Chara is a yoga therapist and Ayurvedic practitioner, bonafide vata-pitta, and adventure-seeking global health and happiness expert dedicated to bold, balanced and blissful living. She's also the founder and creative force behind BlissBody&Soul, a unique on and off line resource for applying the ancient and enduring wisdom of Ayurveda to the challenges of modern thriving.
She's recognized for her healing chops by organizations including Yoga Alliance, International Association of Yoga Therapists, and National Ayurvedic Medical Association, and a host of others including her husband, 10-year-old twins, and a growing community of health and happiness seekers who want to do wellness differently.
She contributes to a number of online blogs and writes the weekly “Living Ayurveda” column here at doyou.com.
Name: Chara Caruthers
Occupation: Yoga teacher/therapist, Ayurvedic practitioner, Founder of Bliss Body & Soul.
Location: Byron Bay, Australia
Favorite yoga style: It depends (that's my Ayurveda talking!). Mainly anything that makes me feel light, strong, grounded, calm and happy!
Favorite yoga pose: It depends (that's my vata talking). Astavakrasana feels pretty good on the days when my body feels like going there. But if I had to pick a regular favorite I'd probably say Child's pose or Vajrasana since they're poses that I seem to find myself in at least a couple times a day.
Yoga is… a game changer.
What Do You Love Most About Yoga?
How there are rules but really no rules, so we kinda just have to feel our way into and through it.
How it can be a mirror into what goes on inside and gives me clues about things I might not be all that willing or able to see -- the fact that I often hold my breath, how much I push myself, the ways that I disconnect from situations and my body, my control freak tendencies.
How crazy good it feels to stretch, breathe and have a moment that's all about me. Did I mention I have 10yr old twins?!
How Has Yoga Changed Your Life, Personality And Physique?
The most significant way that Yoga has changed my life is by teaching me that the voice in my head, that for so many years and in so many different ways kept telling me “I'm not good enough,” isn't really me. Yoga empowered me to stop listening to that voice, and to find and listen to my own voice instead.
Becoming a yoga teacher was my way of deepening my understanding and practice of yoga. I never planned to actually stand up in front of people and share what was in my heart...no way! In becoming a teacher, I've become more of me. In outward terms, that means I'm stronger, definitely more fit, more relaxed and less likely to criticize, judge or shy away from people, places or situations. In short... yoga has put me on the road to awesomeness. And it'll do the same for you!
What Everyday Thing Did You Get Better At Because Of Yoga?
Every day thing? You name it, breathing, walking, connecting with people, taking a risk to be me, eating for the right reasons, eating for the wrong reasons. Mindfulness just makes everything better.
How Do You Keep Your Yoga Practice Interesting And Challenging?
I'm fascinated and inspired by the “Move a muscle, change a feeling” concept. So I use yoga to explore that idea. Mainly I just notice what I'm feeling as I practice, but sometimes I challenge myself to create a feeling through movement and I chose poses or breath based on how I want/need to feel. That's when it get's cool.
What Book, Website Or Person Inspires You?
“A Year of Living Your Yoga” by Judith Hanson Lasater is kinda like my bible – so much goodness packed into 365 punchy nuggets of wisdom! I use that info weekly, and no matter how many times I read it, it always feels new. My students inspire the hell out of me. They've got their challenges in life just like everyone, but the fact that they keep showing up, on their mats, and in their lives is a constant inspiration to me.
Them and that disabled veteran on the YouTube videos who transformed himself and his life through yoga from wheel chair to running to standing on his head. Makes me cry every time!
What Do You Listen To While You Do Yoga?
The sound of my breath, the sound of the ocean outside, the sounds of silence and occasionally a varied and soulful playlist that includes songs from folks like Nina Simone, Ray LaMontagne, Ben Harper, Van Morrison, Sade, Al Green and anything that reminds me that I'm alive and inspires me to move, breathe and let go.
What’s The Best Advice You’ve Ever Received?
Live in the question. I'm still trying to figure out what it means! ;-)