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Shakedown at Yoga Shanti: Colleen and Rodney Yee VS. Jessica Bellofatto

in Celebriyogis, YD News, Yoga Crime

Yesterday’s NY Post‘s Page Six Magazine takes a closer look at the “War of the Poses” (as they call it) – the latest on the legal, and ego, battles between yogis Colleen Saidman Yee and Jessica Bellofatto.

The Case: Colleen Saidman Yee (w/ Rodney Yee, accomplice) VS. Jessica Bellofatto.

The Accusations: Colleen says Jessica has embezzeld $200,000 over the course of their 10 year business partnership as owners of Yoga Shanti in the Hamptons.

“She is a wonderful woman with a problem,” Colleen says of Jessica. “She lives in the Hamptons, surrounded by people with a lot of money, and she feels that she should live that way too.”

Jessica denies the claims:

“The allegations are completely false. Colleen is a pathological liar, and prone to delusion. Rodney has always been possessive of [Colleen]. He never liked me and has wanted me out from the day he got there. He and Colleen are attempting to take a business from me that I’ve built for 10 years. It’s worth close to half a million dollars, and this is a way for them to get me to leave without having to buy me out.”

The Timeline:

1999: Colleen and Jessica meet at Jivamukti in NYC, both contribute thousands to opening Yoga Shanti, first serious yoga studio in the Hamptons.

2003: Gossip columns go abuzz when Rodney Yee enters the picture (both Rodney and Colleen left their respective spouses, plus Rodney’s sexual harassment charges are still fresh).

2007: Jessica’s $12,000 breast-lift surgery.

November 2008: Jessica announced she would be “moving on” and parts ways with Colleen and Yoga Shanti.

Dec 7, 2008: Colleen leaks the allegations of embezzlement, stirring the tempered calm of the situation.

The Egos Have Landed:

Jessica lambasts the Yee’s lavish lifestyle while highlighting her own modest means, although at the same time admitting to the $12,000 breast lift, which she somehow afforded with her own money. (?)

Meanwhile, Colleen goes on the ever-enraging and provocative holier-than-thou trip: “We want the truth to come out so that [Jessica] can start over again,” she says. “The healing cannot happen if I don’t hold her responsible, and the karmic retribution for both of us will be bad if I don’t hold her accountable.” Argh, save it lady.

Supporters have spoken out, including Christy Turlington with a statement on Jessica’s website, along with fellow yoga teachers, including our favorite quote from Jerry Bianchini, who taught at Yoga Shanti for five years, “Colleen has always been an elaborator. She once told me that she was almost kidnapped by cannibals at the Miami airport.” Cannibals! in Miami!

And so…we are left to wonder, is Jessica an embittered third wheel? Are Colleen and Rodney wealthy yogi bullies? Does Jessica have some real money issues?

In any case, the scandal doesn’t quite lend itself to what we expect from otherwise respected yogis. But nobody’s perfect, we guess, and the sooner we can all admit that the better off we’ll be. For now, the war soldiers on! We’ll keep you informed of the latest.

What does this mean for yoga in the media? Have you chosen sides?

The Yoga World’s War of the Poses [NY Post Page Six Magazine]

4 comments… add one
  • yati

    What do you expect from phoney “yogi/yoginis”, falsely practicing yoga, misrepresenting yoga/Hinduism, exploiting a religious practice to the naive public, etc. etc. They then evaluate the “Karma” of others? What about their own infidelity(far from Bramacharya), harm (Ahimsa) to students and Hinduism, uprooting yoga from Hinduism (not Satya) stealing (not Asteya) from Hindus, commercializing a religious practice and receiving large fees for it (not Aparigraha). they then claim to offer guidance to students on these subjects or Yamas of Hinduism found in sacred Hindu texts. Here are some facts for all the “yogis/yoginis” in self-delusion…
    ~Sanskrit: The ancient language of the Hindus [Webster’s] Note: all subsequent terms are Sanskrit (Skr.) and thus Hindu
    ~Aum/Om: The most sacred syllable in Hinduism [Oxford World Religions]
    ~yoga: Skr. “Hinduism” [Webster’s]
    ~yoga: Oneness of Atmana and Brahman [Dict. of Skr. Names]
    ~yogi/yogini: (male/female) Hindu Ascetic [Oxford World Rel.]
    ~Atmana: Skr. Self/Spirit; Hinduism [Webster’s]
    ~Brahman: Skr. Hindu Religion [Webster’s]
    ~yoga: Skr. A Hindu discipline [Oxford Am. Dict.]
    ~ yoga: Skr. A system of Hindu religious philosophy [Thorndike Barnhardt]
    ~yoga: Skr. general term for spiritual disciplines in Hinduism [Columbia Encyclopedia]
    ~Swami: Skr. Title of respect of a (Hindu) Holy man or teacher. [Oxford World Religions]
    ~Guru: Skr. A teacher of worldly skills…more often of religious knowledge…liberation (Moksa). [Oxford World religions]
    ~Moksa: Release/liberation – the fourth and ultimate goal of Hinduism. [Oxf. World Religion]
    ~The first recorded evidence of the Skr. word “yoga” is found in the Vedas.
    ~Veda Skr. The most ancient sacred literature of the Hindus. [Webster’s]
    ~Upanishads: Text in Hinduism which ends or completes the Vedic corpus (body of [Hindu] laws)[Oxf. World Religions]

  • The natural outcome of entire phony yoga movement. Real Yoga is Hinduism; taught by qualified Hindus, free of charge.

    Swami Param
    Classical Yoga Hindu Academy

  • Kelly

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  • Kaehr

    Colleen is in it for the money and the fame.
    We we’re married in Indiana and she left me for Saidman because of an affiarwith him. The N.Y post siad that Saidman was her first husband. This is Not TRUE
    Her madian Mane is Zello, Her Modeling name Kaehr
    She went to Mother Teresa because is left me and she couldn’t take the pain any more.
    Colleen has never talked with me about her leaving she just left and I got a Dear John letter 15 years later saying how she cheated on me.
    And how she never meant me any pain.
    I hope Jessica takes them BOTH down and people really see these two as they really are. Cheater, on there families and friends and all the people that pay money to them.

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