GAIAM, Rodney Yee, a decade, a video cassette, an East-facing window and me

Several years ago, when my daughter Audrey was living and working in New York City, she met a man one day at her place of employment, Donna Karan International.

I remember Audrey calling me that day and telling me about this gentle, gracious, kind man who stopped to talk with her… a man in sharp contrast to some of the other people in that creative, high-energy environment of high-end NYC fashion who rushed about their days and nights to get everything done.  Perfectly.

Audrey thrived in that high-energy environment, she loved the high-energy creativity of Donna Karan herself, but she was so taken by this man who seemed to bring a sense of such calm and to bring her IN.  A man who took time and stopped to talk as energy swirled around him… and in him, too.

This man was Rodney Yee.

It’s amazing when we think of moments – specific identifiable moments – that change our lives.  Remarkable moments that others could never know… even the ones who create them.

Audrey meeting Rodney Yee that day and calling me changed my life.  That moment changed everything for me.

Audrey told me about this man and his connection with Yoga.  I had never given Yoga one moment of thought until that moment.  Audrey said something like, Mom, I think you’d love Yoga with Rodney… because Audrey knew that I believed in the mind, body, spirit connection.

Hmmmmmmm, I thought.  (I wasn’t thinking OM back then!)

Long story short, Rodney gave Audrey a video cassette (yes, that’s how long ago I’m talking), and Audrey mailed it off to me.

The video cassette was A.M. Yoga, described as a series of gentle yoga poses at sunrise to awaken your body and energize your mind.

I was very busy back then.  I was still teaching.  I was helping Audrey plan her wedding.  I was expecting 2 grandchildren.  My life was a whirlwind of things to do.

But one morning, with very few moments to spare, I put in that A.M. Yoga video cassette and began a journey to the center of my soul.  I rarely took any time to focus on me… and what I discovered that morning is that all the energy of my self, my life, my day, my family, my work, my stuff to do became centered in a swirl of energetic calm.

That’s what I call it – energetic calm.

At first, I could hardly move to the gentle voice of Rodney as he gave instructions.  I used one of Barry’s neckties as my stretching cord.  I sat rigid and almost immobile.  I laughed inside at my seemingly lack of hope to do this Yoga thing.

But Rodney invited me to come back tomorrow.  And tomorrow.  And tomorrow.  And I did.

A.M. Yoga became the central part of my morning… and the calm carried me throughout my day.  Just as Rodney said it would.

And I found that I could do it.

Years later, I still wake up to Rodney nearly every day.  My mind and muscles know the routine, but I still pop in my video cassette just to hear Rodney explain what to do and why I’m doing it.  I re-discover something new each day.  Something about my self, my life, my day, my family (that’s grown to 9 grandchildren!), my work, my stuff to do.

Oh, yes.  I did say VIDEO CASSETTE.  I am attached to that old cassette…

We’ve moved to another home since my introduction to Yoga, but I found a perfect morning Yoga space in this home in a little spare bedroom… with an East-facing window with morning light, morning sun and a lovely sense of awakening

In that bedroom, I keep a little white wicker piece that belonged to my late mother-in-law Flo, and on top is an old television that plays my A.M. Yoga video cassette quite nicely, thank you…

Oh, I do have several GAIAM Rodney Yee DVD’s and have graduated to official GAIAM yoga straps, gear, etc…

Without these Yoga workouts and gear, I don’t think I could have properly centered my mind and my body to accomplish my goals to finish both a 70.3 Ironman and a Marathon as a novice running woman in my late 50’s.

That chance meeting of Audrey and Rodney Yee so many years ago has brought the gifts of well-being, health and peace to my life.  So when my daughters Audrey, Jane and I were invited to attend the “LIVE SCULPTURE GARDEN” Fashion Yoga Presentation at Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week, featuring the launch of LI-LING Vivienne Tam Fashion Yoga Collection with choreographed Yoga led by Rodney Yee and his wife Colleen Yee... well, I knew I had to be there.

Audrey’s 4 little boys (yes, the wedding was glorious, she’s been married 10 years and has 4 little boys!) were all in their first days of pre-school and school and was unable to attend… but Jane (who is an enthusiastic newbie to Yoga!) and I drove to the City with such excitement to be at such a wonderful event…

Vivienne Tam & Rodney Yee
Rodney Yee leading the performance
Colleen Yee leading a performance
Jane, *Erika Katz and me
LI-LING Vivienne Tam Fashion Yoga Collection

And the highlight of the day, meeting Rodney Yee and his lovely wife, Colleen Saidman Yee.  And just as Audrey had told me a decade ago, amid all of the activity and high-energy of the New York Fashion Week day… Rodney stopped to talk, to take a photograph, to ask about us, to put his arms around us and take us INTO his calm, his peace, his grace, his wife, his time and his energy…

Jane, Colleen, Rodney, me

It was such a lovely September New York City day.  Fashion.  Harmony.  Connection.  Creativity.  Balance.  Fun.

A day created by a seemingly random moment so long ago in an office building in NYC between 2 people who became 3 people when Audrey called me… a moment I know was not random at all.  It was a moment that truly changed my life and the way I live it each day by awakening my body and energizing my mind.  I am very excited to begin following Rodney Yee’s new 5-day Daily Yoga DVD, a gift bag treasure…

Rodney Yee's DAILY YOGA

Of course, Jane and I just had to head to one of our favorite NYC pizza places before we headed back to Rhode Island – Patsy’s on 60th & 3rd, where we soaked in the beauty of the fabulous day…

Lunch at Patsy's with my beautiful Janie!

Life is a great celebration and great adventure to me.  I cherish each moment of living.  And my connection with Rodney Yee, a decade of moments, a **still-very-usable GAIAM video cassette, an old television on a cherished little white wicker piece and an East-facing window has made ME a better me!

I am beyond excited to now have Jane on this wonderful Yoga journey with me, too.  The power of the most amazing mother-daughter bond enhanced by Yoga?  Priceless.

I thank Beth Feldman of Role Mommy – for inviting us to the Live Sculpture Garden event and for giving us the opportunity to meet Rodney Yee!

*Erika Katz is the founder of Bonding Over Beauty –

**I also have an A.M. Yoga DVD for when my husband Barry joins me for morning Yoga in our family room!

About Audrey

Audrey McClelland has been a digital influencer since 2005. She’s a mom of 5 and shares tips on her three favorite things: parenting, fashion and beauty. She’s also a Contemporary Romance Author.

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