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|Years active||early 1990s–present|
Rodney Yee is an American yoga instructor who rose to national prominence in the early 1990s when he began starring in a series of Gaiam/Living Arts yoga instructional videos and DVDs. More than thirty such programs now exist, selling in the millions worldwide.
Yee has also been featured on calendars, magazines and natural product advertisements; narrated meditation audios; written a book; and done extensive charitable work. He has made guest appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CNN, PBS, and elsewhere.
Life and career
Rodney Yee was born in 1957, the Chinese-American son of an Air Force Colonel, and spent his childhood on military bases in Altus, Oklahoma and Puerto Rico. He was a gymnast during his high school years and later became a ballet dancer, performing with the Oakland Ballet Company and the Matsuyama Ballet Company of Tokyo, Japan. He began studies in philosophy and physical therapy at the University of California, Berkeley, though he dropped out in order to pursue ballet full-time.
Yee became a yoga enthusiast in the Iyengar school, but now teaches a blend of Iyengar Yoga and his own invented style. He began his Yoga teaching career at a studio called The Yoga Room in Berkeley; later, he co-founded the Piedmont Yoga Studio in Oakland.
In 2002, Yee was sued by Susannah Bruder, a former instructor at his Piedmont yoga studio, who accused him of terminating an agreement with her after she confronted him about an alleged sexual relationship he had with a student. Yee said that the case "has to do with us firing someone who was basically bad-mouthing me." Although the lawsuit did not mention names, two former students came forward to say they had had affairs with Yee.
Yee has three children from his first marriage to Donna Fone, whom he divorced in 2002 after twenty-four years of marriage. He married former model Colleen Saidman, one of his students, in December 2006. Since dating students violates the precepts of yoga teacher conduct as defined by the Yoga Alliance, this led to division in Yee-oriented communities. They live in The Hamptons. Both yoga instructors continue to pursue their own careers (Yee with YeeYoga and Gaiam; Saidman with Yoga Shanti) and in May, 2008 opened an online yoga club / virtual yoga studio together called The Gaiam Yoga Club. Yee now teaches around the world at workshops, retreats, and conferences.
- Donahue, Dierdre. "Look at this man's body: This is what yoga can do for you." USA Today, April 24, 2002 (full text)
- Goodyear, Charlie; Marech, Rona (May 12, 2002). "Yoga guru in compromising position / Celebrity instructor Rodney Yee faces allegations of misconduct with students". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
- Pogrebin, Abigail. "An Illicit Yoga Love Story". New York Magazine. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
- Goodyear, Charles; ibid.