Cindy Beers: 500 E-RYT Yoga Teacher & Founder, Red Head Yoga

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Bio:

Cindy Beers, founder of Red Head Yoga, creates a place for people of all ages and body types to practice yoga and meditation in a safe, inviting, and authentic environment. Students experience a class which is tailored to the students’ ability, sprinkled with compassion and a touch of laughter that leaves them feeling content and at peace. Cindy’s teachings are informed from her extensive training and life experiences. She spent 18 years in the US Armed Forces and therefore has a special understanding for teaching yoga to veterans, teens, and adults living with anxiety and trauma. Cindy’s work with anxiety culminated in her recently published books, “Mindful Yoga for Teen Anxiety” and “Mindful Yoga for Adult Anxiety.”

After having experienced a near death episode, Cindy views life as a gift and unabashedly lives it with zest, love and quirkiness. Cindy, 500 E-RYT is a member of Yoga Alliance and the International Association of Yoga Therapist (IAYT). She received her training with Mary Irby of White Crow Yoga who was trained by Thiramoolar's Therapeutic Ashtanga Yoga in India. She is also trained in: Mindful Yoga Therapy for Veterans, Healing Trauma Through Yoga, Aqua Yoga, Prison Yoga, Yoga and Meditation for Military Sexual Trauma, Sexual Trauma, Y12SR, Vinyasa Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Thai Yoga, Yin Yoga, Biomechanics, Somatics, Egoscue, Chakras, Ayurveda, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), Reiki Master, and Body Rolling. She is also an expert on different types of meditations such as Yoga Nidra, Mindfulness, I Am, Vipassana, Body Image, and Third Eye. Cindy practices Transcendental Meditation daily. Her university degrees include a Bachelor’s Degree in Leadership and Professional Communications and a Master’s Degree in Leadership and Philosophy from Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA. 

What do I do best?

I show people that anyone can do yoga. It doesn’t matter if you’re bigger bodied, in a wheel chair, have a missing limb, you can do yoga.

I show people who have anxiety, depression, PTS, stress, and anger they can control it all through EFT/tapping, meditation, breath, and the asanas (yoga poses).

Oh, and I am a really good cook and baker too!

What makes me the best version of myself?

In philosophy we study the true self and the ego. Allowing your true self to be shown can be really scary. I allow my true self to be shown all the time and do my best to keep ego out. So, the best version of me is the true self who is positive, compassionate, caring, and loves unconditionally.

What are my aspirations?

#1 – Continue to serve my community through yoga, meditation, tapping, and pranayama (breath)

#2 – Bring awareness to the clinical community that anxiety, depression, stress, PTS, and anger can be helped holistically through EFT/tapping, meditation, breath, and the asanas (yoga poses). Mental health now more than ever needs our attention. 23 Veterans die daily at their own hand because they’re just being fed medication and not fixing the real issue. The yoga community has come forward to help. Allowing us to be in VA’s around the nation is key.

#3 – Travel to present with my Yoga for Anxiety and Yoga for Stress programs at yoga studios, conferences, and festivals around the world.

#4 – Meet Alec Baldwin for lunch to talk about old Hollywood and philosophy.

My Biggest Success?

There are a few here. Personally, having my daughter Mary and being married to the greatest man on earth, my husband Bob, has been the biggest success of my personal life. Being able to serve my country in the Air Force is second.

With yoga, there are two. The first one was back in 2012. I was teaching classes at the Navy base close to my house. I had a new gentleman come to my class. I watched him struggle as he went through each pose, tears falling on the mat. When we were done with class I usually hug everyone and thank them for coming. He came up to me with tears in his eye and said, “Tonight I was going to go home and end my life because I didn’t have anything to live for. You made me realize I do.” He’s been doing yoga ever since. That’s when I knew I had to work with people who have anxiety, depression, PTS, stress, and anger.

The second one, is when I work with people who tell me they can’t do this pose or that pose in yoga; especially my bigger bodied folks. They come in and think they can’t do what everyone else does and I show them they can! I have one lady who started coming 3 years ago. She was 57 at the time, heavy, depressed, and really not sure of anything. It took her 5 minutes to get up and down. Today, she comes to 3 or 4 classes a week, does headstands, and is mentally and physically healthier than ever before.

My Most Challenging Moment?

In 2009, I decided to go for my doctorate and I was traveling to Philadelphia and back daily for classes. I kept getting more and more exhausted and spending more time in bed. I started using a cane and at times a walker. Traveling put my body into such a tailspin that I could no go anywhere. I had to stop the program I was in. I was in bed a lot whether it was sleeping, with a migraine, or just sheer exhaustion. I went to doctor after doctor after doctor and none of them could figure out what was wrong with me. I remember one doctor telling me, “I have no idea what’s wrong with you so you’re just going to have to live with it.” That didn’t sit well with me but I accepted it. I was going to end it all and I knew how I was going to do it. The two things that kept me from not committing suicide was my daughter who is the time was little and my husband; I couldn’t leave them. On that day I made the choice of doing something about my illness (which by the way people had no idea what it was yet). I found the doctor in Philadelphia who did extensive testing and found out what was wrong with me. We treated it holistically (and this guy is an MD!!) and I started getting better.

I decided to go back to my doctorate. I can still hear the words in my head from my doctor: “Pace yourself.” Had to go away to do some residency work at the University of Minnesota. On the way there I started feeling sick like I was catching the flu. By the time I got off the plane I had laryngitis. I barely made it to all my classes and they kept sending me back to the hotel. It got so bad that the hotel staff was taking care of me. When I came back home my husband wanted to take me to the emergency room because he said I was gray. I told him no because my family doctor told me it was “just a virus.”

The next day my mother found me on the floor unconscious they called 911. While I was in the ambulance, I flat lined and died. I remember going towards the light. I met my father halfway there and he told me I had too much to do yet and I couldn’t go any farther. I remember arguing with him because it felt good to be there. By listen to him and I came back (they use the paddles on me to restart my heart). Once I made it to the hospital, they ran test I was diagnosed with legionnaires disease. They started me on some heavy duty antibiotics and I got better.

I went back to my doctor in Philadelphia and started getting better. He advised me not to go after my doctorate anymore and told me to try doing yoga. I haven’t stopped doing yoga yet and I have not seen a family doctor since 2010. I owe my life to Dr. Garbedian.

My Motto?

Life is what you make it. Make it the best life ever!

There is no such thing as failure.

My Favorite People/Role Models?

Personal role model would have to be my daughter Mary. She’s done so much in her 29 years that has been for her greater good. She’s achieved her dreams and I’m so proud of her. And my husband because he loves me so much and puts up with me.

Personal and Business

Mary Irby of White Crow Yoga – She was and is my teacher, friend, and fellow yogi. She’s taught me more about me than I ever knew and I love her for that.

Tom Fink, PhD – Without him, I would not have been able to write my books. His intelligence, wit, and guidance are so key in my life.

Business Role Models

Lynann Politte. She taught me more about the business of yoga. With her guidance, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Nikki Myers. She ability to overcome and create something amazing is remarkable.

My yoga clients and students. They teach me more than I ever knew about life.

My Favorite Places/Destinations?

Bermuda – The people, the food, the water in that order.

However, I am a lover of the world and anywhere I’ve gone has been remarkable. I’ve been to some pretty unfun places too when I was in the military. But even in those place the people are what make the place beautiful.

My Favorite Products/Objects?

Product

I’m grateful for BKS Iyengar for creating so many wonderful props we can use today in yoga; to include the yoga mat!

I absolutely love my Yohola Yoga Wheels. When I did my research I found them to be the safest and the most durable.

Infinity Straps are pretty awesome. I use these instead of the traditional yoga strap all the time. It helps get a deeper stretch.

And of course, my Manduka mat which I’m attached to.

Tools

With the work I do with folks with anxiety, depression, PTS, anger I love Gary Craig’s Emotional Freedom Technique.

Transcendental Meditation – Love it!

My Current Passions?

Spreading the word on Yoga for Anxiety and Yoga for Stress. I’m so passionate about it, I want to travel to help others. I know it works and I know it helps. I want to bring it to the VA, I want to bring it to military bases, to schools, universities, and colleges. I want to teach other yoga teachers and counselors so they can help others too! That’s what it’s all about…helping others.

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