Leslie Booker

Leslie Booker's picture

Main profile

Leslie Booker

Booker brings her heart and wisdom to the intersection of Dharma + Embodied Wisdom + Activism. She is committed to working with folks to find a sense of freedom and liberation, in a world that is held captive by greed, hatred and delusion.

She shares her expertise nationally around the need to expand our vision around culturally responsive teachings, and changing the paradigm of self and community care. She has spoken at Mind & Life Institute’s International Symposium, The Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education, Mindfulness in America NYC, and Mindfulness in Education conferences, as well as at universities across the country. She is a co-founder of the Yoga Service Council at Omega Institute, and the Meditation Working Group of Occupy Wall Street.

After working in the fashion industry for almost a decade, she began to switch gears in 2003 when she graduated from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and then completed her first yoga teacher training. She began sharing mindfulness and yoga with incarcerated and system-involved populations in 2005, serving as a senior teacher and Director of Trainings with Lineage Project from 2006-2016. During this time, she also co-facilitated an intervention research project on Riker's Island from 2009-2011, one of the country’s most notoriously violent city jails, through New York University.

Booker is a co-author of Best Practices for Yoga in a Criminal Justice Setting, a contributor to Georgetown Law’s Center on Poverty and Inequality’s report on Gender & Trauma, YOGA: The Secret of Life, and Sharon Salzberg's book Happiness at Work. She has also contributed to many academic papers and books in regards to her work in bringing mindfulness to vulnerable populations including the Occupy Wall Street Movement and the Democratic National Convention. Booker is on faculty with the Engaged Mindfulness Institute, Off the Mat Into the World, Bending Towards Justice, the Yoga and Dharma Training at Spirit Rock, and sits on the Advisory Boards of The Art of Yoga Project and Lineage Project.

She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Fashion Merchandising from Virginia Commonwealth University, and went on to train at Spirit Rock in their Mindful Yoga and Meditation training (2012), Community Dharma Leaders’ Training (2017), and will complete the Spirit Rock 4 year Residential Retreat Teacher Training in 2020.


Embodied wisdom is about being radically present; to know and unpack the systems in which we are working within. It means to know our conditioning, our projections, our biases….and to know that these first thoughts are not our own, but a social construct created by the world we live in. To embody this radical presence means to be fully awake; to know what’s happening inside our own bodies: the clenching, the shutting down, the turning away from, so that we can acknowledge it and choose to stay.