Shelley Schanfield’s fascination with Buddhism and yoga arose fifteen years ago, when she and her son were pursuing black belts in Tae Kwon Do in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Tae Kwon Do, like all the Eastern martial arts, includes techniques developed by Buddhist monks to calm and focus the mind. These techniques provided a source of physical and spiritual strength when devastating illness struck her family. Inspired by the Buddha’s transformational teachings, she set out to learn as much as she could about who he was. By profession a librarian, Shelley immersed herself in research on the time, place, and spiritual traditions that 2500 years ago produced Prince Siddhartha, who became the Buddha. Yoga, in some form, has a role in all of these traditions. While studying yoga’s history, Shelley began her own practice, which proved as transformational as Buddhist meditation.
Because she loves historical fiction, Shelley looked for a good novel about the Buddha. Unsatisfied with what she found, she decided to write her own. Her research had sparked her curiosity about Yasodhara, the woman who became Siddhartha’s wife, and she became inspired by the personal and spiritual struggles of women who knew him. She began to write the Sadhana trilogy, three novels that tell their stories.
Shelley hung up her black belt to practice Iyengar yoga. Both disciplines have enriched her world and the world of her books.