Visiting International Teachers
Dr. Rakesh Pandey
Dr. Rakesh Pandey is an inspiring and committed Hatha Yogi, Yoga teacher, Sanskrit scholar and teacher and author. He obtained his Ph D on the subject of Hatha Yoga from the local university where he also teaches. He hails from Varanasi where he has an Ashram overlooking Ashi Ghat on the Ganges. An expert in the Shat Karmas (or six cleansing techniques of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika), he regularly gives talks and presentations on Yoga and these traditional practices. Highly respected in India and internationally, Dr Pandey travels regularly and has given demonstrations and teachings in Russia, Sweden, Singapore and Canada in which he shares his expert knowledge on Yoga Philosophy and Samkhya.
Br. Shraddhamrita will be joining Yogafest for his fourth visit. Living as a monk for many years, his insight and clarity on any subject gives us a chance to witness the depths of the truth spoken by one who has journeyed beyond average daily life. Amma has again blessed us with his presence and we experience Amma’s Grace and love with Shraddhadji joining us to open to our retreat with this very special talk.
Founder and Director of Dance of Life from 1975-2008 and Founder/ Director of Yogafest since 2005, Eugenie remains committed to her loving and devoted role as teacher and advisor as well as ardent student of Amma, world renowned guru and humanitarian. Eugenie began as a contemporary dancer and formed her own company creating and mounting theatrical feature length dance-works with spiritually based themes for many years. Eugenie and her two teenage daughters developed a mime and dance team Clown Theatre, and travelled extensively in Australia and India. In 1978 after meeting the Guru Swami Muktananda she learned meditation and under his tutelage became a teacher of Yoga. Since those early blissful days she remains devoted to truth and Reality, the subterranean depths of our mortal existence and conveys this understanding to her students. Still teaching at 75 Eugenie loves each and every moment sharing with her students and certainly intends to continue till her last breath. Eugenie has been producer of every Yogafest Retreat since it’s inception in 2005 (excluding 2016).
Director, Dance of Life
Johannes has been a yoga teacher for nearly 20 years and has been the Director of the Dance of Life since 2009. He has studied a variety of styles including Iyengar, Ashtanga, Hatha, Power Flow (Vinyasa) and Bikram. His versatility and experience is reflected in his ability to create inspirational and dynamic classes with solid foundation. In supporting safe practice whilst also challenging growth and development, Johannes focuses on attention to detail, considered alignment and effective use of the breath.
Nina comes from a background of martial arts and yoga and practices as a massage therapist. She has studied Sociology, Philosophy and Psychology and practiced as a counsellor for some years before embracing her other healing capacities. She is based in Melbourne, Australia, and often travels to SE Asia to facilitate yoga workshops, immersions and teacher trainings. Her teaching is centred on practices that use breath and intention to engage your yoga confidently beyond the mat. Applying techniques which involve playful asana, pranayama, meditation, visualisation and lots of fun, she focuses on balancing strength and intention with flexibility and growth in self-awareness and self-exploration. Nina has been Assistant Producer for Yogafest Retreat 2010-2015.
The majority of Michelle’s yoga practice has taken place at two Melbourne schools founded by long term students of Shandor Remete (Natanaga Zhander) – Eugenie Knox’s Dance of Life in Fitzroy and Prahlad’s (Duncan Ewing) Yoga Arts Academy in Melbourne’s CBD. She completed her initial teacher training in March 2007 at the Sivananda Ashram in Kerala, India. Later that year, Michelle returned to Melbourne, began teaching at Dance of Life and founded At Work Yoga, taking yoga and meditation into workplaces and schools. In 2009, she was introduced to Personal Yoga Tuition at the Yoga Arts Academy (YAA). In May 2010, she embarked on a 3 year ‘yoga sadhana’ apprenticeship at YAA specialising in Personal Tuition. During this time, she also studied Patanjali’s yoga sutras with AG & Indra Mohan and continue to study with them today.
Elizabeth has studied yoga with Cosmologists Maggie Nimmo and Eugenie Knox, Swami Satyananda in Bihar, India and in the inspired system of Vanda Scaravelli through Diane Long in Rome. She completed her Yoga Teacher’s Certificate at the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta in Kerala, 2003. Elizabeth works deeply, intuitively and playfully with an emphasis on vital energy, fluidity, breath control and core strength.
Douglas (Vishal) Brook
Douglas – Spiritual name Vishal – started practicing yoga in 1994 with Eugenie Knox at The Dance of Life Studio which led to an apprenticeship. Since his first apprenticeship, Vishal has studied Ashtanga Yoga with Founders of The Ashtanga Yoga Centre of Melbourne Greg and Tracy Cooper, Graham Northfield, Mathew Sweeney and Deena Kingsberg. He currently teaches at The Ashtanga Yoga Centre of Melbourne and Fitness First. Vishal is one of the founders of Yogafest Retreat and has taught at nearly every event. He also has visited India nine times and is a devotee of spiritual teacher Amma whose Australian and Indian Tours he assists on regularly. Vishal was the Producer of Yogafest Retreat, Winter 2016.
Phoebe has been teaching yoga since 2009 and practicing since 1996. After completing her 500RYT with Byron Yoga in 2009, her inquisitive mind and dedication to the practice has taken her on to study with a wide range of teachers from around the globe including Judith Lasater, Donna Farhi, Sundernath (Shandor Remete), Emma Balnaves and Simon Borg Olivier. Since 2013 she has committed her practice to the Shadow Yoga system with Louise Goodvach and annual teachings with Founding Director Shandor and Director Emma Balnaves. She teaches a strengthening, energy-based asana practice that is influenced by the philosophy and theory of this system. Phoebe also teaches restorative yoga and reads and practices meditation and philosophical inquiry informed through Buddhist complentative teachings.
Jean comes from a background of Chinese Medicine through kinesiology, shiatsu and other healing modalities. A yoga and meditation practitioner for over 20 years, her initial formal teacher training was in Integral Yoga. Since these early days of teaching, Jean has gone onto further studies in Vinyasa Flow and undertaking extensive studies on the Yoga Sutras and yoga philosophy and pranayama. “I regard the healing power of yoga with awe. Being constantly inspired with this ancient form that simply uses mental focus, breath and a series of postures to soothe and clear the mind, strengthen the body and enrich the spirit, I see yoga as the best medicine imaginable.”
Rebecca began yoga as a child at Mangala studios where she also trained in creative dance. She has been teaching yoga for 15 years and practicing for twenty years. She completed yoga teacher training with Nicky Knoff in 2002 and has been teaching Iyengar-style yoga classes ever since. She trained and practiced Oki do in 1998; and for the following three years studied intensively at the St Kilda School of Iyengar Yoga with James Bahuth and Astanga with Robert Burne, followed by years at The Dance Of Life studio with Eugenie Knox. Rebecca incorporates an understanding of movement and body alignment into her classes informed by a background in contemporary and other forms of dance.
Rebecca also has her own creative direction business, Decor Diva, where she dresses altars and décor on yoga retreats and festivals as a way of contributing creatively and honoring the sacred and divine beauty in us all. She has been involved in Yogafest Retreat since it’s early days, and has co-designed and produced many of the Opening Ceremonies and infamous talent nights.
Sally has spent her life exploring and teaching various creative movement practices including dance, yoga, acroyoga, massage and circus.
Sally completed a bachelor of Dance at Deakin University in 2013, and her Advanced Diploma of Yoga teacher training at the Australian Yoga Academy, 2011. Dance, yoga and bodywork have since taken her on worldly adventures, following teachers, choreographers and communities that inspire her. Her practice and style of teaching is greatly influenced by teachers: V Sri Sheshadri, B.N.S. Iyengar, Duncan Peak, Eugene and Jesse Poku, and Gwyn Williams.
Sally share’s a deep understanding of alignment, bandha and breath technique. She balances creative whimsy with ancient wisdom and enjoys guiding students on a flowing journey into breath, body and heart.
Emma was introduced to yoga on a beach in Goa over 15 years ago and upon returning home to Melbourne started attending classes regularly at the Dance of Life. She completed yogic studies at the Satyananda ashrams in Victoria and NSW and completed her teacher training at INSPYA in Byron Bay in 2005.
Pamela is Yoga Teacher & Coach and Art Therapist with a passion for healing and living the life we dream of. She is the Founding Director of Yoga Sanctuary Mt Martha and Beach Yoga, at various locations on Mornington Peninsula. Pamela’s yoga journey began in the Indian Himalayas in 2003, where she trained to become a yoga teacher. A few years later she had the privilege to study in the house of her mentors – famed yogis AG, Indra and Ganesh Mohan and learned how to adapt yoga to the individual using Yoga, Ayurveda and yoga therapy. Pamela specialises in offering yoga that nurtures mothers and their families, and individuals. She draws inspiration from studies with experts of yoga for women, Judith Lasater, Donna Fahri and Janice Clarfield. She is a contributor for themindfulmum.com, where she shares her expertise about pre- and postnatal yoga in short accessible video sequences. Pamela was the Producer of Yogafest Retreat, Spring 2016.
A mysterious and ancient looking book, discovered at the back of the family bookshelf, was Angela’s first encounter of yoga. As a teenager Angela walked out of her first yoga class filled with a sensation she had never experienced before. Fifteen years later, trained as a yoga teacher by the Academy of Yoga Learning, Angela is continuously inspired and driven by the transformative magic of yoga. Qualities she endeavours to share with her students through her warm, uplifting and down-to-earth classes. Angela teaches Restorative, Vinyasa Flow, General and Power Flow yoga.
A senior teacher, Bryan has over 45 years’ experience in practicing, and over 30 in teaching yoga. He carried out his Iyengar teacher training with Martin Jackson in Sydney the late 1970s and ran a yoga school in Christchurch New Zealand in the early 1980s for five years. He trained with Mr Iyengar in 1983, 1987, 2012 and 2014. Bryan also has teaching qualifications in Qigong, Tai Chi and Wushu and has studied the yoga sutras in detail. Bryan is dedicated to helping students overcome issues and build confidence. A dedicated practitioner of pranayama, he incorporates this into most of his classes.
Telford began his yoga journey in 1994. He completed teacher training soon after and has since studied and practised in many traditions. His early influences include dance and martial arts. After many years of asana practice he now focuses on the more esoteric and energetic aspects of yoga.
Felicity has practiced Ashtanga consistently for over 15 years and spent time in India studying with Sri K Pattabhi Jois. To quote the man himself “Do your practice and all is coming”, her classes work on form, mind concentration and flow, also some technical examination of poses to expand self-reliance and attention to our actions. “Through the practice of yoga, we gradually improve our capacity to concentrate, our self-reliance, our health, our relationships, in fact, all that we do”. T.K.V. Desikachar
Jayashree is our Head Chef and provides us all with delicious vegetarian fare throughout the YogaFest. Her humility and love has a powerful effect upon us all. Jayashree also guides the beautiful and calming morning meditation sessions which start the day feeling connected, grounded and blessed.”I feel honoured to be part of Yogafest. Beloved Amma’s influence has inspired us on this spiritual journey.”
Jayashree is joined by the wonderful cooks from Amma’s Ashram in Melbourne who all volunteer their time each Yogafest Retreat Somers to prepare and serve the three beautiful meals each day.