Seattle Yoga News is on a mission to find and highlight all of the hidden, and maybe not so hidden, gems in our yoga community and beyond. We want you to learn about their experiences and perspectives, but also a bit more about their personalities, so we have a few fun questions for them. This week’s spotlight is turned towards Candace Welch.
Seattle Yoga News: When and how did you discover yoga?
Tracy Weber: I can’t remember the exact year, but I was in my mid to late thirties. I was a mid-level manager at Microsoft at the time, and my stress levels were through the roof. I saw an advertisement in an adult learning course catalogue for a class called Yoga for Women. The Iyengar-based yoga taught in the class didn’t work for me physically. In fact, I went home after the first class fully believing that the translation for the word yoga was “much pain.” But the effect on my stress levels was dramatic. I was hooked!
Seattle Yoga News: What inspired you to become a yoga teacher?
Tracy Weber: I was in a car accident when I was in my late twenties, and it left me unable to turn my head for over seven years. Long after the doctors had given up on further recovery, I discovered Viniyoga. It helped me heal on all levels. Emotionally, spiritually, and most surprisingly, physically. My neck still isn’t perfect, but I can do so much more than I was able to before I found this ancient lineage. I knew that I wanted to offer those same healing tools to others.
Seattle Yoga News: You have been leading teacher trainings for over 15 years now, how has that changed as becoming a yoga teacher gained more and more popularity over the years?
Tracy Weber: It’s a good question. What I offer is timeless and hooked to an ancient tradition, so not much has changed in the material that I teach. There are certainly a lot more yoga teacher training programs now, and the popularity has brought with it a lot more regulation. The Yoga Alliance requirements keep changing, and the State of Washington has gotten involved in regulating private career schools. That has added a lot of paperwork and some costs that I don’t feel benefit my students, but certainly eat up my time.
In the past few years we’ve had to take long, hard looks at appropriation of yoga in the West, ethical boundaries in yoga, and the appropriate application of Eastern teachings to a Western audience. That has, in many ways, brought up more questions than answers, but the dialogue is invaluable.
The above answers don’t directly relate to yoga’s popularity, but I still think they’re relevant. What I teach will remain unchanged, as Viniyoga’s teachings are informed by an enduring lineage. It would be arrogant for me to try to improve something that’s been handed down by people much smarter than me for over a thousand years!
Seattle Yoga News: Running a yoga studio is a huge endeavor and you have done that for many years until recently. What is it like stepping away from that role of studio owner?
Tracy Weber: It feels oddly good. I’m still teaching classes, providing yoga therapy, and offering Whole Life Yoga teacher training, which were the parts of studio operation I loved the most. Still, I’d owned Whole Life Yoga Studio for over seventeen years, so a lot of my identity was wrapped up in being a yoga studio owner.
I started to get worried over the past several years, though, as my husband has reached early retirement age at Boeing. I wanted the legacy I’d created to continue, but I didn’t necessarily want to be tied to the Seattle area. When my assistant, Kim Tull-Esterbrook, told me she was interested in purchasing the studio, it seemed almost pre-ordained. I adore Kim, and her vision is closely aligned with mine.
Now I get to sit back and watch her continue to build the community I started, while at the same time having energy to explore new passions. I feel like a parent who passed on the family business, and I couldn’t be more pleased with everything she’s doing.
Seattle Yoga News: You have also managed to publish multiple yoga inspired novels over the last few years. Can you tell us more about your experience as a book author?
Tracy Weber: That’s a big question! I’ll give the three paragraph summary. I’ve written six novels so far in the Downward Dog Mystery series, which you can read about on my author website. Five have been published, and the sixth, Murder Likes It Hot, will be released this coming January by my publisher, Midnight Ink.
I never knew I wanted to be a writer until the plot for the first book, Murder Strikes a Pose, entered my head and refused to leave. Two years later I wrote it down. I was lucky enough to land an agent a couple of months later, who sold the series.
I’ve enjoyed writing this series, because it allows me to share my love of yoga in a way that also taps into my creativity. A surprising number of readers have contacted me to say that the series has inspired them to start or rejuvenate their yoga practice. I’ve truly loved connecting with readers and befriending some of my favorite authors. In short, it’s been a trip!
Seattle Yoga News: What is your favorite yoga related book?
Tracy Weber: The Essence of Yoga by Bernard Bouanchaud. It’s a very accessible commentary on the Yoga Sutras that also provides thought-provoking questions for self-reflection. I recommend it for the students in my yoga teacher training program.
Seattle Yoga News: What is one thing that most people don’t know about you?
Tracy Weber: This question is always a tough one for me to answer, as I live my life pretty openly. I grew up on a dairy farm in Montana, and I started life as a chemical engineer. So although I teach yoga and write fiction now, I guess I’m really a technical farm girl at heart!
Seattle Yoga News: Outside of the work of yoga, what is one thing you are really passionate about?
Tracy Weber: Animals! All kinds, but especially dogs. So much so that I am starting two separate animal behavior programs this September. I’d like to work with reactive animals and animals with behavior issues, so if you know someone with a troublesome pup, send them my way!
Thanks for having me here today. If any of your readers want to learn more about my yoga teacher training or private yoga therapy business, please have them check out my website. People can contact me for any reason at Tracy@TracyWeber.net.
Bio: Tracy Weber is a certified yoga therapist, the director of Whole Life Yoga Teacher Training, and the author of the award-winning Downward Dog Mysteries series. She loves sharing her passions for yoga and animals in any way possible.
Tracy and her husband Marc live in Seattle with their precocious German shepherd, Ana. When she’s not writing, Tracy spends her time teaching yoga, trying to corral Ana, and sipping Blackthorn cider at her favorite ale house.
For more information on Tracy’s writing, visit her author website: http://TracyWeberAuthor.com/.
To learn about private yoga therapy and yoga teacher training with Tracy, visit http://svanayogaseattle.com/