World-renowned yoga teacher Cyndi Lee has some great, snappy lines. I liked it when she told my new-to-yoga husband, who was trying to pretzel himself into a pose, that he was experiencing some “non-sexual, involuntary trembling.” I also liked it when she described Om Yoga—her particular style of yoga—as a way to get a tight butt, an open heart, and a clear mind. But don’t let Cyndi’s saucy sense of humor fool you. Her understanding of yoga, Buddhism, and the place where they meet is profound.
The founder of the OM Yoga center in New York City, Cyndi is also the author of Yoga Body, Buddha Mind, the bestselling OM Yoga in a Box series, and OM Yoga: A Guide to Daily Practice. She is also a regular contributor to the Shambhala Sun, Yoga Journal, and numerous other magazines. Gelek Rinpoche is her teacher.
From May 8-10, Cyndi kindly taught her “Yoga Body, Buddha Mind” workshop here in Halifax, Nova Scotia as a benefit for the Shambhala Sun Foundation. David Nichtern, Cyndi’s husband who’s an award-winning musician and senior teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition, was her co-teacher. Cyndi taught asanas and David taught meditation and gave dharma talks.
The philosophical foundation of “Yoga Body, Buddha Mind” is four-fold and wholly integrated into both the meditation and yoga aspects of the program: (1) cultivate friendship with yourself (2) develop dynamic equilibrium (3) work with obstacles as path, and (4) open your heart. This is a challenging program–and many participants, I am sure, woke up a little sore this morning. But I think we all also woke up a little more, well, awake—even without the coffee. Thank you to Halifax’s Therapeutic Yoga Approach Studio for hosting the workshop and thank you so much David and Cyndi for revitalizing our practice.
Thanks, too, to Cyndi for this great line: “Yoga is an emptying, an undoing. But it’s a doing, too.” Something to think about on the mat!