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.”
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]