Brooke's Story and Curriculum Vitae
I'm Brooke! My pronouns are they and she. I currently reside on unceded Nisqually territory, Olympia, Washington.
I am a Yoga Therapist and meditation teacher. I work one on one and in small groups with people seeking recovery from traumatic stress, spiritual emergency, anxiety, depression and transformational crises. I host workshops and trainings and speak at international conferences.
International Association of Yoga Therapists-Certified Ananda Yoga® Therapist
Ananda Yoga® Instructor, 2005
Ananda Restorative Yoga Instructor, 2006
Ananda Meditation™ Instructor, 2006
Yoga of the Heart® Instructor for cardiac and cancer patients, 2006
Certified Level Two Warriors At Ease® Advanced Teacher: Teaching Trauma-Sensitive Yoga and Meditation in Military Communities, 2015
Registered Yoga Alliance® E-RYT 200 Yoga Teacher
Yoga Alliance® Continuing Education Provider
I was introduced to Hatha Yoga as a child. I began an earnest practice of Bikram Yoga in 2002. I have studied and practiced Raja Yoga since 2005. In 2013, I was initiated in the Kriya Yoga meditation tradition of Paramahansa Yogananda. I meditate daily.
I hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Ornamental Horticulture from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.
I harness Divine energy to accomplish my highest potential through Yoga.
I was born and raised in Los Angeles. My sisters and my friends and I grew up in a privileged community in Hollywood. Most of our parents were a part of the entertainment or fashion industries: creative, educated and driven.
Traumatic stress and spiritual emergence during college, in 1995, changed my life. At the time, I did not know about spiritual emergence, psychiatric institutions or protocol, symptoms, standards of care or self-advocacy. My father, my aunt and my older sister, D’Arcy, all lived with addiction and distress, untreated or mistreated because of stigma and misunderstanding.
All her life, my dear and brilliant sister suffered with cyclical depressions, social problems and substance abuse issues that began in her teens, financial issues and low self-worth. She continued to suffer in her own way until her suicide in 1999, by way of a drug overdose, at the age of 30.
Two years after D’Arcy’s crushing death, grace brought me to the Yoga mat and to Al-Anon, a 12-Step Recovery program for friends and families affected by the diseases of alcoholism and addiction.
I enjoy greater self-awareness because of these practices. I became better able to self-regulate emotions and behaviors. I can better self-advocate – especially important while negotiating treatments that would be best for me.
These secondary benefits of my Yoga and recovery practice – self-awareness, self-regulation, self-advocacy – were key for me to find and begin to trust relationships, the medical community and a lifestyle that worked for me in a synergistic way. I continue to overcome the trauma navigating life on a daily basis, just like everyone else, but my advantage is an intimate understanding of Yoga sciences - and practicing them.
I have become an expert at integrating social ignorance, fear, shame, stigma, labeling and trauma; transforming the disenfranchisement of involuntary institutionalization and medication, corruption, bullying and the public health care system. I have discovered how to transmute a questionable standard of care into something enormously purposeful for myself and in service to others.
I now thrive as a leader, teacher and psychiatric survivor, having nearly arrested what has been called a chronic, progressive and potentially deadly disorder.
I live a radically different life today: a wholesome, empowered, modern life based on universal, spiritual principles. Yoga has slowed and reversed significant personal health challenges for me, including lymphedema and the aging process. I have built and maintained strength, flexibility and balance. Mindfulness is my compass every step of the way. I have improved my heart-rate variability. I am able to rest my mind and relax my body now, at will. I have learned to control my weight, compulsive and self-destructive behaviors and no longer suffer from troubling thoughts through the practices of Yoga.
I found a community. I am part of international movements for equity and justice. I experience a healthy sense of self-identity and the joy that comes with selfless service. I enjoy the serenity of living a rich, structured, faith-based, non-conformist, spiritual life. The satisfaction of being an educator, advocate and activist for survivors of trauma has reframed my recovery experience.
My Yoga teachers saw a spark in me and encouraged me to attend a Yoga Teacher Training. I chose The Expanding Light at Ananda for a month-long immersion in ashram life.
I surprised myself by becoming a talented and well-liked Yoga instructor, and returned to Ananda Village the following year for a summer-long residential stay and more training at The Expanding Light.
I had not set out to become a Yoga therapist, nor a meditation teacher, researcher or activist.
I expected that, in Yoga Teacher Training, I would learn why Yoga brought my anxiety and depressive symptoms toward balance. While evidence was not immediately available, a Yoga therapy and research tide was building.
I encourage engaged conversation. The connection of talking about the metamorphosis that I experience helps me to interact with life in a new, illuminated way. Through the models of Yoga and 12-Step Recovery, I live the experience of recovery and know the potential of this path for recovery for people like me and, more profoundly, like my sister, who seemed to struggle under every circumstance, despite intelligence, talent and beauty and despite access to the best medical care in our society. I live with the experience of being queer and genderqueer, disabled, fat and mad.
In refining my own life-management skills, I have shattered deep isolation, denial, shame, and fear. I use my curiosity and my courage to stand up for myself in the face of injustice.
My paradigm has shifted. I have been granted powerful, incremental and safe transformation. I am gifted to share this learning with others.
Self-exploration, my attitude of willingness and the peace that I have found in service has stretched, strengthened and balanced me. Yoga-based practices have enhanced the quality of my life. Yoga empowers me and my community in ways that I could not have predicted.
Brooke West, B.Sc., C-IAYT, ERYT
PO Box 11034
Olympia, WA 98508, USA
I am a certified Yoga therapist, educational facilitator and researcher specializing in stress-reduction and meditation. I integrate Western psychology and modern neuroscience with the traditional Yoga techniques, guiding people toward renewed agency, self-empowerment and an improved quality of life.
Yoga is a science wherein techniques have replicable results. I administer evidence-based Yoga interventions scientifically proven to complement and support conventional medical interventions. Physical and behavioral health, including (but not limited to) trauma, chronic stress, pain, grief, anxiety, depression, lifestyle, autoimmunity, addiction recovery and more can improve with these technologies.
My programs and teachings offer continued, strategic improvement of disease for students of all ages and fitness levels.
I have designed trauma-informed, evidence-based, therapeutic programs for special populations, governmental and private organizations. I am experienced in working in diverse and challenging environments, including in private, public, academic, peer-support, high-security, municipal, non-profit, Yoga studio, gym, university, virtual telecommunication and retreat settings.
I practice and teach ayurveda (“life science”) as preventative, early-intervention and recovery care, including natural, herbal and traditional remedies, promoting clean and conscious lifestyles.
In private practice, I participate as an early-intervention wellness coordinator for clients in crisis: those with severe health diagnoses, psychiatric disorders, psychedelic and psychosis trauma and spiritual emergence and awakening experiences. I offer expertise and support in spiritual emergence processes so that anomalous experiences can be life-enriching rather than strictly pathologized. My approach may be secular or spiritual, depending on the population and their receptivity to transpersonal inquiry. The spiritual and transcendent aspects of the human experience, combined with the practical application of Yoga, can synergize to illuminate human potential, creativity and a sense of purpose, individually and collectively.
I am an international advocate for Yoga therapy and mental health. My expertise comes from my personal lived experience of recovery, formal training, personal practice, continuing education and curiosity.
I currently offer workshops, trainings and private retreats at various Yoga and meditation centers throughout California and the western United States. Specialty retreats and workshops have included:
Digestion and Agni Sara
Metabolism and Biological Cycles
Lymphatic and Immune Health
Anxiety and Depression Release
Integrating Spiritual Emergence and Spiritual Emergency
Meditation and Relaxation
I demonstrate a commitment to Yoga principles and ethics, integrity and excellence.
Education and Certification
Sensory-Enhanced Yoga® Institute Yoga for Self-Regulation and Trauma Healing Certified Instructor, 2020.
International Association of Yoga Therapists Certified Yoga Therapist, 2017.
Warriors At Ease® Level 2 Teacher: Bringing Yoga and Meditation into Military Communities, 2015.
Training at The Expanding Light at Ananda, Nevada City, California:
Ananda Spiritual Counseling Training, to be completed June 16, 2021
Certified Ananda® Yoga Therapist, April, 2015
Certified Level I Ananda® Meditation Teacher, July 2006
Certified Yoga of the Heart® Teacher: Adaptive Practices for Cardiac and Cancer Survivors with Nischala Joy Devi, June 2006
Ananda® Restorative Yoga Teacher, June 2006
Certified Level I Ananda Yoga® Teacher, July 2005
Initiate and daily practitioner of Kriya Yoga Meditation in the tradition and lineage of Paramahansa Yogananda, 2013.
American Center for The Integration of Spiritually Transformative Experiences Certification Program for Spiritual Guidance Counselors. Registered. Certified December 2018.
Integrative Mental Health For You: Spiritual Emergence Group Facilitator. Facilitating international groups online since 2016.
Graduate, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Bachelor of Science, Horticulture. Graduated with Honors in June, 1997.
Varied trainings, lectures and workshops with notable teachers including Off The Mat, Into The World® Leadership Training 2018; Yoga of Recovery® Training, Sivananda Ashram; retreats and seminars with many Yoga influencers such as Judith Lasater Hanson, Tias Little, Bikram and Rajashree Choudhury, Sharon Gannon, Jason Crandell, Ana Forrest, Dr. Herbert Benson, Bessel van der Kolk, Sharon Salzberg, Helena Norberg-Hodge, Van Jones, Paul Stamets, Bo Forbes, Joseph Le Page, Vandana Shiva and His Holiness The Dalai Lama.
Co-founder, Yoga West Cooperative, Wellness Center, Atascadero, California, founded May, 2019.
Director, Brooke West Yoga Therapy and Meditation Studio, Atascadero, California, since April, 2018.
Restorative Yoga Teacher Trainer: Trauma Sensitivity; Meditation and Yoga Nidra, Lead Teacher, Atascadero, California, September, 2019 - February, 2020. Yoga Alliance Registered.
Yoga Therapist, The Bauman Clinic: A Professional Health Group, Psychiatry and Psychotherapy in San Luis Obispo, CA, 2017 - present.
Brooke West Yoga Therapy Trauma-Informed Restorative Yoga, Yoga Nidra and Meditation Teacher Training: Director. 2017 and 2019-2020.
Yoga Village 300-Hour Level 2 Yoga Teacher Training Master Teacher and Faculty Member, Yoga Nidra Module, Arroyo Grande, CA, 2018.
Prema Yoga 200-Hour Level 1 Yoga Teacher Training, Master Teacher and Faculty Member, Restorative Yoga Module, San Luis Obispo County, CA, 2016 - present.
Facilitator of Women’s Restorative Retreats, 2016 - present.
Facilitator of Therapeutic Yoga Programs, 2015 - present.
Instructor, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Associated Students, Incorporated: Restorative Yoga, Deep Relaxation and Meditation for Faculty, Staff and Students since 2015.
United States Department of Justice and The San Luis Obispo County Board of Education for Grizzly Challenge Charter School: Restorative Yoga and Meditation Instructor for at-risk youth in a quasi-military residential program, and Meditation Groups for Administrative Staff, Military Staff and Educational Staff. 2015-2016.
Ananda® Scotts Valley, CA Guest Weekend Immersion Retreat Leader: Yoga Therapy for Mental and Emotional Well Being. 2016.
Producer, Principle Investigator and Facilitator, County of San Luis Obispo Drug and Alcohol Services Adult Treatment Court Collaborative Peer-Facilitated Yoga Therapy Program: A thirteen-week, evidence based Restorative Yoga Pilot project in a forensic intensive outpatient setting. All therapeutic objectives were met. July-December, 2014.
SPIRIT Peer Empowerment Center, Grass Valley, CA: Voluntarily created and led Yoga classes for mental health and homeless communities. 2013-2014.
Individualized Functional Yoga Breath Workshop, Transitions-Mental Health Association Staff Training, San Luis Obispo, CA. 2014.
Yoga Medicine Series at The Yoga Center of Morro Bay. Large and small group classes and workshops on special topics including meditation, healthy lymph, healthy bones, healthy sleep, healthy mind: anxiety and depression. 2014-2015.
Cuesta College Emeritus Program, San Luis Obispo County. Yoga for Seniors. 2008 - 2011.
Dev Prayag Yoga Therapy, Nevada City, CA: Mental Health and Restorative Yoga Therapy Consultant since 2015.
Brooke West Yoga Therapy: Private Yoga Therapist. Programming for individuals and families, online and in-person. 2016 - present.
American Center for the Integration of Spiritually Transformative Experiences 7th Annual Conference on the Therapeutic Issues of Spiritually Transformative Experiences, October, 2021. Panelist.
Global Yoga Therapy Day Conference, August, 2021. Presentation Title: “From Psych Ward to Ashram.”
Southern Utah Yoga Fest, November, 2020. Presentation Title: “Self Realization: Yoga Therapy, Mental Health and Spiritual Emergence.”
Central Coast Center for Spiritual Living, Templeton, CA, July 2019.
Presentation Title: “Relaxation for Spiritual Development.”
SHARE! Western Recovery Conference 2016 and 2017, Los Angeles, CA: “Raja Yoga To Relieve Anxiety and Depression” and “Yoga Ecology: Transforming Our Inner and Outer Environments.”
Accessible Yoga Conference 2016, Santa Barbara, CA: Community Session: “Yoga, Mental Health, Spiritual Emergence and World Peace.”
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency (SAMHSA) Alternatives Conference 2016, San Diego, CA: Whole Health and Wellness Presenter. “Yoga-based Self-Care: Wellness; Poise; Resilience; Purity, Strength and Perfection! Being Who You Want To Be.” Morning Session Yoga teacher.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency (SAMHSA) Alternatives Conference 2015, Memphis, TN: Presenter. “Restorative Yoga for Anxiety Relief.” Caucus leader, Yoga teacher, presenter.
International Association of Yoga Therapists’ Symposium on Yoga Therapy and Research (SYTAR), 2015, Newport Beach, CA: Presenter. “Restorative Yoga Therapy Outcomes at The County of San Luis Obispo Adult Treatment Court Collaborative.”
Behavioral Health Lecturer: Yoga Bharati Yoga Therapy Training, San Jose, CA. 2016.
Fundraising for underserved individuals seeking to access Yoga Therapy. Ongoing.
International Bipolar Foundation Yoga Instructor, 2020.
Hospice of SLO In-Home Volunteer, 2020.
Peer Group Facilitator for The American Center for the Integration of Spiritually Transformative Experiences (ACISTE) National Online Group, Spring 2019. Volunteer.
Anxiety and Depression Release Workshop Leader, Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, Rutledge, MO, May, 2019. Volunteer.
Film Presenter and Discussion Leader: “Healing Voices,” February, 2017, San Luis Obispo, CA. Volunteer.
Film Presenter and Discussion Leader: “CRAZYWISE,” Autumn 2017, San Luis Obispo County, CA. Volunteer.
Living Well Facilitator: “Relaxation, Yoga, Ayurveda, Meditation and Spiritual Potential.” The Wellness Kitchen, Templeton, CA. Volunteer. 2017.
Volunteer Guest Facilitator, Restorative Therapeutic Yoga, Central Coast California Association Marriage and Family Therapists Networking Events, annually in January, 2015 - 2018.
Facilitator of Restorative Yoga and Meditation Sessions for Central Coast California Association Marriage and Family Therapists Board of Directors Retreat, 2016 and 2017.
Accessible Yoga® Ambassador since 2015: Dedicated to sharing the benefits of Yoga to excluded and under-served populations, regardless of ability or background and advocating for a diverse Yoga culture that is inclusive and welcoming.
Yoga Teacher: City of San Luis Obispo, CA, Adapted Yoga for Older Adults. 2009-2014.
Yoga Teacher: City of Morro Bay, CA, Adapted Yoga for Older Adults. 2009-2014.
Yoga Therapy, Mental Health and Research blogger at www.brookewestyoga.com and International Bipolar Foundation, 2014.
RestorativePartners.org: Meditation Teacher, San Luis Obispo County Jail. Volunteer, 2012.
Interviewed and featured in local publications in California and Texas.
American Center for The Integration of Spiritually Transformative Experiences Certification Program for Spiritual Guidance Counselors, 2018. Full scholarship recipient.
Off The Mat, Into The World Five Day Leadership Program: Yoga, Purpose and Action 2.0, 2017. Partial scholarship recipient.
Give Back Yoga, Yoga Mat Grant Recipient, 2016.
Accessible Yoga Conference, Santa Barbara, 2016. Full scholarship recipient. Online 2021 Conference. Partial scholarship recipient.
Integrative Mental Health For You: Spiritual Emergence Training. Certified International Spiritual Emergence Coach and Support Group Facilitator. Scholarship recipient, 2015 - 2016.
Warriors At Ease Level 2B Certification: Bringing Yoga and Meditation Into Military Communities. Scholarship recipient, 2014 - 2015.
International Association of Yoga Therapists’ 2014 Symposium on Yoga Therapy and Research. Scholarship recipient.
The Yoga Service Council 2013 Conference. Scholarship recipient.
International Association of Yoga Therapists’ 2011 Symposium on Yoga Therapy and Research. Full scholarship recipient.
Yoga Journal San Francisco Conference, 2008. Full scholarship recipient.
Findhorn Foundation, Scotland, Restoring The Earth Conference, April 2002.
Findhorn Foundation, Scotland, EcoVillage Experience Week, 2002. Grant recipient.
Bioneers Conference, Marin, California, 2001 and 2002. Work trade scholarship.
Kvnia Herbalism School, San Luis Obispo, CA, 1998. Partial scholarship recipient.
The International Association of Yoga Therapists
The Ananda Yoga Teachers Association
The Yoga Service Council
Accessible Yoga (Ambassador)
Ananda Sangha Worldwide
Integrative Mental Health For You Coach Registry
American Center for The Integration of Spiritually Transformative Experiences Peer Support Group Facilitator Registry
The International Bipolar Foundation
Warriors At Ease: Bringing Trauma-informed Yoga and Meditation to Military Communities
The National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI)
Yoga of the Heart® Cardiac and Cancer Teachers Registry
County of San Luis Obispo Drug and Alcohol Services; Behavioral Health Services and The Adult Treatment Court Collaborative
California Association of Marriage Family Therapists, Central Coast Chapter Affiliate Member
Transitions-Mental Health Association of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties Staff Support
Yoga Village, Arroyo Grande, CA
Grateful Spirit Yoga, Atascadero, CA
The Yoga Center of San Luis Obispo, CA
Prema Yoga Teacher Training
Crows End Meditation Retreat, San Luis Obispo, CA
City of San Luis Obispo Parks and Recreation
City of Morro Bay Recreation and Parks Department
City of Atascadero
The American Red Cross: First Aid and CPR Certified