On-land Programs and COVID Safety Protocols. Learn More

Leslie Booker

Booker brings her heart to the intersection of Dharma, Embodied Wisdom, and Liberation; using this framework to support folks in creating a culture of belonging. She shares her offerings as a university lecturer, public speaker, and Buddhist philosophy and meditation teacher.

Booker began training at Spirit Rock through the Mindful Yoga and Meditation training (2012), and supported by her teacher Gina Sharpe, continued her formal Dharma teacher training in the Community Dharma Leaders Training (2017), and the 4 year Retreat Teacher training (2020). Throughout these years, she worked as the Director of Teacher Trainings for Lineage Project where she shared the practices of yoga and mindfulness with incarcerated and system involved youth for over a decade. She also facilitated a Mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy intervention with the youth population on Rikers Island through the LionHeart Foundation and the National Institute of Health, and shared these practices with New York City’s most vulnerable populations through several other NYC non - profits. This is where she learned to take her practice off the cushion and into everyday life.

She has spoken at several conferences including Mind & Life’s International Symposium and Wisdom 2.0’s Mindfulness in America Conferences, and has been a featured speaker and facilitator at the Fetzer Institute, Vassar and Pitzer Colleges, and the Contemplative Sciences Center at the University of Virginia. She’s especially passionate about supporting folks on the front lines to thrive in their work, and training future leaders through the Peace Corps’ Jaffe Fellows and Teaching Residents at Teachers College at Columbia University, as well as the Dalai Lama Fellows.

Booker is a co-author of ‘Best Practices for Yoga in a Criminal Justice Setting’, a contributor to Georgetown Law's ‘Gender & Trauma—Somatic Interventions for Girls in Juvenile Justice’, contributed to Sharon Salzberg's book ‘Happiness at Work’ and Dr. Rima Vesely - Flad’s book ‘Black Buddhist and the Black Radical Tradition’. Her writing and other work can be found in Lion’s Roar, Tricycle Magazine, Yoga Journal and 10% Happier. She is a co-founder of the Yoga Service Council at Omega Institute and the Meditation Working Group of Occupy Wall Street. In 2020 she was a Sojourner Truth Leadership Fellow through Auburn Seminary, and was voted by her peers as one of the 12 Powerful Women in the Mindfulness Movement. She currently lives in Philadelphia with her partner and pup, and is a Co-Guiding Teacher of New York Insight.

Useful Links


Featured Audio Talk
September 23, 2021 - Body as Elements: The First Foundation of Mindfulness as a Trauma Informed Practice

When any of the hindrances arise, there might be this inclination to slam on the brakes and say “No, I don’t like this. This doesn’t belong in my practice.” As we slam on the brakes we spin out and lose control. We lose the plot in our practice. The invitation is to bring a sense of tenderness—some nourishment, some kindness when we see these arise in our experience. To begin to bring some gentleness, some compassion. We’re falling into the flow to see how we can move with this, how we can allow it to be a portal of wisdom.

Email Sign-Up