How Rodney + Colleen Saidman Yee Help Sick Patients + Caregivers

Urban Zen helps sick patients and their caregivers overcome pain, 
anxiety, nausea, insomnia, constipation, and exhaustion through yoga.

This month’s cover models, Colleen Saidman Yee and Rodney Yee, are the best-known couple in Yoga Teacherdom. I was thrilled to work with them on their feature Goodnight, Insomnia, and proud to give them a YJ Good Karma Award for their work with Urban Zen Integrative Therapy (UZIT). UZIT helps sick patients and their caregivers overcome pain, anxiety, nausea, insomnia, constipation, and exhaustion through yoga therapy, Reiki, essential oils, and other modalities.

Carin Gorrell: How has working with UZIT impacted you?
Rodney Yee: It has given us purpose, demonstrated the importance of service, and shown us the unbelievable impact of combining these great healing arts.
Colleen Saidman Yee: I don’t feel hopeless when witnessing others’ suffering. When my mom was dying, I had techniques to bring her comfort. I crawled into her bed and made my chest rise and fall in unison with hers. Because she was a devout Catholic, I made sure that her rosary was wrapped around her hand; I put frankincense oil on my hands while I held her head and gave her Reiki. I watched an element of stress leave her body.

CG: How do you hope to see UZIT grow?
CSY: Our hope is that there isn’t a corporation, hospital, or school that won’t have access; that it becomes a career and is accepted as mainstream.

See also Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman Yee: The Meaning of Mudras

CG: Colleen, your book Yoga for Life is inspirational, and you’re launching a complementary online course with Yoga Journal called Yoga for Inner Peace. What might students take away?
CSY: Yoga for Inner Peace is like taking Yoga for Life and diving deeper, to where the beauty of being fully human lies. The course includes more philosophical discussion, breathwork, and meditation. We’re bringing the sequences to life.

CG: Any other exciting projects?
RY: UZIT trainings will roll out in a significant way at Yoga Journal LIVE!, and we’re doing UZIT for Maternal Care in collaboration with the life-sciences company Square Roots.

CSY: I’m hosting an online show, Talking Yoga. I’ve interviewed dozens of yoga teachers. We talk about asana, love, loss, joy, grief, god, parenting, guilt—you name it!

CG: What’s your favorite yoga pose?
RY:Lotus [Padmasana]. It’s stable, fluid, balanced, and a foundation for lucidity.
CSY: Karnapidasana [Knee-to-Ear Pose]. I’m in my own little bubble, almost as if underwater, and it’s a beautiful haven.

CG: Do you have a mantra or words of wisdom that you live by?
RY: “Inquire.”
CSY: “Know that you are enough” and “You were born to be loved.” I stole both from my favorite musicians, Jason Isbell and Lucinda Williams.

See also Let It All Go: 7 Poses to Release Trauma in the Body