a partially valved left nostril
    • Exhale through a partially valved right nostril
    • Inhale through a partially valved right nostril
    • Exhale through a partially valved left nostril
  5. Repeat this nostril breathing technique for 5 or more minutes. Always finish by exhaling through the partially valved right nostril.
  6. Release the nostril technique and take a few lengthened breaths through both nostrils.
  7. When you feel ready, take 6 or more breaths to bring your breath back to a new natural rhythm.
  8. Notice any changes you feel after this practice. What is the new natural pattern of your breath? Notice the balance of your mind and your mental focus. try to bring this awareness of breathing to the rest of your day.

This breath practice looks funny and sounds complex, but it’s actually very simple.  Give it a try, and if you have any questions, leave them in the comments below.

Enjoy, and if you’re interested in learning more about my private yoga therapy practice and yoga teacher training, visit my website at http://svanayogaseattle.com/

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

Finding Balance: A Movement Practice to Integrate the Right and Left Hemispheres of the Brain

A Note from Tracy:  Research has proven that yoga is an effective tool to help overcome depression, according to  this article recently published in Harvard Health Publishing.  Effective yoga practices to combat depression are about more than movement, however.  Breath and meditation are equally, if not more, important.  In this series of articles, I will share six practices (some movement, some breath, and some meditation) from my series Overcoming Depression with Yoga.  Enjoy!

If you ever experience mental fog or have difficulty focusing, the 15-minute movement practice below can help. It’s great for preparing the brain to study, teaching your mind to focus, or simply clearing away the doldrums.  Enjoy!

Practice in good health! Next week I’ll share a breath practice that further integrates the right and left hemispheres of the brain.  If  you’re interested in learning more about my private yoga therapy practice and yoga teacher training, visit my website at http://svanayogaseattle.com/

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

Light In, Fog Out Meditation

A Note from Tracy:  Research has proven that yoga is an effective tool to help overcome depression, according to  this article recently published in Harvard Health Publishing.  Effective yoga practices to combat depression are about more than movement, however.  Breath and meditation are equally, if not more, important.  In this series of articles, I will share six practices (some movement, some breath, and some meditation) from my series Overcoming Depression with Yoga.  Enjoy!

The meditation below helps you invite in positive energy while releasing all that doesn’t serve you.  Enjoy!

Light in, Fog Out Meditation:

  1. Sit comfortably, with your spine erect and the crown of your head floating up to the ceiling.
  2. Allow your eyes to close and notice your breath—without intentionally trying to change it. Bring your attention to the sensation of movement in your belly as you breathe in and out.
  3. After 2 – 3 minutes or whenever you are ready, begin imagining the breath as energy.
  4. Breathe in, and imagine that all of the positive energy of the universe enters your body with the breath. Visualize this energy as a pure, white light that pervades every cell and fiber of your being.
  5. Breathe out, and imagine that all your negative energies—sadness, tiredness, mistakes and misunderstandings—leave your body with the breath. Visualize these negative energies as either a black smoke or a vaporous fog that leaves with your exhale, goes out into space, and completely dissolves and disappears.
  6. When your mind is distracted by other thoughts, simply notice them. Then with your next inhale, breathe in the pure, white, positive energy and begin the meditation again.
  7. Continue this meditation for 10 minutes or longer if you’d like.

Next week I’ll share a movement practice that helps build focus and integrates the right and left hemispheres of the brain.  If you’re interested in learning more about my private yoga therapy practice and yoga teacher training, visit my website at http://svanayogaseattle.com/

Thanks!

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

Full Torso Breathing to Combat Depression

A Note from Tracy:  Research has proven that yoga is an effective tool to help overcome depression, according to  this article recently published in Harvard Health Publishing.  Effective yoga practices to combat depression are about more than movement, however.  Breath and meditation are equally, if not more, important.  In this series of articles, I will share six practices (some movement, some breath, and some meditation) from my series Overcoming Depression with Yoga.  Enjoy!

The simple breath practice below can be done seated or lying.  Doing it seated will provide a subtly more energizing effect. The practice is balanced enough that it can be done any time of day.  If you practice it regularly, you will create greater balance in your life.  (And who doesn’t want more of that?)

Full Torso Breathing

  1. Come to a comfortable seated or lying position. Place one hand on your belly below your navel and the other on your chest near your collar bones.
  2. Notice the natural pattern of your breath.   How long or short is your breath?  How full or shallow?  How smooth or rough?  Notice which hand moves first. The top or the bottom?  Do you feel more expansion in the chest or the belly?
  3. Now, modify your natural breath pattern. Imagine that you inhale into your top hand first, then then expand your belly as if you could breathe into your bottom hand. With each exhale, pull in your belly and feel your bottom hand move toward your spine.
  4. Gradually, over several breaths, lengthen both your inhale and exhale.  Continue to imagine that you can breathe into your entire torso, including the collar bones, ribs and belly.   If your inhale is longer than your exhale, shorten it until both are equal.  The inhale should not be longer than the exhale and at no time should you strain your breath.
  5. Once you reach a lengthened breath, breathe at this rate for approximately 5 minutes. With each inhale, imagine that you breathe into the top hand first, then the bottom.  With each exhale, pull in your abdominal muscles.
  6. After about 5 minutes, gradually return your breath to a natural rhythm.
  7. Notice the new natural pattern of your breath.   What differences do you feel from the beginning of practice?  How long or short is your breath now?  How full or shallow?  How smooth or rough? Do you feel more expansion in the chest or the belly than you did at the beginning of the practice?    Relish this new breath rhythm and carry this awareness of breathing to the rest of your day.

I hope you find this practice useful.  Next week I’ll share one of my favorite meditations for conquering depression.  If you’d like to learn more about  private yoga therapy  and yoga teacher training, visit my website at http://svanayogaseattle.com/

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

Gentle Movement Practice to Overcome the Blues

A Note from Tracy:  Research has proven that yoga is an effective tool to help overcome depression, according to  this article recently published in Harvard Health Publishing.  Effective yoga practices to combat depression are about more than movement, however.  Breath and meditation are equally, if not more, important.  In this series of articles, I will share six practices (some movement, some breath, and some meditation) from my series Overcoming Depression with Yoga.  Enjoy!

 

Next week I’ll share a simple Full Torso Breathing practice to help build energy and calm the mind.

Enjoy, and if you’re interested in learning more about my private yoga therapy practice and yoga teacher training, visit my website at http://svanayogaseattle.com/

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

Sweet Little Yoga Book

Every now and then, I get asked to review advanced copies of books about yoga.  I almost always decline due to time constraints, but how could I refuse a book that takes less than five minutes to read?

This sweet, kid-friendly picture book is decorated with cute illustrations of a happy frog doing all of my favorite yoga poses–and some of my least favorite ones.  (But that’s a blog topic for a different day.) I highly recommend it for the little yogis in your life. Yoga Frog is targeted to children ages 4 – 8, but parents will flash a smile or two, and each page describes one or more poses appropriate for the whole family.

As an adult, I’m even more drawn to the cute Yoga Frog “mini kit.” It contains a teeny, tiny book with most of the poses contained in its hardcover sibling and a plastic bendable frog, perfect for desk-top creativity.  Mine is currently executing a near-perfect Warrior I on my kitchen counter.  My teacher training students will recognize a couple of sequencing errors in both of the books,  but honestly, pose-perfect yoga isn’t really the point.

I highly recommend these for the kids (and the kids at heart!) in your lives.  They are both available wherever books are sold, but here is the Amazon Link for the book  and for the mini kit, for those of you interested.

Thanks for reading, and Namaste!

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

Happy Birthday, Ana Pup!

Today is Ana’s second birthday!  I could never have predicted the joy, frustration, and chaos this sweet soul would bring into my life, but I wouldn’t change a thing!  Please help me celebrate my second soul dog with the photos below of our time together — so far!

I fell in love with this little sweetheart from the first photo I saw of her.  She was a little over 4 weeks old at the time.

A week and a half later, I flew to California, and we met for the first time.  Ana looked much cuter than I did.

I named her Ana, short for Ananda, which means unending joy.  I failed to consider what that might look like through the eyes of a puppy. A week after that, hubby and I drove back to Sacramento pick her up.   We had NO IDEA what we’d gotten ourselves into.

Her true personality emerged within a week.

Hence, her first Halloween costume.

She soon developed an obsession with sticks.

Which so far, she hasn’t outgrown.

Our first real challenge was figuring out how to contain her.  She could slip every harness, jump on the kitchen counters, and scale 5-foot fences by the time she was 5 months old.  We finally figured out a fence that could contain her.  You can’t see the cement moat we poured underneath it. Here she is, strategizing how to get out the day it was installed.  She was 6 months old at the time.

As she grew older, a vet finally figured out that her hyperactivity was due to food allergies, and I started the long process of rebuilding her health.  We still struggle, but there are many more good days than bad.

She finally grew in to those ridiculous ears.

And her teeth grew in to her.

She rejected her job as guard dog.

Making it clear that she was a lover instead.

Unless you’re a squirrel, that is.

Ana and I have become best friends.  We’re never far apart for long, but when we are, it is always a joyous reunion.

I can’t imagine my life without this girl, and frankly, I don’t want to. Here’s hoping we have at least another decade of birthdays to come!

Happy birthday, little sweetheart!  I adore you!

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

Pigeons, Yoga Studios, and Mysteries, Oh My!

Hi all!

Today, I’d like to share with you a blog article I wrote recently for Killer Characters.  The article is officially written by Judith, one of the characters in Karma’s a Killer, but she recounts a story about a real-life pigeon that used to live at Whole Life Yoga, and the day I saved him after a near-fatal hawk attack.  You can read the account that I wrote on that day at this link.

The blog on Killer characters can be found at http://www.killercharacters.com/2018/06/wildlife-rehab-can-be-murder.html

Oh–and Karma’s A Killer is now available in audiobook on Audible!

Enjoy!

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