may YOU be happy: a book review

I recently read “May I be Happy: a memoir of love, yoga and changing my mind” by Cyndi Lee.

This inspiring memoir reflects her lifelong struggles with body image and insecurities. It has a great message about being kind to oneself and how we can use our yoga practice to change our relationship with our body and the life choices we make.

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Here are a few quotes that inspired me…

On being kind to oneself:

“being kind to other has to start with being kind to ourselves. And isn’t that the very first teaching of yoga, ahimsa, which means non-harming of self and others?”

On the mind-body relationship:

“I was always getting mad at my body but, in fact, my body has been fine. It’s my relationship to my body that is hurting me, and my mind that is the real troublemaker… Clearly, it’s my mind that needs to change… I needed to examine my habitual ways of thinking… The first step to finding the answer to that question was to take a closer look at the problem.”

On asana, or yoga poses:

“Asasa means to sit with what comes up when you put your body in a particular shape. Our bodies … are the vehicles we livin in as we move through the world.”

On how yoga practice helps you know yourself and make better life  choices:

“The body is the perfect vehicle for getting to know yourself better… Part of the practice is not running away from discomfort, but learning to work with it… That’s actually what we’re practicing in our asana class. We’re consciously tying ourselves up in knots and then sitting with whatever arises. If you stay steady, relax, and pay attention to what’s happening, then – theoretically- you can make more skillful choices.”

On Savasana, or Corpse Pose:

“Savasana, Corpse Pose, [is] traditionally one of the most important asanas of yoga practice… Savasana allows the physical body to cool down and thoroughly digest the benefits of practice. In this position, the earthly body absorbs the seeds planted in the previous pose and starts to bear fruit. At a more profound level, corpse pose gives us an opportunity to practice, what we will all face, the experience of becoming a corpse… we acknowledge that we are temporarily renting this body, and that some day we will have to let it go. Ironically, Savasana is about embodying the experience of no longer having a body. … [It is] a good time to reflect on the seeds I had planted… [and to] embrace more fully the understanding that I am meant to age and change.”

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… so give yourself a big hug and read this book if you need any ahimsa-inspiration! much love.

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