Colleen Saidman Yee, one of the yoga world’s most beloved, popular teachers and wife of celeb yogi Rodney Yee, is (finally!) bringing her Hamptons studio to Manhattan this spring. And she’s not just rolling out a few mats in an empty room.
Yoga Shanti, set to open in late March at 46 West 24th Street in the Flatiron District, is being crafted as a work of art, and it will double as a place where students can take advantage of the Urban Zen program Colleen and Rodney have pioneered and grown over the past several years.
“It feels like the circle completing itself,” says Colleen, who lived in New York from 1979 to 1999 before moving to Sag Harbor to raise her family and open Yoga Shanti. “I’m going back to my home in New York City, and it feels so right.”
A Manhattan home
It will also feel right for the hundreds of teachers who’ve headed out East from their homes in New York City to train with Colleen and Rodney over the past 15 years, many of them returning to teach at various studios around the city. “It will be a place where they can continue to learn under our tutelage, and also a home for them,” she says.
She partnered with two of her devoted students to open the studio, Joyce Englander Levy, who will run the yoga program, and Jenny McCabe, who will manage the studio’s day-to-day operations.
A space made with love
“When you walk in, it’s going to feel so made with love,” she says, from the copper Ganesh sculpture radiating turquoise light at the entrance to the hand-carved tiles on the walls and gold leaf ceilings.
Rodney and Colleen recently fell in love with the colors and shapes of Morocco. They brought Rodney’s son Evan Yee, an artist, and his friend, industrial designer Joel Seigle, to the country to help select items for the space, like carpets that now line the halls, chandeliers, and arches for altars. The pair have also been building out the space (i.e. hand-carving tiles), while the walls were painted by Yoga Shanti student artist Denise Regan.
You can expect curtained dressing rooms, lockers, a large studio with a removable wall that will turn it into two spaces, and a boutique that sells the collection of DVDs that Rodney and Colleen have famously filmed, and other products from Gaiam.
In addition to the Iyengar-influenced vinyasa classes Yoga Shanti is known for, the Manhattan studio will offer more classes for beginners and lots of Urban Zen classes (which include restorative poses, Reiki, essential oils, and more), Colleen says. And when will the duo be in residence? About two days a week, every other week, for starters. “I can’t abandon Sag Harbor,” she says. “The classes we’re teaching in the city do not conflict with what we’re doing out here. We just keep adding!” —Lisa Elaine Held
For more information, visit www.yogashanti.com