Colleen Saidmann Yee
When we launched Sweaty Betty stateside in the summer of 2011, Colleen was the ideal ambassador to help us spread the word. Colleen is a leading light not only to yogis in the US but also to her following worldwide. Her prestigious yoga studio, Yoga Shanti, in the Hamptons, is a mecca for aspiring yoga enthusiasts and she has headlined just about every yoga festival there is. It seemed obvious when we came to shoot our SS12 collection to invite Colleen to model our new yoga lines – she offers the perfect combination of yoga authority and style. The results speak for themselves in the following pages but before you get there, here is an insight into the life of this truly inspirational woman...
Q: Yoga, how did you get started and why?
A: I started Yoga in 1973 as a girlfriend of mine suggested I try it, I accepted, but in honesty thought; ‘whatever, I’ll still need my run afterwards.’ I was used to training in high energy sports such as running, basketball and boxing but I came out and it had changed my life. I felt I was truly in my body, I could see more clearly.
Q: What are the common misconceptions of Yoga?
A: I think the most common things I hear are, I’m not flexible, I can’t do yoga, I’m not strong, I can’t do yoga, I’m too old, I’m too young – I can’t do yoga. Really there is no excuse not to do it – Rodney ( my husband) and I are currently teaching yoga to people in hospital on a project led by Donna Karan called Urban Zen Integrative Therapy. It’s important to bring awareness to everyone’s body, even those who are sick.
Q: What is your goal for the future?
A: I have a lot. I would love to get yoga into schools, hospitals and corporations so it isn’t seen as a cliché or stereotyped; sometimes it is even viewed as cultish.
Q: When is your favourite time to practice?
A:The time I need to practice is in the morning, the body isn’t quite as open as later on in the day but with all of our kids, chances are there are other things that will need to get done later on.
Q: What is your favourite thing about London?
A: Shopping, I love fashion! Sweaty Betty, especially the Kings Rd boutique and the fact that London is a great walking city. You can go from ritzy and well dressed to punk in a walk, it feels like 20 cities in one.
Q: What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
A: That this too shall pass. It is all impermanent. So enjoy the present moment, and don’t get so caught up in it at the same time.
Colleen now lives in Sag Harbor, Hamptons, New York with her husband Rodney and four children. She is director of the esteemed Yoga Shanti yoga studio and runs yoga teacher training courses and retreats worldwide.