Author’s Note: Welcome to our new weekly article series where we feature a yogi, spiritual teacher, guru, or seeker. Although we’re starting the series with a “famous” yogi, we will also be featuring regular “Joe the Plumber Yogis” (as Sarah Palin might say.) Our intention, though, is to feature individuals who have contributed to, shared and/or inspired the practice of yoga in some way. If you would like to suggest someone for us to feature, please contact us by submitting a comment below.
Most Western yogis have heard of yoga instructor Rodney Yee. I saw Rodney Yee at the San Francisco Yoga Journal Conference in 2008 where he was a featured yoga instructor. His arrival at the conference was a big deal; several conference attendees gathered around him as he entered the hotel lobby with his model wife. (It was sort of like groupies at a rock concert.) As I watched him check in from across the room, he had an unremitting grin, which made me think he enjoys his niche notoriety.
But, having said that, his contribution to yoga in the West is undeniable. He has made several mainstream media appearances too including appearing on the Oprah Winfrey show before yoga had really taken off in the West. His home videos are both affordable and widely accessible at large discount chains like Walmart and Target. His A.M. and P.M. Yoga video was originally released in 2000 on VHS and later released on DVD 2003, making it a staple for many Western early adopters.
Current Rodney Yee Projects
In 2008, Rodney Yee co-created the Gaiam Online Yoga Club with his wife Colleen Saidman. The Gaiam Online Yoga Club is a self-paced, 12-week program that introduces students to yoga poses via online video and audio instruction.
Rodney also currently teaches around the world at teacher trainings, workshops, retreats and conferences. He contributes to Gaiam.com’s Stream of Consciousness blog although his last post was in August 2008. He has contributed several informative, inspiring articles and videos to the Gaiam community sites. His website YeeYoga.com provides up to date information on his current events and product offerings.
Rodney Yee Bio
Born in 1957, “Rodney Yee has been curious about the mind and body for as long as he can remember. He was a gymnast, a ballet dancer, and a philosophy and physical therapy major. Following the thread of curiosity about mind and body, he took his first yoga class in 1980 and knew from the start that it would be a lifelong passion. Now that his mind and body are going through midlife, he is much more curious about the spirit. His spirit is fed by his wife Colleen and his 4 children. Life is abundant and chaotic and keeps Rodney returning to asana, pranayama, and meditation. Teaching is still a main vehicle for Rodney to understand union. He has created dozens of DVDs through Gaiam, and has written two books, Yoga: The Poetry of the Body and Moving Toward Balance, both with Nina Zolotow. He teaches workshops and retreats worldwide and leads teacher training intensives nationally.” (Source: YeeYoga.com)
Rodney’s background in gymnastics and ballet made yoga a natural transition for him. He started practicing in 1980 at the age of 23. He originally studied in the Iyengar school of yoga, but now teaches a blend of Iyengar Yoga and his own invented style. He began his Yoga teaching career at a studio called The Yoga Room in Berkeley; later, he co-founded the Piedmont Yoga Studio in Oakland.
He now lives in The Hamptons with his wife Colleen Saidman and has four children.
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