Meryl Davids Landau makes her fiction debut with Downward Dog, Upward Fog, a book that was just nominated as a General Fiction Book of The Year Finalist by Foreword Reviews. She is a certified yoga teacher and Reiki practitioner, and has written many articles for national publications, including O, the Oprah magazine, Reader’s Digest, U.S. News & World Report, Huffington Post and Whole Living. Her writing has won several awards, and was a finalist for a prestigious National Magazine Award.
I didn’t really know what yoga was when I met my first yoga teacher. I was happily bicycling away at my gym’s stationary bicycle when this woman walked by—no, I have to say she floated by. Her energy was amazing. When I asked someone who that was, they told me it was the yoga teacher. I got right off that bike and followed her into her class, wanting a piece of whatever she was selling! Fortunately, she was as great a teacher as I’d hoped, and I was hooked.
Since then I’ve taken and, subsequently, taught many yoga classes. My favorite funny situations happen when people twist or bend in a certain way that, shall we say, purges the body of excess gas. Some yoga poses are actually designed to do that, because cleansing the body is a good thing. But in our culture, being the one to let ‘er rip seen as mortifying. I considered having this happen to my character, Lorna, when she goes on her first yoga retreat. But I decided Lorna was hard enough on herself for her perceived flaws and still unsure of her yoga at that point (which she later embraces with gusto) that passing gas might send her permanently fleeing!
Book description: 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, especially, her overly critical mother. Lorna also wrestles over her future with her boyfriend, a hot guy who takes her to the hottest places, but who can’t discern a meditation cushion from a toad stool. Reading spiritual books and visiting a channeler and energy healer move Lorna forward, but her confusion remains. Lorna’s seeking is put to the ultimate test when personal tragedy strikes. Will she come to truly understand that living spiritually has little to do with how you pretzel yourself on the yoga mat (although she gets plenty good at that), and everything to do with embracing the twists in everyday life?