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Author Archives: Charlotte Bell

Charlotte Bell discovered yoga in 1982 and began teaching in 1986. Charlotte is the author of Mindful Yoga, Mindful Life: A Guide for Everyday Practice, published by Rodmell Press. Her second book, Yoga for Meditators (Rodmell Press) was published in May 2012. She writes a monthly column for CATALYST Magazine and serves as editor for Yoga U Online. Charlotte is a founding board member for GreenTREE Yoga, a non-profit that brings yoga to schools and to underserved populations. A lifelong musician, Charlotte plays oboe and English horn in the Salt Lake Symphony and folk sextet Red Rock Rondo, whose DVD won two Emmy awards in 2010.

  • Meatless Monday: High-Protein Pilaf

    A few days ago I was asked to bring a favorite grain or bean salad to a dinner. Not knowing which to make, I decided on a salad that has both.

    But here’s a fun fact: Quinoa isn’t actually a grain. It is the seed from the Chenopodium or Goosefoot plant. It is often classified as a grain because we cook it the same way we cook grains, but it is, in fact, part of a subcategory called “pseudograins.”

    No matter. Besides its earthy taste and toothsome texture, quinoa is a complete protein. Paired it with chickpeas and...

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  • Yoga Practice is a Long-Term Relationship

    I began yoga practice in 1982. I was, of course, much younger then. I don’t know that it ever crossed my mind that I might someday enter my 50s or even my 60s. But once I began practicing asana, from the first class, I knew that I’d found a practice I could continue for the rest of my life.

    My picture back then was that my practice would probably look pretty much like this: I’d practice for at least an hour every day. I might change what poses I focused on, but the trajectory of my practice would always...

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  • Meatless Monday: Quinoa Pilaf

    I was fortunate to spend 18 days in July at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. In addition to enjoying 2-1/2 weeks of noble silence and the teachings of some of the West’s most learned teachers, the 100 or so souls who sat and walked together were treated to creative, healthy vegetarian meals.

    One of my favorite meal days happened somewhere in the last half of the retreat, the day we enjoyed a chickpea salad and quinoa pilaf. Because we were in silence, ingredients were listed on cards in front of each dish, with potentially sensitive ingredients highlighted. On the day...

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  • Cool Down: Restorative Twist

    Spinal twists may be the most-often-requested type of asana in my classes. Not only do they feel good, but they also help keep your core muscles supple and your spine mobile.

    While the lumbar spine is only capable of twisting about five degrees, the thoracic spine—the section of the spine connected to the rib cage—loves to twist. The thoracic spine also happens to be an area that tends to become less mobile as we age. So twisting helps that more stable area of the spine maintain its range of motion.

    In yoga, we practice spinal twists in standing...

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  • Meatless Monday: Chilled Yogurt Soup

    When I first heard about chilled soups, probably 30 years ago, I wasn’t convinced. My picture of what soup should be was hearty and warming, served with a piece of toasted, crusty bread.

    Once I ventured into making gazpacho, I realized that chilled soup can be a refreshing change in the summer. It’s also a great way to use up a surplus of homegrown tomatoes. Since then I’ve tried all sorts of chilled soups including different gazpacho recipes, an amazing plum soup and vichyssoise (potato-leek soup), which I also enjoy hot in the winter.

    I’m not a big...

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  • Teaching Yoga—30 Years of Gratitude

    Friends who knew me in grade school and high school would probably never have pegged me as a person who’d end up teaching yoga. I was painfully shy. If students had been graded on participation back in my high school days, my GPA surely would have suffered. Knowing I had to give a talk in speech class kept me awake at night. I trembled uncontrollably while performing solo on piano and oboe—not a pleasant situation, especially on a wind instrument.

    And yet, when I first became enamored with yoga and was made aware of a teacher training course back...

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  • Meatless Monday: Pizza!

    Ever since I stumbled onto premade pizza dough by Epicurean Chefs, I’ve been enjoying anew the joys of homemade pizza. While I do know how to make a pretty mean pizza dough, I have to say the Epicurean Chefs really know their stuff. I’m willing to concede that compared to their dough—which IMO is pretty much perfect—mine is in need of some serious rethinking.

    I’ve been buying their frozen dough at a small neighborhood market in Salt Lake City, Liberty Heights Fresh. But a couple Saturdays ago I ran into the chefs themselves at the Farmers Market. So I...

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  • Spine-Healthy Forward Bends

    Forward bends are asana staples. In yoga practice, we bend forward while standing, sitting and even lying down. Actively lengthening back body muscles—especially the muscles of the hips and hamstrings—helps counteract the effects of sitting in chairs. Forward bending is inherently calming, as long as we approach it with an attitude of ease and curiosity, rather than an attitude of forcefulness.

    Keeping muscles of the hips and hamstrings supple can also be healthy for your back. Relaxed muscles in the hips and hamstrings help you maintain your spine’s natural “S” curves. Tight hamstrings can position the pelvis so that...

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  • Meatless Monday: Simple Arugula Salad

    I love the peppery taste of arugula. Mixed in with other greens, it adds a tangy, spicy flavor. On its own, arugula—especially as it matures and its flavor becomes bolder—makes a flavorful salad that doesn’t need a whole lot of other ingredients to make it interesting.

    One of my favorite quick summer dinners is an arugula salad with a simple dressing, hard-boiled eggs for protein, and a crunchy sourdough toast. The idea comes from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. The original recipe doesn’t specify a particular type of dressing, but I use a very simple mix of lemon and olive...

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  • Meatless Monday: Arugula Pasta

    I don’t know about other climates, but peppery arugula grows like a weed in Northern Utah. Once the weather turns hot, it goes to seed so fast it’s hard to keep up.

    I love arugula raw, in salads. But as arugula matures, so does its bite. When I buy a bunch of larger leaves (or the leaves in my garden mature) I like to mellow the bite a bit by cooking them. Cooking arugula is also a great way to utilize the leaves you picked or bought a week ago. They still have plenty of flavor, but the texture...

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