Shelley Schanfield’s lifelong interest in Asian religious and mythological traditions took a surprising turn when she and her son began to study Tae Kwon Do, a Korean martial art, at a dojo 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 Buddhism’s beginnings in ancient India. 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. She learned that 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.
Some years back, Shelley hung up her Tae Kwon Do black belt to practice Iyengar yoga. Both disciplines have enriched her world and the world of her books.
Shelley was recently featured on IndependentPublisher.com, check out her article here.