By Tracey Toomey | September 16, 2016 | Lifestyle
Yoga Shanti and Urban Zen collaborate on a restorative program that melds western medicine with eastern healing techniques.
Yoga Shanti’s Colleen Saidman Yee and Rodney Yee—shown together in a Reiki session— have been soothing and healing Hamptonites for 17 years, and now traditional hospitals are signing on.
In the heart of bustling Sag Harbor sits the vibrantly colored yoga haven Yoga Shanti. Founded in 1999 by Colleen Saidman Yee, this East End fixture somehow manages to remain peaceful even when a line of eager yogis stretches out the door and into the parking lot.
Led by Yee and her husband, Rodney Yee, both world-renowned teachers, the studio offers a wide range of classes, from a welcoming Beginner’s Club to a rigorous Ashtanga-inspired vinyasa flow. It’s their Urban Zen Restorative class, however, that truly sets them apart.
The Urban Zen Integrative Therapy Program was born when the Yees joined forces with fashion designer and Urban Zen founder Donna Karan. Their goal was to integrate Eastern healing techniques with Western medicine “to treat the patient, their loved ones, and caregivers,” and so far they have had tremendous success in convincing mainstream healthcare to adopt their practices. “Working with people in the hospitals requires us to go to the essence of the yoga practice,” says Rodney. “It harnesses our energy.”
In Yoga Shanti’s hour-long Urban Zen Restorative class, Urban Zen-trained integrative therapists guide students through a series of restorative poses. They also use healing modalities such as aromatherapy, Reiki (employing hands-on healing energy), breath awareness, and meditation to help soothe even the most ragged of nervous systems, leaving one feeling restored, replenished, and able to breathe easier. All levels are welcome, and the class is ideal whether you’re recovering from an illness or injury or you just need a little more peace in your life. And in this day and age, who doesn’t? Yoga Shanti, 32 Bridge St., Sag Harbor, 725-6424
photography by andrew egan/Cool gray Seven