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Stop Checking Bags: Travel Light Says Colleen Saidman

August 13, 2015

Yogi frequent flyers must find a way to make their travel experience more light which is why international yoga teacher Colleen Saidman stopped checking bags years ago.

The Wall Street Journal detailed Colleen’s travel secrets, from never checking bags to meditating as the plane lands.

via The Wall Street Journal:

ver the first six months of 2015, Colleen Saidman Yee says she slept in her own bed just 13 nights. The yoga teacher, model and author traveled to Bhutan, Morocco, China and Mexico, among other places, primarily to teach yoga at conferences and retreats and to film yoga videos. Yet the 56-year-old from Sag Harbor, N.Y., claims not to have checked a bag in 20 years.

“I hate waiting at baggage claim,” Ms. Saidman Yee says. “I’m not that patient, even though I try and even though I meditate and do yoga.” If she’s on a long trip, she’ll buy extra clothing at her destination and ship home the dirty stuff.

Ms. Saidman Yee totes two carry-ons, a Samsonite rolling bag that she fills with clothes, shoes and toiletries and places in the overhead bin. The items she’ll need while flying go into a smaller bag that she can stow at her feet. She usually travels with her husband, Rodney Yee, another accomplished yoga teacher.

She owns Yoga Shanti, a studio in Long Island’s Sag Habor, and co-owns two other outposts—one on Long Island and one in Manhattan. Married since 2006, she and her husband have four children—ages 19 to 24—between them.

Besides modern essentials like her laptop, headphones and phone, Ms. Saidman Yee always carries a book by the Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön and a couple of volumes of poetry, often by Persian poets Rumi or Hafiz.

“At the end of every class I teach, I read a poem that goes along with the spiritual teaching,” she says. On flights, she often tucks in those books next to the latest copy of People magazine.

She brings a favorite pen, a gift from her husband when she began writing her book, “Yoga for Life,” a combination of yoga poses and memoir which covers everything from her modeling days in New York in the 1980s to her teenage heroin habit. She’ll use the pen to jot down ideas and notes on the airsickness bag.

For sustenance, Ms. Saidman Yee brings bars of Bond Street chocolate and mixed nuts. She carries anti-seizure medicine because of her epilepsy—which she believes she got after being struck by lightning during a camping trip when she was 28.

Ms. Saidman Yee doesn’t check a bag when she flies. Her Samsonite rolling bag goes in the overhead bin and she stows a smaller bag with in-flight essentials under the seat in front of her.

Ms. Saidman Yee changes into sweatpants by Sundry or Sweaty Betty during the flight and totes a pair of sneakers with the backs folded down for easy access for trips to the bathroom. During the flight, Ms. Saidman Yee will squat on her seat or do arm movements which she says fights jet lag.

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Andrea Petersen writes about health and travel for the Personal Journal section of the Wall Street Journal.
Previously, Ms. Petersen was an editor for Personal Journal. Also at the Journal, she has covered wireless telecommunications and technology.

Ms. Petersen graduated from the University of Michigan.

To contact Ms. Petersen, email Follow her on Twitter: @andreaapetersen.