Saturday, July 2, 2016

Testimonials: Leslie Booker

When someone first suggested that Leslie Booker teach yoga and meditation to incarcerated youth, her first response was “no way.” She wasn’t certified, for one, and (at the time) she hated teenagers, for another. But eight years later, she’s still working with The Lineage Project to bring yoga and mindfulness to adolescents who are incarcerated or involved with the court system. She also spent two years on Riker’s Island as part of a research team through New York University facilitating an intervention of Mindfulnesss and Cognitive Behavioral Theory, and has spent time with James Fox of the Prison Yoga Project on San Quentin. We asked how the kids first won her over and what she’s learned along the way.

Yoga Journal: What led you to yoga and meditation?

Leslie Booker: I was in the fashion industry for a very long time and was feeling that I needed to do something bigger with my life. I had dabbled in yoga and realized it was the thing that really made me feel alive. At that point yoga was still very much a physical practice for me, but I knew it was something I needed to explore more. I ended up getting a part-time job at the New York Open Center to help me segue out of fashion, and that’s where I was introduced to a great mentor of mine, Stan Grier. Eventually I got certified and came to work with him at The Lineage Project.

Article "How a Teacher Found Her Calling"

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