Author Archives: Tracy Weber

I Present to You: Chapter 1 of Pre-Meditated Murder

Check out the first chapter of Pre-Meditated Murder.  Paper copies are available now.  Kindle and Nook versions will release on Monday, January 8! Leave a comment below letting me know what you think, and you’ll be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card!  Drawing will take place Monday, January 15.

CHAPTER 1:

I slipped through the restroom door, leaned my back against the counter, and tried—unsuccessfully—to slow the pounding in my chest.

Dad’s voice echoed inside my head. Take it easy now, Kate-Girl. Remember what Rene told you. You have to act like everything’s normal. You don’t want to ruin tonight for Michael.

Almost three years after his death, Dad was still right. Tonight wasn’t about me. At least not just about me. It was Michael’s night, too. Or it would be, provided I didn’t die of heart failure.

Public restroom or not, I could think of worse places to die. The floor’s shiny black marble was spotless. A trio of lavender-scented candles cast dancing light beams across the matching countertop. The purple blooms of a phalaenopsis orchid cascaded from a dark green plant in the corner. The place even sounded inviting, thanks to soothing classical music floating through hidden speakers. Normally, I would have been enchanted by the room’s painstaking ornamentation. Not today. Today, I was too busy trying not to hyperventilate to revel.

My adrenaline-laced anticipation surprised me, especially since I’d spent almost a year avoiding the very conversation Michael and I were about to have. Then again, maybe I was worked up because I’d been avoiding it for so long. Until recently, I’d had no idea how important our future was to me.

Maybe a relaxing breath practice would help me calm down. I closed my eyes and inhaled, mentally coaching myself as I would one of my yoga students. Inhale and slowly count to four. One, two, three, four. Exhale, one, two …

A few cycles later, my heartbeat slowed. The chattering of my monkey mind subsided. My hands were still trembling too hard to touch up my makeup, so I picked stray dog hairs off the black cocktail dress I’d borrowed for the evening and ran a comb through my shoulder-length hair. I smiled to make sure lipstick hadn’t coated my teeth, pinched my cheeks to give them some color, and headed back to join Michael at our table.

Every part of SkyCity, the Seattle Space Needle’s upscale restaurant, had been designed to seduce multiple senses. The heels of my three-inch stilettos sank into the lobby’s lush oriental carpet. Notes from a baby grand piano caressed my eardrums. Swirls of color burst from a Chihuly painting, exploding the piano’s overture on canvas. A kaleidoscope of scents arranged and rearranged themselves in my nostrils, creating a fluid collage: garlicky pasta Alfredo, musky perfume, the sweet floral bouquet of deep red roses.

For most Seattleites, dinner at SkyCity was reserved for special occasions. For practically broke small business owners like Michael and me, the experience might be once in a lifetime. But man, was it worth it. SkyCity served more than delicious food. It provided unparalleled atmosphere and a rotating, panoramic view of the entire city.

Any other evening, I would have been glued to my seat for every one of the forty-seven minutes it took for the restaurant to complete a full rotation. Any other evening, I would have been transfixed by the view: toy-like rooftops, tiny ferries, the stark lines of the Olympic Mountains. Any other evening, I would have been drunk on the surroundings before I took my first sip of champagne.

This evening, however, I’d barely noticed any of it. I hadn’t even tasted the pasta I’d picked at for dinner. I was too preoccupied. Waiting. Waiting for Michael to stop pretending that we were here to celebrate my thirty-fourth birthday. Waiting for him to pull out the jewelry bag that Rene had spotted him carrying two days ago. Waiting for him to ask me to marry him.

Michael stood and pulled out my chair, grinning. “You were gone for an awfully long time. I was about to send in a search party.”

“Sorry about that.”

I glanced at him over my wine glass as he nodded discreetly to our waiter. On a bad day, Michael was pretty darned handsome, and today was far from a bad day. His sexy, blue-green eyes sparkled. The tailored suit he wore accented his broad shoulders and six-foot-tall frame. Curly brown hair brushed delightfully above his ear lobes, as if daring me to nibble them. Unmentionable body parts tingled. If Michael didn’t hurry up and give me that ring soon, I might consummate our engagement before the proposal.

I grinned. Now wouldn’t that give new meaning to SkyCity’s 360-degree view.

“Care to let me in on the joke?” Michael asked.

“Sorry. Nothing. I was just thinking about how happy I am.”

As if on cue, a line of wait staff approached our table. One carried a huge ice cream concoction enveloped in a thick dry-ice fog. Another brandished a bottle of my favorite bubbly and two crystal champagne flutes. The rest surrounded our table in a black-and-white semicircle. Conversations around us grew muted as people stopped eating to watch the theatrics. I felt my face redden. Leave it to Michael to embarrass me with a grand gesture.

Michael grinned like a madman; a cork popped through the air; the entire restaurant burst into song.

“Happy birthday to you …”

Huh?

Ten seconds later, I blew out the candle and watched as the wait staff disappeared. The other diners resumed their conversations.

I surreptitiously picked through the ice cream, hoping to find buried treasure. Nothing but frozen dairy products and chunks of rich dark chocolate. No diamond lurked in the bottom of my champagne glass, either. My unmentionables stopped tingling, replaced by an awkward unease. Could Rene have been wrong?

Michael leaned across the table and clinked his glass against mine. “Happy birthday, Kate. I hope you’ve enjoyed it.”

The smile I flashed back felt so stiff, it could have been molded from plastic. “Tonight has been wonderful, Michael, truly. The flowers, the dinner, the champagne …” My voice trembled. “Everything.”

Michael frowned, confused. “What is it? Don’t like the dessert? The reviews said it wasn’t too rich, so I asked for extra dark chocolate.”

“It’s delicious, Michael.” I lifted the spoon to my mouth, but pasta with garlic sauce threatened to leap for my throat. I laid the spoon back on the table.

“It was that damned birthday song, wasn’t it?” Michael grumbled. “I should have known better. I know how you hate it when people make a fuss over you. I just thought … well, I thought it would be fun.”

“It was fun,” I assured him. “And the dessert is awesome. It looks like an erupting volcano.” Tears burned the back of my eyes. If I didn’t get out of this restaurant soon, I might erupt right alongside it. I looked pointedly at my watch and waved to get the waiter’s attention. “It’s almost eight. We should leave soon to pick up Bella.”

“Already?” Michael didn’t hide his disappointment.

“The twins have been fussy lately. I promised Rene we wouldn’t be out late.”

I lied. My German shepherd, Bella, suffered from significant separation anxiety, so I never left her alone for more than an hour or two. Michael already knew that Rene was dog-sitting tonight. What he didn’t know was that Bella’s visit was supposed to be a sleepover. Rene had insisted, claiming that my engagement night would be significantly more romantic without a furry, hundred-pound bed hog.

Make that supposed engagement night.

Michael didn’t look convinced, but he didn’t argue. “Before we go, I have something for you.” He reached into his jacket and pulled out a small, foil-wrapped box stamped Trinity Jewelers.

In that moment, the entire world seemed to freeze. I would have sworn that the Space Needle stopped spinning. I was so excited—so relieved—that I didn’t grasp the significance of the box’s flat, three-inch-square shape.

Michael slid it across the table. “Go on, open it.”

My hands trembled again, but I managed to unwrap the paper, ease the top off the box, and gaze down at—

A necklace?

A simple gold heart suspended on a delicate chain. A locket.

Michael reached across the table and opened it. Two tiny pictures were nestled inside. On the left, a grinning Michael. On the right, Bella. “I know you don’t wear much jewelry,” he said, “but I wanted to give you something special. This way Bella and I will always be close to your heart.”

The necklace was gorgeous. Breathtaking, really. Michael had obviously put a lot of thought into the gift. Normally, I would have been stunned—in a good way.

But tonight wasn’t supposed to be normal.

The tears threatening my eyes spilled down my cheeks. “It’s exquisite.”

Michael dropped the necklace back into the box and took my hand. “Kate, honey, what’s wrong? You’ve been acting weird all night. I’m starting to get worried.”

“Nothing. It’s just that …” I swallowed. “I thought you were giving me a ring.”

At first Michael looked confused. “A ring? In a necklace box?” Then his face turned ashen. “Oh.”

Disappointment flashed to embarrassment, which I covered up by pretending to be angry. “Oh? That’s all you have to say? Oh?

Michael opened his mouth, then closed it again without speaking.

The silence between us echoed like a shot to the gut, but it felt significantly more painful. The waiter eased next to Michael, slid the bill onto the table, and scurried away.

“I’m sorry, Kate,” Michael said. “Really, I am. I didn’t mean to disappoint you. But what made you think I was proposing tonight?”

I stared at the tablecloth, wishing I could disappear underneath it. “Rene went shopping for the twins at Westlake Center on Thursday.”

Michael groaned and rubbed the crease between his eyebrows.

I pointed at the box. “She saw you walk out of Trinity’s carrying this. We both assumed—” My voice cracked.

The restaurant’s energy—or at least my experience of it—shifted. The room grew quiet. Sympathetic eyes burned the back of my neck. The dry-ice fog surrounding my uneaten dessert threatened to suffocate me. I gripped the seat of my chair with both hands, willing myself not to bolt.

“Kate, I will propose to you someday, I promise. But not tonight. I can’t.”

“Can’t?”

Michael refused to look at me.

Deep inside my gut, I knew that I shouldn’t keep pressing. If I kept pressing, Michael’s explanation might change our relationship forever.

I pressed anyway.

“Michael, what aren’t you telling me?”

His jaw trembled. “You know I love you, right?”

I did.

I loved Michael, too. More than I’d ever loved anyone, except maybe Bella. Still, I couldn’t bring myself to say the words back. “Out with it, already.”

Michael stared at the floor for what felt like an eternity. When he looked up again, his eyes were wet.

“I’m sorry, Kate. I’m already married.”

So, dear readers, what do you think?

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

A Breath Practice to Balance for the Holidays

If your December’s been anything like mine, you’ve been running around like a crazy person. The normal stressors of daily life combined with the preparation for family gatherings and gift giving leave little time for self-care and personal balance.

Luckily, yoga has tools that can help. The breath practice below takes a mere five to ten minutes a day and promotes focus, balanced alertness, and equanimity.

Balanced Krama (Segmented) Breath

  1. Come to a comfortable seated position. If you cannot sit comfortably, lie down with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Over six breaths, lengthen your inhale and exhale to a comfortable (never strained!) length. Maintain this lengthened breath for six breaths.
  3. Break your inhale into two equal parts with a short pause in the middle. Maintain this breath for six breaths.
  4. Add a short pause in the middle of your exhale. This target breath is:
    • Inhale first half, pause, inhale second half, pause
    • Exhale second half, pause, exhale second half, pause
  5. Maintain this breath pattern for twelve breaths.
  6. Release the pause in the inhale, but keep the segmented exhale for six breaths.
  7. Release the pause in the exhale as well, keeping your breath lengthened and smooth for six breaths.
  8. Allow your breath to return to normal. Notice any effects of this practice on your energy level and emotional clarity.

Give this simple practice a try and let me know how it works. Happy Holidays!

Tracy

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

Happy Holidays and a #Giveaway!

Hi everyone and Happy Holidays!  I’m taking a week off from writing a new Whole Life Blog article, but that doesn’t mean I’m silent.  I’m blogging  this week at Killer Characters, a group blog for mystery writers.  This week Bella, the German shepherd in my series, is talking about Christmas in Seattle and giving away a copy of the fourth book in my series, A Fatal Twist.

Here’s the contest:

Mention your sincere holiday wish on the Killer Characters blog, and you’ll be entered to win a copy of my fourth Downward Dog Mystery, A Fatal Twist!  Check out the article at the link below, and good luck!

http://www.killercharacters.com/2017/11/merry-christmas-from-bella-in-seattle.html

 

 

 

 

Tracy Weber and her sidekick, crazy Pup Ana!

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

Winter Colds and Discounted Stress Reduction

Hi everyone!  ‘Tis the season to be busy–and, for me, evidently the season to be sick!  I’m on week two of the head cold from Hades, so today’s blog article will be short and sweet.  Whole Life Yoga is celebrating the holidays by offering the gift of discounted stress reduction.  Through the month of December, you can save on both our drop-in class passes and private yoga instruction!

Discounted Class Passes

For the rest of 2017, purchase a Whole Life Yoga 5/10/20-class pass and it will discounted from its normal price AND valid until 2019! Usually these passes expire in 90 days. Great Christmas gift idea! These can be purchased online or at the studio.

Rest of 2017 Resuming Jan 2018
5-class pass $75 (expires 1/1/2019) $80 (valid 90 days)
10-class pass $140 (expires 1/1/2019) $150 (valid 90 days)
20-class pass $230 (expires 1/1/2019) $250 (valid 90 days)

Notes:

  • Normal rules apply (no cash refunds on class passes. Class passes are not transferable or shareable).
  • No discount on unlimited passes or single classes.
  • Not combinable with any other discounts, including teacher training discounts and 10% new student or post partum discounts.

Discounted Private Instruction with Yours Truly!

The perfect opportunity for a practice tune-up or individualized yoga therapy with Tracy Weber, Whole Life Yoga’s founder and certified yoga therapist.

For the rest of 2017, purchase discounted private sessions with Tracy Weber. An extra-great deal, since our prices will be going up in 2018! Give yourself or someone you love the perfect Christmas gift. Promotion only available online.

Normal
price
Promotional price (pre-paid sessions must be used by January 1, 2019) Price beginning January 1, 2018
Single 55-minute private sessions $90
$80 ($10 savings!)
$99
Four 55-minute private sessions $340
$290 ($50 savings!)
$375

Notes:

Private sessions can be held at our studio, in your home, or at another mutually agreed-upon location. Travel charges apply for sessions more than 3 miles from the studio.

Not in the area? Contact Tracy for phone or Skype sessions!

Email tracy@wholelifeyoga.com for more information or to schedule a session.

Thanks all, and stay healthy!

Tracy

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

Dedications, Gratitude, and Appreciation, Oh My!

The Monday after Thanksgiving seems appropriate to share my intense gratitude for all of the people who have helped me on the path to publication for my newest book, Pre-Meditated Murder.  Even though it’s not out until January, the individuals mentioned below helped me over a year ago, meaning that this thanks is well overdue.  To all of the people who help me every day of this life, I probably don’t say it enough, but I appreciate you!!

Dedication:

To my precocious German shepherd pup, Ana. Thank you for filling my days with laughter and my nights with warmth.

Acknowledgements:

The longer I write, the more I realize that writing is a team sport.

Thanks, as always, to editor Sandy Sullivan at Midnight Ink and freelance editor Marta Tanrikulu. Your insights and feedback both amaze and humble me. Thanks also to my agent, Margaret Bail, and editor Terri Bischoff at Midnight Ink. I am grateful that you were willing to take a chance on this newbie author five years ago.  Without you, my series would still be gathering dust at the bottom of my closet.

Special thanks to Jane Gorman, Brandy Reinke, and Renee Turner, who helped me understand the complex process of immigration and the particular challenges faced by immigrants coming to the United States from Mexico. Any errors are solely my own.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the town of Cannon Beach, Oregon, which is one of my favorite places in the world. I took some liberties with the Sand Castle Festival, including moving it to autumn instead of early summer, but the loveliness of the town is unchanged. I hope to retire there someday.

My husband, Marc, gets extra kudos for designing and maintaining my author website, as well as for listening to all of my grumbles and supporting me through all of my challenges. Ana Pup, the new canine love of my life, gets my eternal gratitude for keeping life interesting.

Finally, thank you to all of my readers, who keep me glued to the keyboard even when I feel like giving up. I write for you.

Tracy

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

Finding Gratitude

The holidays are almost upon us, and with them come more activities than most of us know how to handle. I’m no exception. Therefore today’s blog post will be short and sweet.  Here are ten things I’m grateful for this Thanksgiving, in no particular order:

  1. My husband, Marc, who is my best friend, my confidante, and the love of my life. I don’t know what I’d do without him.
  2. My crazy pup, Ana, who fills my life with mischief and keeps me challenged every day.
  3. The wonderful students who’ve taught me so much over my past 17 years as a yoga teacher, particularly those in my yoga teacher training programs.
  4. My readers! I never thought I’d write a single book, much less be working on my 6th. Without the readers who’ve contacted me, I never could have kept going.
  5. My body, challenged though it may be. They say some of the best healers are injured, and I’m no exception. I sometimes angst over my body and wonder what I could have accomplished had I been healthier, but every ache and injury has taught me a valuable lesson that I can use to help others.
  6. Microsoft. I left the company in 2000, but without it I never would have had the financial ability to open Whole Life Yoga.
  7. My friends, who stick with me through hard times, remind me to enjoy simple pleasures like bingeing on popcorn while watching The Walking Dead, and drag me out of my cocoon when I’m feeling isolated.
  8. Champagne and dark chocolate. (OK, that’s two, but they go SO GOOD together!)
  9. Grey’s Anatomy. Fine, I admit it.
  10. Those of you reading this blog. I feel blessed to be able to spill my soul on paper and have people who are gracious enough to read it. May you all have rich, joyous, love-filled holidays!

What are you grateful for?

Tracy

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

Happy Fall from Kate, Bella, Tracy, and Ana at Green Lake!

Hi everyone and happy fall!  I’m taking a week off from writing a new Whole Life Blog article, but that doesn’t mean I’m silent.  I’m blogging  this week at Killer Characters, a group blog for mystery writers.  You Seattleites might appreciate all of the fall photos of Green Lake.  Everyone might want to check it out for a contest!

Here’s the contest:

Mention your favorite fall location on the Killer Characters blog, and you’ll be entered to win an advanced copy of my next Downward Dog Mystery, Pre-Meditated Murder!  Check out the article at the link below, and good luck!

http://www.killercharacters.com/2017/10/happy-fall-from-seattle.html

Tracy Weber and her sidekick, crazy Pup Ana!

 

 

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

 

Softening the Belly Meditation

Welcome to Week 5 of my Meditations to Change Your Life series.  I love this meditation because it helps you be present in your mind–and your body.  Enjoy!

Flachwinkelige Ganzkörper-Ansicht einer auf dem Rücken liegenden jungen Frau in einer Variante der Yogaposition "glückliches Baby" (anada balasana) auf weißem Hintergrund.

Softening the Belly 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”.   This meditation may also be done lying on the floor, if desired.
  2. Allow your eyes to close or keep your eyes at “half mast” gazing quietly at a place below and in front of you.
  3. Allow your awareness to gradually settle into your body, by noticing the breath as it moves in and out of your nostrils, then your chest, then finally down to your belly
  4. Allow your belly to soften, and imagine the breath moving gently in and out of it.   With each successive breath, allow the belly to soften a bit more, as if you were letting go of anything you’re holding in that area, be it tension, sadness, fear, or anything else.
  5. If your attention wanders (and it will!) just notice it, and invite your attention back to the sensation of softness in your belly. Try not to criticize yourself. Instead congratulate yourself for bringing the attention back to the point of focus.
  6. 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!

Say Nothing

The yoga teachings on communication are simple but clear:

Say less.
Say only the truth.
When the truth will cause harm, say nothing.

I was reminded of that on my walk with Ana Pup last Tuesday.

I wasn’t on Facebook when my German Shepherd Tasha was young. I didn’t have a blog or a mystery series at that time, either. So very few people, other than my yoga teacher training students, know about her first years. When Tasha turned a little over a year, she started losing weight. I took her to multiple vets, none of whom could find figure out why she was ill, much less how to help her. Experimental surgeries were recommended. I stayed awake nights worrying about her. I prayed that if she were suffering, God would take her from me. I didn’t want to send her to her next life too soon, but I didn’t want to allow her to suffer in this one, either.

In spite of the weight loss, Tasha loved our daily walks, and I couldn’t take them away from her. I walked her around our neighborhood sometimes, but mostly she and I strolled around Green Lake. In those final few weeks before diagnosis, Tasha’s ribs started showing, and she needed to rest frequently. She’d lost twenty-five pounds, and she looked it.

People stared at Tasha and made assumptions about me, none of them good. I never understood why people believed a woman who was purposefully starving her dog would walk her around Green Lake, but think that, they did. People stopped me multiple times each walk. Some firmly told me that my dog was too skinny, as if I’d been too oblivious to notice. Others asserted that I obviously wasn’t feeding her or that I was feeding her garbage. Still others angrily threatened to call the Humane Society. I explained over and over and over again that I wasn’t abusing my dog, but many of them never believed me. Still, the walks were important to Tasha, so we kept walking.

Finally one day, a kind man stopped to tell me that my dog was gorgeous. While we were talking he jokingly asked, “Is she working on being a supermodel?” I knew he was hinting at her weight, but the way that he said it was so much kinder than anyone else. So I told him that she was sick, that we hadn’t found a diagnosis yet, and that I was afraid I would lose her.

He replied with a single sentence. “I was afraid of that.”

He then told me that his dog, the gorgeous husky that was walking next to him, had almost starved to death too, and that he had worked with a wonderful vet who had diagnosed his dog’s issue when no other vet could. He gave me her name, and I called her the instant I got home. That’s how I met the wonderful doctors Marta Norbrega and Jackie Sehn at Mercy Vet. I will always be grateful to this man, though I never saw him again. He and the vets at Mercy Vet saved Tasha’s life.

Once we got a diagnosis, (Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency) we immediately started treatment, but the path to weight gain for Tasha was slow. The comments about how I was obviously abusing her continued. My vet even offered to write a letter that I could show to the strangers who accosted me.

My experience wasn’t unique. Other owners of dogs with EPI face similar challenges. I know some who don’t walk their dogs in public at all anymore. Some dress them in T-shirts. Some do what Jackie recommended and carry signed notes from their veterinarians. All because people are so ready to make assumptions. Our society has become mean. We don’t ask questions, we make judgments. I find that tragic.

Over twelve years later, I was reminded of my experience when I spoke with a man walking a tiny poodle mix wearing bright yellow dog boots. He volunteered to me that his dog has severe allergies to grass, and without the boots she becomes lame. I congratulated him on how well he had trained her, and he told me that she was his medic alert dog. I don’t know everything the dog does for him, but one of her jobs is to wake him up at night when he stops breathing. This dog keeps him alive. To say that he loves her and takes excellent care of her would be an understatement.

At the end of our conversation, he sighed and said that on his way home, he would have to talk to the “Phinney People.” I didn’t know what he was referring to at first, but he explained that he meant people on Phinney Avenue North, a busy thoroughfare a block away from where we were speaking.

He then added, “People always accuse me of abusing my dog because she wears dog boots. I used to stop and explain to them why she needed them, but now I just keep walking. I tell myself that it’s great to live in a place where everyone cares for all living things, but…”

My heart broke for this man. He’s doing the best that he can, with love, with the resources available to him. And yet rather than ask questions, people choose to judge him.

Which brings me back to the yoga teachings.

We see the world through filters, which are often darker than reality. We make attributions about others’ motivations. We judge people, often harshly. Yoga is about clarifying our filters. Yoga is about learning to be kinder. Yoga teaches us that the only people we’re meant to change are ourselves.

When it comes to communications, I think these teachings have great applicability to our society today. As the teachings assert, sometimes the most important thing we can say is nothing.

Thanks for listening.

Tracy Weber

PS: If you’re interested in learning more about 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!

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 do 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!