World Travel Award winners Parrot Cay in the Turks and Caicos attracts some of the world’s leading Yoga teachers. In 2009, the line?up has never looked stronger with Rodney Yee, Colleen Saidman Yee and Erich Schiffmann all returning, and teacher Elena Brower joining the schedule for the first time.This ability to draw in the best instruction has much to do with the commitment Parrot Cay, who won Caribbeans Leading Spa Resort, shows towards all teachers and students - the exceptional Yoga facilities at the private island resort’s COMO Shambhala Retreat, the healthful COMO Shambhala Cuisine, the range of holistic treatments which so meaningfully complement a student’s focused Yoga practice, and the calibre of Parrot Cay’s beach?-style accommodation. During the five?-day retreats, students are invited to engage in up to four? and? a? half to five hours of Yoga daily, allowing for the space and inspiration which does not easily exist in home environments. The simplicity of each day lets students empty their mind of all other concerns, for at Parrot Cay, seamless service and attention to detail ensures students can focus on the reason for coming to this uniquely soulful place: to learn Yoga for the first time, or to deepen their existing practice.
The year’s schedule opens with Rodney and Colleen Saidman Yee’s Retreat from 19th to 25th April. Entitled ‘Moving from Conflict Toward Peace: An Exploration of Asana, Pranayama, Meditation, and Chanting’, Rodney and Colleen will invite students to take a vacation from the mind’s chatter. Using the tools of observation, vibration and movement - plus hard work and some rock and roll music - sessions will focus on specific alignment and sequencing for standing poses, hip openers, twists, and backbends.
The principles of alignment will then be brought into a flow class where the focus will be on receptivity and the body’s natural wisdom as preparation for pranayama and meditation.
With a shared passion and commitment to Yoga, Rodney and Colleen have been practicing together for years and were married in December 2006. Together they created and present the online Gaiam Yoga Club, and they are the Yoga Directors of the Health and Wellness Initiative of Donna Karan’s Urban Zen Foundation . In addition, Rodney is a member of the Board of Advisors for COMO Shambhala. He was a co?founder (and former owner/director) of Piedmont Yoga Studio in Oakland, California, and is the author of Yoga: The Poetry of the Body and Moving Toward Balance. Colleen, originally certified in the 800?-hour Jivamukti Teacher Training Program, opened the hip Yoga Shanti studio in Sag Harbor, New York, in 1999.
Like Rodney and Colleen, Erich Schiffmann, normally based out of Los Angeles, remains one of Parrot Cay’s most frequent visitors - a teacher who recognises the unique potential of a retreat held at this resort and the focus it allows students. From 31st May to 6th June, he will be leading ‘The Essentials of Freedom?Style Yoga’. Sessions will reflect Erich’s unique Freedom ?Style Yoga - an intuitive approach to Yoga as the art of living. Students meditate, thus listening inwardly for guidance, and practice poses, learning to move through asanas with a creativity and attention to the breath, their body’s limits and energy lines. Drawing on 40 years of experience, Erich will help students of all levels develop deeper levels of self?-trust - and in this approach, he remains one of the best teachers ever. It is an influence acknowledged by Elena Brower, a new teacher to Parrot Cay who from 25th to 31st October will lead a retreat entitled ‘Heal and Fortify: Body and Soul’.
Elena’s style is ideal for those who are new to Yoga, or for those who are seeking a fresh perspective. Her empathetic, honest method of teaching offers appropriately challenging, contemplative practices to refocus attention and thus strengthen each student’s sense of self, and the deeper spirituality and goodness, which exist in all of us. In the twice daily classes, Elena will explore postures, meditation and breath work with subtle alignment cues and carefully selected practices.
Elena, a certified Anusara teacher who seven years ago opened Virayoga in New York, has frequently featured in the New York Times and Yoga Journal. She produced one of the first ever modern audio CD yoga practices in 2000, entitled Vinyasa Yoga, and is the featured teacher for the Element Yoga for Beginners DVD series. Recently she published her first limited edition book entitled Alchemy, A Glossary.