When elite yoga practitioners use their meditative prowess to fly and manipulate their bodies like superheroes, not everyone uses their powers for good.
“The supernatural meets the spiritual in this unusual, endearing thriller. Connor may have carved out a new subgenre.” — Kirkus Reviews
“In a world replete with novels, this story is a standout.” — Midwest Book Reviews
Targeted Age Group:: 13 and up
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
The Superyogi Scenario is a new take on the superhero story. Instead of powers coming from radioactive spider bites or lab mishaps, powers are developed from yoga and meditation and based on authentic verses from The Yoga Sutra, a third century text.
I was in the middle of a three-year isolated meditation retreat. I wanted a fun way to give people a little taste of some of the transformations of heart and mind that occur at the higher levels of meditation—and do it in a page-turning thriller.
On Sunday afternoons in retreat, I would take a break from a week of meditating to write about characters who were experiencing supernormal transformations and the temptations that come with those powers. The novel ultimately concludes it’s not powers that makes someone a hero, it’s putting other people first.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I wanted to create a new, more realistic take on the superhero story and examine what makes someone a hero.
When you study ancient scriptures and commentaries from the early centuries there are all these fantastic stories of Mahasiddhas, realized yogi meditators who performed supernatural miracles. Many of the great Mahasiddhas struggled when their powers started to emerge. Not all of them used their powers for good at first.
I wanted to imagine what would happen if western Mahasiddhas started to emerge from all the people doing yoga and meditating? What would their journeys look like?
By starting in an unusual place, I could tell a story that you haven’t heard before, filled with fresh characters who take readers on their journey to transcend ordinary views of reality.
Powers can be attained either at birth,
through herbs, spells, extreme practices,
or through deep meditation.
Chapter IV, Verse 1:
The Yoga Sutra of Master Patanjali,
written approximately 200 A.D.
1. The Secret Weapon
Tina Tinsdale was a weapon that no one expected.
Her lithe yogi’s body gave a hidden thrill to the bored TSA officer operating a full-body scanner—but she didn’t care. Men and women often stared at her. Besides, she carried nothing more threatening than a yoga mat.
At the gate, waiting for her flight to be called, she amused gawkers by doing yoga asana. Like a trained acrobat, she moved through sequences more likely found in a circus than a typical yoga class. In rhythm with her inhale, Tina leapt from Downward Dog directly into Crow, or bakasana as she would say in Sanskrit. She balanced perfectly on her hands while keeping her knees close to her ears. Kicking out into Plank Pose, she steeled her mind for all she would do in the coming hours.
On the plane, Tina found her cramped seat near the center, just behind the wings. When the seatbelt light finally dimmed at cruising altitude, she fetched her backpack from a beige overhead bin and then disappeared into a tiny bathroom. Quickly, in a feat that required more pretzel-like contortions, she changed out of her yoga clothes into another skin-tight outfit: this time, a white latex- and neoprene-based bodysuit with a shadowy black S-curve running down one side. She zipped it low enough to flaunt her enticing cleavage. Calf-high boots and long fingerless gloves completed the outrageous outfit.
Tina activated her global positioning locator before strapping the watch-like device to her wrist.
I have time, but not much.
Sauntering down the airplane’s blue-carpeted aisle, she looked like a punk-style Goth-chic who just stepped off a ski lift on a planet where couture came out of comic books. Men leaned into the aisle to follow her long legs and sexy boots. Atlanta-based stewardesses rolled their eyes at her strange fashion statement. But they were flying to New York, after all.
“I get cold on planes,” Tina Tinsdale said, sitting down. This time, she left her seatbelt unbuckled. The portly man in the next seat tried to hide his copy of Winning at Checkers. She hoped he wouldn’t try to talk to her as she needed time to concentrate. Closing her eyes, she focused inside.
I have to make them feel fear. They won’t stop hurting others until they understand how it feels. Convoys of military machinery invaded her mind. Images of civilian lives that had been lost across the world in wars on terror flashed like fireworks—and then she saw the bombing that had taken the person she loved most.
Her heart clenched. If her heart was a hammer, she could shatter marble.
Tina pictured the atoms of her body becoming heavier and heavier… the mass, more and more dense. I’m as heavy as a building. I’m as sharp as a giant drill bit. I’m Physique. The physical laws of the universe no longer apply to me.
Due to her remarkable powers of concentration, Tina felt her mind shift. The peaceful woman she had been for so long vanished like gauzy cotton consumed by fire. She became her alter ego, Physique. Now her body would obey her command.
When her eyes popped wide-open, her hair changed from sandy blond to brunette. She watched her unpainted fingernails change from pink to coal black. Even her naturally hazel eyes turned a tarry-pitch as density changes moved down her body.
Already, plane seats in her row started to quake. She hadn’t done anything of this magnitude before, but she believed she could. She squeezed the silver armrests of her seat, feeling the density of her body increasing.
Metal legs on her chair compacted before collapsing, spilling her and her seat into the aisle. Nearby passengers gasped in shock, clutching magazines or each other, as they leaned away from the spectacle. Her heavy neighbor’s eyes bulged like a pond frog’s first encounter with the ocean.
In the next moment, as if in a seizure, the whole plane trembled. The floor below her canyoned. Then the aisle literally gave way, splitting—swallowing the now raven-haired woman in a bizarre body suit.
Physique and her chair clanged hard in the underbelly of the plane, denting the outer hull. She heard screams from passengers above.
As the tail of the plane sagged, her stomach felt the plane dropping in altitude. She could hear the engines revving to counteract what pilots must have believed was a heavy downdraft. But this plane would rebel as if it were suddenly made of stone.
Now in cargo, Physique punched the sides with her bare fists, hating the awful flying bombing machines that took her love’s life. Sound clanged louder than a blacksmith’s hammer. Her flurries scored perforations in the dense wall as if it were made of cardboard. When she smashed through some wire bundles, systems failed, including the plane’s flight controls.
Finally, one mighty blow pierced the plane’s hull. As the aircraft lost pressure, oxygen masks dropped to terrified passengers. Sucked toward the hole, everything in cargo shifted. But not Physique: she felt heavy as a glacier and icy in her revenge.
When enough suitcases blocked the hull rupture, pressure stabilized.
Physique’s work was almost done.
Now Physique visualized her body as light as an eagle. Cascading from the crown of her head like an avalanche over a dark ravine, her hair turned snowy white. Her eyes turned to pearl and her fingernails looked like bone. Pushing off the cargo belly floor, she floated toward the ceiling, raising her arms and knees like wings of an agitated swan.
But suddenly her nails, eyes, and hair went boot black. Physique straightened her athletic body into the shape of a dagger, stretching her arms to the hilt. She plunged down with more force than she had ever wielded. Striking near her perforated hammerings, she pierced the plane. Passing through like a bullet, her outstretched arms tore away a section of hull.
Plummeting, Physique reversed her mass. Wind pressed against her now feathery-light body till she floated gently on thermals.
Above her, she watched the plane’s badly damaged tail section tremble before ripping away. The guillotined sections—and all aboard—plunged mercilessly into the ocean below.
But heart hardened by revenge, Physique felt nothing.
In her costume, she vaguely resembled a white seagull with black tipped wings gliding on winds,
searching for safe haven. She checked the homing signal on her wrist.
As planned, Physique spotted a cruising yacht moving her way. The mid-sized ship with a broad back deck looked as if it might be headed toward the plane crash to search for improbable survivors, but Physique knew differently. To manage her descent, she continued to adjust her weight.
Physique landed smoothly on the stern with the grace of a ballerina. She felt proud of what she had done. That will make them shake.
Returning to her normal weight brought back her sandy hair and hazel eyes. She wasn’t particular about her hair color these days: her natural look just took less concentration. And after performing this thunderous strike, Physique needed to rest.
A blind man emerged from the galley to meet her, tapping a dragon-headed silver cane across the deck. He wore a dark bodysuit, made of fabric similar to Physique’s, under a long black coat that flapped in the ocean breeze like a fluttering sail. His dark hair matched the briefcase he carried.
Physique scuffed her boots across the deck to let him know she was close. She saw his nostrils flare at the scent of her adrenaline-soaked sweat.
“The money is compliments of our mutual friend,” said the blind man.
Crouching down on the boat deck, she popped open the case. Coldly, she viewed thick stacks of hundred dollar bills, guessing there must be more than $200,000. “Tell your boss, I didn’t do it for the money. But you can thank him for his boat.”
“It’s not his yacht,” the man replied. “He doesn’t work that way. He calls in favors.”
Physique pushed the briefcase back at his feet, then avoided staring at the blind man’s milky eyes. She wasn’t much for small talk, but fortunately, neither was he. Tapping his cane, the man asked, “Where to?”
Without hesitation Physique answered, “Take me to Washington, D.C.”
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