The Must-Read Book Club

Judi Checo: This was recommended reading for my mentorship with Livia Cohen-Shapiro of Applied Psychology for Yogi’s, but it has become one of my favorite reads separately from any requirement, because I feel it has beautiful universal themes and you don’t have to be a teacher to embrace it’s message of human connection through learning. I theme from it in my yoga classes and return to it for inspiration and encouragement.

YCNYC: Favorite quote?​

JC: “Fear is so fundamental to the human condition that all the great spiritual traditions originate in an effort to overcome its effects on our lives. With different words, they all proclaim the same message: “Be not afraid.” Though the traditions vary widely in the ways they propose to take us beyond fear, all hold out the same hope: we can escape fear’s paralysis and enter a state of grace where encounter with otherness will not threaten us but will enrich our work and our lives.”

YCNYC: What one person would you recommend this book to?

JC: New teachers. But it really can also be for the person on a path of self discovery.

YCNC: What moment or part resonates with you the most?

JC: There is a story about “the student from hell” where he describes teaching in a room full of enthusiastic students, all except for one. Of course, that one student is the only person he can focus on, and he spends the entire class trying to connect with him (at the expense of all the others) and seemingly failing only to later find out out that the student’s apparent apathy was really based on anxiety and fear and a sense of not belonging based on his family history, and had nothing to do with the class or Mr. Palmer in any way. He makes great observations about projection and the stories we make up and how they can hold us back and affect us not just as teachers but also in so many areas of our lives. I love how that ties back to the idea of mindfulness and that everything is a practice (teaching, learning, connecting).

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