A longtime yoga teacher and Buddhist meditation practitioner, Charlotte Bell describes in passionate detail how she applied the eightfold path of the Yoga Sutras and the Buddha’s heed for mindfulness to her hectic Western life. The path is often rough; she writes of self-doubt and struggles, of trying too hard and discouragement, of learning to accept the life she has, imperfections and all. But with grace and guts, she navigates the eight limbs of yoga, using the Yoga Sutras and insight meditation as her ...
A longtime yoga teacher and Buddhist meditation practitioner, Charlotte Bell describes in passionate detail how she applied the eightfold path of the Yoga Sutras and the Buddha’s heed for mindfulness to her hectic Western life. The path is often rough; she writes of self-doubt and struggles, of trying too hard and discouragement, of learning to accept the life she has, imperfections and all. But with grace and guts, she navigates the eight limbs of yoga, using the Yoga Sutras and insight meditation as her compass. She shows each limb at work in her relationships, music, asana, meditation, and even in writing this book. Her discussion of each limb includes practical ways that readers can bring mindfulness into asana itself, and in a section called Reflections,” Bell encourages readers to experience even the most ordinary activity as extraordinary, whether it’s washing dishes, making tea, or rolling out their yoga mat.
Charlotte Bell began practicing yoga in 1982 and began teaching in 1986. Guided by her teachers, Pujari and Abhilasha Keays, founders of The Last Resort Retreat Center, in Duck Creek, Utah, she has blended the practice of yoga with that of insight, or mindfulness, meditation since 1986. Following a 1989 trip to Pune, India, she received teacher certification from B. K. S. Iyengar. She teaches workshops and retreats around the intermountain West and has served as faculty at several of Donna Farhi’s international teacher trainings in the United States and Canada. Each year, Charlotte teaches yoga on women’s river rafting trips.
She has modeled in Hugger Mugger Yoga Products’ catalogs since 1984 and represents them at yoga conferences throughout the United States. Photographs of Charlotte practicing asana have appeared in Yoga Journal, Yoga International, and Shambhala Sun for more than two decades.
Charlotte writes about yoga, meditation, and music. She has been a regular contributor to Catalyst magazine in Salt Lake City since 1998. She served as managing editor for The Event (an alternative newspaper), and edited and produced newsletters for the Intermountain Acoustic Music Association and the Intermountain Iyengar Yoga Association. She has been a columnist in New York Spirit magazine since 2001. Charlotte began writing feature articles for the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in 1991, and has been invited to collaborate on a book about the festival’s three-decade history.
A lifelong musician, Charlotte plays oboe and English horn with the Salt Lake Symphony and serves on their board of directors. She also performs with the woodwind quintet Scherzando Winds, the chamber folk quartet Blue Haiku, and the folk ensemble Red Rock Rondo.
Charlotte lives in Salt Lake City with her partner, Phillip Bimstein, and her three cats. For information about her yoga classes and workshops, visit www.charlottebellyoga.com.
Donna Farhi has practiced yoga for thirty years and has taught internationally for over two decades. She travels the world teaching yoga and training others to teach. Donna has been the asana columnist for Yoga International and Yoga Journal, and is the author of the contemporary classics Teaching Yoga (published by Rodmell Press), as well as The Breathing Book; Yoga, Mind, Body & Spirit; and Bringing Yoga to Life. Born in the United States, she now resides in New Zealand.
Foreword Donna Farhi xi
Introduction: Stepping onto the Path 1
What is Yoga?
Yoga: The Settling of the Mind 13
The Flowering of Mindfulness: Five Benefits of Mindful Living 24
The Path of Practice: Making Practice Your Art 35
Right Effort: Not Too Tight, Not Too Loose 40
Walking your Path
The Eight Limbs of Yoga: A Roadmap to Freedom 49
The First Limb: Yama: Living in Harmony with All Beings 54
Ahimsa: Dynamic Peacefulness 59
Satya: Impeccable Truthfulness 67
Asteya: Practicing Abundance 74
Brahmacharya: Caring for Our Creative Energy 79
Aparigraha: The Freedom of Letting Go 85
The Second Limb: Niyama: Conscious Everyday Living 90
Saucha: Cultivating Purity 94
Santosha: Awakening Contentment 99
Tapas: The Self-Generating Power of Discipline 103
Svadhyaya: Refining Wisdom 109
Ishvarapranidhana: Surrendering to Grace 113
The Third Limb: Asana: Abiding in Ease 117
The Fourth Limb: Pranayama: Expanding Life Force 126
The Fifth Limb: Pratyahara: Detaching from the Senses 136
The Sixth Limb: Dharana: Collecting the Mind 145
The Seventh Limb: Dhyana: Witnessing Presence 152
The Eighth Limb: Samadhi: Entering the Timeless 160
Afterword: No Expectations: You Can't Always Get What You Want 165
From the Publisher 171
About the Author 172