The Teacher Appears is a publication of 108 prompts to power your yoga or meditation practice. It’s a publication unlike any other I’ve seen because, unlike others, you don’t read it: you experience it. Author Brian Leaf did a beautiful job of blending a series of interactive exercises together to incorporate into your routine. It’s not meant to be read in one or two sittings, it’s meant to become a part of your daily practice.
There are pages meant for coloring, tearing, and journaling. One passage instructs you to balance the book on your head (in my case unsuccessfully), and another asks you to place the book between your legs and try to move it forward and backward. My favorite passage insisted that you skip your yoga practice and eat chocolate instead.
The Teacher Appears is filled with beautiful illustrations with intricate, almost playful, designs. There are blank lines for journaling, upside down text, and entire pages dedicated to white space or gray boxes. To me, the blank pages symbolize a clean slate, a place to take pause and breathe before the next exercise or posture, and a place to find peace before moving on. I’ve never seen a publication quite like The Teacher Appears. Its design kept me engaged and guessing until the very end.
Never before have I read a book that encourages you to draw and write on it, rip it, and cut the pages from it. It’s a book that asks you to; cut sections of pages out to create necklaces and bracelets, and then wear them out in public places; rip pages out and burn them in a cathartic, ceremonial way; close it and do something else with your day.
Whether you’re coloring, meditating, chanting, or practicing postures, Leaf encourages you to look inward and to remain mindful of your well-being. He poses insightful questions throughout the publication, and he encourages you to look deep within and answer only after thoughtful self reflection. It’s a therapeutic journey of self awareness, self love, and of accepting yourself as you are while still emboldening you to step outside of your comfort box (like the prompt suggesting that you fart loudly in yoga class – eek!).
The best part: it’s for all levels of yogis. You don’t need to be capable of bending yourself into a pretzel. You don’t need to read the upside down text while you’re in a head stand. You just need to be. It’s a journey that guides you through your yoga or meditation practice, but it’s so much more than that. It guides you deeper inside yourself. It’s a journey to understanding yourself a little better, and it’s a beautiful journey at that.