Upcoming Workshop & Retreat

Move & Renew: Cindy Dollar Spring Virtual Workshop 
at Sunrise Yoga
Sunday, April 25th, 9am-11am

Sick of being stuck in the Covid doldrums? Join Cindy for a morning filled with chest openers and twists to help reset our mindset & move our bodies. Spring is the perfect season to get on the mat and out of our heads!This workshop will be recorded and available for viewing for two weeks after the event.

Price: $30
Members of Sunrise Yoga receive 10% discount.

Click here to register.

Expanding Equanimity: Southern Dharma Retreat with Cindy
August 4 – 8 
Registration opens June 1, 2021

According to yogic and Buddhist philosophy, there are four noble qualities, known in the Buddhist tradition as the Four Immeasurables: loving kindness, compassion, equanimity, and sympathetic joy. We are all born with the seeds of these traits, and with practice we can cultivate them to develop strength, steadiness, and openness in any situation—independent of external conditions.

Although these four qualities are inter-related, in this workshop we will explore Equanimity as a means to remain openhearted during times of tension and strife, whether personal or global. Equanimity is freedom from powerful reactions, positive or negative, to another person or an event—the ability to be even and open-minded toward everyone, no matter how they behave. This practice brings clarity to situations where we may be moved to react from passion or bias. Expanding our view to one of engaged impartiality allows us to respond to life’s challenges with wisdom—even at times with a sense of humor.

Over the four days, we’ll explore Equanimity through yoga poses, meditations, mindfulness exercises, and breath awareness. 

For a more detailed description of this annual workshop, click here. 

The price and preliminary retreat schedule are for the at home version. In the event that Southern Dharma resumes on site programs, we’ll update the price, schedule, and the program description to reflect these changes, prior to registration opening.

Prices for virtual retreat:
$200.00 – Base
$280.00 – Supporter
$120.00 – Subsidized

Cindy will be assisted on this retreat by Tammy Kaousias.

Coming Home to Ourselves

On our way home…
photo by Pascale Parinda

News about two effective Covid 19 vaccines has been a balm to my unsettled nerves, even as the number of cases skyrockets across most of the world. As we approach Thanksgiving, our health experts are urging us to make difficult decisions about how we celebrate, even advising us to just stay home and share a meal with only our immediate family or “friend bubble.” Although my husband and I long to be with my small family in Greensboro, we have decided to remain in Weaverville. The risks are too great. We consider this a short-term sacrifice for long-term health and future gatherings. What’s your plan? How do you feel right now about the upcoming holidays? And where exactly is home? 

I “borrowed” the title of this essay from the title of Chapter 5 in Real Change: Mindfulness to Heal Ourselves and the World, a recent book by author Sharon Salzberg, a central figure in the field of meditation, and a world-renowned teacher. She writes that “deep in our hearts we all long for a feeling of being at home.” How does “home” feel in your body? When I feel at home, my body relaxes. I feel more comfortable in my skin.

I’m also reading The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World, published in 2016. The author, Douglas Abrams, interviewed His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. These wise men suggest we find that home place through practices of prayer, meditation, gratitude, and compassion that cultivate joy. They recommend that we think of others, whether we are joyful or not. For example, when we feel lonely we can consider others who feel lonely. Just like us, they know sadness and despair. We are not alone. In those moments, we can send out a prayer or aspiration that all may be lifted up. If we are at the pharmacy (masked up, of course) consider that others there might be scared. Send out feelings of safety through your smiling eyes. I’ve spoken to several friends in the last 24 hours. Each one has mentioned feeling depressed, anxious, unsettled, angry, uncertain, scared, and scattered. These same people have reported feeling contented, settled, grateful, happy, loved and balanced. These same feelings course through my body at different times. I can’t choose only one. 

To everything there is a season…
Photo by Pascale Parinda

We are human. These are natural emotions that run through us. Which ones do you want to cultivate? I find that if I stop long enough to notice the physical sensations without adding a storyline, the energy will pass through me in a short time. Getting on the yoga mat for even a short while allows me to release the tension and reset my nervous system. A short brisk walk outside frees my constricted mind when I consider the expansiveness of the sky. I send this expanded awareness out to the universe. I don’t know if you all feel it but I feel better. What are you reading, listening to, or watching? How do you want to feel? Pay attention. Go to that physical feeling of happiness, compassion, gratitude, or love. How does it physically feel? Could this be home? 

Here’s my loving advice: when you are unhappy, consider that others feel the same way. Send out aspirations for them (and you) to feel uplifted. Feel that upliftedness in your body/mind.

When you are happy, feel that. Send out aspirations for others to feel that way. Some people are sending those aspirations out to you right now. Consider that. 

If nothing else, this pandemic reminds me of our interconnectedness and interdependence. We are living on this round planet together. What helps one helps all. 

I do not know what this holiday will bring. Will I dance on the porch, take a hike, or read a book? Will my husband play golf or tinker on a boat? Will we sit down to a traditional Thanksgiving dinner? I don’t know and I find a certain amount of freedom in that. I know that I will be at home wherever I find myself. 

I suspect that there will be laughter and loneliness as well as compassion and heartbreak. May you ride the waves of emotion with your heart open to include all that life brings you. 

Zoom Yoga Workshop 2020 with Sunrise Yoga

Friday–Sunday, November 6 – 8 

It’s time for Cindy’s annual weekend workshop combining yoga and the Four Foundations of Mindfulness at Sunrise Yoga. This year, the weekend workshop is brought to you on Zoom. Bringing together the four foundations of mindfulness as a means to awaken the body to still the mind, each session will focus on a specific foundation, using yoga asana, pranayama, and meditation as a means to guide the attention to present moment awareness. 

Friday 11/6 @ 6–8 pm = $45 
Mindfulness of the Body: Standing Poses and Inversions 

Saturday, 11/7 @ 9:30 am – 12:30 pm = $65 
Mindfulness of Body Feelings: Chest Openers and Poses for Pranayama 

Saturday, 11/7 @ 2 – 4 pm = $45 
Mindfulness of the Mind: Forward Extensions to Quiet the Mind for Meditation 

Sunday, 11/8 @ 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM = $65 
Mindfulness of Mental Qualities: Twists to Wring it all Together 

Register online, at SunriseYoga.
Register for all days to save! $190 by 10/23; $210 after. 
Cancellation penalty applies. No refunds after 10/30

Dana-based Zoom Class – Thursday, August 13

You can register at no cost for this class, which Cindy is offering through her Southern Dharma “At Home” retreat here. Once registered, you’ll receive instructions for how to join the Zoom class via email on Thursday.

Cindy greatly appreciates any donation you choose to make.

(PayPal is an easy method that does not require you to create an account. Use this link —Sarah Dollar, that’s her!)

Start Now

I am stunned, numbed, outraged, and incredibly sad about the murder of George Floyd by members of the Minneapolis police. His death, viewed by millions of people, led to largely peaceful mass protests in 50 cities in the U.S. and in dozens of countries around the world; thousands and thousands of people—black, brown, and white—gathered for nearly two weeks to express their anger and grief at this latest “lynching” of a black man. 

Image from cnn.com

As a privileged white female, the first thing I want to say is “I’m sorry” as meant by the Spanish phrase, “Lo siento.” I feel it. I am filled with sorrow for the pain that my race has inflicted on people of color. When I sit still on the meditation cushion and tune into all the levels of my feelings, sorrow is at the core. I have to acknowledge that first.

As I sit on the cushion, emotions and physical discomfort come and go. Over the years, I’ve sat through sadness, joy, confusion, and anger. At times, I’ve wanted to run screaming from the cushion because of the heart-rending experience of being human. Still I sit. I’ve learned that as those thoughts and feelings subside, clarity arises. From there, should I choose to act, the actions can emerge from clarity and compassion.

How do I take this clarity and compassion into the world when sometimes it feels so fleeting? How can I address what is going on now to help make real progress on racial justice and police reform? What can I do? What can you do to make the world a kinder and more accepting place for all? Each one of us has to decide for ourselves. When I look within, here are some options I’ve found. Perhaps they will resonate with you. 

Notice and stay grounded. With kindness, acknowledge the violence within yourself and toward others. Be honest. Notice how you are in the world. How does racism, in particular, arise in you?

Look deeply at that. Do you live up to your own expectations? If you’ve fallen short, can you accept that and do better next time? Practice kindness and compassion. Start small.

Act in alignment with your highest ideals. Take responsibility. Apologize to yourself and others when you don’t. We are human. Sometimes our old conditioning and beliefs override our kind heart.

Do what you can to work for social justice, civil rights, and equality for all.  Educate yourself about the issues that led to the Black Lives Matter movement and to ideas about changing the role of the police. Be deeply curious about the world of which you’re a part. As a citizen of the world, speak up! If you’re in the company of people who make racist or other prejudiced comments, gently but firmly call them out. Tell them how you feel and why. If you have the means, donate money (small amounts from many of us add up) to support to organizations that work towards a more just society. Join in peaceful protests, if you can do that safely (in a mask, using social distancing). If prayer helps you, go ahead and pray. Exercise your privilege in this democracy by voting. Help others exercise their right to vote. 

This is a time to say what we mean and mean what we say. Start now to find ways to repair the world. 

May we all join together to mend our hearts.


At Home Retreat – Centering Body & Mind: Yoga & the Four Sublime States

I planned to be in residence at Southern Dharma again this year to settle into the meditation hall for yoga and meditation, share silence and delicious, nutritious meals, and enjoy the serene beauty of western North Carolina mountains. I never imagined that a virus would sweep the world, affect so many families and businesses, and require us to creatively alter this plan.

Magnolia by Pascale Parinda

Fortunately, we’re in the world of magic technology that allows us to be together in a different, yet intimate, way. Currently, I teach Zoom yoga classes from my home studio, during which I get to see inside people’s homes, meet their pets and children, and see what kind of practice space they have set up. I’d be honored to be invited into your home, if you choose to participate in this retreat. Likewise, I look forward to welcoming you into my home. There’s a special tenderness of being together in this way at a time when we’re asked to isolate ourselves from others.

The home of the four immeasurables, the limitless ones, is a place of both release and outreach: when we observe ourselves being frightened and reaching for more chocolate, can we notice that behavior with compassion toward ourselves, without judgment? And if we eat the chocolate, well, okay! There’s a pandemic going on…let’s eat chocolate! If we interact with someone who isn’t wearing a mask in the grocery store, can we tap into equanimity for that person who might be afraid in his or her own way?

Let’s be honest. We are uncomfortable with uncertainty. We don’t like not knowing.

Asana practice is a way to release into not knowing. During this time of emotional ups and downs, we have the opportunity to experience yoga as way to support our bodies and minds. We have the opportunity, on-line and at home, to stay embodied, soften our shoulders, and recognize our inter-dependency.

Southern Dharma and I are working together to create this at-home retreat as a way to support and comfort you, as well as to hone your tools of self-awareness.

No matter your personal situation, I’m confident you can find ways to participate in this retreat. It’s an experiment, like life. Just show up and see what happens. There’s no “wrong way” to do this!

Learn more about the retreat HERE. Here’s a detailed schedule.

The Challenges and Joys of Silent Retreat

From October 4-13, I will be participating in a nine-day workshop called “Concentration, Jhana, and Breath,” taught by Shaila Catherine, at Heartwood Refuge and Retreat Center in Hendersonville, NC. This silent retreat is structured with alternating periods of sitting and walking meditation, dhamma teachings, and teacher consultations. It will utilize the breath as the primary meditation object and will encourage the development of meditative skills that lead to deep concentration (samadhi) and insight (vipassana). For my work meditation portion of the retreat, I will be teaching a yoga class, and, yes, I’ll be able to talk in order to give instruction to the students. I am looking forward to (and will definitely be challenged by) these nine days ahead, during which I will have ample opportunity to observe the antics of my “monkey mind” and to experience the stillness and expanded awareness that arise during sustained mediation.

Workshop: Striking a Pose Toward Inner Freedom

Cindy is teaching a four-session workshop at Sunrise Yoga in Winston-Salem from Friday, Nov. 1 – Sunday, November 3. Striking a Pose Toward Inner Freedom: Yoga and the Four Immeasurables blends hatha yoga asana with teachings on friendliness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity. In combination, these practices can lead to a path through life of personal growth, awakening, clarity, and freedom.

You can register for all four sessions for $190 (by 10/18), or for $210 thereafter. Individual sessions can be purchased separately. See the Sunrise Yoga Workshop page for more.