Art of Retreating was born of Marieke’s discovery of the yoga mat sixteen years ago, and combines her two greatest passions: a love of travel that has evolved over more than twenty years of leading cultural tours around the globe with her life growing in yoga.
Marieke works with exceptional yoga teachers and annually offers a retreat either in Victoria or overseas. Past residential retreats have been in rural Victoria, Bali and Darjeeling. We have also created yoga journeys in Rajasthan and South India. This November, we take up residence with Saraswathi Vasudevan at a gorgeous property in Trentham, central Victoria.
Marieke’s regular classes run daily from December to Easter and are held in a lovely pavilion at Portsea on the back beach, the southern most end of the Mornington Peninsula. Marieke is also available for private classes for individual students or small groups in their home, or to corporate groups conducting a convention on the Peninsula.
A once committed power walker, Marieke is still a keen walker but has found the addition of yoga to her life an invaluable tool and perfect antidote to life’s stresses and strains. Her daily practice takes many forms from meditative coastal walks, gentle breathing exercises, study of yoga traditions and modern interpretations to asana practices and the preparation of supportive nutritious food. She feels herself to be living proof of its benefits – a greater sense of strength, well-being, vitality, equanimity and clarity and at least once a year takes herself to an Ayurveda centre to re-focus, re-calibrate and to take time out for stillness.
Marieke also recognizes that yoga might not be for everyone, but urges everyone to consider the importance of self-care on a daily basis – not just booking a massage or downing a green juice – but creating new habits that actually break away from the obligations, rush and pressures of daily life to allow some quiet and more self-awareness in activities that will enhance your sense of health, happiness, balance and calm.
started in the Iyengar tradition with Patricia Widayat including 3 week long retreats in Bali and North India
2 Yoga Anatomy courses with Jean Campbell
8 day Yoga retreat with Albert Hennink in Bali
Foundations of Viniyoga: a Therapeutic Approach 10 days with Saraswathi Vasudevan and Dr N Chandrasekaran
8 day Bali yoga retreat with Saraswathi Vasudevan
12 Day South India yoga retreat with Saraswathi Vasudevan
200hr YTT in Greece Transformational Hatha Yoga as taught by Sri Swami Vidyanand, a revered yoga master and the founder of Transformational Yoga, whose signature system is inspired by the Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.
5-day Melbourne intensive with Donna Farhi (24hrs)
5-day intensive with Donna Farhi – the Heart Aroused (24hrs)
Somatics with Lisa Petersen – Finding Support in the Skeletal Body in Yoga (22hrs) The Thinking Body (16.5hrs)
5-day Intensive with Donna Farhi – The Fluid Body (24 hrs)
3-day Intensive with Leslie Kaminoff – Anatomy (18 hours)
8-day Darjeeling retreat with Saraswathi Vasudevan – Application of Yoga to Daily Life
4-day Workshop with Saraswathi Vasudevan “Pranayama & Meditations from the Yoga Sutra (25hrs) Focus: Study of the Sankhya model of evolution in relation to understanding the philosophy of yoga. Bridging the gap between study and yoga practice through self-reflective practices. Activities included Asana, Pranayama, Meditation, Mindfulness practices, Self-reflective processes interspersed with lectures and discussion.
5-day Intensive with Donna Farhi – The Origins of Alignment (24hrs)
3-day Workshop with Saraswathi Vasudevan Pranayama and Mediatations from the Yoga Sutras (18 hrs)
3-day Residential Immersion with Saraswathi Vasudevan (25 hours)- Prana, Sound and Mind ‘Exploring and integrating the healing power of the breath,
chanting and meditative practices in daily living. Drawing models and inspiration from the Yoga Sutras, Bhagavad Gita and the Upanisads.
1-day workshop with Leslie Kaminoff – Warrior Series, Sanskrit Phoenetics + Vinyasa Breath Flow + Asana Practice (10hrs)
3-day immersive retreat with Saraswathi – MAITRI: Mindful Self Compassion
Marieke’s further passion as a cook and gardener is about the food that supports all round health and well-being and an optimum yoga practice, so has a fascination for TCM and Ayurveda principles of diet, aspects of which are indelibly threaded into her classes.
Over the last decade, Marieke has collaborated with a variety of teachers and designed and hosted many yoga retreats and workshops in Victoria, Bali, North and South India, and USA.
When at home near Rye back beach on the Mornington Peninsula, Marieke starts her day with an alkalising citron pressé, a beach walk and a home practice. She tends a garden mostly devoted to organic food production, occasionally still teaches cooking, and plans an annual portfolio of trips abroad that include India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Kashmir, Europe and for Morocco. And Mexico
When travelling, Marieke offers all her guests a daily yoga session that gently brings mindfulness to the day and once a year undertakes an Ayurvedic therapy retreat in South India.
Her guiding light is best summed up by the venerable Vietnamese monk, Thich Nhat Hanh’s profoundly simple lessons in mindfulness:
“every step brings us back to the present moment, so that we can touch the wonders of life that are available. Therefore, when I say, “I have arrived,” I mean I have arrived in the here and the now — the only place, the only time where and when life is available, and that is my true home.” “You don’t have to make any effort during walking meditation, because it is enjoyable. You are there, body and mind together. You are fully alive, fully present in the here and the now. With every step, you touch the wonders of life that are in you and around you. When you walk like that, every step brings healing. Every step brings peace and joy, because every step is a miracle.”
Marieke is European by heritage, Australian by birth, an art historian by training, a cook and chef by passion, a global traveller by choice and a yoga student and teacher by inspiration.
She left home to travel in Europe at a young age, embarked on an academic career in Fine Arts, then started her first business, aged twenty-four in rural Victoria – a pioneering gourmet retreat where she donned her chef and teaching hat for the next three decades. That retreat, her ensuing cooking school and her first foray into the travel business, all quickly garnered a respected reputation and tremendous following in Australia and abroad.
Gourmet cycling tours of the Australian wine regions and the Flinders Ranges inspired her first ventures into the travel industry and that quickly expanded into cultural and culinary escorted programs overseas.
Marieke oversees every aspect of Art of Living from attentive customer service to the stylish in-depth design and creation of every new tour.
When not at home or leading a tour, Marieke might be sleeping in 6* star beds or on an Indian desert charpoy, dining with royalty or supping with rural folk, walking the laneways of ancient forts at dawn or riding camels into the sunset, scaling a new mountain or discovering a secluded beach.
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