For the past fourteen years, I’ve made my living teaching yoga at my studio, Whole Life Yoga. I’ve certified well over 200 yoga teachers. But anyone who knows me can attest; I’m not a typical yoga teacher.
I came to yoga with an injured body, and I can’t do any of the cool poses pictured on the cover of Yoga Journal. I don’t know the Sanskrit names for most of the poses. I cringe pretty much any time I hear something woo-woo. But I love yoga. It has transformed my life and sharing yoga’s practices and philosophy with others brings me great joy.
Still, I’m not a typical yoga teacher.
Most of my students weren’t surprised to learn that I spend my spare time plotting murder. It makes sense if you know my warped sense of humor. Yoga practitioners who don’t know me are sometimes taken aback—even a little affronted—however. How can a yoga teacher combine yoga—a practice designed to promote inner peace—with murder?
It’s simple, really.
My light-hearted mysteries allow me to share my love of yoga with people I may never meet. Reading immerses us in worlds we might otherwise never experience. I hope to show my readers that yoga is for everyone—especially people who are far from perfect. (And if you ever meet a perfect person, please introduce me!)
Kate Davidson, my novel’s protagonist, is a yoga teacher and the owner of a Seattle yoga studio, Serenity Yoga. Like most of us, Kate won’t be in the running for Buddha’s successor. She has fiery temper and often lashes out impulsively, only to regret it later. Yet she has a great heart. She believes in yoga and has dedicated her life to sharing it with others. If Kate can love yoga, anyone can love yoga—even mystery fans who have never considered trying it.
I’ve received numerous letters from fans who have restarted their yoga practice or decided to try yoga for the first time after reading my mysteries. Some of my readers have even decided to pursue yoga teacher training. What could be better than that?
People are murdered in my work, but death isn’t the only theme. Solving crime definitely takes center stage in my books, but The Downward Dog Mysteries are ultimately about transformation. Yoga doesn’t promise that we won’t suffer traumas. In fact, the teachings say that pain is inevitable. Practicing yoga doesn’t protect us from the violence of the manifest world. It certainly doesn’t make us perfect.
Yoga does, however, give us a path to acceptance—to finding peace in the midst of chaos. It helps us learn to live our values. Like most of us, my protagonist struggles with inner challenges, and she doesn’t always react to life’s stressors in the most yogic way. But the yoga teachings give her a life roadmap, and she tries to follow them despite more than a few stumbles. Along the way, she shares those teachings with readers.
If my books were movies, they’d be rated PG—at most. My work, like most cozies, is light-hearted, often funny (at least to me!) and written to appeal to the faint of heart. Gore is minimized; killing takes place off screen; sex happens behind closed doors. My mother read all of my books so far, and she still thought I was a nice girl.
Last but not least, I love it! But if I’m honest, the real reason I write yoga mysteries is simple. I’m a huge mystery fan, my life-work is yoga, and I’m absolutely, embarrassingly, head-over-heels in love with my German shepherd, Tasha. I write about a yoga teacher who solves murders with a wacky German shepherd sidekick. Writing about yoga, dogs, and murder. What could be more fun?