I reviewed a book this month by yoga guru Cyndi Lee called “May I Be Happy: A Memoir of Love, Yoga, and Changing my Mind.” It’s about a world-famous yoga teacher– and founder of the OM yoga studio in New York– who despite her ability to stand on her head and other feats of will and strength, always hated how she looked.
I get to choose the books I review and this one appealed to me because I love yoga, and– like millions of women– have never been happy with my body. It’s an interesting read, especially for anyone who has sat on a yoga mat and marveled at a teacher’s ability to do some impossible pose, or chant Sanskrit without any fear or insecurity.
I revere many of my yoga teachers and am often motivated by their strong, lean bodies. So it’s fascinating to read the intimate details of a teacher’s mental struggle to accept herself.
Like, Lee, I began feeling insecure about my body soon after puberty when it changed in ways that made me feel uncomfortable and vulnerable. Although never grossly overweight, I have never felt satisfied with the way I look and believed if I could only be disciplined and lose 10 pounds, then I’d be happy.
But as Lee finds out, it doesn’t always work that way. There are reasons we struggle with self-acceptance that usually have nothing to do with a number on a scale. We beat ourselves up and let that ugly voice in our heads dictate our moods.
Lee– who’s now in her 50’s– had allowed those voices to shame her for decades. The book chronicles her journey to discover the root of her body issues and the tools to get over them. She interviews many experts and tries everything from meditation to positive affirmations to find the happiness she seeks.
The writing is not strong, but the message is, so if the subject appeals to you, it’s worth a read. You can read my full review in the New York Times here.
I know women struggle with body image because it’s a constant topic of conversation among my friends. Let me know in the comments your thoughts on self acceptance and whether you’d read this book. Namaste!