About Cyndi Lee

Cyndi Lee is the first female Western yoga teacher to fully integrate yoga asana and Tibetan Buddhism in her practice and teaching. In 1998, she founded the OM yoga Center in NYC, which became a mecca for yogis worldwide. One of the most influential teachers in the U.S., Cyndi’s teaching work is now focussed on yoga and meditation, and the resiliency that arises when we practice these methods in a sustainable manner.

Known as a “teacher’s teacher,” Cyndi has trained thousands of yoga teachers in Europe, Asia, Central America and the United States. She currently offers Meditation TT and Restorative TT on-line through www.yogainternational.com. Her annual “Very Special Yoga Teacher’s Retreat” magnetizes yoga teachers from all over the world who are looking for fresh inspiration, clarity of direction and reconnection to their own practices.

Cyndi is the author of five books including the classic yoga text: Yoga Body Buddha Mind. Other books are the The New York Times critically acclaimed May I Be Happy: A Memoir of Love, Yoga, and Changing My Mind and OM yoga: A Guide to Daily Practice. She is a regular contributor to numerous publications including Yoga Journal, Real Simple and Lion’s Roar.

Cyndi is a formally trained Lay Buddhist Chaplain under the guidance of Roshi Joan Halifax of Upaya Zen Center. Her root guru is the Tibetan master, Gelek Rimpoche. She has been teaching yoga for 40 years and meditation for nearly 30 years.

About Basic Goodness

Within us all is a core of Basic Goodness. This is not something we have to earn; it’s our natural state.

But sometimes we get confused, angry, anxious, afraid, and we don’t feel our goodness.

This is where yoga and meditation come in. These practices are course corrections, bringing us back into alignment with who we are already; they offer methods for us to rest fearlessly in our natural state, which is basically good.

Try it now:

Sit up nice and tall.
Feel your seat on the cushion or the chair.
Feel the space all around you.
Slowly begin to deepen your breathing, little by little, breath by breath.

Just like the fresh feeling we get from communing with nature, we can always come back to our own natural breath and once again, experience what it is to be alive, fresh and present.

This is how yoga can helps us appreciate our own goodness in every moment. When we become more familiar with our experience of goodness, we begin to recognize it in others. And we remember that the whole world is sacred.

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Read More of Cyndi's Story

Cyndi Lee is the first female Western yoga teacher to fully integrate yoga asana and Tibetan Buddhism in her teaching offering. In 1998, she founded the OM yoga Center in NYC, which became a mecca for yogis worldwide. One of the most influential teachers in the U.S., Cyndi is known for her dynamic and contemplative classes; creative, safe and sane sequencing; smart and soulful teachings — all offered in a non-competitive environment of goodness.

Cyndi Lee MeditationCyndi’s popular asana classes offer alignment based vinyasa with a dharma influence. Every class is different, designed to teach from the doing, and to relate to the very people that are in the room that day. Be prepared to move, to apply clarity to your alignment, to watch your mind, to sweat, to stay steady, to get bored and let go, to engage and be inspired.

How did all this begin? The daughter of a protestant minister dad and tailor/ceramist mom, Cyndi grew up in an environment that fostered creativity, play and spiritual seeking. Dancing around the living room of their Seattle home to “The Exotic Sounds of Martin Denny” was not uncommon. Family vacations were divided between camping at La WisWis in the Cascade Mountains, picking blackberries along the Columbia River and summers speaking Spanish in La Ciudad de Mexico. By the age of eight, Cyndi had dislocated her left elbow twice because climbing trees, rolling down sand dunes, ballet lessons, skiing, and cheerleading were just some of the ways she moved on a daily basis.

Yoga seemed like a natural choice when she went to Chapman College in 1971. It was southern California in the seventies, after all! Upon completion of her MFA thesis on Women, Spirituality and Indian Dance at UC, Irvine, Cyndi arrived in New York as a recipient of an Art History Fellowship to the Whitney Museum of American Art. This was a wonderful opportunity but not enough cash so Cyndi began teaching yoga in Greenwich Village.

Soon she became a fixture in NYC’s downtown modern dance scene, choreographing and performing primarily in XXY Dance/Music and Cyndi Lee Dance Company/Big Moves, Inc. Cyndi also choreographed over 20 music videos for Rick James, Simple Minds, Appolonia, the Dirty Dancing soundtrack, and many more including Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” which won the 1983 MTV Best Female Video of the Year award.

After meeting her root guru, Gelek Rimpoche, in the late 1980s, Cyndi’s practice of yoga and Buddhism merged with her choreography. In 1994, “Dharma Dances” was her last concert, which featured Allen Ginsberg singing his own songs and accompanying himself on harmonium. She said good bye to the dance world and starting teaching yoga full-time.

After 15 years of running OM yoga Center, Cyndi closed the studio in 2012 to allow more time for deepening her own practice as well as focussing on teaching scenarios which can benefit from her integrated, masterful teaching. These days Cyndi offers workshops and retreats for women based on her New York Times critically acclaimed book, May I Be Happy: A Memoir of Love, Yoga, and Changing My Mind.

Other popular workshops and retreats include Yoga Body Buddha Mind; Sanity & Sweat, and Finding Clarity, Strength & Stability.

As a master teacher, Cyndi also leads 100 hr., 200 hr., and 500 hr. Teacher Trainings as well as Meditation Teacher Training, Restorative Teacher Training and Pranayama Teacher Training. She works one-on-one, giving private meditation instruction and coaching for yoga teachers, in person and via skype.

When she’s not on the mat and cushion, Cyndi writes. She is the author and artist of Yoga Body, Buddha Mind; OM yoga Today; OM yoga, A Guide to Daily Practice; OM at Home, A Yoga Journal; and the OM yoga in a Box series. Cyndi is a contributing author to Will Meditation and Yoga Change My Life?; Joyful Mind; Joyful Wedding; and The Idiot’s Guide to Fitness and her work was featured in The Best Buddhist Writings of 2009.

A regular contributor to Yoga Journal magazine, Cyndi originated Yoga Journal’s Home Practice column, and been the year-long columnist for both the YJ Basics and the YJ Master Class columns. In addition to being featured on the cover of The Shambhala Sun, she has written two cover articles as well as their yoga column 2000-2003. Cyndi has written for Yoga International, Tricycle, Dance Magazine, BalletTanz, Cooking Light, Spa Finder, Seventeen, Natural Health, Mindful and Breathe.

Cyndi has been featured on ABC’s Early Show; Live with Reggie and Kathie Lee; CBS’s Good Morning, America; FCNN; and other television shows as well as numerous publications such as The Wall Street Journal; The New York Times; Vogue and Time Out.

What is OM Yoga

OM yoga, an internationally recognized method of yoga founded by Cyndi Lee in 1996, is alignment-based vinyasa yoga, grounded in the dharma practices of mindfulness and compassion. If you are prepared to move, to apply clarity to your alignment, to watch your mind, to sweat, to stay steady, to get bored and let go, to engage and be inspired — welcome to OM yoga!

Study with Cyndi Online

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."