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May I Be Happy  Book Reviews

Yoga International
“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.”
Publisher's Weekly
“Instantly relatable to almost every woman, Lee’s journey reels readers in.”
This Month's Must-Read, Fitness Magazine
“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.”
The Shambhala Sun
“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.”
Kirkus Review
“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.”
Shelf Awareness
“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 Discover:A wise and vulnerable memoir about freeing ourselves of outdated images of the body from a skilled writer and spiritual teacher.”
Life Unity
“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.)”
Library Journal Review
“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.”

 

 
Yoga Journal Articles

Comparing the Approach to Exercise Training Vs. Yoga Practice
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.

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Counterposes for Backbends
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.

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