Guest Post: Yoga–It’s not all Savasana

My friend firstmausi, who lives in Germany and runs races and paddles kayaks and raises great kids and fabulous gardens and reads everything and travels all over Europe and is basically amazing, decided to try something new last week and has graciously allowed me to share her account of it here.

She says she’s not a writer, but that’s obviously not true—if nothing else, she has spot-on foreshadowing skills:


Hi, Sarah!

Friday morning I started a bold venture into—Yoga! P. was pestering me for some time now to join the yoga class in our sports club. Winter is approaching and outdoor sports will get cut back. Reluctantly I agreed to give it a try. Your yoga cookies seemed a bit strange, because yoga is a esoteric thing you do while lying down and concentrate on your breathing— right?

We went to the ninety minute lesson. The instructor is a mother of four and never uses a car; she does all the shopping by bicycle with a hanger.   Of course she is a vegetarian (nothing wrong with that).  A nice person with a very eccentric touch. She told us to breathe in and out through our noses and that the first goal of yoga is: Do not hurt yourself!

Hmm, how could I hurt myself while lying on my back and breathing through my nose?

She made a brief introduction about the lesson of the day. Something with autumn, metal, a lung mudra and the lung meridian (see, it helps to read about a Chinese prisoner in Tibet).* OK, that was the esoteric part and I did not pay much attention…

We started out lying flat on our backs, breathing in and out, and feeling different body parts. Then we started moving our arms in the rhythm of our breath.  Thirty minutes into the lesson I was bored. The only interesting thing was the fact that someone sounded like Darth Vader. No, I did not giggle!

Five minutes later I was wondering if it would be very rude to just get up and go home. Half an hour later, when only three more minutes had past, we started to do something called (my translation) downward looking dog. Ha, not so boring anymore. In fact when she corrected my position I started to understand the not hurting myself part. My legs stretched quite a lot.

We moved on to the dancer. I really feared I might fall on my face. We did some more things I don’t recall by name. At one point I had to think about which one was my right hand and where does it have to go and how do I do that… Not boring anymore!

Hours later, I could still feel all the muscles of my back (might have been the cobra) but not in an unpleasant way. I’m still not sure if this means I did it right or completely wrong…

The doubt is increasing, because this morning I woke up with a slight pain in my belly muscles, hip muscles that I only ever feel after 19km of running and the suspicious feeling that there must be something between my ribs and the skin that is capable of hurting while I lie flat on my back and breathe.

I’m intrigued and will definitely go back at least twice just to be sure. My assumption that yoga is not a sport and only for wimps might have been wrong.

Of course you can tell your husband and giggle all you want!


So, of course, I did both.

My husband the yoga instructor said her experience was fairly common and he hopes she keeps going.  I hope so, too—I can’t wait to read her opinions about some of the more advanced poses:


“For wimps, huh?”


* Sarah’s note:  A mudra is a yoga pose and the lungs are considered metal energy yin organs in some holistic Chinese breathing meditations.  It’s not part of my husband’s practice, so that’s all I know.


Random Thursday: The Cute, the Chiroptera, and the Insanely Cool . . .

. . . In no particular order, as befits a Random Thursday assembled by a woman suffering from a mystery virus and buzzing from a dose of Dayquil and multiple gallons of Irish Breakfast tea.

If this is your first Random Thursday here, you’ll notice how it lives up to its name.  No rhyme or reason . . . just stuff i collected this week.



Cello Wars

When I started playing bassoon, my mother collected every bassoon-related item she could find, which couldn’t have been easy, as it’s always been the weird kid of the orchestra* and that odd tube coming out the side—it’s called a bocal, by the way, thanks very much—doesn’t make it easy for designers.

I’m having an easier time collecting cello stuff for Janie, mostly because violin, a viola, a cello, and bass viols are often indistinguishable when rendered in, say, stained glass ornaments or charm bracelets.

Besides, Mom didn’t have YouTube as a back up—or The Piano Guys:

Pure Nerdvana . . . or is that Nerdtopia?

Regardless, if you didn’t stick with this until the final credits, watch it again.  It’s worth it.


A week ago, my husband attended an instructor’s workshop on Aerial Yoga, which appears to my untrained eye to be half hatha, half sky dancing.

Practitioners use fabric loops attached to the ceiling to help them stretch and to achieve new poses without that pesky gravity getting in the way—although some of us know that gravity is just waiting for us to try it ourselves, rubbing its hands in anticipation.

This kind of yoga is just starting to hit (no pun intended) our area, and it looks like a lot of fun for—and I can’t stress this strongly enough—other people:

 Why, yes, I am a lucky woman.

 But if my husband is happy hanging upside-down with his cranium a couple feet above a hardwood floor, I’m happy.

Besides, he’s insured


Sunny the Cutebat has competition:

Picture three adults and two kids all staring at the same screen and saying, “Awwwwwwww!”  at exactly the same moment.  You’ll know the place when you see it:

Take that, baby sloth video!


Modesty forbids . . . Wait, no it doesn’t

Chris Ewan, author of the Good Thief series—which I’ve only raved about once or twice—wrote a Bouchercon article for the November/December issue of Crimespree Magazine.  

Guess who he mentioned meeting there?

But the passion went beyond just that. Sarah Wesson, a librarian and blogger ( from north-western Illinois, bumped into me in the foyer of the convention hotel one afternoon and asked me to sign a copy of The Good Thief’s Guide to Amsterdam. I was happy to oblige, more so when she told me she’d had to crawl under a bookseller’s table to retrieve it. But I was completely amazed when I ran into Sarah the following day and she told me that she’d not only finished my book, but had also recommended it to a number of people and blogged about it, too. Let me tell you, as fine as they are, that’s not something that’s ever happened to me at a UK convention.**

So if you came here from there—and I assume from the traffic increase that many of you did—welcome!  My own write up of Bouchercon starts here, if you’re interested.

Thanks, Chris!


*Except for the glockenspiel, which I have to admit is a strange piece of work.  The inventors of German musical instruments are not from this planet.

**  Crimespree Magazine #44 Nov/Dec (Kindle Locations 863-868).