Colleen Saidman Yee’s introduction to yoga was in 1987, at the urging of a roommate, who convinced her to attend a class in New York City. Soon after, her worn-out running shoes, her basketball, and her boxing gloves became things of the past. In 1994, after back surgery, Colleen’s commitment to her yoga practice deepened. A graduate of Jivamukti’s 1998 teacher-training program, Colleen opened her own studio, Yoga Shanti, in Sag Harbor, in 1999. She has taught several teacher trainings at Yoga Shanti, some with her husband, Rodney Yee.
The New York Times christened Colleen “The First Lady of Yoga,” in their recent profile of her on the front page of the Sunday Style section. She has also been featured in Vanity Fair, New York magazine, Oprah, Marie-Claire, Allure, and Yoga Journal. Before that she had a varied career: She was a cover girl, a student of shiatsu, and she lived in Calcutta, working with Mother Theresa at the Home for the Dying and Destitute.
More recently, together with Rodney, Colleen helped to create Urban Zen’s Integrative Yoga Therapist Program, Donna Karan’s worldwide initiative. She and Rodney are also authors of the Gaiam Yoga Studio, as well as several popular yoga DVDs. Colleen’s latest is “Yoga for Weight Loss.” Colleen currently lives in Sag Harbor.
View Colleen’s Schedule
Rodney Yee has been curious about the mind and body for as long as he can remember. He was a gymnast, a ballet dancer, and a philosophy and physical therapy major. Following the thread of curiosity about mind and body, he took his first yoga class in 1980. He went to yoga in search of flexibility and found a practice that would turn into his life-long passion and career. In 1981, Rodney began to study yoga full time at the San Francisco Iyengar Yoga Institute and at The Yoga Room in Berkeley. In 1987, after becoming a certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher, he opened the Piedmont Yoga Studio in Oakland, CA, with Richard Rosen and Claire Finn.
Presently, in addition to teaching at Yoga Shanti, Rodney leads teacher trainings, workshops, and retreats nationally and internationally with Colleen. In Spring 2007, Rodney and Colleen were co-chairs and panelists for the Urban Zen Initiative, a forum dedicated to integrating eastern healing arts into the western medical paradigm. They are now co-directing Urban Zen’s Integrative Yoga Therapist Program. Rodney has also been featured in over 30 Yoga DVD titles and numerous audio recordings with Gaiam. He has written two books, Yoga: the Poetry of the Body and Moving Toward Balance: 8 Weeks of Yoga with Rodney Yee, both in collaboration with Nina Zolotow. Rodney and Colleen also present the Gaiam Yoga Club online.
Most importantly, Rodney and Colleen are raising and being raised by four awesome children, Evan, Adesha, Rachel, and Johanna. At this point in his life journey, Rodney realizes that Colleen and the kids are the real source of all of his yogic growth.
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.