Colleen Saidman Yee


Colleen Saidman Yee leads retreats, workshops, and teacher trainings around the world. Christened “the First Lady of Yoga” by the New York Times, she began her career as an international fashion model in 1979 and lived in Calcutta working in Mother Teresa’s homes. Colleen started her practice in 1984 and became a Jivamukti teacher in 1998. She opened her first studio, Yoga Shanti Sag Harbor in 1999, and opened Yoga Shanti Tribeca in 2018. With Rodney Yee and Donna Karan, Colleen created the Urban Zen Integrative Therapy Program. She has appeared in dozens of Gaiam DVDs and contributes to Gaia,, and Peloton. She is the author of Yoga for Life.

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, New York, in 1999. In 2015, Colleen published a best selling book, Yoga For Life: A Journey to Inner Peace and Freedom, 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 was 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. 

Colleen and her husband Rodney Yee 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. Colleen and Rodney teach yoga teacher training at Yoga Shanti, as well as all over the globe. 

Learn more about this presenter’s work:


  • The Yoga of In-Between Moments

    Transitions between poses are the most difficult times to stay focused and mindful, says Colleen Saidman Yee. We space out and simply stop being attentive at the moment when our presence matters most.

  • Yoga for Insomnia

    How do we get a good night’s sleep when our minds are on overdrive, and our muscles are all bound up? Kripalu presenter Colleen Saidman Yee offers a yoga sequence for insomnia.

  • The Yoga of Partnership

    We asked teachers what everyone wants to know: What’s the key to a happy and healthy relationship?

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