Judi studied with the iconoclastic Kelly Morris graduating from her 300-hour YA certified Conquering Lion Yoga Teacher Training Program.

She believes in a dedicated meditation practice and that yoga is a tool for self exploration through which we observe and fully grow into and embody ourselves.
She sees yoga asana practice as a journey inward: the pose is the vehicle; the breath is the map and together they take us within to the very center of who we are. That ride can be glorious or bumpy, straightforward or full of many twist and turns but it is never boring and is always empowering.

She is passionate about teaching yoga in Spanish and making the yoga community more inclusive and diverse and teaches bilingual classes in her community in Washington Heights and Inwood. Learn more about Judi at judicheco.com.

Which courses have you taken with Applied Psychology for Yogis?

I've taken so many! How to Keep your Sh*t Together and help everyone along the way, Dirty Little Secrets, Applied Psychology for Yogi's, and most recently I completed the Ecstatic Unfoldment 9 Month Mentoring Program.

What attracted you to these courses?

I always felt that there was a larger healing happening when I practiced yoga asana...something that was tied to the movement but went deeper. I noticed that when I was practicing yoga consistently and going to therapy, big healing shifts were happening that were leading to my growth and as soon as I heard Livia talk about Applied Psychology for Yogi's I knew this was an opportunity to explore and learn more about that connection through studying with someone who was trained as both a yoga teacher and somatic therapist.

What are 3 ways the course influenced you in your personal life? What about your professional life?

Three ways the course influenced me personally are 1) more somatic awareness, becoming more in tune with the language of my body through the senses which has enriched my yoga practice tremendously and also helped me be in my body in a powerfully present and accepting way; 2) integration versus fragmentation and this continual work of integrating more and more has helped me tremendously. Integrating the shadow has been HUGE- identifying and accepting the messy parts of myself and also acknowledging the golden shadow, the things that are positive and good. It's helped me make myself more "whole"; and 3) nonviolent communication- learning how to slow down and react less. Still working on all of these but the teachings from the courses have been so helpful and useful to come back to.

As a yoga teacher, these courses have enriched my teaching SO deeply by 1) expanding my awareness of my students in the room through oscillation of attention and trusting my somatic awareness of what's happening with my students during class; 2) expanding my teaching language - learning to link language to create a more fluid and informative experience for my students; and 3) perhaps more importantly it has encouraged me to respect my student's experience, respect their resistance, as well as their excitement without internalizing it and making it about me! Which has created a safe space for growth on and off the mat to happen.

How have you applied the course materials to your work?

One of the main ways I've applied the course material to my work has involved learning about what kind of teacher I am and how to maximize and develop that in my work. Oftentimes when we come out of teacher training programs we are very tied to the style or maybe have really respected and admired a teacher and want to honor our lineage and feel uncomfortable stepping outside of it. I learned that my teaching style is healing and educative and that has given me the freedom to approach teaching from that standpoint, not trying to imitate or mimic anyone else, but just be myself.

What benefits have you observed in your work & students since incorporating these teachings?

The benefits in my work have been more confidence in the classroom. Feeling more grounded and more connected which allows me to teach from a place of integrity, honesty and service. The benefits I see in my students is more mutual trust and respect as well as excitement, openness and growth in their practice. In my personal practice- more and more integration and presence which has led my practice to grow and expand tremendously.

What advice would you give to new APFY students?

I would say be open and dive in. Try all the different methods and techniques these unique and powerful teachings have to offer and I promise you will learn something- about yourself, about yoga, about relationships- to yourself and to others. So dive in and be open!

Livia Shapiro