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Wednesday, April 8, 2015


Tracy Weber is the author of the award-winning Downward Dog Mysteries series featuring yoga teacher Kate and her feisty German shepherd, Bella. Tracy loves sharing her passion for yoga and animals in any form possible. Learn more about her and her books at her website. 

Five Reasons Mystery Readers Should Practice Yoga

I’ve been a mystery writer for the past three years, but I’ve been a fan for most of my life. Like most mystery enthusiasts, I love curling up on the couch and visiting crime scenes with my favorite sleuth, amateur or otherwise. Reading transports me to worlds I would otherwise never experience and introduces me to people I would otherwise never meet. But all of that armchair sleuthing takes a toll on my body, particularly my back.

Yoga is the perfect antidote. If you practice yoga, you already know what I mean.  If not, here are a few reasons you should give it a try.

1. Reading is a sedentary activity and bodies need movement. Bodies don’t like to be stationary for long periods of time. Yoga, even simple, gentle yoga, gives our systems much-needed movement.

2. Most people read using very bad posture, which leads to over-stretched backs and tight chest, shoulder, psoas, and hamstring muscles. A well-conceived yoga practice can counteract all of it. Yoga in America is often thought of as stretching, but in reality, it’s much more than that. Yoga both strengthens and stretches, and it improves cardiovascular, respiratory, and digestive health.

3. Yoga improves energy.  When I’m in the middle of a great read, I can stay up all night, which is great until I need to get up the next morning. Yoga, even more than caffeine, helps me feel alert and rested.  And if you prefer more suspenseful mysteries, the right breath practice can allow you to fall asleep, in spite of the psycho-killer lurking in the pages on your nightstand.

4. Yoga promotes focus, which allows mystery readers to sort through clues, pay attention to subtle details, maybe even figure out whodunit well in advance of their favorite sleuths.

5. Yoga helps readers live a longer, more pain-free life.  And if we live longer, we can devour more mysteries!

Did I convince you?  If so, here are some specifics.

Any yoga pose that helps counteract the effects of bad posture will be beneficial for readers.  Back bends counteract readers’ C-shaped, slumped posture by opening the fronts of the shoulders, stretching the fronts of the hips, and strengthening the upper and lower back. Warrior I, Cobra, and Locust are great poses to start with.

I published an article about yoga poses for better posture at http://www.wholelifeyoga.com/blog/yoga-poses-for-better-posture-response-to-a-student-question-2/ The photos are especially helpful and a great place to start.

Just ask Kate Davidson, the yoga teacher/sleuth in my newest mystery, A Killer Retreat. Yoga is good for everybody. Readers, writers—even yoga studio owners with overly tight hamstrings and embarrassingly bad tempers. Bella, her unruly German shepherd agrees. Nothing beats Downward Facing Dog to prepare a guard-dog’s body for chasing away evil yoga student intruders.

In A Killer Retreat, you will be introduced to yoga principles, breath work, even a pose here and there.  Most importantly, you and Kate will solve a murder and hopefully have a few laughs along the way. You’ll also travel to the beautiful Elysian Springs Resort on Orcas Island and meet some crazy new characters, including a goat lawyer!

I hope you read my series and love it. And remember, practice a few yoga poses between chapters!

A Killer Retreat
When Kate Davidson gets an offer to teach yoga classes to wedding guests at the Elysian Springs resort, she jumps at the opportunity, even though it means being forced to endure the wedding ceremony of the center's two caretakers.

Avoiding the M-word turns out to be the least of Kate's problems when a wedding guest is found floating face-down in the resort's hot tub, shortly after a loud, public (and somewhat embarrassing) fight with Kate. The police pick Kate as their number-one suspect, so she's forced to team up with boyfriend Michael, best friend Rene, and German shepherd sidekick Bella to find the real killer. But they'll have to solve the murder before the police arrest Kate, or her next gig may last a lifetime--behind bars.

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PJ Sharon said...

Great advice and what a wonderful idea for a book series! I'm a yoga instructor and massage therapist as well as an author and avid reader and I totally agree that yoga is an excellent way to combat the effects of what I call the "Sedentary Lifestyle Syndrome." I'm actually working on a non-fiction project, Ergonomics and Self-care (A practical guide for writers, readers, desk jockeys and couch potatoes). There is such a need for this information! Thanks for sharing:-)

Tracy Weber said...

Thanks, PJ Sharon! I hope you give my series a read someday. And best of luck on your book!

Tracy Weber said...

And I wanted to say thank you to Lois for hosting me on Killer Crafts and Crafty Killers today. It's always a blast to be here!

Angela Adams said...

I always thought of Yoga as a way to relax and considered it a partner with Meditation. Thanks for the post.

Tracy Weber said...

Yes, in fact, meditation is one of the yoga tools. But it does so much more than just help you relax. Thanks for reading the article!

Valerie said...

I enjoyed reading this entry. It goes along with my purchase today of a Tai Chi lecture/instruction course from a favorite company. I had a choice between yoga and Tai Chi -- both were on sale -- but I already know a few yoga poses and enjoy them, along with meditation. Curiosity got the better of me, so I went with Tai Chi. When the company has its next sale that includes the yoga course, it will be on my shopping list.

Tracy Weber said...

Enjoy it, Valerie! I've never tried Thai Chi, but it looks fabulous!