Art of Retreating & YOGA




Watson's Pavilion, Percy Cerutty Oval Portsea Back Beach,

December classes commence at 8.00am 2/3, 9/10, 16/17 December then Daily until 23rd. Christmas break. Daily 27-31 December.

January classes run daily from 1-20 January

Breath is life. Yoga is Breath. Make your mind as vast as the sky.

As Buddhist teaching and Yoga practice says, if you’re aware of the breath, you’re aware of the present moment. Our breath is with us from the moment of birth until the moment of death. It is the one bodily function that we can consciously control. Deep breathing is calming. Awareness of breath releases time.

For Sring/Summer 2017/18 Class Details

Hepburn Springs Residential Workshop with Saraswathi Vasudevan 7-10 November 2017  This Residential Retreat is now fully booked!

Spirit of INDIA retreat with Saraswathi Vasudevan, one of India's finest teachers 2018 Dates to be Announced @ Shreyas Retreat, South India

Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul.
Marcus Aurelius (the Roman emperor, best known for his Meditations on Stoic Philosophy, AD 121-180)

Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.
Henry David Thoreau

The world has not to be put in order: the world is order incarnate. It is for us to put ourselves in unison with this order. We live at the edge of the miraculous.
Henry Miller

One does not have to turn to the East and its philosophies, as these quotes from ancient Rome to the 20th C attest, to know that the quest for inner peace, a sense of purpose, an enlightened self-knowing and worth, forms part of humanity’s immemorial and timeless search for deeper meanings and ultimate truths.

Few cultures remain where there is a seamless entwining of the spiritual and the secular, and where it does exist, there also exist forces to bring about dilution and extinction of those ancient traditions. More commonly people will often look to nature for greater intensity and meaning in life, but pristine nature is under attack. The way many of us live in modern Western lifestyles disallows time to stand still, to take stock, to re-explore those path ways in and through which we control our destiny, shape our thoughts, take charge of our own well-being. For so many a crisis has to occur in their lives before they take any action.

Art of Retreating was born of Marieke’s discovery of the yoga mat 12 years ago and combines her two greatest passions: a love of travel that has evolved over the twenty years of leading cultural tours around the globe and particularly to the subcontinent with her life growing in yoga.

Retreats incorporate great consideration to the setting, ensuring you are in a place to be in and stay that is inspiring, to the food so it’s an expression of the reason to be there, to the teachers who bring vast experience and empathetic knowledge, and where relevant, to the cultural experience possible on your doorstep.

Art of Retreating supports and subscribes to the recently formed International Alliance for Yoga Ethics, whose work our revered teacher Saraswathi is keen to spread through the global yoga community.


Trekking in Paradise: the mystical mountains of Kashmir May/June 2018 TBA

Retreats 2014.

Spirit of India: Mary Budden Estate, Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary 19-27 May 2014

Spirit of Sri Lanka 11-20 June 2014: Two wonderful locations near Bentota/Galle

Previous Retreats have been held in:

North East Victoria at the Jamieson Sanctuary, the Mansfield, Steiner School and on the Mornington Peninsula.
Overseas in East Bali at Aliila Manggis and Seraya Shores, Rajasthan + Rishikesh in North India and in South India.

Our Teachers + Current Collaborations:

Saraswathi Vasudevan began her journey in the path of yoga and healing 20 years ago. She studied and trained in the Classical tradition of Yoga that is strongly founded in the teachings of Patanjali and specializes in adapting yoga to the unique needs and abilities of each individual. Through YogaVahini, she aims at preserving and sharing the ancient wisdom of Yoga to address the needs and challenges of modern life. She holds two Masters Degrees (in Nutrition and Psychology) and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Yoga. She has served as a yoga teacher, trainer and therapist for almost two decades at an internationally renowned institute of yoga in Chennai and has also been actively involved in yoga research bringing the much-needed scientific perspective to yoga therapy. 

She has touched the lives of hundreds of students both within India and abroad. Her training skills have also taken her to many countries for spreading the teachings of yoga as well as training serious yoga aspirants from all over the world. Saraswathi works by integrating the traditional wisdom of Yoga with modern facilitation skills. Her real passion however, lies in the area of yoga therapy, working with people in a one-to-one healing environment.
 She is gifted with an innate capacity to establish deeply nurturing connections with her students that enables and empowers them to heal from within.


A devoted student and now teacher of yoga, Baxter undertook traditional teacher training at Sivananda in South India and has a special interest in chanting, the anatomy and the therapeutical aspects of yoga. She developed a loyal following of students with her school in Mansfield and continues to develop her own practice with workshops in Australia and India. She has integrated ‘Harmonic Medicine’ as taught by Dr Monica Henry into her yoga therapy sessions which incorporate diet, asanas and breathwork according to the specific needs of each person and has now graduated from an intensive 3 year Australian-based training program in yoga therapy under the tutelage of Viniyoga Healing Foundation of India directed by Dr Natesan Chandrasekaran MBBS (Dr NC MBBS) (previously Director of Therapy at the Krisnamacharya Yoga Mandiram, and Founder of the Viniyoga Healing Foundation of India).. She has established a widely appreciated schedule of classes at Rye on the Mornington Peninsula, private one-on-one consulatations and is offering again a wonderful Yoga in the Park Summer 2013/14 series. Baxter has collaborated now for many years with Marieke arranging workshops and retreats here and abroad.


Based in New Delhi, Samara Chopra is aslo a recent graduate in Yoga Therapy. Samara specialises in one-on-one practice in order to best address the unique needs of students, to better understand and cope with illness and to facilitate healing on all levels. Trained under Yoga Vahini founder - Saraswathi Vasudevan, from the Krishnamacharya tradition - Samara’s understanding and practice of yoga is rooted in Patanjali’s yoga sutras. It is through the application of the yoga sutras and Buddhist philosophy that she empowers her students to take responsibility for their lives, to address the root cause of their suffering and to focus on internal transformation.

Samara has been practicing yoga since the age of 13 and holds a Yoga Teacher Training Diploma from the Sivanada Ashram as well as Jawaharlal Nehru University (affiliated with Kavaliyadham, Lonavla). In the past she has worked extensively with the channel NDTV Good Times (NDTV Lifestyle), where she has hosted several seasons of shows on yoga and alternate therapies. Amongst other things Samara is also an actor, television anchor and a singer. She has also worked with children with learning disabilities.


Former Teachers We Have Collaborated with:


Jean Campbell who comes from a lineage that includes Iyengar and Ashtanga training in India and in recent has years developed a deep exploration of Ayurveda and the Anatomy of Yoga that she shares widely with students and trainee teachers in workshops at her Newcastle studio and abroad in Asia and Europe.

Albert Hennick is based in the Adelaide Hills and brings to his practice and teaching over 40 years experience in many yoga disciplines with various masters, a uniquely energising, healing, flowing style of teaching that encourages a sincere commitment beyond the mat, enabling students to touch the deeper paths of yoga, inner healing and self-awareness. We have run several workshops and retreats with Albert in Victoria and in Bali from which students have gleaned lasting insights to their practice and to living life to the full. He runs regular classes at the hall in Crafers where he enjoys a devout following of students.

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