For thirty-one years, East West Bookshop has been a brick-and-mortar haven for personal growth and spiritual awakening in Seattle. It was an event center with something for everyone. We reluctantly closed our doors to the physical location in March of 2020 when the Stay-at-Home Coronavirus lockdown orders coincided with the ending of our lease at Roosevelt Square. We did not, however, close the store in our minds and hearts to the original vision. We moved the inventory to the Ananda Community in Lynnwood, and then eventually to the Ananda Temple in Bothell as we simultaneously opened our doors there again for the sale of the book and nonbook inventory. At the same time, we continued serving not only the Puget Sound region but also a growing, global community through hosting programs online. We have discovered that many of the programs we offered in-person have effectively translated into presentations online.
Over the past 10 years, programs, classes, workshops, & gatherings have become increasingly important to manifesting East West’s vision. Now more than ever, we find that coming together as a community of truth-seekers and healers (whether in-person or online) is at the heart of what East West is all about. We are guided by the ancient metaphysical axiom, “Know Thyself!”, and believe that the path to Self-Knowledge is best traveled in the company of other like-minded souls. To this end, we are being guided to expand our educational programs, and in doing so, change our tax status to that of an educational non-profit. East West has always been a non-profit organization (yet not tax exempt because primarily a retail organization) and this shift will allow us to receive tax-deductible donations and to share in the vision of a place where all are welcome, where Self-realization and “Being the change we wish to see in the world” can truly flourish. We have some very exciting projects that we plan to expand into with this shift and look forward to sharing them with you very soon!
Yes! We are in the process of rebooting our book selection with a more focused, curated collection of essential reading. We also have expanded our crystal selection and will be re-ordering other meditation tools like singing bowls, etc. for the shop. This new chapter signifies a rebirth for East West Bookshop, and also a new name: East West Center for Self-Realization. (you can still call us East West, for short!)
Currently East West’s home is at the campus of Ananda Washington’s Blue Lotus Temple in Bothell. We have a book room and a crystal/meditation supplies room onsite which is open 4 days a week. When the time is right, we hope to have a dedicated East West location that will allow for in-person gatherings and shopping. We look forward to manifesting that together! Because of the continuing effects of the pandemic we haven’t resumed in-person events in a big way yet, but expect to have more opportunity for that in the Spring of 2022. Stay tuned as these new directions blossom and help to expand East West’s service to tens of thousands of souls!
Though our organization is located at, and started by Ananda Washington, East West’s mission has not changed. We continue to offer the largest selection in this region, of programs, gatherings and resources representing spiritual traditions, practices, and insights into mind, body and spirit from all around the world. Ananda is a worldwide family of communities, retreat centers, and meditation groups founded by Swami Kriyananda (J. Donald Walters) and based on the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda, author of Autobiography of a Yogi. The Temple in Bothell offers classes specific to Ananda in meditation, yoga postures, the art of spiritual living and the science of Raja Yoga. Ananda also operates an intentional, spiritual community in the Seattle area and a natural farm, homestead, and Yoga Ashram on Camano Island.
(Left) Ananda Farm on Camano Island, WA (Right) Ananda Blue Lotus Temple in Bothell, WA. Home of East West!
My spiritual quest began in 2011 when I began to have a series of awakening experiences that led me to the realization that my life was generally dictated by my own likes and dislikes and that I was a servant to those desires and aversions. I also experienced a sense of freedom and contentment in my fledgling meditation practice that could only be described as spontaneous Joy!
I began to search for a path or a teacher to take me deeper into this growing sense that the greatest fulfillment in life comes from putting your inner life first and making meditation one’s highest priority. My father gave me Ram Dass’ Be Here Now and Paramhansa Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi, which then led me to discover that one of Yogananda’s direct disciples, Swami Kriyananda, was still living and had an ashram in northern California. I took a 20-hr Greyhound bus from Spokane, WA to Nevada City, CA to meet the community, Ananda Village, and its residents, some of whom have been following the meditation path of Yogananda for over four decades. I was so impressed by the peace and joy that radiated from these great souls that I resolved within weeks to move to Ananda.
Together, with my wife, we moved to the Lynnwood, WA Ananda Community. I started volunteering at East West Bookshop in January of 2013 and after about two years began co-managing the store. I continue to enjoy serving the strong community of spiritual seekers in the Puget Sound area through East West.
I was born and raised in a beautiful city in Nagano, Japan surrounded by high mountains and hot springs. I enjoyed my simple childhood in nature and the slow-paced environment. A country girl, I moved to a bigger city for college and career and started wandering around the materialistic world and through the duality of life. I was seeking Truth and inner Peace but I couldn’t find the answer. In 2006, I was led to relocate to Seattle and began to raise a family. The same year, I first walked through the doors of a yoga studio. After going through so-called “studio yoga”, I finally found Ananda (East West’s mother organization). It felt like home and I was relieved to meet people who are devoted to seeking Truth. I was initiated into Kriya yoga in 2018 and received 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training in 2021. It is truly my pleasure to serve at East West where I can meet beautiful souls who practice their highest good and share their light with the world.