Kate Davidson’s Guide to Yoga (With a Little Murder on the Side)
Kate Davidson, the yoga teacher/sleuth in Murder Strikes a Pose is a lot like me. We are both vertically challenged (though at five-foot three she’s a full inch taller than I am), we both struggle with with body image issues, and we both own a yoga studio in the Greenwood neighborhood of Seattle. I’ve given Kate several neuroses and a life history that I don’t share, but no yoga sleuth birthed from my imagination could teach any style of yoga other than the one that I teach and love: Viniyoga.
Most people aren’t even aware that there are multiple lineages of yoga. Yoga wannabes (and wanna-nevers) often think yoga implies contorting your body into Gumby-like postures like the ones pictured on the cover of Yoga Journal. But in reality, yoga is as diverse as its practitioners. Some styles are laid-back, focused on mindful connection of body and breath; others are athletic workouts, sort of like gymnastics on steroids; still others are more concerned with spiritual than physical transformation.
The beauty of Viniyoga lies in its accessibility, which is part of what makes it so perfect for a mystery series. You don’t have to be ultra flexible or super fit to partake, just willing to be more mindful in everyday life. For those of you curious, the following four characteristics differentiate Viniyoga from other yoga styles:
- Linkage of Breath and Movement: Viniyoga links movement with the breath, which makes each movement more powerful, mindful, and structurally integrated than non-breath-centered movement.
- Use of Movement and Stay: Viniyoga students move in and out of poses before staying in them. Movement systematically prepares the body to hold a pose by warming the muscle groups that will be taxed in that pose. Movement also helps reprogram habitual movement patterns, so students move more functionally, even in non-yoga activities.
- Adaptation: Viniyoga adapts poses to the practitioner, rather than assuming there is one “right” way to do a pose. The goal is to achieve the function of a pose, instead of its form.
- Sequencing: Viniyoga teachers carefully design classes so that each pose prepares for or erases strain from the poses before and after it.
Here’s the good news for all of you mystery fans out there: you don’t have to practice—or even like—yoga to enjoy my series. Murder Strikes a Pose ultimately explores universal human values: love, family, loyalty, friendship. If you ever cared for an animal or human, if you’ve ever experienced loss and then been afraid to love again, if you’ve ever lost your temper at a humiliatingly inappropriate time, then you will identify with Kate, my deeply flawed yoga teacher protagonist.
And, of course, you’ll have a fabulous time watching Kate try to keep her horse-sized German shepherd, Bella, out of trouble. That is, when she’s not otherwise occupied trying to solve murders.
Yoga, dogs, and murder. What could be more fun?
Synopsis: When George and Bella—a homeless alcoholic and his intimidating German shepherd—disturb the peace outside her studio, yoga instructor Kate Davidson’s Zen-like calm is stretched to the breaking point. Kate tries to get rid of them before Bella scares the yoga pants off her students. Instead, the three form an unlikely friendship.
One night Kate finds George’s body behind her studio. The police dismiss his murder as a drug-related street crime, but she knows George wasn’t a dealer. So Kate starts digging into George’s past while also looking for someone to adopt Bella before she’s sent to the big dog park in the sky. With the murderer nipping at her heels, Kate has to work fast or her next Corpse Pose may be for real.
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