Author Archives: Tracy Weber

Be the Change You Wish to See. Breath and Meditation for Turbulent Times Week 1:

Note from Tracy: Recent news articles and social media threads inspired me to create and teach a yoga series at Whole Life Yoga called Yoga for Turbulent TimesFor those of you not near Seattle, I’ve decided to share the breath practices and meditations from this class as I teach them. I hope you find them useful.

Yoga for Turbulent Times Week 1:

The yoga teachings tell us that we can’t control the world around us. We can, however, control how we react to it.  More than that, we can act with active compassion whenever we see suffering in the world around us. Active compassion implies that we take action to reduce the suffering of others. There’s a catch though: We have to do so without joining the suffering.  A tall order on the best of days.

On the worst?

Gandhi gives this advice (bold added by yours truly):

We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.

In other words, the first–and arguably most important–step in changing the world is changing ourselves. The breath and meditation practices below may help.

Breath practice:

Bring to mind a quality that would help you create inner balance, regardless of turbulence in the world around you.  Give that quality a name.  If a word doesn’t come to you, give it a picture, a sensation, a sound, a light.  Be open to whatever image, word, or thought your mind provides you. Keep that quality in your awareness as you begin this breath practice.

  1. Lengthen your inhale and exhale, making them approximately equal.
  2. After 6 breaths at that lengthened breath, add a 2-second pause after both the inhale and the exhale.
  3. If the breath in step 2 is easy for you and you’ve practiced pranayama before, lengthen both pauses to a count of 3 or 4.
  4. Remain at this breath for several minutes. With each inhale, imagine the quality you chose entering your heart. In the pause after inhale, imagine it taking root inside you. With each exhale, offer that quality back to the world. In the pause after exhale, imagine that quality within and around you.
  5. After several minutes, release the pauses and continue breathing with a lengthened inhale and exhale.
  6. After several more breaths, return your breath to a normal rhythm. Carry the energy of this breath practice to meditation.

Note: If you notice breathlessness, anxiety, or strain at any time, reduce the lengths of the pauses or go back to the lengthened breath in step 1.

Meditation:

  1. Sit comfortably, with your spine erect and the crown of your head floating up toward the ceiling. Sitting either in a chair or on the floor is fine, as long as you are physically comfortable.
  2. Allow your eyes to close, or if this is too challenging, keep your eyes at “half mast” gazing quietly at a place below and in front of you.
  3. Notice your breath without intentionally trying to change it. First notice the warmth and coolness of the breath as it enters your nostrils. Notice the movement of your rib cage and belly. How does your spine move with each breath? What other sensations can you feel?
  4. After you feel comfortable and relaxed, bring to mind  the quality you chose for the breath practice and ask yourself the following question:
    • For the next week, how can I embody the quality I hope most to receive?  (For example, if your quality is “peace,” the question would be “How can I embody peace?”)
  5. Don’t try to audit or evaluate the answers that come to you. You may hear words, see images, feel sensations, or experience emotions. Allow whatever you experience to float across your consciousness.
  6. If your attention wanders at any time during the meditation (and it will!) simply notice it, then invite your attention back to the sensation of the breath. When you feel ready, ask yourself the question again.
  7. Continue this meditation for 10 – 15 minutes.

Enjoy and may you find whatever you need amidst turbulent times!

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

Celebrate Puppy Mill Action Week!

Hope from A Fatal Twist

Hi all!  This is my week to blog on Killer Characters, and I’m posting as Hope, a rescued Golden retriever from my Downward Dog Mystery, A Fatal Twist.

Check it out, and please either rescue or adopt only from reputable breeders.  Hope and other puppy mill moms like her thank you!

http://www.killercharacters.com/2018/05/happy-puppy-mill-action-week.html

Tracy

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

Time to Celebrate!

During the last week and a half, I’ve crossed the finish line on several important milestones.  A friend asked me yesterday if I’d celebrated yet.  The answer, surprisingly, was no.  I’ve been so far behind since I broke my collarbone that I’ve stumbled from one major project to the next, not looking behind me for fear I’d get run over by the next deadline.  Today, please help me celebrate virtually!

Milestone 1:  Completion of my sixth Downward Dog Mystery, MURDER LIKES IT HOT!  Cover reveal and excerpts coming soon.  The book was due April 1, and will be released on January 8, 2019!

Cover reveal for Murder Likes it Hot coming soon!

Milestone 2: Completion of the proposal for book seven in the series, tentatively titled THE VINYASA VENDETTA.  I will likely change that title, but for now it works.  My publisher will have to read it, look at sales numbers for book five, Pre-Meditated Murder, and decide if they want to continue publishing the series.  So if you haven’t purchased Pre-Meditated Murder yet, now’s the time!  😉  I likely won’t know whether or not the proposal is accepted for awhile, but keep your fingers crossed for me!

Milestone 3: I renamed my yoga business!  It’s svAna Yoga, and you can learn more about why I chose that name at this blog article.  This business will focus on yoga teacher training, yoga teacher training continuing education, private yoga therapy, and perhaps a retreat or two!  Much more on this as the website is developed.

Milestone 4: I spent four days on the East Coast, hanging out with my writer tribe at Malice Domestic.  It’s always wonderful to reconnect with my writer friends, and I’m glad I got to do so this year after having to miss it last year.

What’s My Line? A panel I spoke on at Malice!

So what’s next?  Lots of things, and honestly I’m still mega behind.  I need to develop the content for my new yoga website, I have several yoga teacher training projects in the works, and I begin a six-month training on animal behavior this month.  Depending on the results of Milestone 2 and how fast my yoga therapy practice grows, I may start a nine-month program in Applied Animal Behavior at the University of WA in September.

I told my husband the other night that if nothing takes off, I’ll be very bored.  If the book series, yoga business and animal behavior training all thrive, I’ll be swamped.  Wish me the latter.  I always love life when I’m busy!

Thanks all!

Tracy Weber

Svana Yoga: Old Business, New Name–What do you think?

Please note that the blog address has changed!  We are now at http://tracyweberblog.com/.

Hi all!  I’m back from a fabulous weekend at Malice Domestic, and I FINALLY turned in my 6th Downward Dog Mystery, Murder Likes It Hot, the day before I left.  So I now have the head space to start thinking about other aspects of my professional life.  As most of my regular blog readers know, I recently sold my yoga studio, Whole Life Yoga, to the fabulous Kim Tull-Esterbrook.  I kept, however, my yoga teacher training business (which includes 200 and 500-hour trainings as well as continuing education classes for already-certified yoga teachers) and my private yoga therapy business.

I hope to expand my reach to yoga teachers and individuals who will benefit from the healing aspects of yoga.  But I have a problem:  I need a new business name.  Originally I was going to call it Tracy Weber Yoga, but when my hubbie created a website prototype, all I could say was ugh.

I still own the registered trademark for “Yoga for Real People,” which was the tag line for my prior business.  I considered naming the business that, but that fits much better my yoga studio model:  I was deliberately trying to reach people who were intimidated by yoga.  Now I’m trying to reach individual clients (who may still be intimidated by yoga) and yoga teachers in an attempt to make yoga more accessible to all.

Yesterday, I came up with this name:

SVANA Yoga  (The “A” will be slightly larger than the other letters)

There will be two potential tag lines (though these might change):

  1. Inviting health, balance, and joy to all aspects of life.
  2. Featuring Yoga for Real People!

Below is a draft for the website that will explain the name:

Why svAna Yoga?

I believe yoga is about much more than what happens when you’re on the mat. Ultimately, yoga connects you to joy. In Sanskrit, the word svana means dog, and for me, joy comes most readily when I’m in the presence of dogs.  Not co-incidentally, my current pup is named Ana, short for ananda, which means unending joy. How could I not combine the Sanskrit word for dog with the source of my greatest joy!   Whether you’re a yoga teacher, an aspiring yoga teacher, or a complete newbie to yoga, my goal is to help you learn how to use yoga  to create physical and emotional health—ultimately unleashing joy!

So, my friends, what do you think? Reply in the comments below or e-mail me your thoughts at Tracy@TracyWeber.net

Tracy Weber

Meet Ed and Lonnie. And an Excerpt from Murder Likes it Hot!

Hi all!  I’m totally swamped trying to get my sixth Downward Dog Mystery, Murder Likes it Hot finished.  The bad news is, due to my collarbone injury it’s almost a month overdue.  The good news is, I’m almost done!  I just finished the 8th draft.  One more proof read and I’ll turn it in to my editor at Midnight Ink.  If I’m lucky, I’ll finish by the time I leave for the East coast for Malice Domestic on Thursday.  If not, well, I’ll have lots to do on the flight!

Since I didn’t have time to write a blog article this week, I decided to share an excerpt. Please remember, this is a work-in-progress, so it hasn’t been edited.  The final may end up different. This scene introduces Lonnie. His brother, Ed shows up soon.

Lonnie!

Ed!

CHAPTER 5

Something small, brown, and furry with a hairless tail scurried past my right ankle.

“Aack! it’s a mouse!” I shrieked.

Gabriel’s demeanor changed in a heartbeat. From easygoing to frustrated, with a dollop of fear thrown in for good measure. “It’s not a mouse, it’s a rat! Catch him!”

He had to be joking. I was frozen. Stuck between irreconcilable impulses to run for the street and leap on the desk. I had no time to chase after scaly tailed vermin.

Don’t get me wrong, I love animals. All animals.

Except rats.

Gabriel pushed past me, and I stumbled into the hallway.

“God dammit, Lonnie!” He yelled. “Get back here.” He chased the nine-inch-long rodent toward the kitchen.

The young men at the pool table doubled up with laughter. Gabriel paused long enough to chastise them. “Don’t just stand there. Check on Ed!” A brunette tween leaped from the couch and ran into Gabriel’s office.

Ed? Did that mean there was a second one?

My eyes whipped back and forth across the carpet. My feet danced. I hopped from left foot to right foot and back again, terrified that a second rodent was about to crawl up my pant leg.

The way I saw it, I had two choices: stay here and hope that Rat Boy’s twin didn’t chomp on my ankle or run after Gabriel to the kitchen, where hopefully one of the vermin would soon be corralled.

I chose option two.

To learn more about “the boys,” stay tuned for additional excerpts!

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

A Breath Practice for Insomnia

Hi everyone!  I’m feeling uninspired this week, so I decided to re-post about this simple breath practice for insomnia.  Enjoy!

It is amazing to me how difficult it is for people to get a good night’s sleep. I personally have suffered from chronic insomnia since I was a teenager, and have been impressed with yoga’s ability to help. Although, when people typically think of yoga they envision postures and movements, some of yoga’s most powerful tools don’t involve movement at all. One such tool is called pranayama, and it works specifically on the energy system in the body.

The word pranayama is derived from the words prana and ayama.

Prana means life force energy, which is a concept we don’t really have in the West. It’s the energy that animates us and gives us life. When we have it, we are alive. When it is gone, we die. It is also the energy of healing, and is very similar to the concept of “Chi” in Chinese medicine. Prana already exists within each of us, but it is mobilized by the breath.

Ayama means to lengthen. So the practice of pranayama is literally the practice of lengthening life force energy by extending the breath.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of pranayama practices that can be used to get dramatically different effects. I call one of my favorites “Tracy’s Sleeping Pill,” because it is a practice I regularly use to help me fall asleep. It can easily be done lying down in bed, and unlike many sleeping medications there are no unpleasant side effects the next morning.

I’ve given this practice to many clients over the years, and for most, it really makes a difference. So the next time you have trouble sleeping, give this a try. And, if like many of my clients, you never finish it because you fall asleep in the middle of practicing, so much the better!

The Practice:

  1. Lie in bed, on your back in any position that is comfortable.
    Gradually, over 6 or more breaths, lengthen both your inhale and exhale. Make your exhale at least as long as your inhale. Stay at this lengthened breath at least 6 breaths.
  2. Break the exhale portion of your breath into two approximately equal parts, with natural pauses both between the parts and at the end of the exhale. Maintain this breath for at least 6 breath cycles.
  3. After at least 6 breaths, break the exhale portion of your breath into three approximately equal parts, with natural pauses both between the parts and at the end of the exhale.
  4. Continue this breath for at least 12 breath cycles. Do not strain the breath. If you do start to feel strain, go back to the two part breath in step 3. Then continue with that new breath for the rest of the practice.
  5. Once you finish 12 or more complete breaths in step 5, release the pauses completely and breathe with a lengthened breath for at least 6 breaths. Then gradually allow the breath to come back to a normal rhythm.

Namaste, and may you have a great night’s sleep!

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

All healed! (Sort of.)

Question:  What do you get when 90-pound adolescent German shepherd decides to charge downhill and her five-foot-two-inch owner refuses to let go of the leash?

Answer?  This.

X-ray of Tracy’s collar bone the night of the great dog-walk disaster.

I basically flew like a kite behind her and landed on my shoulder.  Ouch.  Big time. The ER doc told me with 100% certainty that I would need surgery. Basically, I’d end up with lots of screws and a plate I couldn’t eat off of.

Fortunately, she was wrong.

I celebrated the three-month anniversary of the incident this past Thursday by getting repeat x-rays and meeting for the third time with the shoulder surgeon. The news was good.  Sort of.  The collar bone has completely healed.  I’m cleared to teach yoga, carry groceries, and hold Ana’s leash while trying to avoid a repeat performance.

Tracy’s broken collar bone: Another view

Three months later: All healed!

There’s only one problem: Now I have  a shoulder  issue.  Evidently wearing a sling for five weeks did a number on my shoulder joint capsule.  The surgeon was quite pleased that I’d avoided surgery, but he sent me back for six more weeks of physical therapy. I feel like Punxsutawney Phil forced into my cave  for six more weeks of winter.

The good news is, this will all likely clear up with time and some effort.  My 60 to 90 minutes of daily shoulder exercises  aren’t ending any time soon, but I AM seeing improvement. I have less pain and more movement every day. I’m back teaching yoga at Whole Life Yoga, though I use a body double for some demonstrations, and I’ve hired a cadre of people who can help me take care of Ana whenever I need it.

Best news of all?  My hubby now helps me cook Ana’s food!

Here’s hoping summer brings warmth, light and most of all, health!

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

Celebrating New Beginnings

Many of you know that I recently sold my yoga studio, Whole Life Yoga, to the fabulous Kim Tull-Esterbrook.  Yesterday, Kim celebrated the studio’s re-birth, which seems so appropriate in this season of spring, Easter and new beginnings.  For those of you who weren’t able to attend, here’s a photographic tour of the day.

If you who don’t know Kim, you’re missing out! She is the lovely lady giving me a hug.  Kim has been my student, my assistant, and my friend for many years.  I adore her.  As I said at the party, selling Whole Life Yoga to her is like passing down my legacy to family.

She’s made a few improvements to the space, and I love them!  that shade of blue is one of my favorite colors.

But she’s also carrying on some of the old traditions, like serving my favorite vegan chocolate mousse cake!

The event began with a chant and blessing of the space led by the talented Julia Fay.

Kim invited me to say a few words.

Then she added some of her own.

After the formal part of the festivities, I snagged the first piece of that cake!

But I wasn’t alone.

Kim had a great turnout that spilled from the studio space …

to the lobby.  The gentleman below wearing the hat is Kim’s husband, Gavin, who she called the new Marc!  Another fabulous Whole Life Yoga instructor, Julie Miller, is the woman facing the photo.

People often ask me if I feel  melancholy now that the transition is official.  It would make sense, since the studio was a huge part of my life for 17 years.  But I can honestly say that I don’t. I feel gratitude that I have found someone to take over who honors what I’ve created, will improve it, and guide it into the future.  Please join me in supporting Kim and helping keep Whole Life Yoga alive and vibrant for the next 17 years!

Namaste

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

It’s a New Audiobook!

Today’s blog article will be short and sweet.  I’m delighted to announce that my third Downward Dog Mystery, Karma’s A Killer, is now available on audiobook!  I love, love, love my narrator, Anne James.  Give it a listen, and let me know what you think!

https://www.audible.com/pd/Mysteries-Thrillers/Karmas-a-Killer-Audiobook/B07BNVBQCJ

Have a fabulous week!

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

 

More information, still no clarity. Still #NotYoga.

Hi all.  I’ve been writing a lot lately, but on my much-behind-schedule next novel.  I’d planned to skip this week’s blog, but an article showed up in my e-mail this morning, and I decided to share it.  Three very different   perspectives to what happened at the NW Yoga Conference.  If you’re interested, read on.  At this point, I am more confused and disappointed than anything, so I will not comment on any of them.  If there’s a path toward clarity, I don’t see it yet.

An interview with Savitri and her family

https://seattleyoganews.com/northwest-yoga-conference-incident/

The viewpoint of several yoga teachers, most of whom were presenters at the conference.

https://seattleyoganews.com/2018-northwest-yoga-conference-incident-teachers-response/

The viewpoint of Bob Smith, another presenter at the opening ceremonies, where the whole debacle took place.

https://seattleyoganews.com/bob-smith-2018-northwest-yoga-conference-incident/

Namaste, peace, and love to all.

Tracy Weber