Rodney Yee & Colleen Saidman Yee on “Being Yoga”


In Power Living® with Dr. Terri Kennedy, join the Conversation with Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman Yee on “Being Yoga.” Rodney and Colleen are two of the most recognizable names in yoga. Rodney cofounded Piedmont Yoga Studio in Oakland, California, and has created dozens of DVDs through Gaiam. He is author of Yoga: The Poetry of the Body and Moving Toward Balance (both with Nina Zolotow). Colleen graduated from the Jivamukti Yoga® teacher training in 1998 and has been teaching ever since. She is owner of Yoga Shanti in Sag Harbor, New York.





Terri: What is this concept of being yoga? I asked Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman Yee, two of the most recognizable yoga teachers in the country.

Colleen:  What is being yoga? What is being period? Um... being is being present. Um... yoga is being present. Um... yoga is when you stop leaning forward or leaning back and that's being.

Rodney: Ditto! (laughing) Um - you know, yoga supposedly is the union method of bringing the mind, body, breath, spirit together - basically the entire, you know, consciousness in some ways feeling its union instead of its separateness. Nisargadatta basically says that self-realization is when you realize the world IS you and you are the world. Uh, so being that - uh, to be. In some ways, it's actually coming back to our true nature because this is what we are.  We are, you know, all things in the present moment unfolding into the next present moment so it's just in some ways coming back to what really is. 

Colleen: I Am That. 

Terri: Both Rodney and Colleen have written about incorporating the principles of yoga in daily life. I asked them how.

Colleen: In the crazy busy world, how do we approach being is what you're asking. Um, to stop doing. I mean it's really hard to be if we're doing, doing, doing, doing, pushing, producing, trying to become um somebody or something. Um, so stepping off the treadmill and letting that be a routine, if you have to call it a routine, every single day. Just stopping - stop doing. Minus things from the schedule instead of add things to the schedule. Really easy to say, really hard to do. 

Rodney: You know, uh Colleen mentioned "I Am That" and that is the title of a transcription by Nisargadatta and Nisargadatta says, you know, after he became self-realized he sort of sees his body as running around - like a little Smurf running around um - and it's doing its karmic dance. You know? And he says that runs around but there's a part of that running around that's actually quiet. There's a still point in the tornedo and one has to begin to connect somehow with that still point which a lot of times we say is the center of the heart (pointing at the heart). The unstruck... 

Colleen: To the right of the heart.

Rodney: The unstruck Heart Chakra. The unstruck sound. And we also talk about the Sushumna Nadi (pointing to the crown of the head), the very central axis. And when we can physically and mentally begin to associate our self to these still points, we can in some ways take this impermanence that's (spinning finger in circles) running around as busyness a little less serious. And it then doesn't hook our spirit, if you will. Um, and you can have both things. They call sometimes Thich Nhat Hanh the slowest busiest man and uh I love the idea that you can do a lot in the world but you don't have to be crazy. 

Terri: So, how do we find that stillness?

Colleen: To know that silent point, I think you need to - to sit with it for awhile - um - to become intimate with it - to get to know it before you can go out and keep that tether - keep that connection to that place that is witnessing what you're doing and learn that it's all a cosmic joke and to able to laugh at yourself.

Rodney: Also, what she's saying is you have to practice, you know, staying connected to that center once we find it and once we continue to find it - so it's a, it's a moment by moment process and if you can't do it in the world then in some ways you have to retreat as Thich Nhat Hanh says away for awhile to create that connection and to create a strong tether, as Colleen put it, to the center. Once you do that, then you start adding things and asking yourself, "Now, under these circumstances, can I still have a foothold in the center?"

Terri: How can you come back to your true nature? How can you stop doing and simply be? Today, take time to find your own stillness. The power is in your hands.


Copyright Teresa Kay-Aba Kennedy. Image: Pexels.

Teresa Kay-Aba Kennedy is a Harvard Business School-trained Strategist, Mind-Body Expert, Award-Winning Author, Keynote Speaker and Activist.  She is Founder & CEO of Power Living and creator of Elder Dignity.  Selected as a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, her mission is to unleash human potential and create a more just and sustainable world.

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