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May I Be Happy: A Memoir of Love, Yoga, and Changing My Mind

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In the candid, contemplative memoir May I Be Happy, revered yoga teacher Cyndi Lee gives readers an unforgettable gift: the ability to focus on our experiences as we have them, on the way to a lighter life. For all her wisdom as a teacher, Cyndi Lee—founder of New York’s world renowned OM yoga Center—understood intuitively that she still had a lot to learn. In spite of her In the candid, contemplative memoir May I Be Happy, revered yoga teacher Cyndi Lee gives readers an unforgettable gift: the ability to focus on our experiences as we have them, on the way to a lighter life. For all her wisdom as a teacher, Cyndi Lee—founder of New York’s world renowned OM yoga Center—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. Instead of the radical contentment expected in international yoga teachers, she realized that hating her body was a form of suffering, which was infecting her closest relationships—including her relationship to herself. Inspired by the honesty and vulnerability of her students, Lee embarked on a journey of self-discovery that led her outward—from the sacred sites of the parched Indian countryside to the center of the 2011 earthquake in Japan—and inward, to seek the counsel of wise women, friends and strangers both. Applying the ancient Buddhist practice of loving-kindness meditation to herself, Lee learned that compassion is the only antidote to hatred, thereby healing her heart and changing her mind. With prose as agile as the yoga sequences she creates, May I Be Happy gives voice to Lee’s belief that every life arises, abides, and ultimately dissolves. By becoming her own best student, Lee internalizes the strength, stability, and clarity she imparts in her Buddhist-inspired yoga classes.


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In the candid, contemplative memoir May I Be Happy, revered yoga teacher Cyndi Lee gives readers an unforgettable gift: the ability to focus on our experiences as we have them, on the way to a lighter life. For all her wisdom as a teacher, Cyndi Lee—founder of New York’s world renowned OM yoga Center—understood intuitively that she still had a lot to learn. In spite of her In the candid, contemplative memoir May I Be Happy, revered yoga teacher Cyndi Lee gives readers an unforgettable gift: the ability to focus on our experiences as we have them, on the way to a lighter life. For all her wisdom as a teacher, Cyndi Lee—founder of New York’s world renowned OM yoga Center—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. Instead of the radical contentment expected in international yoga teachers, she realized that hating her body was a form of suffering, which was infecting her closest relationships—including her relationship to herself. Inspired by the honesty and vulnerability of her students, Lee embarked on a journey of self-discovery that led her outward—from the sacred sites of the parched Indian countryside to the center of the 2011 earthquake in Japan—and inward, to seek the counsel of wise women, friends and strangers both. Applying the ancient Buddhist practice of loving-kindness meditation to herself, Lee learned that compassion is the only antidote to hatred, thereby healing her heart and changing her mind. With prose as agile as the yoga sequences she creates, May I Be Happy gives voice to Lee’s belief that every life arises, abides, and ultimately dissolves. By becoming her own best student, Lee internalizes the strength, stability, and clarity she imparts in her Buddhist-inspired yoga classes.

30 review for May I Be Happy: A Memoir of Love, Yoga, and Changing My Mind

  1. 5 out of 5

    sendann

    If you like memoirs about women who struggle with body image and personal relationships, take yoga, get deeper into their issues, travel to India, learn a few things, and come home to some interesting conclusions, DO NOT BE FOOLED INTO READING THIS. It is just not a good addition to the genre. I pressed on, and managed to finish within a few hours of my last update. It's quite astounding how bad this book is, consider how much promise I had thought it held. A few times, I was convinced I had some If you like memoirs about women who struggle with body image and personal relationships, take yoga, get deeper into their issues, travel to India, learn a few things, and come home to some interesting conclusions, DO NOT BE FOOLED INTO READING THIS. It is just not a good addition to the genre. I pressed on, and managed to finish within a few hours of my last update. It's quite astounding how bad this book is, consider how much promise I had thought it held. A few times, I was convinced I had some weird WIlliam S BUrroughs version where the first chapter had been chopped up into pieces, the words reconfigured in different orders yet saying the same thing over and over again. No but really, the author seems like a person with a lot to offer, but what kind of world are we living in where a book so clearly unfinished is allowed to go to print based, I assume, on the author's (vast, vast) connections with famous (famous, so, so famous) people? I love yoga/eating disorder/trip to india memoirs, check my 'read' shelf for a small plethora. But this attempt is unfinished, and it reads as though the authors journey is unfinished, and rather circular. I might like to read something by her called "wisdom for teachers', since those moments held the most substance. Reading other reactions from readers who seem to have enjoyed the book, I wonder if I'm just not the target market, and if perhaps this book is aimed at a different generation. One of inconsolable whiners with too many friends in publishing.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Michael Blackmore

    Can't say I really liked this one. There are better books about body image and better ones about yoga. I think the most glaring problem (after the obsessive name dropping) was it just felt way too self-centered even for an autobiography. And while the author focuses on her issues it just never seems to result in real growth and change, just ever deepening obsessing with her issues. I know some people loved it, sadly I'm not one of those. Can't really recommend it myself. Her other books look to b Can't say I really liked this one. There are better books about body image and better ones about yoga. I think the most glaring problem (after the obsessive name dropping) was it just felt way too self-centered even for an autobiography. And while the author focuses on her issues it just never seems to result in real growth and change, just ever deepening obsessing with her issues. I know some people loved it, sadly I'm not one of those. Can't really recommend it myself. Her other books look to be way better though (which I've also been told by others who shared my opinion of this one.)

  3. 4 out of 5

    Carmen

    This book tried to be too many things and ultimately failed at all of them. It was 5 full disks of the author who describes herself at "naturally thin with a good metabolism" and who is a yoga teacher go on and ON about how fat she thinks she is and how she hates her body. Beyond infuriating and boring. There were only a few bits about doing or teaching yoga and FAR too much about her dying mother (and her dying mother's body). The narrative was entirely disjointed and frustrating to follow. Ult This book tried to be too many things and ultimately failed at all of them. It was 5 full disks of the author who describes herself at "naturally thin with a good metabolism" and who is a yoga teacher go on and ON about how fat she thinks she is and how she hates her body. Beyond infuriating and boring. There were only a few bits about doing or teaching yoga and FAR too much about her dying mother (and her dying mother's body). The narrative was entirely disjointed and frustrating to follow. Ultimately, the author speaks to a nun about hating her body and the nun reminds her of some wisdom she already has and she claims that she has "changed her mind" about hating her body. Which isn't exactly true by the last CD. If I had read the book version (vs audio) I would have skipped the dying mother parts and I might have enjoyed it more.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Burton

    I really wanted to like this because Cyndi Lee is a brilliant yoga teacher. I foolishly thought this would be about yoga, about owning a studio, about balancing business & yoga. It isn't. It's mostly about how much she hates her body. For page after page she whines on about how fat she is yet doesn't seem to do much about changing her mindset (because it is a mindset, she isn't fat). I get it. I get that a lot of women suffer from negative body image. I just don't think this book was very helpful I really wanted to like this because Cyndi Lee is a brilliant yoga teacher. I foolishly thought this would be about yoga, about owning a studio, about balancing business & yoga. It isn't. It's mostly about how much she hates her body. For page after page she whines on about how fat she is yet doesn't seem to do much about changing her mindset (because it is a mindset, she isn't fat). I get it. I get that a lot of women suffer from negative body image. I just don't think this book was very helpful. Given the amazing tools yoga has to deal with our issues I was surprised by the approach. Also, ftr, if my husband did what her's did he'd have been out on his bloody ear!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Dara

    I really wanted to like this book, but it was way too disjointed for me. She never seems to get on track and 3/4 through, she's still talking about starting a self-help journey for herself. Almost like she's trying to pump herself up? It's very tiresome for the reader. On the positive side, I enjoyed the sections where she recounts her teacher trainings. As a yoga student myself, I learned from her insights and analogies. I also liked reading about her discussions with friends (including Cyndi La I really wanted to like this book, but it was way too disjointed for me. She never seems to get on track and 3/4 through, she's still talking about starting a self-help journey for herself. Almost like she's trying to pump herself up? It's very tiresome for the reader. On the positive side, I enjoyed the sections where she recounts her teacher trainings. As a yoga student myself, I learned from her insights and analogies. I also liked reading about her discussions with friends (including Cyndi Lauper and Jamie Lee Curtis) about being a woman and how we view her bodies.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Candice

    So technically, I did not finish this book with less than 100 pages left to read but she made me so mad that I don't care. I don't understand how someone who is supposedly such a wonderful yoga instructor could be such a down right mean person. She is into fat shaming others and her own beliefs about her body image are so poor. Like I mentioned in my update, she mentioned the name of her yoga studio 3 times in the first 50 pages and the constant name dropping of celebrities pissed me off. What m So technically, I did not finish this book with less than 100 pages left to read but she made me so mad that I don't care. I don't understand how someone who is supposedly such a wonderful yoga instructor could be such a down right mean person. She is into fat shaming others and her own beliefs about her body image are so poor. Like I mentioned in my update, she mentioned the name of her yoga studio 3 times in the first 50 pages and the constant name dropping of celebrities pissed me off. What made me give up on finishing this book is when she was talking about her mother's caretaker. When she says that she never saw her eat, "and we all know that is usually a sign of secret bingeing" I was done. How does she know what is going on in this woman's life. She reinforced a stereotype on this woman who spends 12 hours a day caring for her ailing mother. I am just so mad at this woman. To me, she should be ashamed of herself and I would never support her as a yoga instructor.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    Honestly, I did not read the whole book. I have a very low threshold for reading books that don't pull my heart strings and inspire me within the first 20 pages. I found Lee's voice a bit too pretentious for my taste, and for someone who speaks about happiness, I found a lot of anger and resentment present. I can see how this book captivates people practicing yoga these days, but I found myself wondering if there is a formula publishers and editors are prescribing about what a yoga book should s Honestly, I did not read the whole book. I have a very low threshold for reading books that don't pull my heart strings and inspire me within the first 20 pages. I found Lee's voice a bit too pretentious for my taste, and for someone who speaks about happiness, I found a lot of anger and resentment present. I can see how this book captivates people practicing yoga these days, but I found myself wondering if there is a formula publishers and editors are prescribing about what a yoga book should sound like and how it should be written? I guess, I'm a pretty tough critic, but "May I be happy" made me feel like I'd just eaten a bad piece of candy.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kasey Jueds

    I found this such a brave and moving book. Brave because the subject--Cyndi Lee's unhappy and critical relationship with her body--isn't one yoga teachers, especially famous yoga teachers, are "supposed" to have (and Lee acknowledges this). So, to not only admit to this kind of self-hatred, but to actually write a whole (smart, funny, thoughtful, compassionate) book about it, strikes me as incredibly courageous. The idea that we can't really love other people or help them to be happy unless we l I found this such a brave and moving book. Brave because the subject--Cyndi Lee's unhappy and critical relationship with her body--isn't one yoga teachers, especially famous yoga teachers, are "supposed" to have (and Lee acknowledges this). So, to not only admit to this kind of self-hatred, but to actually write a whole (smart, funny, thoughtful, compassionate) book about it, strikes me as incredibly courageous. The idea that we can't really love other people or help them to be happy unless we love ourselves in some basic ways is a cliche, but it's also true. And Lee's memoir is a study in self-compassion that ripples outward to her yoga students and her readers, too.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    It made me think about how kind or unkind I can be to myself!! I found this book very relatable and the stories really made me pause and think. I thoroughly enjoyed it and will definitely go back to some of the passages for motivation.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    A friend in publishing who knows I'm an avid yogini passed this memoir along to me. I enjoyed it. Lee reflects on what it means to be a woman inhabiting a woman's body, and how she has struggled with her body image her whole life. While I found the inspiration for the memoir well-founded––the desire to display Lee's own insecurities in order to lessen the shame for other women that they might feel about their bodies–– I also found the dwelling on her body somewhat to my dislike, if only because A friend in publishing who knows I'm an avid yogini passed this memoir along to me. I enjoyed it. Lee reflects on what it means to be a woman inhabiting a woman's body, and how she has struggled with her body image her whole life. While I found the inspiration for the memoir well-founded––the desire to display Lee's own insecurities in order to lessen the shame for other women that they might feel about their bodies–– I also found the dwelling on her body somewhat to my dislike, if only because it felt more therapeutic than prescriptive. I'm not bashing the content, but I did not find much here that spoke to me that wasn't directly related to the yogic aspect (everything Lee wrote about being a teacher, being at her studio, and the nuggets of wisdom she shares with her students, I definitely read with relish). I've been blessed to not have struggled too much with body issues as a young girl or as an adult. Finding yoga in my twenties has also helped me solidify my sense of self, and I've been able to curb many small unkindnesses I may think to offer myself about my body. That's not to say I don't think Lee's memoir has nothing to offer; on the contrary. I am just not sure I was the intended audience. I'd been hoping for more related to the yoga (a la Poser or Yoga Bitch), but I was satisfied with the read overall.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    I really enjoy yoga memoirs, which is one of the reasons I purchased this book. Also, I pre-ordered this from Amazon after participating in one of Cyndi Lee's workshops and seeing how down to Earth she is. I didn't realize the book was going to deal with body issues, because who would think a long-time and famous yoga teacher would have body issues? However, her bravery to honestly write about her own body image and acceptance struggles made me feel better about my own. Cyndi is a gifted writer. I really enjoy yoga memoirs, which is one of the reasons I purchased this book. Also, I pre-ordered this from Amazon after participating in one of Cyndi Lee's workshops and seeing how down to Earth she is. I didn't realize the book was going to deal with body issues, because who would think a long-time and famous yoga teacher would have body issues? However, her bravery to honestly write about her own body image and acceptance struggles made me feel better about my own. Cyndi is a gifted writer. Throughout the book, you read about her early years, her parents, her changing relationship with her mother, yoga, her marriage, her Buddhism, and so on. All of this is skillfully woven together, like a beautiful tapestry. It's a quick read, but one that's read best in pieces, allowing time for her writing to sink in and resonate with the reader. It's a moving book, and I'm so glad I read it. To Cyndi, thank you for writing it. I look forward to reading your future books.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Meghan

    I started reading this memoir by the founder of OM Yoga, and it seemed like what I expected for a while, and then there was a part where she's all talking about something that happened "... when I was on tour as a backup dancer for Cyndi Lauper" and then I was all like, huh. Maybe there's more to this than spirituality. Mostly it's grounded in thinking about women and body image, with an occasional transgression like interviewing her "dear friend" Jamie Lee Curtis, but mostly celebrity-free and I started reading this memoir by the founder of OM Yoga, and it seemed like what I expected for a while, and then there was a part where she's all talking about something that happened "... when I was on tour as a backup dancer for Cyndi Lauper" and then I was all like, huh. Maybe there's more to this than spirituality. Mostly it's grounded in thinking about women and body image, with an occasional transgression like interviewing her "dear friend" Jamie Lee Curtis, but mostly celebrity-free and thoughtful. Some of the most real parts are when she talks about what yoga really is, where helping her Parkinson's-stricken mom raise her hands in the air while taking a couple slow breaths is as fully embodied of a yoga experience as the most advanced Vinyasa contortions.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Heather Pagano

    This book really spoke to me. I especially loved hearing the audio book read aloud by the author, whose voice once guided me on CD throughout my first years of yoga practice. The memoir is very personal, completely grounded in the author's experiences with negative body image. Yet it's also a more universal exploration of how to overcome self-loathing and come to peace with who you are. I could not be more impressed by how the author wrote about the many stresses going on in her life without for This book really spoke to me. I especially loved hearing the audio book read aloud by the author, whose voice once guided me on CD throughout my first years of yoga practice. The memoir is very personal, completely grounded in the author's experiences with negative body image. Yet it's also a more universal exploration of how to overcome self-loathing and come to peace with who you are. I could not be more impressed by how the author wrote about the many stresses going on in her life without for one minute seeming to beg the reader for sympathy. This is absolutely not a "woe is me," victimized drama. It's an attempt at making a practical roadmap to a better life, drawn by the author from her personal journey to a place of self-acceptance.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    I couldn't get enough of this book! This memoir is very real, as it combines the wisdom of a Buddhist yogi with the reality that is body image of women in America, in one woman's story. I found so many parts of the book paralleled exactly what I have been thinking about, and even learning about in my personal yoga practice, which really brought me closer to this book. I couldn't get enough of this book! This memoir is very real, as it combines the wisdom of a Buddhist yogi with the reality that is body image of women in America, in one woman's story. I found so many parts of the book paralleled exactly what I have been thinking about, and even learning about in my personal yoga practice, which really brought me closer to this book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Pate

    This book is an excellent read if you, like me, need to learn how to not be so hard on yourself. Lee's body image struggle was strikingly and sadly familiar but I walked away from the book feeling renewed. And committed to expanding my yoga practice. This book is an excellent read if you, like me, need to learn how to not be so hard on yourself. Lee's body image struggle was strikingly and sadly familiar but I walked away from the book feeling renewed. And committed to expanding my yoga practice.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Bernadette

    The subject matter is so important for women that I think this is a must read. I particularly admire Cyndi Lee's honesty. I think her position as a well established yoga teacher drives home how pervasive dysfunctional relationships with our bodies really are. The subject matter is so important for women that I think this is a must read. I particularly admire Cyndi Lee's honesty. I think her position as a well established yoga teacher drives home how pervasive dysfunctional relationships with our bodies really are.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sung-ji

    This is not a memoir. These are rambling self-indulgent diary rants about feeling fat and bloated from jetting around the world to hobnob with other aging minor celebrities. If someone did actually edit it, I shudder to think of what they had to work with. How not to write a memoir.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    Although this book kept me turning the pages (I rarely finish 2 star books and I did finish this one), somehow it never really cohered.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Xin Ru Toh

    I enjoyed the memoir aspect of the book, where the writer shared her vulnerabilities as well as her relationships with her mother, husband, and yoga community. Although many reviews stated their displeasure that the writer seemed to be complaining despite her relatively privileged and accomplished background, I felt that this only highlighted the fact that may of us deal with similar issues mentally regardless of how our physically appearances and lives appear to other people. Even now, having l I enjoyed the memoir aspect of the book, where the writer shared her vulnerabilities as well as her relationships with her mother, husband, and yoga community. Although many reviews stated their displeasure that the writer seemed to be complaining despite her relatively privileged and accomplished background, I felt that this only highlighted the fact that may of us deal with similar issues mentally regardless of how our physically appearances and lives appear to other people. Even now, having lost 12kg, I still struggle with my body image, relationship with food and exercise, and self-esteem. Thus, I appreciated the fact that the writer tried to explore the topic of how an unhealthy mindset related to our bodies has been ingrained in many of us, especially females, since young. However, I did not enjoy the interviews she conducted as it made the book lose its focus (Was this a memoir or a piece of investigative journalism?), and unfortunately I also felt that I did not learn much at the end, such that the book did not meet my expectations.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Genevieve

    I have read many of the reviews on this book. This memoir definitely has a niche audience: Yoga teachers and people with dysphoric body image. I am a yoga/mediation who admires Cyndi Lee very much. I appreciated her frank honesty in this book. As a person whose dysphoric body image is/was no worse than the average American woman, I became annoyed about midway thru the book with Cyndi's continuous return to this topic. However, she tied it up beautifully at the end. As a yoga teacher, I appreciat I have read many of the reviews on this book. This memoir definitely has a niche audience: Yoga teachers and people with dysphoric body image. I am a yoga/mediation who admires Cyndi Lee very much. I appreciated her frank honesty in this book. As a person whose dysphoric body image is/was no worse than the average American woman, I became annoyed about midway thru the book with Cyndi's continuous return to this topic. However, she tied it up beautifully at the end. As a yoga teacher, I appreciated how she skillfully wove her yoga class teachings. Her experience in Japan was an awakening that took her time to process. I wish I knew more about how her Mom finally passed and how she processed her husband's infidelities. I salute her for her candid self-revelations. Her writings are a blessing to all in different ways.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sheila

    I liked the author’s integration of yoga teaching with the dharma. I found her struggles with not liking her body image interesting and relatable. Her journey to overcome her negative and critical thoughts was well developed and filled with humorous anecdotes. I could relate to her feelings around caring for her elderly mother and her deepening sense of closeness with her mother in the final stages of her life.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Danica

    Definitely not what I expected. I listened to this through audio book and I felt that it sounded very whiny and self centered to be honest. I have read other biographies that delt with yoga and this was the only one so far that I was very disappointed with .

  23. 4 out of 5

    Val Rich

    I listened to this on audio and found the author charming, honest, and convincing. I honestly feel happier having "read" the book. =D I'm hoping to see Cyndi Lee at Kripalu simply because I love her attitude and take on life. I listened to this on audio and found the author charming, honest, and convincing. I honestly feel happier having "read" the book. =D I'm hoping to see Cyndi Lee at Kripalu simply because I love her attitude and take on life.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    This book was just what I needed at this time. I don’t know if non-yoga teachers would love it as much as I did, but I think yoga practitioners would enjoy it as well.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kate Olson

    DNF after 10 minutes and other reviews seem to concur. Very very self-centered and not for me.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lois

    Wow, I wasn’t expecting this. I’ve been aware of Cyndi Lee for a long time. She’s one of the more prominent names in yoga and has been a yoga teacher for over 18 years, doing seminars all over the world. I’ve read lots of articles she’s written for yoga magazines and have one of her yoga books. She was also a dancer in her younger life, even dancing as backup for Cyndi Lauper for a time. So I thought this would be an interesting memoir to read. I love yoga, the feeling of fluidity it gives your Wow, I wasn’t expecting this. I’ve been aware of Cyndi Lee for a long time. She’s one of the more prominent names in yoga and has been a yoga teacher for over 18 years, doing seminars all over the world. I’ve read lots of articles she’s written for yoga magazines and have one of her yoga books. She was also a dancer in her younger life, even dancing as backup for Cyndi Lauper for a time. So I thought this would be an interesting memoir to read. I love yoga, the feeling of fluidity it gives your body and the feeling of balance it brings to your mind, but my own yoga practice has gotten pretty irregular, so I thought this might give it an inspirational boost. So, who would imagine that this person, who teaches others to teach yoga, and who regularly tells people in her classes that there is nothing wrong with their bodies and that they are perfect as they are, etc, would have such a hate for her own body? I wish she’d have put all of that into a different book with an appropriate title, and just written the memoir I was hoping to read here, because then I could have just skipped that book. I’d read some reviews saying exactly the same kind of thing, but I had already ordered the book from the library, so I thought I would judge for myself. They were right. It didn’t bother me so much that she often talked about her ill, aging mother, because that is happening as she writes it and is a big part of her current life. But the body issues take up so much of the book that it almost settles into a constant whining. My other problem with the book is that there isn’t really a good flow of continuity. For one example, I got confused about whether she was happy with her husband or they were having problems. In one part, just paragraphs after writing that he called her while she was in Japan and was worried about her getting home safely, she lies on the couch and worries that she won’t find another boyfriend, because she’s got gray hair, is in her fifties and, of course, is fat (altho she’s not fat at all). And then, bam, she’s back to happy husband talk again. Slow down there. Certain events get more time than others, but its hard to tell when they happened, and they’re all just kind of stuffed between the “I hate my body and always have” material. I know that yoga teachers are just people, like all the rest of us, but if you are constantly telling others that they are more than their bodies, that they are perfect, and on and on, maybe you should listen to yourself a little more, and think before you write a book. Maybe this is the book she needed to write to get this out of her system, but again, I wish that had been a separate book with more of a hint of it in the title. To be fair, at the very end, she acknowledges that her body has served her well and makes a commitment to herself to love it as it is. But this comes right after she has lunch with one of her oldest friends and almost goes into her usual “I’m fat” mode, but then realizes that since the friend has had breast cancer, what does she have to really complain about in comparison? Whether she is keeping her promise to herself, who knows. Also, she watched a DVD she made 8 years ago, and remembered thinking at the time how bad she looked, when now, looking back, she thinks she looked great in the DVD. So she realized that now she is just setting herself up for the same thing to happen in another 8 years, by hating her looks now. The parts of the book I enjoyed most were at the end of some chapters where she would have descriptions of yoga classes she had taught, the things that came up with her students, and how she handled them.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Meredith

    I had the same problems with this book that others had: It's sometimes hard to take seriously the first world problems stuff and at times the author's tone verges on being un-self-aware. For example, she talks a lot about her club days hanging out with Cyndi Lauper in the 80s, and there's a significant portion of her talking about her body feelings with Jamie Lee Curtis; she also name drops famous Buddhists with similar flippant treatment as she gives to the other celebrities she discusses. That I had the same problems with this book that others had: It's sometimes hard to take seriously the first world problems stuff and at times the author's tone verges on being un-self-aware. For example, she talks a lot about her club days hanging out with Cyndi Lauper in the 80s, and there's a significant portion of her talking about her body feelings with Jamie Lee Curtis; she also name drops famous Buddhists with similar flippant treatment as she gives to the other celebrities she discusses. That said, I did finish the book and I did appreciate some of it; that's because even though I slam her for first world problems, those are pretty much my problems too so I was able to relate. It was refreshing to hear someone talk honestly about their own journey of the dialogue between their body and mind, especially someone who is "supposed" to have it all figured out. I liked hearing about her yoga teacher trainings since I think those were the most authentic parts of the book for her. She also seemed the most real in recounting her experience during the Japanese earthquakes (even though I couldn't shake the mild irritation that she overdramatized it a tad, since she was able to get on a plane and go home while her compatriots who lived there just had to suck it up and deal). All in all, it was fine in the sense of being just OK. After I read it, I did find a few yoga sessions taught by her on MyYogaOnline and took those -- I'm relieved to say that those were great! In other words, it seems she's a better teacher than writer...

  28. 4 out of 5

    Karencita

    I LOVED this book and ended up reading it at a very apropos time - during a yoga retreat! Also an apropos time as holiday over-indulgence and other factors were causing me to question my own body image. I couldn't put this book down and with each turn of the page, found exactly the comfort, inspiration or message that I needed to hear. Cyndi Lee is a wild-child, dance guru who, after a full-on experience in the '80s which includes working as a choreographer for Cindy Lauper (I know, right!!), sh I LOVED this book and ended up reading it at a very apropos time - during a yoga retreat! Also an apropos time as holiday over-indulgence and other factors were causing me to question my own body image. I couldn't put this book down and with each turn of the page, found exactly the comfort, inspiration or message that I needed to hear. Cyndi Lee is a wild-child, dance guru who, after a full-on experience in the '80s which includes working as a choreographer for Cindy Lauper (I know, right!!), she finds yoga as an alternative outlet for corporeal expression and with her same humor, energy and enthusiasm bounds down the path to spiritual enlightenment, tackling obstacles with grace, wit and wisdom along the way. While not a linear auto-biography, I appreciate how Cyndi traced her path to awareness and self-love/acceptance through a series of meditations, moments from her yoga TT classes, personal experiences, travel and interviews with other amazing women such as Jamie Lee Curtis and Louise Hay, among others. I raced through, so would like to take the time to revisit this book to better absorb the message, perhaps at another, less tumultous time in my own life! Overall, Cyndi's message transcends that of body image and uses that as a doorway to our own love - and responsibility - to be the change we want to see from within.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Toni

    Nowadays, yoga is everywhere. Many different types with sometimes many difficult philosophies. Because this discipline is new to us, we tend to make gurus out of the teachers that introduce us and guide us through. Unfortunately, yoga teachers are subject to be placed on pedestals and are expected to rise above the everyday things that affect most of us. Cyndi Lee, a yoga teacher with worldwide acclaim, has written a refreshing memoir mostly about her changing relationship with her body and her i Nowadays, yoga is everywhere. Many different types with sometimes many difficult philosophies. Because this discipline is new to us, we tend to make gurus out of the teachers that introduce us and guide us through. Unfortunately, yoga teachers are subject to be placed on pedestals and are expected to rise above the everyday things that affect most of us. Cyndi Lee, a yoga teacher with worldwide acclaim, has written a refreshing memoir mostly about her changing relationship with her body and her inner self as she gets older. She tells of her history as a dancer, choreographer, and famous yoga teacher who is still insecure about her body despite continuing outside validation. Unlike other books that chronicle yoga as a way to combat body image issues, May I Be Happy pulls the veil back on our perception of perfection to show that it isn't as easy as just striking a pose. This isn't a self-help book, but one woman's story about acceptance.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Betsy

    I loved this book. Cyndi's is a great storyteller, and her stories and experiences were so interesting, inspiring, and thought provoking. The relationship between women and their bodies is often a love/hate relationship. Having a yoga teacher explore the reason why women feel this way was interesting, since those who do yoga have a keen sense of their bodies when practicing yoga, and you would think a yoga teacher would have mastered the art of ahimsa with her body. This book shows that insecuri I loved this book. Cyndi's is a great storyteller, and her stories and experiences were so interesting, inspiring, and thought provoking. The relationship between women and their bodies is often a love/hate relationship. Having a yoga teacher explore the reason why women feel this way was interesting, since those who do yoga have a keen sense of their bodies when practicing yoga, and you would think a yoga teacher would have mastered the art of ahimsa with her body. This book shows that insecurities happen to everyone. I thought the women she interviewed had great things to say (hello, Jamie Lee Curtis! I wasn't expecting her to pop up in this book!). They provided an overall sense of acceptance and peace with one's body. Of course, I loved the yoga references and stories of her yoga teacher training classes.

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