Monthly Archives: September 2013

Safe Place Meditation for Relaxation

One of my favorite meditations allows me to transport myself to a place I love. Sometimes I imagine sitting in front of a roaring fire. Sometimes I walk along the the ocean. Sometimes I feel the rough surface of a dock I used to frequent over 20 years ago. Our bodies respond similarly whether we actually visit our favorite locations or simply imagine ourselves there.

The next time you need a vacation, there’s no need to wait save up money or accumulate vacation hours. Try this simple visualization meditation instead. The more senses you involve, the more deeply you will immerse yourself in the experience.

Safe Place 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 and your spine is in “neutral.”
  2. Allow your eyes to close and your focus to go internal.
  3. Notice your breath—without intentionally trying to change it. Feel the warmth and coolness of the breath at the tip of your nostrils. Allow your mind to focus on and pay attention to this feeling of the breath. The breath will be your anchor.
  4. Bring to mind a place in which you feel calm and at peace, whether real or imaginary. Any place will work as long as it feels serene and safe to you.
    • A cabin next to a crackling fire
    • Your grandmother’s kitchen
    • A beach, lake, or other body of water
    • Cuddling in your living room with your dog, cat, or favorite human.
  5. Imagine yourself in your peaceful place using all of your senses.
    • What do you see? Be as specific as you can, down to the details of colors, textures and individual blades of grass.
    • What do you smell? Freshly mown grass? The brackish smell of the ocean? Vanilla candles? The delicious aroma of baked cookies?
    • What do you hear? The crackle of a fire? Purring of kittens? The breath-like sound of the ocean? Birds singing or chirping?
    • What sensations can you feel?  What textures can you feel under your fingertips? Is your skin warm or cool? Are your muscles tight or relaxed?
    • What do you taste? Is your tongue bitter, sweet, salty?
    • What do you feel internally? Are you hungry? Satisfied? Do you feel happy, relaxed, or peaceful?
  6. 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 return to your peaceful place and begin again.
  7. Continue this meditation for 10 minutes or longer if you’d like.

No matter where you are, you take this safe place with you. Visit it any time you need to feel safe.


Tracy Weber

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out my author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series.  MURDER STRIKES A POSE is available for preorder now from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Whole Life Yoga, and other retailers!

What I’ve learned in My First Year of Teaching

amandaAmanda Moore is a health and wellness coach, blogger, and yoga teacher working with people who are ready to let go of self-limiting beliefs, bust through fears, and begin living their biggest, most wild dreams. Through carefully crafted one-on-one or group coaching sessions, she empowers her clients to reach big, dig deep and dissolve what’s holding them back so they can build their best lives. Amanda is a graduate of Whole Life Yoga’s teacher training program.

You can reach her at or find her on her blog, The Savoury Soul or Facebook.

When I enrolled in the Whole Life Yoga 200 hour teacher training program I couldn’t even wrap my head around the idea of actually teaching at the end of the 10 months. How was I, little old cautious, timid me going to get in front of people and teach them for 75 minutes?

What I admired most about my favorite teachers were the insightful words that effortlessly left their lips and left a mark on my soul. I wanted to be THAT kind of teacher.

The October after graduation I taught my first class. I showed up, script in hand, wise words ready to be said. I was ready to make a difference in others’ lives. However, when I opened my mouth to speak these profound words, nothing inspiring came. I found myself just going through the motions of teaching.

I continued to show up, and so did my students.  I continued to teach off of my script. I wasn’t a bad teacher, I just didn’t feel connected to what I was doing. Something felt off, and I found myself dreading class because I wasn’t able to deliver what I thought I was supposed to.

What was going on, I wondered? This wasn’t how it was supposed to be.  Did I really want to teach yoga? Was there something deeper tugging at my soul? I continued to teach, but I still felt stale.  I used the proper language, spoke like a true yogi and came ready with my class tailored around a certain theme. But still, something was missing.

On a cool morning late last spring, I drove to the studio, exhausted from subbing, being back in school and surviving the chaos that life sometimes brings.  I sank down in the driver’s seat and sighed, thinking that I just didn’t have it in me to put on my ‘yoga teacher show.’  Then it hit me.  No wonder I was exhausted!

I climbed out of my car with new found energy and peace in my heart. I had found the missing link. I had been so consumed by the idea of being a perfect yoga teacher that I forgot to be myself.

“I’m done,” I said to myself.  I’m done trying to be someone I’m not. As my students and I sat in silence that day, I silently whispered to my inner guide, “Give me the words that need be heard and help me to speak directly from my heart.”

What came out of my mouth surprised me. It wasn’t something profound, but something that made us all giggle. A lightness  fell over the room. My students filled the room with tiny smiles.

My teaching was forever changed.

I now connect with my students in a deeper, more authentic way.  And isn’t that the goal of yoga anyway? Finding your authenticity, letting go of the filters in which we perceive ourselves and others?

For those of you just starting to teach or exploring the idea of teaching, here’s my advice: Give up the goal of being the perfect teacher and let your own personality come through. Speak from what’s yearning to be said from deep within. Listen to yourself; ask yourself for wisdom and the words need to be heard. Or heck, don’t say much of anything other than the instructions needed to keep your students safe.

Don’t try to teach like someone else because it will feel untrue and yucky and heavy on your heart. Teach because you believe in the power of yoga and the power to share an important message with others.

Give your students, and most importantly, yourself that gift.



Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series.  MURDER STRIKES A POSE is available for preorder now from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Whole Life Yoga, and other retailers!

Meditation for Better Grades

Want to improve your GPA? Try meditation!

A recent study published in the April, 2013 edition of Mindfulness Journal showed that practicing simple meditations before college lectures can help students improve focus, retain information, and increase test scores.  Meditation practice (or lack thereof) even predicted which students passed and which ones failed post lecture quizzes.

In the study—performed by professor Robert Youmans of George Mason University and doctoral student Jared Ramsburg of the University of Illinois—students were randomized into two groups. One group followed basic meditation exercises before lecture, the other did not. The meditation group had significantly higher post lecture quiz scores than the control group. This meditation effect seemed to be the most significant in classes with a high proportion of freshmen students, likely because freshmen students often have more difficulty focusing than their more senior classmates.

Most astounding to me was the minimal time and effort required to get significantly improved test scores. I’ve long told my students that ten-minute meditation practices done consistently can change your life.  This study shows that you might not even need to spend that much time. Students in these studies were only asked to meditate for six minutes before class.

Give it a try!  This simple meditation practice is a great way to get started.


Tracy Weber

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out my author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series.  MURDER STRIKES A POSE is available for preorder now from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Whole Life Yoga, and other retailers!

Compassion in Actions, Words, and Thoughts

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”  Unknown.

I received an interesting comment from a cyber friend recently.  Those of you who know me, know that I love my dog.  I adore her.  Insufferably.  I’m sure people get tired of hearing my Tasha stories, probably with good reason. Only the true dog (or cat, or rabbit or horse, or snake or…) lovers among you can understand.

I know Tasha’s not human. I know she’s “just” a dog. But she’s still part of my family. Her recent health issues have been very challenging for me on emotional, financial, and spiritual levels.  And I’m a writer.  It’s what I do.  It’s how I process emotions and use them to (hopefully positively) influence my world.

In any case, things are finally looking up for Tasha and me. We ruled out lots of deadly diseases. We made it through hip replacement surgery. And although there’s still a long recovery ahead of her, it looks like she will be with me for hopefully several more years.  To say I’m happy, if exhausted, would be an understatement.

I posted about that on Facebook.

First, let me say that I LOVE Facebook.  I enjoy seeing photos of people’s kids, updates on their daily activities, inspirational sayings, and cute puppy pictures.  I use it to ask for energy and to encourage others and give them support.  So it was natural for me to share good news from a veterinary surgeon about my dog’s likely return to health.

The vast majority of people didn’t say anything about the post. The rest replied with encouragement.

One person, however, chose a different route. She chose to berate me, saying that I wrote more about my dog in that post (a few sentences) than most people write about their dying parents.  She continued to write that I must be pretty darned lucky if I could write so much about a dog when others were suffering true hardships.

I considered replying, but I didn’t.  I just let it go.

I regret that.  So now, here is my reply.  First, yes, I’m lucky.  So very, very lucky. I know that.  I have a wonderful life, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I don’t write about my father on Facebook because sadly, he died almost 13 years ago. My mother is healthy, as is my husband, thank God.

My dog is not.

I love this four-legged creature that has blessed me so much, to a fault. I know some people don’t understand that love, and I can live with that.

Why am I writing about this? The yoga sutras say we should always act with compassion—in actions, words, and thoughts. Today, I challenge all of you—myself too—to remember that in all of our communications—be they in person or on social media.  We each have the power to make someone’s day brighter.  Let’s use it.

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out my author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series.  MURDER STRIKES A POSE is available for preorder now from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Whole Life Yoga, and other retailers!

Ending the Dog Days of Summer German Shepherd Style

This week I’m Guest Blogging on Write Here, Write Now, the blog for author Sheila Boneham.  Check out the stories of the two German Shepherds I’ve been blessed enough to share my life with!  (And you might even see a paragraph or two about MURDER STRIKES A POSE, due out January 8!)


Tracy Weber

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and join my author mailing list for updates on MURDER STRIKES A POSE, available early 2014 from Midnight Ink!