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Class Action: Colleen Saidman Yee’s open level class at Yoga Shanti


Colleen Saidman Yee

Drop in for a mid-week class at Sag Harbor’s Yoga Shanti and enter a a welcoming, tight-knit community of locals who regularly practice with studio owner Colleen Saidman and her husband Rodney Yee.

Saidman possesses all the accomplishments of a yoga diva, and none of the behavior. She’s created bestselling yoga DVDs, both on her own and with Rodney. She teaches throughout the country and world; she and Yee are spearheading Urban Zen’s efforts to bring yoga’s healing wisdom into hospitals. Oh yeah, she’s a model, too.

So knowing all this, it’s a shock to see her checking people in at the Yoga Shanti desk and running credit cards. Diva she is not. Instead you’ll find the most delightful, warm, and accessible person.

The class itself opened with some relaxing, restorative poses while Saidman asked the class what they were craving. “Moderately energetic,” was the Monday early evening consensus.

She had us collect more props than I’ve ever had scattered around my yoga mat: 2 blocks, 2 straps, 2 bolsters, 2 blankets, and a sandbag. Yes, we used them all.

After opening our shoulders and hips, Saidman reminded us that “nothing should hurt, you should be totally relaxed.” Class than moved into an almost vinyasa style flow, but slower and with many more alignment cues.

We then did many variations on Virasana. It was a gentle, soothing class, but stealthily challenging and athletic, too.

At one point Saidman needed a model to demonstrate a particularly involved Virasana variation and she called on a focused, intent man at the back. Who was her A+ student? Rodney Yee, of course. —Alexia Brue

Who’s it for: Fans of Colleen and Rodney’s DVD, Iyengar enthusiasts, anyone looking for a yoga home in the Hamptons

Book it or skip it: Book it!

$25 for drop-in, Sag Harbor, New York, www.yogashanti.com