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!