"When we move in only one direction, we get out of balance. Our strengths get stronger, but our weaknesses get weaker."
This article and practice help you find a middle path and re-balance the physical with the mental, and the effort with the ease.
Question: "I do a variety of exercise, including yoga and weight training. I’ve heard that you are not supposed to train the same part of your body every day because you are supposed to let the muscles rest. Does that mean I can’t do the same yoga sequence daily?"
Cyndi Lee’s reply:
"There are several distinctions between weight training, walking, and yoga. In weight training and walking, you focus on a specific area of the body. Strength-training technique teaches us to work to what is called “failure,” which means you do a certain number of sets with a specific number of repetitions until you can’t go any longer. This method for building strength creates big muscles because it develops muscle mass away from the bone. In yoga, the muscles are drawn onto the bones evenly, front, back, and side, in order to support the skeleton."
Question: "What counterposes do you recommend for Urdhva Dhanurasana? Should I do a counterpose after all backbends even if I’m working on a sequence of backbends to prepare for a pose like Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose)?"
Cyndi Lee’s reply:
"It is a good idea to structure your practice by sequencing backbends together and building up to a big one like Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose). I do not recommend a counterpose after every backbend or backbend preparation. It can be stressful for the back muscles to continuously move back and forth to such extremes."
"My first true meditation guide was Cyndi Lee, the prolific author of several yoga books and the owner of Yoga Goodness in Lynchburg, Virginia. When I began meditation at her former Manhattan studio, Om Yoga Center, I learned to sit for 30 minutes at a time in an immaculate, quiet space." This articles dives deep into practices that will allow you to learn to find quiet and overcome distractions even in busy settings such as the mall, airport, or city streets.
"When it comes to yoga teachers, Cyndi Lee is the top of the top—the world-renowned founder of Om Yoga, she is also the author of five books (with a sixth in the works) and, through her teacher-trainings, is a force behind many of the greatest instructors on the planet. She is also about as real as they come. Real Simple deputy editor Danielle Claro asked Cyndi about that ever-elusive entity: the steady home practice."
"Lee, a well-loved yoga teacher and the founder of the world-renowned OM Yoga Center in New York City, has the enviable ability to look at her self-inflicted suffering with honesty, humor, and open-heartedness. She recounts a journey of self-discovery that leads her to the understanding —which she thankfully passes on to us—that the compassion she doles out to her students can also heal “her own heart and ultimately change her mind.”
“Even yogis have fat days. In May I Be Happy, superstar instructor, Cyndi Lee, admits to hating her body, despite being at the top of an industry that gushes self-acceptance. Whether or not you do yoga, this memoir is riveting.”
“It’s not every day that one of the leaders of the yoga world — in this case, the founder of OM yoga — comes out as having body-image issues. A yoga teacher who hates her body. Huh? It’s about time someone was straight about this. Her willingness to do so takes guts and is an inspiration to the rest of us.”
“Though May I Be Happy‘s message embraces female empowerment, its underlying wisdom about the body as a vehicle for self-improvement and instrument for spiritual growth should appeal to readers of either gender. Discover: A wise and vulnerable memoir about freeing ourselves of outdated images of the body from a skilled writer and spiritual teacher.”
“Instantly relatable to almost every woman, Lee’s journey reels readers in.”
“Despite international renown as a Buddhist-inspired yoga teacher, Lee (Yoga Body, Buddha Mind) experiences suffering just as we all do. In this heartfelt memoir, she reflects on hating her body—an all too common problem. Lee examines how her dance career, her relationship with her mother, and other life events affected her body image and in turn how it impacted her marriage. Honestly, and at times provocatively, she describes her journey toward remembering her basic goodness and finding contentment with her physical appearance. Woven into the narrative are first-person vignettes of Lee teaching her students. Her style is a beautifully accessible blend of Buddhist mindfulness practices and yoga asana. Guided by wise women (actress Jamie Lee Curtis, Christiane Northrup, self-help guru Louise Hay, various Buddhist teachers, friends, and herself), Lee remembers the truth: that we are all perfect and there is nothing wrong with us. Verdict Lee’s writing matches her teaching style: patient, melodic, and straightforward. Yoga students of all levels and abilities will learn from the simple, profound lessons in this book.”
“Lee beautifully describes the yin and yang of an all-encompassing yogic lifestyle. Sprinkled throughout are short (but sweetly sage) anecdotes from the veteran yoga instructor’s classes. The author writes that her beloved mother’s firm direction on “how to be ladylike and strong at the same time” still resonates with her today and pretty much sums up the tone of this distinctively Zen autobiography.”
“I recommend this book STRONGLY to women with body/image issues (and similarly, though perhaps less strongly, to men with body issues), as Cyndi’s honest journey (and the wisdom she was offered and gained along the way) can be profoundly helpful. I’d also recommend it to anyone doing a bit of soul-searching, and to all yoga teachers (and yoga-teacher-want-to-be’s). And yes, to those facing the challenges of an ailing parent, many parts of this book will speak to you as well. (Just be sure to have a box of tissues nearby.)”
"Cyndi, I feel that my teaching has shifted a bit - sequencing is more interesting and effective. As I was driving home tonight, I thought about the statements of "leaving crumbs" and "connecting the dots". While you meant that for us as direction to be better teachers, I recognize you were doing that for us as well. I believe I am just now processing some of the things you taught this summer. The subtle parts of classes escaped me, but I am getting them now. Thank you for the crumbs, for leaving plenty of space between the dots....I think I see the moon."
"The more yoga I experience, the more I realize how special it is that in your teacher trainings you actually teach your yogis how to *teach*"
"Cyndi’s sense of humor and genius teachings have made this OM 500 TT very, very stimulating every minute of the day. I’ve learned so much. I can’t wait to let it all come together and bring this to my teachings and to my life."
"I am a graduate of the OM 2003 Warrior Weekend Teacher Training Program. I had the honor to teach at OM yoga in New York City for several years. I have since moved to another city and was instantly offered teaching jobs based solely on the fact that I had been a teacher at Cyndi Lee’s OM yoga. Studio owners in my current city thought so highly of Cyndi Lee’s OM yoga Teacher Training that they hired me immediately and I found and continue to find that my OM yoga Teacher Training opens door after door for me. OM yoga (practicing there, teaching OM yoga, and learning from Cyndi Lee) helped me professionally in my own yoga-teaching career. Even more meaningfully for me, I feel that the path of mindfulness and attention to alignment that pours through the pores of OM yoga has influenced me and helped me to soften enough to become more “myself” since I first walked into the OM yoga studio."
“I’m Jeri and I’m a studio owner in Maine and I just finished my 500 hr TT with Cyndi Lee. It was an excellent experience, partly because I had been trained primarily in Anusara and I was challenged to think very differently. I found it was very helpful to come back to teach with Cyndi’s influence. She is very, very funny and she will work you and challenge you and you will feel like you have actually gained something really deep from the training.”
"Cyndi's skillful guidance lead me to a greater clarity of alignment based vinyasa. The yoga combined with the charm of Lynchburg made the Sun Session an unforgettable experience."
"Cyndi truly follows the middle path and instills that in her teachings. She combines disciple and humor to create an engaging, thought provoking and enlightening experience. I had the pleasure of taking her 500 hour OM Yoga Teacher Training. I have deepened my practice, work to continue challenge myself and never want to stop learning. I am pretty comfortable teaching, but withCyndi’s guidance I am more confident in my hands-on adjustments and clarity of instruction with my students. Thank you Cyndi for reinforcing my foundation, challenging me as a student and becoming my teacher. I hope to continue to learn from you for many years to come. Namaste."
"I have been teaching yoga for 12 years and over those 12 years I have often felt burned out and at a loss for inspiration. Now that I have taken Cyndi Lee’s OM 500 Teacher Training, I feel completely different, completely inspired, and so, so blessed. If you are even considering it, you must do it."
"I am a student of the OM 200 and OM 500 TT. I keep learning from Cyndi Lee who is just a master teacher, every class I take, every hour I’m here she says something wonderful that I can bring into my life, onto my mat, into my classes with my students. As a teacher and a student, I feel enriched every time I’m with her and in her class."
"I’m so glad I decided to take Cyndi Lee’s 500 hr TT. It advanced my personal practice in ways that I could not imagine. There is no pose I am afraid of anymore. It’s advanced my teaching practice, it’s advanced my dharma study. It’s just been a thrilling experience the whole time."