Saidman Yee

Colleen’s yoga journey began reluctantly in 1984 at the urging of a roommate who took her to a class in New York City that left her feeling intimidated and yet remarkably good. Still, she continued other forms of exercise (including running, boxing, and basketball) until 1994, when she was forced to undergo back surgery. Since then, her commitment to her yoga practice has been unwavering. A graduate of Jivamukti’s 1998 teacher-training program, Colleen opened her own studio, Yoga Shanti, in Sag Harbor, in 1999.

In 2015, Colleen published a best selling book titled Yoga For Life: A Journey to Inner Peace and Freedom (Simon & Schuster), which elegantly blends practical yoga instruction with inspiring autobiography. In collaboration with Yoga Journal, she has a 12-week online course based on her book called “Yoga for Inner Peace.”

The New York Times christened Colleen “The First Lady of Yoga,” in their profile of her on the front page of the Sunday Style section in 2013. As one of the most revered and recognizable faces in the world of yoga, Colleen has been featured in Vanity Fair, O: The Oprah Magazine, New York magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Allure, Marie-Claire, Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar Italia, and has been on the cover of Yoga Journal four times. Before that she had a varied career: She has been an international fashion model since 1980. Colleen graduated from the Ohashi school of shiatsu in 1998. She has also lived in Calcutta, working with Mother Theresa at the Home for the Dying and Destitute.

Rodney and Colleen partnered with Donna Karan to establish UZIT LLC, which combines Yoga, Reiki, Essential Oils, Contemplative Care and Meditation initially to care for the caregivers and patients. UZIT has now expanded to anyone seeking relief and calm in the chaos. She and her husband, Rodney Yee, teach yoga teacher training at Yoga Shanti, as well as all over the globe.

Together with Rodney, Colleen created and directs the Urban Zen’s Integrative Yoga Therapist Program, Donna Karan’s worldwide initiative—which has been transforming care in hospitals around the world since 2010. Colleen has also appeared in dozens of Gaiam yoga DVDs. Colleen is a contributor to several online platforms: Gaia Yoga, Yoga International, Yoga Journal, One Commune and UZIT. She currently lives in Sag Harbor, New York. Colleen has many teachers, but the most important are her four children.


Rodney Yee, an American-born Asian from California, embarked on his yoga journey in the 1980s with a focus on studying the intricacies of the human body. Over time, his exploration expanded to encompass the realms of mind and spirituality, driven by a practical and inquisitive approach. Rodney’s pursuit of wholeness began during his high school gymnastics days and was further nurtured through the study of philosophy and physical therapy at U.C. Davis and U.C. Berkeley. He left college to pursue a career in dance, performing with the Oakland Ballet Company and the Matsuyama Dance Company of Tokyo.

Yoga served as the synthesis of Rodney’s diverse interests, embodying his deep yearning for completeness. He built a strong foundation in Iyengar Yoga at The Yoga Room in Berkeley, CA, and the Iyengar Institute of San Francisco, where he learned from influential teachers like Donald Moyer, Manouso Manos, and Ramanand Patel. In 1987, Rodney co-founded The Piedmont Yoga studio with Richard Rosen and Claire Finn. His prominence grew as he featured in the Yoga Journal calendar in 1989 and 1991, leading to a successful video career under Healing Arts, eventually becoming part of the Gaiam Company. His appearance on Oprah in 2000 further propelled yoga into mainstream culture. Rodney and Colleen partnered with Donna Karan to establish UZIT LLC, which combined Yoga, Reiki, Essential Oils, and Meditation to benefit all.

In 2003, Rodney relocated to Sag Harbor, NY, to be with his partner Colleen Saidman. Together, they have created a blended family with their children, Evan, Adesha, Rachel, and Johanna. Colleen and Rodney’s love for one another and passion for teaching has only intensified with time. They are actively involved in teaching at Colleen’s studio, Yoga Shanti, and offer classes, workshops, retreats, and Teacher Trainings worldwide.



Susan “Lippy” Orem began practicing yoga when the thrill of bench aerobics was gone. Her first teachers were Sharon Gannon, Dana Flynn and Cyndi Lee. Her checkered past as a dancer in Las Vegas revues, Off Broadway actress, Ringling Brothers clown and sign language interpreter left her no choice but to teach yoga. She was too old to be a cowgirl or an astronaut. She was first certified by Cyndi Lee before there was an OM Yoga. She has been a student of Rodney Yee since 1996 and continues to be inspired by his teaching. She is proud to be part of the Teacher Training program for Yoga Shanti in Sag Harbor and to assist Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman annually at Kripalu. Here in NYC Genny Kapuler and Carrie Owerko keep Lip’s feet steady on the path. The most influential teachers have been all the students willing to take this trip with her. Susan “Lip” is grateful every day that what she does is what she loves.


David started practicing at Yoga Shanti NYC in 2014 eventually earning his 500 Hr-ERYT. David managed Five Pillars Yoga on the Upper East Side and in the Hamptons for five years, mentoring three 200Hr Yoga Teacher Trainings and diversifying his own education with continued studies in multiple lineages, including Ashtanga, Kundalini, Iyengar and Yoga Therapeutics. David is a Reiki practitioner, and Level II certified in Thai Yoga massage.  He is a trauma-informed recovery coach and a Kriya Yoga initiate in the lineage of Paramahansa Yogananda. Today David designs landscapes and gardens on the East End of Long Island and lives in Water Mill, NY.


Jazmin, when not teaching or practicing yoga, is also a surfer, former circus acrobat, and art student turned local farm-girl in Santa Barbara, CA. Thanks to her mother, who insisted she do yoga, Jazmin has engaged in some form of yoga and meditation practice most of her life. Her early introduction to yoga as a young child taught her the importance of caring for the body and cultivating an open mind and heart. The deal was – she could be in the circus as long as she also agreed to keep practicing yoga and “learn the correct alignment”. Through yoga, Jazmin continues to uncover and refine what it means to live in alignment within herself, in relationship, and with the world. Jazmin completed her initial 200-hour teacher training in 2014 with Ganga White and Tracy Rich. She has been teaching yoga since. She felt she had just scratched the surface after her first teacher training. So of course, she dug deeper. She has since completed an additional 300 hours of advanced teacher training with Colleen Saidman and Rodney Yee. Jazmin considers Rodney and Colleen her primary teachers and has studied with them since she was a teenager. Jazmin’s committed exploration of what it means to live close to the beauty of the human experience continues to evolve, breakdown, mature, and unfold, sometimes as a yoga teacher, always as a student.

View Jazmin’s Schedule


Sarah Halweil graduated from the Yoga Shanti Teacher Training Program in 2004. Previously she had practiced Ashtanga, Iyengar, and Jivamukti Yoga, but knew that she had found something special when she moved to Sag Harbor and started practicing at Yoga Shanti. “I was in awe in every class,” she remembers. “The chanting. The intelligent sequencing. The focus on anatomy. The spiritual education and guidance. It satisfied all of my yoga expectations, and all in a tiny, whaling town.”

Sarah strives to push the yoga practice beyond the classroom and into everyday life. “I feel grateful to be able to study with Colleen and Jessica, Rodney Yee and Manorama, and to share this powerful practice with others,” she says.

Sarah holds a BA in Environmental Science and Latin American Studies from the University of Colorado in Boulder and a BSN from Georgetown University in Washington, DC. She is a labor and delivery nurse, and clinical coordinator for the Urban Zen program at Southampton hospital.


Leah took her first class at Yoga Shanti in 2001 and just never left.  She completed Yoga Shanti’s teacher training program in 2004, the Urban Zen Integrative Therapy Program in 2010 and is now a mentor in the Yoga Shanti teacher training. Leah’s classes are beautifully paced, carefully sequenced, and led with delicate instruction. She is continually amazed by and delights in the glory of this practice. She is grateful to all the teachers and students of Yoga Shanti for years of conversation, collaboration and community.


Seamus grew up splitting his time in between New York City and the East End of Long Island. He continues to enjoy this balance between city and costal life today. Prior to teaching yoga, Seamus worked primarily as a Recording Engineer. Starting as a Front of House Sound Mixer for a nationally touring band, then progressing into Studio Recording/ Editing/Mixing, then eventually landing in Television Production.

Seamus’s first introduction to yoga was an Ashtanga yoga class in North Carolina in the late 90’s. After his first class he was hooked. He since has spent time in the full spectrum of yoga disciplines, all leading to his primary love for Vinyasa Flow Yoga.

Throughout his professional career, like many practitioners, he had a “on-again/off-again” rela- tionship with yoga. He found himself sometimes practicing 3-5 times per week, other times not practicing for months. Eventually one thing became very clear. The more time he dedicated to showing up and practicing on his mat, the more balanced every aspect of his life became. Seamus completed his first 200-HR Teacher Training in 2015 at Yoga Shanti NYC and has since completed an additional 300HR Advanced Teacher Training at Yoga Shanti. He continues to be dedicated to the study, practice, and teaching of yoga.

Seamus’s classes are as fun as they are challenging. He teaches a Vinyasa Flow style, with a heavy emphasis on sequencing and music, alignment and flow, and an appropriate amount of inquiry into the practice of yoga. See you on the mat!


Peggy Leder has been studying intensively with Colleen and Rodney for the past 5 years. She has completed 1000 hours of Yoga Shanti Teacher Trainings.  As well as teaching at Yoga Shanti, Peggy has a private practice as an art therapist working with all ages. She is a photographer and loves to capture the beauty that surrounds her on a daily basis on the east end of LI. Peggy holds her bachelor’s degree in art education from the University of Vermont and her master’s degree in clinical art therapy from CW Post, LI University. Peggy resides year round in Sag Harbor, NY.


Sylvia has been studying yoga for over 15 years on the East End. While Colleen and Rodney have been her teachers for most of that time, her first teacher was her sister Isabella, learning headstand and shouldershand in her studio apartment in Montevideo, Uruguay. She has since completed and mentored numerous Yoga Shanti teacher trainings, and taught in studios across Long Island and New York City, making special trips to José Ignacio, Uruguay to teach for her sister at The Shack Yoga studio. Sylvia has a background in various styles of yoga: Hatha, Ashtanga Vinyasa, and Iyengar styles, as well as heated practice, Jivamukti and Anusara styles. Her practice is deeply steeped in the Yoga Shanti method developed by her teachers, and her classes are often challenging but easy to follow, fun and lighthearted! Sylvia is a practicing visual artist with a BA in geology from Oberlin College, and loves to create visual representations, tools, and games to deal with esoteric concepts. When not teaching, she has spent the years since graduating working on farms, in gardens, and with school garden programs on Eastern LI. She is currently (virtually) working towards a degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine at Pacific College in New York.