Venture out East of the NYC chaos and and you’ll find the second home to Wellness Please - Sag Harbor! Our wellness respite from the Florida heat, it’s a magical place that seems to welcome us in with open arms upon each return. We’d like for you to get acquainted as well ; ) Read on as we highlight a few of our favorite Sag places and influential people…
YOGA SHANTI – Colleen Saidman + Rodney Yee
I first met Colleen Saidman 30+ years ago. I was working as a freelance hair and makeup artist in NYC and her name appeared on the list of models that would be arriving that day for a photo shoot. At that point in time, models with naturally curly hair were unique to the industry. Can you imagine a time without hair products and mega-watt blow dryers? So, when Colleen arrived that day, I was enthralled by her crowning glory of curls. Ah, something new, different and BEAUTIFUL!
Chatting with her as I worked my make-up magic, it became clear she was a very special person. A vibrant, bright, shining light.
I remember her stories most fondly: travels to India with another model and their stint working with Mother Theresa; that crazy time she was struck by lighting…Colleen is truly extraordinary!
Fast-forward through the years and we’ve both ended up in the same little whaling town in the Hamptons. The universe works in mysterious ways, doesn’t it?!
Today, Colleen is married to yoga icon, Rodney Yee. Together they own Yoga Shanti - the mecca of yoga studios in town. We’re huge fans! Rodney and Colleen are well-versed and accomplished instructors who are always mindfully attentive to the needs of their patrons.
Our ideal Saturday: a leisurely morning on the back patio with a cup of hot lemon water, a mug of coffee with a scoop of Wellness Please multi-collagen and a good book; followed by an 8:30 am Shanti Open class. Shanti Open welcomes yogis of all levels! It focuses on alignment and stability in posture through a sequence of poses, use of props and pranayama to deepen your personal practice. Want to feel amazing?!
URBAN ZEN – Donna Karan
The breathtaking new location of Donna Karan’s multi-cultural ‘Urban Zen’ stores opened early this past summer right on Main Street. Donna Karan partnered with her daughter, Gabby, to showcase the unique concept of a combined restaurant/retail space: Urban Zen + Tutto il Giorno. During our September Wellness Please photo shoot, I finally got my first look at their new digs. We ventured in mid-morning on a sunny and slightly cool day. Feather-soft gusts of sea air flowed through the french doors and high, white-washed ceilings as the crisp daylight of early Fall danced through the branches of the surrounding trees. Needless to say, we HAD to return later that evening for dinner with the team. I was stunned by the gorgeous aesthetic - both sleek with a bit of coastal rustic, yet exotic with Balinese lounges, teak chairs and Italian clothing.
Gabby orchestrates a delicious Italian restaurant by the name of Tutto il Giorno (with multiple locations - though this is our favorite). We were lucky enough to amble in without a reservation. From the daytime shop, the space had transformed into a candlelit night and the place was buzzing. Everyone looked to be delighting in the rich Italian fare + heady libations. Though everybody at the table would typically shy away from gluten, no one could resist the warm pillows of bread, the savory al dente pastas and melt-in-your-mouth tiramisu lain down before us! Cheat night anyone?
To top it all off, the magical and exotic decor is all for sale…I’d like one of each please! Or can I just move in?
But this brick + mortar store is just one small piece of Karan’s heart - she aims to help the world in a big way. She created the Urban Zen Foundation as a way to raise awareness and inspire change in health + wellness, education and the preservation of arts + culture. Check out more about this awesome initiative at urbanzen.org!
Karan’s dream is not just to dress people but to address them.
She launched the Urban Zen Integrative Therapy (UZIT) program in 2009 in collaboration with Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman Yee - an inspiring crew near and dear to Sag Harbor. They believe in combining Eastern healing techniques with Western medicine for a holistic approach to patient care and train members of the healthcare and yoga communities in the five core healing modalities: yoga therapy, Reiki, essential oil therapy, nutrition and contemplative care. Their mission is to treat patients and not just the disease.
See why we’re proud to call Sag Harbor our second home? Though still a charming old whaling town at heart, the community of inspiring people continues to evolve and make waves in the world of wellness - a movement we can get behind. We hope to see you there soon :)
-WellnessPlease Staff 2018