Downward Dog, Upward Fog

Downward Dog, Upward Fog

Downward Dog, Upward Fog

Lorna Crawford has a great boyfriend, longtime friends, and a well-paying job as special-events coordinator at a premium ice-cream manufacturer. But, out of sorts and filled with self-doubt, the 33 year old soon realizes that what she really wants is to stay on the spiritual path she keeps diving off of. Lorna jump-starts her efforts at a silent yoga retreat. But after returning from the mountain, she quickly loses her connection in the face of scheming coworkers, judgmental girlfriends, and, es

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Tales from the Yoga Studio: A Novel

Tales from the Yoga Studio: A Novel

A sparkling new series introducing five unforgettable women who flock to yoga at turning points in their lives and find the gift of lasting friendship.

The yoga studio is where daily cares are set aside, mats are unfurled, and physical exertion leads to well-being, renewal, and friendship. An aggressively expanding chain of Los Angeles yoga “experience centers,” has Lee and her extraordinary teaching abilities in its sights. They woo her with a lucrative contract, a trademarked name fo

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Lenovo Yoga Book 64GB, Wi-Fi, 10.1in - Carbon Black (Windows 10)
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Comments

  1. L. Erickson "Mommy Mystic" says:
    26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Upifting, Spiritual Chick-lit – Yoga, Eckhart Tolle, Law of Attraction et al, May 11, 2011
    By 
    L. Erickson “Mommy Mystic” (Los Angeles, CA) –
    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)
      
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Downward Dog, Upward Fog (Paperback)

    This is an uplifting, fun read for anyone interested in both contemporary spiritual teachings and chick-lit. I know some people do not like the label ‘chick-lit’, but I happily admit to reading quite a bit of the books and authors usually included in that genre, so I use it here as a compliment. On the surface this book meets all the standard requirements of the genre – thirty-something Lorna has a successful career as a marketing/PR exec in an ice-cream firm, a likable, successful boyfriend, a good group of girlfriends, a loving sister, and a fine fashion sense. She also has the required foil – a hyper critical mother. What makes this book different is that Lorna is not satisfied with that, and the plot does not revolve around will she or won’t she get engaged to the boyfriend, or will she or won’t she get a promotion. Instead, Lorna is vaguely dissatisfied with her life as the novel begins, and decides to seek more. With the help of her interfaith-minister sister, she devours a slew of spiritual and self-help books, and takes up yoga. The plot of the novel is essentially her struggle to incorporate the new teachings she has discovered into her life, including her existing friendships and relationship (which are strained by her new interests), her job, and yes, even her relationship with her mother.

    As the story unfolds, Lorna details her practices, and her struggles with them, including mindfulness, various yoga pranayama (breathing techniques), yoga asanas (positions), meditation, and law of attraction techniques. Along the way, she also attends a 2-day silent yoga retreat, a lecture with a spiritual teacher who channels, and a session with an energy healer. The teachings most often referenced are Eckhart Tolle’s (A New Earth and The Power of Now), and various law of attraction and mindfulness teachings. However, these teachings are integrated into her daily life. For example, at one point she is on a date with her boyfriend and finds herself overly angry that he is resistant to letting her pay her own way; she goes into the bathroom to try and calm herself down, and works through the issue using Tolle’s teachings on the ‘pain body.’ In another instance, she draws on various mindfulness practices to help her accept her mother’s limitations.

    This is a first novel by the author, who has written quite a bit of non-fiction, including for O magazine (and if you like Oprah and O, you will probably resonate with this novel.) I felt there were some bumps from a literary perspective – scenes or dialogue that didn’t flow quite realistically for me. But that didn’t keep me from enjoying the book, or from wanting to read more. And I found that every time I did, I felt uplifted, which counts for a lot to me, and offset any literary problems. There isn’t much spiritual fiction out there, especially targeted to women, so if you are looking for some, this is a recommended read!

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  2. P. J. Swanwick says:
    6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Well-written new age novel both energizes and inspires, August 6, 2011
    By 
    P. J. Swanwick (Boulder, CO) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Downward Dog, Upward Fog (Paperback)

    I loved this book. Meryl Davids Landau’s new novel fulfills my requirements for good new age fiction: compelling characters, a strong plot, and a well-structured theme that supports the story without overwhelming it. New age novels must appeal to both the emotions and the intellect, and “Downward Dog, Upward Fog” does both.

    Spiritual/metaphysical content: High. As Lorna works through her personal issues and grows spiritually, the author references information from books such as A New Earth, A Course in Miracles, and other sources that can help expand the reader’s knowledge. Lorna learns how to apply a number of spiritual concepts to better manage her relationships, both personal and professional. The author details specific yoga postures and practices (stomach wash, anyone?) that helped me gain a deeper understanding of unfamiliar spiritual techniques. She shares practical meditation techniques, mindfulness tips, and mind/body/spirit principles that everyone can use. In particular, I enjoyed reading about the power of joining a spiritual community.

    Landau does a great job of describing what living a spiritual life feels like, including the “high” that can come from living in the moment and learning to apply spiritual techniques to everyday life. However, she also makes it clear that the goal is not the elation, or even the occasional peaceful moment in meditation, but the “lingering calm that sustains every moment, regardless of what transpires.”

    My take: I’ll say it again: I loved this book. New age novels must entertain and educate; they must appeal to both the emotions and the intellect, and Downward Dog, Upward Fog does this in spades. Meryl Davids Landau’s writing is excellent, and she spins an engaging tale that will appeal to readers who enjoy the lighter tone of chick lit.

    My only observation is that the book has an unrealistically happy ending; in the real world, living a consistently spiritual life does not guarantee happiness. However, the feel-good ending is in keeping with the chick lit genre. I felt energized and inspired when I finished the book, which is precisely the point.

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  3. Carol Smerling says:
    6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Seeing Ourselves in Others, May 24, 2011
    By 
    Carol Smerling (Boca Raton, Florida) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Downward Dog, Upward Fog (Paperback)

    Sometimes a book comes along in which we can easily identify and recognize ourselves in the author’s portrayal of its character. I know I have quite a bit of “Lorna” in me; her faults ande foibles are mine as well as the rewards she finds as her spiritual practice deepens and she begins her ascent out of the every-woman struggles into a higher understanding of the Oneness we all share. I thank the author for bringing this work to life and light.

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  4. Harriet Klausner says:
    6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    enjoyable contemporary, December 31, 2010
    By 
    Harriet Klausner
    (#1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)
      
    (REAL NAME)
      

    Lee owns the Edendale Yoga Studio in the Silver lake section of Los Angeles; she also works as an instructor. She likes giving back to her students by helping them achieve their desires though she gave up on one of hers when Alan the artist left her and now has doubts about what to do as a chain wants her studio and is offering her quite an incentive package. Without prying, Lee looks deep into the souls of her long time pupils as their lives converge at her studio.

    Lee encourages Stephanie already an overachiever to seek solace in her accomplishments. She believes Graciela the artist is a talent especially when the woman does not fear baring her soul to others. The Yoga guru knows Imani the actress conceals secrets that Lee hopes do not cripple her with shame. Finally there is her BFF loyal Katherine. She will be there for each them especially when they confront the agony of defeat

    Tales from the Yoga Studio is an enjoyable contemporary that provides deep insight into yoga and running a studio with friendship. Each of the five women will learn truths about themselves and the others. Character driven, fans will appreciate this warm tale as Rain Mitchell brings more than just yoga and friendship to the wonderful story line; the author will persuade readers yoga is an art form that touches the hearts of those who participate; so get up and join.

    Harriet Klausner

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  5. Midwest Book Review says:
    5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    A thoughtful and fun read for those looking for a bit of spirituality with their fiction, January 15, 2011
    By 
    Midwest Book Review (Oregon, WI USA) –

    Yoga can bring more than a bit of exercise. “Tales from the Yoga Studio” tells the story of Lee, a Yoga teacher in the small town of Silver Lake. Many of her students come into her class, and they all have problems, in desperate need of spiritual renewal. Through their lessons, they will learn to overcome their problems, but Lee has many that a few spiritual exercise sessions may not be enough to solve. “Tales from the Yoga Studio” is a thoughtful and fun read for those looking for a bit of spirituality with their fiction.

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  6. Sonja L S says:
    4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars
    A frivolous read for those into yoga, March 31, 2011
    By 
    Sonja L S (Chicago, IL) –

    I enjoyed certain elements of this book a great deal, particularly the moments of female camaraderie. But I’m probably being a bit generous with three stars simply because I’m a yoga teacher, and identified with a fair amount of the storyline.

    This book followed the lives of five women in less than 300 pages. Partially because of that, the book didn’t get much into the meat of anything. There was no unexpected growth or discovery. Not every book needs that, but Tales from the Yoga Studio was too predictable.

    For example, one thing I’m so tired by are horrible male characters that seem to drive the drama. Doesn’t anyone have difficulties in a relationship simply because relationships are difficult? Not because their partner is a complete sleaze? And for the characters who do have a fulfilling love life, their man is some kind of hero. When their male counterparts are so over simplified, I struggle to understand why these one-dimensional relationships are so important to the main characters.

    The author fell into stereotypes within other areas – yoga, LA, motherhood, finances, addiction. But the upside is all those matters are touched on, and flux amongst five different characters makes the book feel more dynamic. At the end of Tales from the Yoga Studio, a lot of ends were left untied. So I can’t tell if that means this book is the tip of the this series’ iceberg, or just the beginning of a road trip on a flat tire.

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