Our Purpose - We are here to support your search for the joy, love and wisdom that are the essence of the true Self. We believe that global harmony begins with each of us – with our individual efforts to achieve and to share healing and harmony of mind, body and spirit. We strive to foster a spirit of cooperation, respect and community among all truthseekers, spiritual paths, and peoples.
Our Heritage- Know ThySelf - East West Bookshop is a nonprofit organization established by members of Ananda. Ananda is a worldwide family of communities, retreat centers, churches and meditation groups founded by Swami Kriyananda (J. Donald Walters) and based on the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda, author of Autobiography of a Yogi. We offer classes in meditation, yoga postures, the art of spiritual living and the science of raja yoga, and also have the Living Wisdom School for children and an intentional, spiritual community in the Seattle area.
My spiritual quest began in 2011 when I began to have a serious 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 slave 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 currently manage the bookstore’s events program and also teach the Raja Yoga Intensive Course on select Tuesdays in the Fall and Spring at East West Bookshop, which explores deep meditation techniques and the philosophy of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. In my free time, I crawl on the floor with my 8 month-old son Ezra.
Aditi is the Store Operations Manager. She can often be found meditating, reading, writing or hiking. She is a full time graduate student at Naropa University's Jack Kerouac School for Creative Writing. She is currently working on a book of poems and lyric essays that she hopes to find a publisher for this spring. (Fingers crossed.)She is also a certified Yoga Instructor in Hatha and Restorative. She has taught in Hawaii and San Francisco and hopes to eventually teach more classes here in Seattle. For the last decade she has worked as a District Manager for a Corporate Retailer and though it was a fun experience that took her around the world, she feels privileged to be working at East West and serving this community. AUM!
Suryadas and his wife Chandi have lived at Ananda’s spiritual community in
Lynnwood for over twenty years. He was born and raised in Los Angeles and
moved to the northwest in the mid-eighties. After working in the electrical
industry as a technician, manager and systems engineer for more than thirty
years, he now does outreach work at East West Bookshop in Seattle and Ananda’s
Meditation Temple in Bothell, Washington.
Suryadas teaches ‘How to Meditate’ and other spiritual ‘Art of Living’ classes. His primary interests are meditation, simple living and the arts. In his spare time, he enjoys painting and reading history, science and literary fiction. He was deeply moved by the book Autobiography of a Yogi when he first read it in 1991, and has been a disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda ever since.
Stan has been practicing Hatha Yoga for about 5 years and meditating daily for that long. Early inspirations include walking barefoot, Ram Dass's Be Here Now, and Mooji Satsangs. Favorite past times include hiking and gardening, Teaching yoga and cooking. He started Following Paramahansa Yoganada's Teachings in 2015. Interested in intentional spiritual communities and regenerative agriculture. See you on the Slopes!
Shae is the mermaid in residence at East West Bookshop, and is also the buyer for many departments, including the incense, singing bowl, and candle departments. In addition to teaching Ananda Yoga at the store every Wednesday, Shae also teaches Energy Medicine Yoga on the last Wednesday of each month. Shae is a musician and loves to sing, play instruments and dance. She will often sing in the Ananda Kirtans at East West. She lives at the Ananda spiritual community and can often be found swimming in her mermaid tail, cosplaying, or petting her cat Sophie.
April Votolato started working for East West in the Winter of 2017. She has a history of working in the music industry and as a visual merchandiser in between touring around the world. When she no longer wanted to travel for work her true passion for writing poetry and her inward practice of yoga and meditation lead her to us. She loves working in an independent book store and was grateful to become the lead buyer at EW. When not working or writing she is typically found gushing over her French Bulldog Saint or sitting quietly by the sea with a great cup of coffee and a book. Come say hi, she loves to talk about our awesome uplifting product and puppies of course.
Ethan is the contributing blog editor for East West. After graduating with a degree in English from Kalamazoo College, he worked in the corporate world for 3 years before looking for something deeper. He has been with Ananda since he was a child and is grateful to now be able to serve Ananda through East West. He highly recommends traveling to India to pursue your spiritual passions.
Susan handles the East West Bookshop Bookkeeping needs. In her spare time enjoys hiking in Seattle and WA State. She has walked the Camino de Santiago in Spain and the LePuy Route in France. To stay flexible, focused and peaceful, she practices yogic principals and teaches yoga classes at the bookshop.