Feeling frustrated by yoga? Get tips from Colleen Saidman Yee

NEW YORK - DECEMBER 10:  Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman attend Trudie Styler's 'Mind Body Fitness' DVD series launch party at Urban Zen on December 10, 2009 in New York City.  (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)
Colleen Saidman Yee and her husband, Rodney, also a renowned yoga teacher, just opened their first NYC studio. Credit: Jemal Countess/Getty Images

Is downward dog making you feel down and out? If you’ve ever felt discouraged in a yoga class, you’re not alone: Even Colleen Saidman Yee, known as the First Lady of Yoga, has been there.

“I get frustrated with my practice, totally,” says the 55-year-old teacher, who just opened her first NYC studio (she’ll teach with her husband, Rodney Yee, every other week) and released her second solo DVD, “Calorie Killer Yoga.”

Yoga is touted not only for building strength and burning cals, but also for fostering a mind-body connection that promises students a sense of calm during and after class. But, especially in our hectic city lives, that inner quiet can be elusive, and not finding that peace can add stress to the pile we already bring to class.

Ironically, one way to find that calm, Yee says, is to drop your expectations of how you should feel after class.

“You have to realize that we’re human and we’re having a human experience, and part of that human experience is not living up to your expectations,” she says. “If we don’t have expectations, then we don’t have to live up to them.”

From there, it’s important to understand that the practice is a gradual one, undoing layers that we’ve built up on top of ourselves. It’s inside those layers, Yee says, that peace lives.

“What yoga does is go into those places that you keep bound up to whittle away at it, to create more space and to let go of the stories and the traumas [that are] held in your areas,” Yee says. Your stress could be building up in your throat, stomach or anywhere else; letting go of bodily stress through yoga means that the mind can get started on its own work.

“In the same way you go to a psychologist to work out the mind stuff, you go into the body,” she says. “And it works the other way, too: When you release the body, you release the mind.”

Creating space in the mind and body means allowing the negative and positive forces in our lives to coexist. Yoga isn’t going to eliminate all of your problems overnight.

“[Yoga] is not pushing away sadness, not pushing away guilt, envy, jealousy or anything like that,” Yee says. “We’re creating space inside so that it’s not just the sadness — there’s the joy, too, so you’re not overwhelmed by something that seems like it consumes you.”

“Calorie Killer Yoga” is available at Amazon.com.


Apple says its systems not to blame for…

By Edwin Chan and Christina FarrSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The week before a crucial launch of its new iPhone, Apple Inc said intimate photos of…


Tallest residential building planned for lower Manhattan

A residential tower planned for lower Manhattan will soar 1,356 feet in the air -- just 12 feet shy of 1 World Trade Center. When…


Bronx man commits suicide by decapitation

A Bronx man committed suicide Monday morning in the Hunts Point area of the Bronx by decapitating himself. According to the NYPD, the 51-year-old man…


Top cops enroll in Twitter course at John…

NYPD officers are reportedly getting a lesson on the best way to use 140 characters or less. The New York Post reported Tuesday top officers…


Pop culture and prostitutes: New Toulouse-Lautrec exhibit at…

Henri Toulouse-Lautrec documented the cult of celebrity and the rise of pop entertainment in his prints, posters and lithographs — now on display at MoMA.


PHOTO: Extreme artist Eskil Ronningsbakken balances unicycle on…

Extreme artist’ Eskil Ronningsbakken balances on the edge of a cliff face at 4,600 feet – on a unicycle. The Norwegian travels across the globe, balancing over vertiginous ravines, tall…


Hear two previously unreleased Adele songs

Missing some Adele in your life? Two previously unreleased songs from the singer have appeared online.


Lincoln Center just made 'Lord of the Rings'…

Middle Earth already has sweeping vistas, a hero's journey and technology-revolutionizing special effects. But next April, the Lincoln Center will add another dimension to Peter Jackson's…


10 storylines to watch for the Giants this…

The Giants rebounded from an embarrassing 0-6 start last season, but not well enough to make the playoffs.


Michael Vick set to be weekly guest with…

Mike Francesa may need to backtrack from his harsh commentary of Michael Vick now that the Jets backup quarterback will be a weekly guest on his show.


Jets expect to make playoffs after sitting on…

The same pundits who predicted the Jets would be woeful a season ago are now eying the playoffs for this revamped team.


Antonio Allen returns to practice after concussion

Antonio Allen was cleared to practice again following his concussion two weeks ago.


In defense of making a mess during playtime

"Recipes for Play" authors Rachel Sumner and Ruth Mitchener think playtime should involve the five senses and making a mess is part of the fun.


Jason Hope helps push anti-aging efforts forward

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article When it comes to age-related illness, the direction of modern medicine seems more reactive than proactive. In…


Today's Doomsday preppers: a closer look at survivalist…

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article. The term “Doomsday prepper” is often associated with the paranoid, anti-government stereotype of the 1990s. The truth…


These college students think breakfast is the most…

  It should be no surprise that the city that never sleeps is also home to the most students who like to order food in…