Brooke West Yoga transitioning

Brooke West at the studio which still bears her name, for the moment, on Morro Road (Photos by Camas Frank)

ATASCADERO — Much of local yoga practitioner Brooke West’s life is about relaxation and self-care, not just her own, mostly other people’s actually after 15 years of practice and teaching in San Luis Obispo County.

That includes a previous brush with publicity teaching prisoners in SLO County Sheriff's custody as well as developing a specialty oriented around trauma, pain and addiction management.

The vaguely wishy-washy language that people often use to justify gorging on a hamburger and milkshake with an extra-large helping of fries or polish off an entire bottle of wine under the guise of loving one’s self isn’t what she or the other four teachers who’ve recently joined her office are about. Not that those things don’t have a place in life’s balance, but getting beyond the appropriation of ancient teachings and back to a traditional model of the spiritual, medicinal and exercise practices is more what she’d like understood.

Working for the last year out of an office in the second story of a medical services complex just off of Highway 41 West, 7730 Morro Rd., Suite 207, she and her partners in the endeavor are shifting gears.

The original plan when moving her practice to Atascadero permanently, she explained, had been to take over an existing studio with some highly specialized equipment. That fell through, and while she had an existing obligation to patients and clients, West wasn’t thrilled with the idea of being more administrator than teacher running a center.

So the Yoga West Cooperative — yogawestcooperative.com — was established with practitioners Dorene Garvin, Erika Indrani, Kari Stettler, and Kris Beal, who’s hosting the direct link to their new website currently at www.krismbeal.com/yoga-west-cooperative/.

Between them West notes, they’ve tallied 75 years of collective experience and offer differences in approach. The commonality they rally around is a “gentleness” in style though she adds, if “hot yoga” and goats walking on your back are what you’re looking for that’s available elsewhere.  

“If beer and wine yoga or goat yoga gets you in the door to the [broader] experience that’s great,” she adds, “we don’t do that here. Most of the people I see are dealing with pain or in maintaining mobility as elders.”

Recently returned from a bit of self-care at a women’s retreat after establishing the transition framework for the cooperative, West notes that it would indeed be a stereotype to suggest that a unified gentle approach would be a gender trait.

“It’s a coincidence really that we’re all women,” she said but adds that the hand-picked nature of the group and complementary styles should be an attraction for new clients and that all are welcome. “We’re bringing yoga back to its roots with styles [studied at the] ashram as well as with the brain science to back up why things work the way they do.”

Schedule of classes, individual appointments and profiles of the practitioners are online now. Visitors should kindly remove their shoes at the door.

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Brooke West at the studio which still bears her name, for the moment, on Morro Road (Photos by Camas Frank)


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