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The Must-Read Book Club

Mel Russo: Max Strom has been my teacher for many years. His voice is one that I often turn to in my head, in my teaching, and in my personal life. I have flagged pages throughout the book. It's one that I give as a gift and recommend to many.

YogaCity NYC: Describe it in 5 words.

MR: Deep, thought-provoking, meaningful, fascinating, and—even though I know it's such an overused word in our community—mindful.

YCNYC: Favorite quote?

MR: If I had to pick one, I would say: “One of the seminal lessons of a spiritual life is that ultimately, happiness is a choice regardless of your circumstances.” I like to often say "Change your script.”

I once heard a teacher—probably Max, but I can’t say for sure—give a dharma talk about how "there is no difference between the situation of a monk and a prisoner." They both live lives of solitude, with little to no access to the outside world, and with little to no worldly possessions. Only one of them has put themselves there as a choice, but both can choose to be happy. I loved that!

YCNYC: Who would you recommend this book to?

MR: Anyone who is feeling lost, depressed, stressed, not in touch with their spiritual side, or who just needs a reminder to stop, breathe, and be present. So, every single person in the world!

YCNYC: What resonates with you the most?

MR: Throughout the book, he provides you with exercises to do. Each section has a brief exercise that helps you put into action the information you’ve just read. It’s so profound; the simple message throughout the book is that you hold the key to your happiness and you have the ability to change your thoughts and mind, and bring yourself to a place of stillness and calmness. The fact that he gives you the tools, makes this a book I come back to all the time. It’s my Bible.

You can purchase A Life Worth Breathing here.

—Interview by Allison Richard

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