Colleen Saidman Yee Mentions Her Wine Thing Again /// And a Puppy Loses Its Wings /// Then We Mention Giant Egg-Shaped Orbs

Thanks to Derek Beres for hipping us to this WSJ article on Colleen Saidman Yee, “Yoga, With Pleasure,” which includes some commentary on her commercial wine stunt, as well as on her teaching methods.

I swear, the more I read about Colleen Saidman Yee’s wine endorsement coupled with her actually speaking about it, the more I want to go to one of those “yoga caves” I keep hearing about and convince a bunch of bats to let me live there forever.

Now, I know there must be a lot of yoga practitioners out there who care about Saidman-Yee’s wine affiliation, because they feel like yoga and alcohol should have nothing to do with one another. As we said in our interview with Where is My Guru?, mind altering substances have been mingling within spiritual yogic endeavors since seemingly forever, and I guarantee they’ve been around long before yoga itself. That’s a good thing. Take away the stigma, and what you have is simply fermented fruit that can, in the right context, open or shut a few psychic doors, if you will. No big deal. Get over it and stop being so Brahmanically straight edge.

What’s just so damn vomit-inducing about Saidman-Yee’s schtick, however, is how she takes all the magick and mystery out of the holy elixer-yoga connection, and turns it into a bunch of meaningless fluff and commerce. Which is unfortunate, ’cause fermentation could look a lot like this….

Instead, Saidman Yee is STILL talking about how we don’t need to do yoga in caves!

“I think people think of yogis living in a cave, celibate, with no worldly pleasure,” she said. “That’s not who we are.”

I mean, really. What is this obsession with not doing yoga in a cave? It’s really starting to sound desperate. It’s almost like she has a phobia of dark spaces and feels the need to drive home this anti-cave agenda in order to normalize her projected fear. Not to mention the bit where she refers to “we,” as if there is some sort of unified community of yoga practitioners. Sister, that best be a royal “we,” ’cause I’m about to get wild-style up in here. If Colleen thinks she’s speaking for me, we’re gonna have to have some words.

Then, she follows it up with this silliness:

“I want to have fun in this life,” Ms. Saidman proclaimed. “I wear skin-tight jeans with $600 boots. I watch ‘So You Think You Can Dance.'”

UUUUUUUUUUUUUUGH! Colleen, you are not that cool. You’re acting like people care at all how you live your life, when really you’re just some yoga teacher with a credit card. Believe me, no one thinks you’re some cave-dwelling recluse. Get over it.

Then, she busts out this remark about the wine itself, and why she chose to go for the ride:

“I felt our philosophies were very similar.”

Hmmm… I wonder what philosophy that is. If you check out Estancia‘s homepage, there really isn’t much to suggest they are anything but another winemaker who prefers some vague idea of “traditional methods” over non-traditional ones. The site states:

“Estancia’s winemakers strive to combine the best of both worlds: a state-of-the art winemaking facility, and a traditional, hands-on approach to each grape we produce. In the end, this combination allows us to deliver the hand-crafted quality for which our wines are known. While our cutting-edge facilities enable us to take advantage of the beneficial advances in winemaking technology, our commitment to old world processes results in the complexity and elegance found in artisanal and boutique wines.”

Sounds, fine enough. Never tasted their wine, so, can’t really comment. However, compare that to, say, Chateau Maris, a certified biodynamic wine collective in France that takes all the hip “natural” “green” “biodynamic” talk to it’s wonderful completion:

We follow biodynamic practices and we believe that the plants we work with have souls similar to ours and that they should be respected in the same way as we do with our own. We search for natural ways—herbal teas for instance—to stimulate our vines and to protect them from their natural predators.

When we introduce companion plants to the vineyards we are providing nature with the tools she needs to look after herself, without chemical intervention. This is a delicate balance between every living plant and creature, which aggressive modern agricultural practices have so detrimentally affected.

The lunar cycles are also important to the way we work at Château Maris. By paying attention to the position of the planets within these cycles, during the growing or ageing period and also when bottling can have a very positive effect. This might sound a little off the wall, but it can be as simple—and sensible—as planting on a day when the sun is growing stronger.”

And, they use these egg-as-God-perfected-shape vats to ferment the good good:

And, their vines are those “F- you. I don’t need good soil to do what I do best” kind of gnarly vines:

And, not to mention, they frickin’ built their place outta hemp!

“The chais has been built with hemp lime bricks that are supported by a wooden structure. The materials are, for the most part, vegetal and a renewable resource. They emit no gases that are bad for your health, no dust allergens and no static electricity. Equally, they regulate moisture effectively.

No ventilation is required and nor is any sort of heating or cooling system. As a plant, hemp consumes CO2 and it requires no pesticides or irrigation. It is also well known for its positive properties in maintaining topsoil. The simplicity of the building method also helped to avoid a lot of site waste.

The roof of the office and tasting building will support 380m2 of photovoltaic solar panels capable of producing 49kwc/an. Along with the building’s efficiency, the complex will produce as much energy as it consumes, as well as stocking CO2 to counter any emissions in the winemaking process.”

And, the best part of all? Their wines are dope. The Syrah bursts with tart dark cherries among naughty peppercorns. Pair it with Mushrooms or (gasp!) lamb, and you’ll be having an orgiastic cuddle puddle in about an hour.

Now that’s something I can get behind!


  1. Minervois are da bomb! and easy on the wallet too. There is a Colombian folkloric dance called Candoble that I will never look at in the same way again, yikes.

  2. I hesitate to say this may be your best post ever as, of course, there have been more politically important posts and culturally pertinent posts (though I could argue that this post fills both categories) but shit I love a good wine recommendation. The thought of “Naughty Peppercorns” has me wishing the day away so I can find some chateau maris at a semi-appropriate drinking time and crack that lunar-cycle-soul-sister-oeuf-vat fermented wine open!
    p.s. if this blogging thing doesn’t work out you could get a job as a sommelier I am sure. x

    • Best post ever? Impossible. Although being a sommelier on the side could be awesome. Kinda like double life guru Rudi Rudrananda and his “Oriental Shop.” Or, like the Sufi mystic who owns and runs a pizzeria, but on Thursday nights calls down the swirling “Zulfiqar” swords of Ali in the back room amongst a crowd of beloved mourning Bektashis!

      Or something like that….

      • Fascinating reading about Rudi! I’m wondering if Marina A.’s The Artist is Present piece was inspired by Rudi. And also wondering if my baby self and Rudi crossed paths as my mother was a Muktananda disciple for a bit in the early ’70’s. and now I have my own “small shop” in the west village, gazing into people’s eyes, etc.

  3. “the more I want to go to one of those “yoga caves” I keep hearing about and convince a bunch of bats to let me live there forever.” — I’ve been saying that for years!

  4. “I want to have fun in this life,” Ms. Saidman proclaimed. “I wear skin-tight jeans with $600 boots. I watch ‘So You Think You Can Dance.’” (Sounds like a New Jersey trophy wife…if she wanted to be cool, she should said “I wear vintage jeans with John Fluevog boots. I watch “Game of Thrones”. )

    Question: If we take this a step further, has anyone blended yoga with ayahuasca yet? That, I could totally get on board with.

  5. I thought ayahuasca was yoga. Tell you what though, it’s a hell of a lot more work than yoga. The Mother of that world doesn’t really settle for “Follow your bliss.” Better off skipping the asanas and going right for the Santo Daime.

  6. The P

    Again with the caves!!! I think it may be PTSD from watching too many 70’s and 80’s kid shows. There was always a terrifying episode where a kid got trapped in a cave..

    Loved Derek’s article and your commentary. Good chuckles this mornin!

  7. My yoga cave has a wine bar. Problem solved, everybody is happy.

  8. amphibi1yogini

    How quickly we forget. Colleen Saidman was in the forefront of turning yoga into the competitive sport that it is today, even in the throes of backlash, to wit:

    In light of this, don’t expect her distancing herself from the material world any time soon.

  9. the moment already came

    “I think people think of yogis living in a cave, celibate, with no worldly pleasure,” she said. “That’s not who we are.”

    Dear Colleen, because of you and your pals, I now think of yogis living in bougie lofts, fucking their students, and basically doing whatever the hell they feel like any time at all. Thank you for clearing up all the confusion about who we are.

    • “[B]ecause of you and your pals, I now think of yogis living in bougie lofts, fucking their students, and basically doing whatever the hell they feel like any time at all…”

      You nailed it here.

  10. Medea

    “I want to have fun in this life,” Ms. Saidman proclaimed. “I wear skin-tight jeans with $600 boots. I watch ‘So You Think You Can Dance.’” Ms. Saidman seems a bit confused about what makes a Yogi and a Boghi:

    “A hermit sat in meditation, still, with eyes closed. A beautiful nymph appeared before him and began to dance. This is a recurring theme in Hindu mythology: the confrontation between the tapasvin and the apsara. Sometimes, the hermit wins and the nymph leaves disheartened. Sometimes, the nymph wins and the hermit falls into her arms. The tapasvin who does not succumb (to worldly pleasures) is called a yogi while a the one who does is called a bhogi.”

    Both of course have their place in this world. One is not better then the other; they are just stages in our evolution. But having a pleasure seeking and materialistic attitude and claim that this is what yogi’s are about is like Mc-Donalds claiming it sells healthy food.

    @Earth Energy Reader: guess what: for $3500,- only you get what you are asking for 😀

  11. Greenpoint

    an article about Yoga in the WSJ, what do you expect? Just like articles about Yoga in the NYTimes, full of obfuscation,superficial ideas/statements, and painful to read…or any kind of articles for that matter in either of those rags…

  12. Itstrue

    I would agree with Alex, this is my favorite post yet. But then again I follow and agree with all things Alex. She has a crush on you and I have a crush on her. Is that weird given none of us have ever seen each others faces?

  13. I AM THAT

    “Anti-cave agenda”

    LMAO. Really.

  14. Itstrue–I’m flattered…although you can actually see my face as I am not anonymous…I am just so curious about all you anons out there…do we know each other? have we met? why do you choose to be anonymous (no judgment…just curious)…have I seen you in the dry sauna and/or the cold dip at spa 88?


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