Resiliency in the Cyndisphere

February 15, 2018

Happy Year of the Earth Dog!  Happy, 
Healthy, Safe and Easeful Day to you!

I’m writing this letter to you on February 15, the day before the Lunar New Year.  According to the Lunar calendar and Tibetan Buddhist philosophy, we have just finished Don season, a two week period during which the unripened karma of the previous year comes to fruition. Typically this means that you may have experienced obstacles, difficulties, grumpiness, more confusion than usual or feelings of stuckness.  
The last two weeks for me have been extremely intense because I had total hip replacement surgery on January 30. This is a big deal, in which part of your femur is removed and a prosthesis is implanted. I was wiling to do such a weird thing to my body because I had been living in severe chronic pain for nearly a year and a half. The pain, caused by arthritis, was only going to get worse and the scope of my life was diminishing. Even just walking from my back door to the end of the driveway was no longer possible for me. I was also willing to do this surgery because it has a very high success rate and I discovered that I know at least 40 people (including yogis and dancers) who have had it. Everyone told me: You are going to have a new life! Your pain will be gone as soon as you wake up from the operation! You’ll be walking, biking, and back on your yoga mat in just a few months!

Recovery means elevating your legs.

What no one mentioned was that the first 7-10 days after the surgery can be pretty rough.  I was full of pain meds which make you feel sick to your stomach, dizzy, sleepy, and just plain yucky.  Although I only took meds for 24 hours, it still took days for the effects to subside. I hadn’t expected this since all the feedback I got was how wonderful it is when you are fully on the other side of recovery. For me, this was the main obstacle of Don season – working with my mind and my emotions as I slowly began to fully grok my new situation and all the work in front of me.

Finally, my skin changed from green to grey to my normal pink-like tone. I started walking with a walker, then a cane and then no cane. I am now able to draw myself up nice and tall, the way we all do when practicing a standing balance like Tree Pose. From there I can walk without a cane and without a limp – although when I showed that to my doctor he mumbled under his breath to Brad, “not sure how long she can sustain that, walking like a queen.” (lol)
And now it is February 15 and tomorrow is the Lunar New Year. This is “neutral” day when we are advised to clean up the house, clear the clutter, and prepare for the fresh start of the New Year.
This feels familiar.  It’s what my guru Gelek Rimpoche always taught us.  Before we practice, we must clean the space, refresh the altar, organize the props.  While you do this you will notice that you are in a liminal mind space, too, where you are neither in or out of practice.  Your physical actions create an opportunity for your mind to relax and open up, and for your body to touch the whole body of your practice space. Now you are ready for the fresh start of the New Year.
You might have days when you feel pressed for time and don’t want to spend your precious practice minutes cleaning the floor.  Let me tell you a story.  Once there was a dharma practitioner who was very ernest but not very bright.  He went into monastic training but failed at it, because he was not able to memorize the mantras or light the candles in the right order.  He was asked to leave. Eventually the Buddha found him and took him to another monastery, where he gave him a simple job of sweeping.  

The Buddha said,  “All you need to do is sweep the temple floor, back and forth, again and again.  And, as you do this, please say, “Sweep the dust, Sweep the dirt.”  The dharma practitioner followed these instructions exactly and he became enlightened.  
Gelek Rimpoche taught me that this is what all practice is about, moving from Purification to Accumulation.  First we purify our confusion, cravings, and aversions. Then, from a neutral place, our practice becomes about accumulating a strong relationship with our Basic Goodness.  What we accumulate is also called Merit, which we can share with others by dedicating this merit to all beings.  
Why not live like this every day?  When we brush our teeth or take a shower, in essence, we are doing the same thing.  Instead of zooming through the neutral period between sleeping and waking, between autopilot living and paying attention, let’s train ourselves to get in touch with the in-between place of transition, letting go, preparation, fullness and emptiness. 

The ability to practice mindfulness, awareness, integration, inclusivity and compassion will be strengthened by connecting to the neutral spaciousness that is available in-between every breath, every thought, every step that we take. 


Kripalu Institute, Lenox, MA

April 13-15

This will be the first teaching weekend following my hip replacement surgery in January. If I can do it, you can do it – it’s about Resiliency after all. In this retreat we will toggle between active and restorative asana, meditation and contemplation, walking meditation, conversation and writing practice. This is about growing our capacity to be nimble with change and to hone our practices so that when we get stressed, our default is to take refuge in our body and mind, rather than looking outside ourselves.   
This retreat is good for all levels.  I recommend it for those who need a fresh approach to their yoga practice or those who want to use the methods of yoga to enrich their lives.  It’s a good one for advanced yogis to share with their newer-to-yoga friends.

I’m only teaching 2 classes and 1 workshop.
They will fill quickly, be sure to register early!
Use the code CYNDI for a 15% discount


Come join me at The Art of Living Retreat Center in
the gorgeous mountains just outside Asheville, NC. It 
will be exquisitely beautiful at this time of year and the facility is spectacular, including a spa, pottery classes, nature walks and great healthy food.

Join me at the Himalayan Institute.
Details coming soon. 

Join me at the Shambhala Mountain Center.

Details coming soon. 


Join me at the Kriplau in Lenox, MA.

Details coming soon. 

My new yoga sequence: The Hidden Jewel in the Refrigerator”

Check out my blog post on the Cyndisphere about the yoga practice I created while living in chronic pain. I’ve been doing this sequence almost every day for about 6 months.  It’s based on what was in my refrigerator.  That is how Roshi Bernie Glassman describes the practice of appreciating that we already have everything we need to live a full life.

Here are some upcoming online offerings coming out this year. Stay connected with me on my Facebook page to be the first to know about how to sign-up or tune-in!
14 Days of Yoga Snacks
Yoga International’s Yoga Challenge for the month of March

Too busy to do long yoga classes? I offer you two weeks of 12-minute daily asana practices. Keep an eye on my Facebook page for more info and how to sign-up! 

Tune-in to these interviews I’ll be doing in the up-coming months. All of them are accessible online and completely free for you to join live or enjoy the recordings after.

Coming in May 4, 2018

Coming June 21, 2018
(the UN’s International Day of Yoga) 


PT Beth Scott and dear friend and Yoga Therapist Jennifer Brilliant helped me a lot!  
And so did LIttle Bit!

Being in recovery, I even knit a pair of socks for Brad for Valentine’s Day.
I can’t drive and can’t walk very 
far so it’s really nice to have 
friends come and visit. Little Bit likes visitors, too. This was 
Day 3 after surgery.

Recovering from hip replacement surgery means 
NO forward bending so my wonderful hubby 
helped me trim my toe nails.

For me, recovery involves lots of sashiko embroidering!

From The Yogis

  • Terri Bender Morrison, Owner, Mindful Motion Yoga, OM 500 TT 2015

    "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."

  • Zan Margolis, OM 200 TT , 2012

    "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*"

  • Susan Golden, Studio Owner, Maine

    "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."

  • Natalie Levin, OM Yoga Graduate, OM Warrior Weekend Teacher Training Program 2003

    "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."

  • Jeri Wilson, Studio Owner, Maine

    “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.”

  • Jeanie Gasque, Yoga Teacher, South Carolina, OM 500 TT 2015

    "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."

  • Gina Callendar, Yoga Teacher, Yonkers, NY, OM 500 TT 2015

    "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."

  • Erica Settino, Founder, , Karuna for Animals

    "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."

  • Donna Levenstien, Yoga Teacher, Lake George, NY

    "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."

  • Ann Megyas, Actor, Yoga Teacher, , Hospice Worker

    "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."

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