Colleen 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.