Few yoga teachers have connected
with their students on the level of Cyndi Lee, who, in her prolific career, has
completely redefined what it means to be a teacher in modern yoga culture. She
is the founder of the internationally-renowned OM Yoga Center in Manhattan, author of
several yoga books, and a media darling. Cyndi is frequently featured on
national TV, including ABC, CBS, CNN, and has been profiled in Vogue, In Style, The Wall Street Journal,
and Newsweek, among many others. This
January, Cyndi lends her trademark playful and inspirational voice to her first
ever memoir,MAY I BE HAPPY: A Memoir of Love, Yoga and Changing My Mind.
Many people assume that yoga teachers
are always relaxed, have a constant mental outlook of contentment, and a body
that is outrageously flexible and lithe. But this was not always the case for Cyndi.
In fact, though she hid it well, Cyndi was
caught in a lifelong cycle of repetitive self-judgment about her body.But when Cyndi’s lack of self-compassion
began affecting her closest relationships, most notably the one with her self,
she recognized that she needed a change.
The moment of awareness came when
Cyndi woke up one morning and began obsessing over her gray roots. In the
middle of her emotional turmoil, Lee paused and realized that she hada problem – all of her happiness and
sense of self-worth was tied up in how she felt, not just about her gray hair,
but also her wrinkles, her thighs, and an infinite list of other body image
complaints. How could she love others if she didn’t love her self? Inspired by
the honesty and vulnerability of her students, Cyndi made a plan. First, she
would embrace the gray; second, she would go to India on a Buddhist pilgrimage; and
third, she would talk to other women about finding contentment in their own
lives and selves.
I BE HAPPYcaptures
one woman’s remarkable journey from the sacred sites of the Indian countryside,
to the center of the 2011 earthquake in Japan, to the living room of Jamie
Lee Curtis (just one of the wise women Cyndi seeks for counsel). Though her
mission is met with roadblocks, including the challenges of caring for a parent
with dementia and dealing with an unexpected deception in her marriage, Lee
applies the ancient Buddhist practice of loving-kindness
meditation to learn that compassion is the only antidote to hate.
Lee’s willingness to boldly open the
curtains on the most intimate moments an individual can have lends MAY I BE HAPPYan unparalleled authenticity
rarely found in its genre.
About the Author:
Lee founded the internationally renowned OM yoga center in New York City in 1998. She is the author of
several books on yoga, including Yoga
Body, Buddha Mind and is a regular contributor to Yoga Journal. Lee and OM yoga have
been featured on national television and in print. She teaches OM yoga teacher trainings worldwide.
For all her wisdom as a teacher, Cyndi Lee understood intuitively that she still had a lot to learn. In spite of her success in physically demanding professions - dancer, choreographer, and yoga teacher - Lee was caught in a lifelong cycle of repetitive self-judgment about her body.