Thursday, February 20, 2014


HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN:   You know me, right? So picturing me in Tai Chi class will not surprise you.

Teacher: Palms flat, and slowly, lift..
Hank: Am I doing it right?
Teacher:  It doesn't matter. Now, when your arms are extended, keeping your elbows soft, turn your--
Hank: Yeah, but am I doing it right? Am I like, the best tai chi student you've ever had?
Teacher: There is no best, there just is. Now, Hank, turning your palms out, slowly
Hank:  Isn't this exactly right? I'm doing it, right?

I will spare you any more of this, and this is um, somewhat exaggerated, but it has always been very difficult for me to simply--do anything. I have to solve the mystery, be first, be fastest (or slowest, whichever is better). It's all I can do to let my grandson win at Concentration. (I do, too, LET him win!)

So you can imagine when all my friends, and this is no exaggeration, ALL my friends, are telling me that I would be so happy doing yoga. 

So far, I've said: NO GA.

The wonderful Tracy Weber may be the one who finally convinces me. Not that she would "convince."  A Tracy word is--offer.

Yoga, Writing and the Power of Persevering Practice
               by Tracy Weber    

First, I’d like to say that I’m delighted (and a little intimidated) to be a guest today on Jungle Red. I started public speaking when I was fourteen, but sharing the stage with these talented ladies leaves me, well, tongue-tied. 

Now that my first book, Murder Strikes a Pose, has been published, I can actually say it out loud: I’m a writer.

I still can’t believe it.

I never planned to write a novel; I never thought I could write a novel; honestly, I never even knew I wanted to write a novel. But as soon as I typed the first words of my manuscript, seeing my series come to fruition became my life’s dream.

Many forces propelled me to sit down and type those first few sentences, but one practice kept me going long enough to finish it.


But probably not the yoga you are imagining.

Most people believe that practicing yoga means bending your body into pretzel-like positions or sweating off half of your body weight in a 105-degree room.  In reality, yoga is so much more.  The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali—the key philosophical text of yoga—teaches that yoga is the process of learning how to control your mind, so that the mind, with all of its neurotic tendencies, can’t control you.  Finding that state of clarity—of yoga—involves “persevering practice.”

Persevering practice is any practice done:

§  Over a long period of time
§  Without interruption
§  With dedication and enthusiasm
§  Without attachment to results

Note that the list doesn’t include Downward Dog, even though the pose is in the tagline for my series.  It doesn’t say Head Stand. It doesn’t even mention asana (yoga poses).  The sutras are deliberately vague because any practice that fits the above criteria will help you focus your mind and achieve your goals.

Writing, for me, had to become a persevering practice or I would never have been published.  Unless I write daily, I make no progress. On the days I lack dedication and enthusiasm, my words end up as crumpled pages at the bottom of my recycle bin. As for attachment to results, well, I have to let that go, or I’ll never stop checking my Amazon sales rankings long enough to finish this article, much less write my next book.

Will all of those hours spent typing late into the night be worth it?  Yes, even if my series never sells a copy.  Like any persevering practice, writing’s greatest gift has nothing to do with external results. The greatest rewards are inside of me.

Word by word, writing offers me unexpected gifts: flashes of self-understanding, moments of quiet calm, a connection to laughter and joy in this sometimes challenging life. These small gifts make all of the effort worthwhile, even if my book never encroaches on a single bestseller list.  (Though I have to admit, I still hope that it does!)

My advice to all of you reading this article: find a practice that you love, be it yoga, writing, knitting, gardening, songwriting, or raising chickens.  Do it daily, every day, with enthusiasm. Try not to care about the results.  Your path may not lead to the destination you had in mind, but your life’s journey
will have greater meaning and peace.

What are your persevering practices?  How can you practice consistently, with enthusiasm—yet without attachment?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Hank: Wonderful, huh? My persevering practice? Listmaking. Seriously. That counts.  And my writing ritual. Add the word count to my chart, do the math, write it down, look at my "imagine" rock, begin.

And a copy of  Murder Strikes a Pose to one lucky commenter! (US only, please.)


Tracy Weber is a certified yoga teacher and the founder of Whole Life Yoga, an award-winning yoga studio in Seattle, where she current­ly lives with her husband, Marc, and German shepherd, Tasha. She loves sharing her passion for yoga and animals in any form possible. When she’s not writing, she spends her time teaching yoga, walking Tasha, and sip­ping Blackthorn cider at her favorite ale house. Murder Strikes a Pose is her debut novel. Connect with Tracy at her author page or on Facebook

Seattle Yoga instructor Kate Davidson tries to live up to yoga's Zen-like expectations, but it's not easy while struggling to keep her small business afloat or dodging her best friend's matchmaking efforts. When George, a homeless alcoholic, and his loud, horse-sized German shepherd, Bella, start hawking newspapers outside her studio, Kate attempts to convince them to leave. Instead, the three strike up an unlikely friendship. Then Kate finds George's body. The police dismiss it as a drug-related street crime, but Kate knows he was no drug dealer. Now she must solve George's murder and find someone willing to adopt his intimidating companion before Bella is sent to the big dog park in the sky. With the murderer on her trail, Kate has to work fast or her next Corpse Pose may be for real. 

Check out MURDER STRIKES A POSE, the first in the Downward Dog Yoga Mysteries. Available at Amazon and bookstores everywhere!


  1. Congratulations, Tracy . . . I wish you every success with your book.
    Persevering practice --- definitely a side of yoga I never heard about before; thanks for the thought-provoking insight . . . .

  2. My persevering practice has been going out to the wash by our house and taking photos with my assistance dog Kendall. We see hawks, eagles, bobcats, coyotes. A wolf one day. Yesterday a coywolf. Once we saw a boy running behind his nanny. He was trying to catch a butterfly . We see snakes. Rocks. Bluebirds in their tree. I look for me. I see things there I didn't know before. I look at our photos later. I work on them to show what I saw. Sometimes there is something there. There is something that wasn't there before. There is something I didn't see. But there it is now, and I get to see it.

  3. Tracy, what a lovely piece that addresses the best reason for persevering practice as being the pleasure, not profit, it brings. "Will all of those hours spent typing late into the night be worth it? Yes, even if my series never sells a copy. Like any persevering practice, writing’s greatest gift has nothing to do with external results. The greatest rewards are inside of me." Words to definitely live by.

    Hank, you crack me up. So glad that you have validated list making as a worthy persevering practice, as it is one of mine, too. I will probably soon be making a list of my lists. LOL!

    Reine, that is one incredibly interesting persevering practice you have. I would love to see all the amazing animals you are seeing and photographing. I did see your photo of the coywolf on FB, and it was something completely new for me. Great photo!

    One of my latest persevering practices is commenting on this blog every day. It gets me writing, which is what I want to do more of, and I look forward to it with unwavering alacrity. Of course, reading the blog itself and others' comments is a part of the enjoyment. Another persevering practice is writing book reviews, allowing me the chance to give kudos to the authors and discuss all the great aspects of a book, hoping that my review will encourage others to experience the read. Oh, I guess my most ardent pp is reading itself. Reading for me is as Tracy stated, "the greatest rewards are inside of me."

  4. Rats. I wanted a picture of all the Jungle Reds on the floor doing Downward Dog, but I guess I'll just have to imagine.

    My persevering practice has more to do with bottles and glasses than any type of exercise, but I could change. I could.

  5. Hi, Tracy! It's great to "meet" you.

    I like yoga but I haven't found a teacher I like. I live in a small town and there's not much choice. I first went to a practice on the beach in Puerto Rico and it was heaven - even if I had no idea what I was doing and had no balance. I do enjoy the calmness surrounding a good practice.

    Your book sound great, Tracy. I'll add it to the TBR list.

  6. Congrats on the new book Tracy! (I had the pleasure of reading an early copy--very much fun!)

    Reine, your photos are so beautiful--hope you keep that up.

    Kathy, what a good idea to use comments to get your writing muscles lubricated...

    Jack, let Hallie know that's what you want to see--she'll photoshop our heads on some gorgeous yoga bodies!

    Marianne, the teacher really does make a difference!

  7. I don't have a yoga teacher, but I learned to do a sun salutation and some other poses online, and have since been practicing daily for more than two years. It helps get me moving in the morning and helps me relax before bed.

    I don't have other persevering practices. Everything else I do is somewhat intermittent, but something I'd never stop entirely is writing poetry. As you mention, I'm not concerned with how a poem will end as I'm writing it. I work on it until the end presents itself.

  8. Oh, Hank, I think you and I must be related! I tend to not want to do something unless I can do it PERFECTLY - which of course will not ever happen unless I practice, practice, practice!

    A long time ago I was in a yoga class once a week. I loved it, even though I was bad at it - wow! My family was going through a crisis at the time, and that one hour a week was the only time I was thinking of something other than The Crisis. Unfortunately, my long-standing back problems got worse (it had nothing to do with the yoga), and the instructor gently suggested that perhaps I should try something different. I just may try chair yoga someday, though.(I hope I won't try to be the very best chair yoga practitioner ever!)

  9. Very well said.
    I love the colors in your yarns.

  10. I would have to say writing is one of my persevering practices. I just don't feel right if I don't spend that hour - or more - a day working on the current project. Like you, I have no idea if I'll ever see the back-end of a bestseller list, but it really doesn't matter. I just need to write (except on Saturday, when I prioritize family time).

    My other would be taekwondo. I like it because it gets me moving. There's a lot of sitting in my life. And I like that my instructors focus on work to the best of my (rather limited) ability, not being the "best" of the class.

    Good luck with your book!

  11. Tracy, Congratulations!!

    I must say, this statement spoke to me:
    "Without attachment to results"

    Loudly. Thank you.

    A persevering practice for me is the gym. Until recently. I've fallen out of practice and blaming it on bad roads due to bad weather, but I think you've inspired me to get off my lazy bum and get back.

    And looking forward to reading your book!

  12. Hmmm. Persevering practices... this sounds a little like the question we discussed earlier in the week about binge eating.

    For me it would be: take time be present and appreciate. Health, family, that I CAN write... all of the things I might take for granted while I'm complaining.

    Sounds like Polyanna, but there you are. I do not have to win. But I do like to be nominated.

  13. Hank, you crack me up. I do not have the perfect gene. Maybe it would be better if I did. I do, however, like Hallie, like to be nominated:-)

    Tracy, I loved your post, and just ordered the book to share with my daughter. She does yoga, I have German shepherds. How could we not love it?

    I love the idea of persevering practices. Years ago, I read Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones, and I think using her "writing practice" technique gave me the courage to write my first novel.

    Your post has made me think about my daily practices now, which could use some improvement. (Not best, just better:-) I write. Unless the weather is horrible, I throw the tennis ball for half an hour for my 17-month old GSD puppy, Dax. And I read before I go to sleep, every night, no matter what. This is life-long, and is the one thing I MUST do.

    Reine, I look for your photos every day on Facebook. Your practice is our gift.

  14. Back from my appointment--not yoga, sigh, and happy to see you all chatting so nicely.

    And yeah, yeah, but you WIN the nomination, see?

    And I win if I get dinner to the table nicely, and if no clumps of snow fall on my head, and if my words work well.

    I always--and I guess this,seriously is my pp--notice the sky, and watch the shadows on the roof, and tend to my flowers, and tell my dear husband he is wonderful every day.

  15. "I work on it until the end presents itself." Gerald , that is perfect.

  16. Time with my dogs, cat, daughters, and husband (different orders at different times) - including unending tennis ball throws, too (Labs!).

    Congratulations, Tracy - and thank you for a great post!


  17. Congrats on your book, Tracy! I just started doing yoga after again after a long time away. Coming back years later is hard on the ego, but good for the soul.

  18. For years, I have been doing yoga almost every weekday morning. (It's my reward for getting out of bed.) I eat and then I write.

  19. Perfect timing for this post! I so needed this reminder about mindfulness, Hank and Tracy.

    Writing is one of persevering practices, only these days it doesn't feel like it so much ... I'm too distracted by my debut book launch stuff (in a month!).

  20. This sounds like an awesome book!

    As I work on finishing my own first book, my persevering practice is knitting. The mindless click-clacking of the needles lets me thinking without the distractions of social networking, etc.

    The mention of "Downward Dog" made me grin. As a freelance writer, I write a LOT of blog articles for other people. An early one was titled, "Downward Facing iPad" and talked about how you combine work with working out.

    Despite my single disastrous attempt at practicing yoga, I have a near-otherworldly affection for yoga pants and not at all ashamed to admit that I practically live in them.

  21. Okay ,can we please, even just briefly , talk about yoga pants? (Thanks, Becky.)

    I felt bad getting them, since as you know...well, anyway...but then I succumbed, and turns out they are SO comfortable and cute. And look more pulled together at home than sweats. I didn't get Lululemon, but should I?

    Any advice???

  22. I really can see Hank in that yoga class...yup, no doubt. Great post, Tracy, and a wonderful reminder that we write because we (supposedly?) enjoy it! Congrats on the book!

  23. Wow, my persevering practice? I has changed over time. In my 30s and 40s I was a constant crocheter. Seriously, sitting in traffic, waiting on hold, whenever my hands weren't already occupied, I was crocheting away...I often lost track and made ridiculously long blankets or scarves. Currently, my persevering practice is combing the web looking for answers to the many ailments affecting my M.S. addled husband. This could easily be a 24/7 occupation.

  24. Wow! I'm overwhelmed--in a very positive way--by all of these comments. I'll answer them in a few of my own. Joan--check out a commentary on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Most American yoga really misses the mark in making yoga only about exercises.

    Reine, I am SOOOOOO jealous. The area around your house sounds like paradise.

    Kathy--reading is a wonderful practice. It allows us to be transported to a place and time we might never otherwise experience. I hope someday you'll find your way to reading my work. ;-)

    Jack, you're too funny. Maybe I can get the ladies to post on a down dog photo at Malice or Left coast Crime...

    Marianne, if you let me know what town you live in, I can do some research and see if there is a Viniyoga teacher near you. Please let me know what you think of the book when you read it.

    Lucy, it was SUCH a great honor to have you read and blurb my book. Consider me your grateful fan.

    More to come....

  25. Am I the only woman on the planet who doesn't find yoga pants comfortable? Too clingy. Give me my soft flannel, Cookie-Monster pajama pants any day. =)

  26. Congratulations, Tracy! Lovely essay and an adorable cover!

  27. It's never too late to start. For the uninitiated, and especially for writers, I recommend Peggy Cappy's Yoga for the Rest of Us videos. Some long gentle stretches in your chair make the words flow as easily as a nice walk.

  28. I love my yoga pants, even though I do other exercise classes than yoga in them, and I also wear them to the gym. But if I keep them on around the house for a couple of days, the next time I put on my jeans they are mysteriously tighter. So, beware the danger of the jeans-shrinking yoga-pants-wearing practice.

    My persevering practice, besides writing, is my daily vigorous exercise. An hour of cross-country skiing (just got back!), walking, working out at the gym, or whatever the season presents, not including an hour of swimming which bores me senseless when I have to do it for exercise and not playing around. That hour, usually taken midday, clears my brain, opens me up to new ideas for my writing, gets the blood flowing and the kinks out, and lets me consume marginally more calories per day.

    Oh, and I also read two newspapers on paper every day. It's just not a complete day if I don't.

  29. Gerald--Good for you on the yoga practice! Poetry is so beautiful. The efficiency and artistry of words required in poetry is I haven't mastered.

    Deb-- I suspect what you really need is a different class or a different style of yoga. If you let me know where you live, I'll do some research and see if there is a Viniyoga teacher near you.

    Libby--thanks! They're not my yarns, but I agree that the colors are gorgeous.

    Mary-- I need to learn how to set aside some family time. Right now, I pretty much work seven days a week. I've never tried tae kwon do, but I'll have to sometime. And thank you! We could all use a little luck.

    Kaye-- please let me know how you like the book, and I'm so glad to have inspired you in some small way.

  30. Hallie-- What a beautiful practice. One we all could benefit from. Sometimes the most challenging practice is staying optimistic. I wrote a post about that on my yoga blog just this past week titled "is happiness a choice?" Gratitude every day makes it more possible when times are difficult.

    Deb-- thanks for ordering my book. I hope you love it! Spending time with your pup every day is a practice you will never regret. And I'm sure he loves it too!

    Hank-- You are one of the funniest people I know. "Watch the shadows on the roof." That is simply a lovely image. Thank you.

    Nancy-- spending time with loved ones is another practice that we will never regret. I'm so glad you liked the post.

    Susan-- Your body will remember the practice you did before, and hopefully your soul and ego will learn to play nicely together. ;-)

  31. Okay, yoga pants. I am making a pair from Vogue pattern #V1355. I can wear these anywhere including for yoga, even though I tend to wear stuff that looks like long underwear when I'm on the yoga mat at home. LOL.

  32. Keenan-- Good for you. I love how you think of yoga as a reward.

    Lisa-- CONGRATS on the book launch. My first was just last month. It's such an exciting time. Here's wishing you nothing but success.

    Becky-- I'm not a knitter, but many of my students say knitting is their persevering practice. Hope you give yoga a try sometime. As for "Downward Facing iPad," one of my favorite print ads is of a man typing on laptop while in headstand.

    Hank-- I prefer Lucy to Lulu Lemon. I always feel slightly old and uncool when I'm in a Lulu Lemon store.

    Hey, wait a minute…

  33. Just wanted to say that I have now realized that on this wonderful blog, my goal of replying to every comment is going to keep me busy most of the day. ;-)

    Terry-- thank you. Honestly, if we don't enjoy writing, we would never do it. The external rewards are two long-term and often elusive. Unless we are masochists, that is… ;-)

    Janet-- you crocheted and drove at the same time? Not even sure how that's physically possible.

    I'm sorry to hear of your husband's diagnosis. Yoga can be a very helpful way to learn how to manage MS symptoms and flareups. One of my yoga teacher training graduates has MS, and she has created a blog called Yoga Empowered. She has some videos for individuals dealing with chronic conditions, and she recently created an audio practice. If you are interested, I can connect you to her. Email me at She is simply an astounding individual.

  34. Mary-- I have to admit, cookie monster pajama pants sound pretty darned comfortable. I don't wear clingy yoga pants--I'm too self-conscious about my chunky thighs. They make uber comfortable baggy yoga pants as well.

    Leslie-- Thank you. I'm very fond of the cover. My husband hired the artist to design my website banner, and I was lucky in that my publisher decided to use her for the books as well. She's very talented.

    Dani-- you're absolutely right. It's never too late to start yoga. I've had newbies to yoga in my classes that were in their 8os. The trick is to find someone who knows how to deal with the special needs of aging populations. And, if you're like me and started yoga not as a senior, but as someone who believed they couldn't do it, the key is to find the right lineage in the right teacher. Stay away from anything in 100° room for your first experience.

    Edith-- that's the joy of only wearing yoga pants. They never get tight. Good for you for getting in an hour of vigorous exercise every day. I walk my dog for at least an hour every day, but I'm not sure that counts. Little old ladies in walkers pass us by. My dog believes in taking time to enjoy the scenery.

    Dani-- I don't even know how to sew on a button. I'm jealous.

    Thanks all for the wonderful conversations. I'm going off-line now to reply to my 180 unread emails. It's going to be one of those days, and that's a very good thing. Back again later this afternoon or this evening.

    And thank you so much everyone for reading.

  35. Tracy, thanks for a wonderful post.

  36. Sigh.

    And sigh again.

    I used to practice yoga, but fell out of practice. But yes, I can see the beauty of how yoga can inspire writing, and how a sense of calm can permeate anything. Especially writing.

    But mostly this post struck a chord (or pose?) with me because you're right. It's about the journey. The experience. Not the result.

    What a wonderful reminder. I'm printing this one out as a keeper.

  37. Tracy, that can be your persevering practice for the day--and so nice to see everyone come say hello. You clearly are inspiring everyone!

    And tell us about yoga pan...oh, okay, not the point.

    And we should say, you don't have to do or love yoga to love your books!

  38. Tracy, I'm in CT, near New Haven. I loved the yoga teacher we had but it was way too intense for me. A lot of that was because my body could not move in the directions indicated without causing additional injury and LOTS of pain. Since then, I've had spinal fusion surgery, with bone grafting, and with lots of hardware in my spine. So now my spine can't bend, which I think could cause problems with traditional yoga! But if you have any suggestions, perhaps someone who specializes in teaching people who have some limitations, that would be great!

  39. Tracy, I think it's so sweet and generous of you to reply to everyone. Time well spent to make people feel valued. And, I will definitely read your book. Congratulations on it and wishing you much success!

  40. Thank you, Tracy! All best wishes for a fantastic book launch! Namaste.

  41. Terri--I'm truly honored that you are printing out my post. In this world of what often seems like an overwhelming amount of communication, frankly, I'm surprised anybody even has time to read it. Yoga isn't just about the poses. It's about a mindset and an intention. Even five minutes a day spent meditating can reap huge results. Keep enjoying the experience of writing.

    Hank-- it is a pleasure to see everyone and come say hello. You obviously have a loyal following. (not surprising). And yes, the struggles of my protagonist are universal. The backdrop of her life is yoga, so that is how she frames her thoughts. But I hope to appeal to readers who have never stepped foot in a yoga class. Yoga isn't just for super bendy people. I am the perfect example of that.

    Deb, I'm sorry that the first yoga class you took wasn't right for your body. That was true for me too. I was very fortunate to discover Viniyoga. I have had people in my yoga classes with multiple spinal fusions; I even had a student graduate from my yoga teacher training program who had a full spinal fusion and metal rod from the base of her neck all the way down through her low back. The East Coast has a pretty good Viniyoga presence. I'll go online and see who I can find in Connecticut and be back to you momentarily. My teacher also has a video out on for people with upper back and lower back injury. I'll see if I can find a link for that.

    Kathy--Thank you so much for reading my book, please let me know what you think of it.

    Susan-- Thanks for the good wishes. This industry requires more than a little luck, and I can use all the good wishes I can get.

  42. Deb--I didn't see anything in New Haven. Are any of these folks close to you?

    Carol Klammer
    Norwich, Connecticut

    Kathy Jamison
    Westport, Connecticut

    Kathy R Conyers
    Farmington, Connecticut

    Kathy Voldstad
    Salisbury, Connecticut


    Mari Arnaud
    West Hartford, Connecticut


  43. Deb and everyone--These are the videos my teacher made for back pain. He also has videos with practices for anxiety and depression.

  44. Tracy, thank you for that list--wow, beyond the call of duty.

    I am now thinking about "super bendy people'


  45. Kathy Reel, thank you. That's probably the most important part of the day for me regarding my spirit. All the things that keep me going are there. Glad you like the pictures. Thanks for telling me.

  46. Lucy, thank you. Since my MFCC training I'd kept the practice of keeping a journal in seven voices. But when it became difficult to write I found it took away some of the joy of discovery. When it was at it's most difficult I had the habit of roaming the edges of the wash with Kendall. I would get in as close as I could and strain to see what was out there. One day I used my old iPhone to take pictures of the mountains and sky. Every day we went back. I started a photo journal so that my pictures could reflect my feelings about the things I saw.

    With new technology and physical therapy writing is much easier for me, but my photos and my walks with Kendall have become such an important part of my understanding and emotional life that I never want to let go of doing that journal.

    When you asked for photos of my mother and me and I realized how a few I had...

  47. Debs... I don't think you could have said anything that would have meant more to me. I'm very moved. All of these kind words from everyone is making me cry. Kendall and I will see you at the Tucson Festival of Books. I hope we will have a little time to chat.

  48. Tracy, it is beautiful here. I'm so glad you get this wonderful blog today. It's been a great experience for me—how it provoked my thoughts to become feelings.

  49. Hank -- List making as persevering practice: does it count if you rewrite the same list daily?

    I take time every day to read at least a few minutes something for no other purpose than to read. I've never thought of that as a practice, but after reading Tracy's article, I realize it is.

    Best of success with your series -- may it be long and peservering.

    ~ Jim

  50. WOW! What a début novel Tracy. My persevering practice is reading and your book becomes the next on my list.
    As for the philosophy of your yoga practice , I'll try to remember it because it is very helpful.
    Hank I put on my yoga pants for my Tai Chi class and I know that perfection is very far away but enjoy it all the same.

    (Not elligible for the book,not from USA)

  51. Late to the party, but enjoying the comments.

    My most enduring/persevering practice is also reading. I used to sew every day, as well, but that stopped when I started writing. That old "glue your butt to the chair" habit is hard to break.

    Namaste, Tracy!

  52. As this point in my life the only persevering practices are reading for pleasure and working the crossword everyday. I'll have to see what viniyoga is. I tried a yoga class years ago, thinking it would be be the slow stretches. Nope. Way active. And hot yoga? No way. I look forward to reading your book Tracy.

  53. I'm so late getting here today I'm almost embarrassed to comment, but I just have to. My persevering practice is singing. I'm not especially talented, but it gives me great joy and outlet. I've sung in a choir for the past 18 years and more recently added a daily vocal workout. I sing well enough to not be embarrassed but not well enough for it to be a source of external rewards. But that's ok, because it just makes me feel good!

  54. Susan, that's wonderful--what a very special blog today, don't you think?

    I'll announce book winners tomorrow...of Tracy's book and david's from yesterday, but I am still floating from all the powerful thoughts today!

  55. Hank-- one of my yoga students once gave me a "Yoga Jane" doll, which is a bendy action figure that you can put into different shapes. She lasted about a week at my studio before she broke in half. So that's what you get for being a super bendy person. And helping connect people with the right yoga teacher is my great pleasure. (As, of course, is being on your blog) ;-)

    Reine-- I don't yet know you, but I'm so happy to meet you. I have to ask, what is an MFCC training? I don't think there's anything more powerful for personal transformation than being in nature with an animal that you love. At least that's true for me. Thanks for being a part of this journey.

    James-- Glad you're taking time to read just for the pleasure of it. That's a practice I'm trying to get back into now that I'm writing.

    Danielle-- Glad the yoga philosophy was helpful to you, and even happier that you're planning to read my book. ;-) Please let me know what you think of it. The great thing about yoga pants is that you can wear them anywhere.

    Karen-- I think I've already said this today, but I don't even know how to sew on a button. Seriously. The button falls off, the shirt goes into the garbage. Good luck with your writing.

    Pat--I have such a bad memory that crossword puzzles are a kind of torture for me. Viniyoga is a particular style of yoga that will likely be much more suited to you than the yoga you describe. Yoga can be athletic and active, physically challenging, and/or a way to connect your body, breath, and mind. I go for the latter.

    Susan-- Singing is an amazing persevering practice. One of my students is a songwriter/folk singer. I fully believe she transforms both herself and her audience through her voice. She's going to be the guest writer on my yoga blog( next week, if you're interested. Internal rewards are much more important than external ones, in the grand scheme of things.

    Thanks everybody for all of the fantastic comments today. Keep commenting; I'll keep replying. It's been a joy.

  56. Hank--your comment came in while I was writing my last post. Thanks for saying today's blog was "special." I was really nervous about it (feeling unworthy) and your comment means a lot to me. I know I've told you this before, but you are AMAZING.

  57. Tracy,

    I have not been near a computer since late yesterday afternoon. I want to thank you for the list of instructors. The Westport one is the closest, but I think I'll first take a look at the videos you mentioned. Thank you so much for taking the time to do a little research for a stranger! I am impressed to hear about all those yoga people who had spinal fusion surgery! I was afraid my yoga days were over. Maybe not!

  58. Tracy, your post was very worthy! Thank you. I'm new to the site but got the pleasure of sitting in on a few panels the Jungle Reds were on last fall at Bouchercon. Lovely, all of you.

    My persevering practices are also writing and yoga and when I wane from either, I am not as centered on my block of the world as I am when I participate consistently.

    I have just finished my first novel (a mystery:) and the pitch is in the agents' hands as we speak. Life off the page is demanding and it's only been by persevering, a little each day, that I was able to get from idea to polished manuscript in the last few years--a lifelong dream that I have finally realized. One of my practices is to release myself from the grip of judgment of not doing MORE each day. My philosophy: Gentle forward movement achieves all dreams. It's been true for me. the judgment prevents me from producing, rather than encouraging me to get busy. I don't respond to bullying from others but especially not from myself. And when I turn to the asanas, my productivity soars, even though that is never a stated goal of my practice. Usually my stated goal is just to loosen my writer's-butt-in-chair hips!

    Thank you for this post, and thank you to the Jungle Reds for the great guest and the great site.

  59. Deb--Best of luck trying yoga again. And my pleasure to do the research for you.

    Susan--This quote really spoke to me: "Gentle forward movement achieves all dreams." Indeed, it's true. Best of luck with your agent quest. It's an exciting time!