teacher focus: Colleen Saidman Yee

Colleen Saidman Yee is an internationally renowned yoga teacher, who teaches yoga workshops worldwide with her husband, Rodney Yee. Before coming to yoga, Colleen 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. Colleen is also the author of Yoga for Life: A Journey to Inner Peace and Freedom.

We’re excited to welcome Colleen and Rodney Yee back to triyoga Soho for a weekend of asana, meditation and pranayama workshops from 15th – 17th June. We caught up with Colleen ahead of their visit…

Colleen, if you could be remembered for one thing what would it be?

Helping girls and women to know their worth and increase their self-esteem.

What top three things are on your bucket list?

Teaching at triyoga (kiss ass) – haha. Getting in a car and driving nowhere for a month. Not setting an alarm.

What’s your favourite quote?

KNOW THAT YOU ARE ENOUGH. “What you build will be destroyed overnight – build anyway.” I learned this while working with Mother Teresa in Calcutta.

What do you think your future self will remember about you now?

Working my ass off and doing it with the one I love – enjoying watching our 4 kids finding their way in the world.

What do you attribute the biggest successes in your life to?

Not really sure how to define ‘success’. But, I would say luck first and foremost. Work ethic instilled by my family. My dad worked in a glass factory to support his family that consisted of 7 kids.  We all started babysitting, mowing lawns, pet sitting, delivering newspapers, etc. at the age of 10. This work ethic is inherent in everything that I do.

What one book would you recommend reading?

Yoga for Life – of course..haha. Really, Pema Chodron – When Things Fall Apart – cuz no matter how lucky or “successful” you are – one thing that you can count on is that at some point, it will all fall apart. Yoga starts at that point.

Who would you most want to be on a desert island with?

I have to say Rodney – right?

What is the secret to a happy and fulfilled life?

Be happy and fulfilled.

Where is your happy place?

With a shopping bag carrying a new dress in my hand – or should I say pranayama at sunrise – both are pretty good.

If you could teach everyone in the world one concept, what concept would have the biggest impact on humanity?

Selfishness will make you miserable. Service is the way to go.

Is intelligence or wisdom more useful?

Neither – am not sure what either mean. Be kind in this moment – that’s what is useful.

What life-altering things should every human ideally get to experience at least once in their lives?

Poverty – slums in Bombay or “the other side of the tracks” where you live.

What is the biggest waste of human potential?

Thinking that you aren’t enough.

How do you define consciousness?

Waking up in the morning with a clean slate.

What causes the most harm in the world, but is completely avoidable?

Guns. And loneliness.

Has social media been a net positive or a net negative for our society? Why?

Both – it depends how it is used. The troubling part is comparison, bullying, and losing human to human connection. It is good to promote yoga studios – haha.

To what extent do you shape your own destiny and how much is down to fate?

There is no way to know. Act as skillfully as is possible for you at any given moment and let go of the results.  I try to accomplish this and succeed infrequently. Be happy anyway.

Join Rodney and Colleen Yee at triyoga Soho from the 15th – 17th June. To find out more and book, please click here.

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