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.



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.


Raised on Long Island’s sandy shores Mia is an avid sailor with a passion for protecting coastal ecosystems. In her hometown of Hampton Bays she co-founded the environmental non-profit Ecological Culture Initiative. She began practicing yoga in high school to improve her balance and flexibility as a cheerleader. She completed two 8-week yoga instructor training courses and taught yoga throughout her undergraduate years at SUNY Oswego. In her junior and senior years of college she helped mentor the next group of yoga instructors for the university fitness centers. Mia completed her 200 hour training at Yoga Shanti in 2017. She graduated in 2018 from SUNY College at Oswego with a BA in Anthropology and a minor in studio art. In 2019 she completed Urban Zen Level One Training. She continues to study with Colleen Saidman Yee and Rodney Yee because she is passionate about their alignment focused sequencing. Gratitude, breath awareness, balancing poses and reiki all inspire her personal practice and teaching. She considers yoga to be her best tool for managing Type 1 Diabetes from a place of physical and emotional wellbeing.


Born and raised in East Hampton Stacy is thrilled to be able to share her love of yoga with the community in which she grew up. Stacy’s classes are uplifting, light hearted, alignment focused and thoughtfully sequenced. Stacy completed the 300-hour Yoga Shanti Teacher Training program in 2011, the 100-hour advanced training in 2014 and the Urban Zen Integrative Therapy program in 2014. She has since gone on to be a faculty member in Yoga Shanti Teacher Trainings.