Yoga, Rodney Yee & GAIAM…
I’ve written about Rodney Yee before and I’ve even borrowed my own words here to describe this man, an internationally acclaimed yoga instructor… but with my training for a 70.3 Ironman and the need to center my mind, body and soul for this challenge, I’d love to share my thoughts on this man and his inspiration again ~
This post is not sponsored ~
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 is 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’ll love Yoga with Rodney… because Audrey knows that I believe 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 high school English and Reading. 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.
13 years later, I still wake up to Rodney nearly every day. My mind and muscles know the routines. I’ve graduated from that video cassette to several DVSs, GAIAM TV and GAIAM yoga straps, mats, gear, etc…, but I still hear Rodney explain what to do and why I’m doing it. I re-discover something new each day ~ something about myself, my life, my day, my family (grown now to 10 grandchildren with another little guy due any day now!), my work, my stuff to do…
In my little in-progress slice of home exercise nirvana, (in flannel pajamas!)…
Without these Yoga workouts and gear, I don’t think I could have completely and properly centered my mind and my body to accomplish my goals to finish both a 70.3 Ironman and 2 Marathons as a novice runner/triathlete in my late 50’s… and as prepare yet again for my second 70.3 Ironman this coming summer at age 61.
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.
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.
And a highlight of my life was meeting Rodney Yee and his lovely wife, Colleen Saidman Yee while at the “LIVE SCULPTURE GARDEN” Fashion Yoga Presentation at Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week 2011 with my daughter Jane.
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 ~