YOGI CONNECT: Colleen Saidman Yee

Teacher Spotlight — Who is Colleen Saidman Yee?

  • Yoga instructor.
  • Over thirty years of practicing experience.
  • She and her husband, Rodney, own Yoga Shanti studios in New York City, Sag Harbor, and Westhampton Beach.
  • Author of the book “Yoga For Life”. Cofounder of Urban Zen Integrative Therapy.
  • Contributor to Peloton Cycle, oneOeight.tv, Gaia online yoga, and Host of Talking Yoga.

“My least favorite thing in the world is having to make a decision,” says veteran yoga teacher Colleen Saidman Yee. “I’m afraid that I’ll make the wrong one, suffer regret, and have to pay unpleasant consequences.” Still, through asana, Saidman Yee has created a path toward freedom from that fear—a process that involves tapping into her intuition via restorative yoga poses. “I realize that if I slow down and use these subtle practices to find a deep sense of relaxation, that a lot of what I’m searching for bubbles to the surface,” she says.

How did Colleen start doing yoga?
In 1984, my next-door neighbor—who was into all sorts of “weird” stuff like yoga, journaling, and meditation—made it her mission to get me to yoga class. She nagged me for months until I begrudgingly agreed. (I’m sure that there was some sort of trade or bribe involved, but I can’t remember exactly what it was.)

I thought that I would be giggling at all these silly people who believed there was something mysterious and magical about “stretching.” I consider myself to be a pragmatist, and had always envisioned yoga as a cult and the physical activity a joke. OK, well, I was wrong. The class kicked my ass and humbled me. The feeling and experience were both magical and mysterious and—dare I say it?—spiritual. My senses were clear, my mind was present, and I had an overwhelming sense of contentment that I hadn’t felt since I was a teenager. I remember walking out onto Broadway in New York City, which I had walked down hundreds of times, but the clarity of the color, sounds, and smells were so much more crisp. It is from this clarity and relaxation that decisions become less dramatic. Yoga eventually became my guide back home to myself.
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