Today I have Tracy Weber here today to discuss her debut book, Murder Strikes a Pose.
What’s That Pose on the Cover?
I can’t take any credit for it, but I’ve fallen in love with the cover of Murder Strikes a Pose, my first cozy mystery. The Seattle landmarks highlight the lovely city the story is set in. The bright colors hint at the humor and lightness I’ve tried to pepper throughout the novel, in spite of its sometimes serious themes. The cartoon characters’ expressions capture the love Kate (my protagonist) and Bella (her dog) feel for each other. Even better, the yoga pose on the cover is part of the series’ name: The Downward Dog Mysteries.
You don’t have to practice yoga to enjoy my books, but in case any of your readers are tempted to give it a try. I thought I’d share some information about this popular yoga pose.
Downward Facing Dog is a favorite pose of yoga students everywhere. Even Bella likes it, much better than she likes its evil counterpart, Cat Pose! Downward Dog strengthens the shoulders while stretching the backs of the legs, but those are only its secondary effects. In Viniyoga (the style of yoga Kate teaches) Downward Dog is categorized as an extension pose, meaning that its primary intention is to lengthen the spine. That amazing stretch Kate feels in her calves and hamstrings is just a side benefit.
My book cover’s static depiction of Downward Dog is only part of the posture. In Viniyoga, moving in and out of the pose is as important as staying in it. Movement contracts the muscles that will eventually be stretched, making them more like warm plastic and less like rubber bands. Wester physiologists call this action Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation, or PNF. (Though somehow I doubt that’s what the ancient yogis called it.)
Instructions for Down-Dogging it the Murder Strikes a Pose Way
1. Come to your hands and knees, with your knees about four inches apart. Place your hips directly above your knees and your hands slightly in front of and wider than your shoulders.
2. On inhale, lengthen your spine and tuck your toes.
3. On exhale, press down through your hands and feet, lifting your hips to the sky. Keep your knees bent and your chin slightly tucked. Focus on feeling length between the crown of your head and your tailbone.
4. On the following inhale, lower your knees to the mat again. Bring your hips directly above your knees and lengthen your spine.
5. Move in and out of this position eight times, wrapping each movement in each breath.
6. After the eighth repetition, remain in Downward Dog for several breaths and enjoy the stretch!
- Keep your chin slightly tucked and your low back extended.
- Don’t worry about how you look! Feel free to soften your knees. Focus on lengthening your body from your head to your tailbone.
- To minimize wrist strain, spread your fingers and press your weight equally out through your fingertips.
- Avoid pressing your chest too closely to your thighs. This can hyperextend your shoulders, which adds significant strain to your shoulder joints.
Happy down dogging, everyone! Please check out Murder Strikes a Pose, and let me know what you think of the cover. Even more importantly, let me know how you like the story inside of it! I hope you love reading it as much as I’ve loved writing it.
About the Author:
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 and German Shepherd. Weber is a member of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association, Dog Writers Association of America, and Sisters in Crime. She loves sharing her passion for yoga and animals in any form possible. Murder Strikes a Pose is Weber’s debut.
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 dead 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.