dr. rakesh pandey, international guest and yoga expert

Br. Shraddhamrita

Br. Shraddhamrita will be joining Yogafest for his sixth visit. Living as a monk for many years, his insight and clarity on any spiritual 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.

Retreat Teachers

photo of Eugenie Knox, producer of Yogafest Retreat Somers

Eugenie Knox

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).

Johannes Mochayedi, director of dance of life yoga studio

Johannes Mochayedi

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.

Douglas Brook - yoga teacher for Yogafest Somers

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 Dougall - restorative yoga teacher

Phoebe Dougall

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 Forrest - yoga teacher and medical practitioner

Jean Forrest

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.”

Jean Forrest - yoga teacher and medical practitioner

Michelle Giordmaina

Michelle’s yogic journey began at the Dance of Life in 2001 primarily with Eugenie Knox. She completed Teacher Training at the Sivananda Ashram in Kerala, India in 2008 and one year later became a member of staff at the ashram for six months. She also completed the Advanced Yoga Teacher Training during this time and subsequently began assisting in the teacher training program. Michelle has taught yoga since 2008 in and around Melbourne and internationally, including India, Malta, Malaysia and Lebanon. These days her primary practise is Iyengar Yoga, which she has practised under the tutelage of Peter Scott since 2010. Michelle also spent two months studying daily with the Iyengar family in Pune, India in 2015. She has great respect for the ancient system of yoga and firmly believes that a sincere practice puts one on the path of physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual wellness.

Rebecca Horne

Rebecca has studied and practiced yoga and dance for over 25 years. She has been teaching yoga since 2002 and facilitates art Therapy workhops and restorative yoga classes. Rebecca has been a longtime member of the Yogafest community and over the years has contributed immensely to the atmosphere at Yogafest by being a facilitator at the opening ceremonies and using her artistic talent to create the alters.
Emma Pritchard - yoga teacher with Yogafest Retreat Somers

Emma Pritchard

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.

Brian Rogers - senior yoga teacher for Yogafest Retreat Somers

Bryan Rogers

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 Scully - dance and martial arts yoga instructor

Telford Scully

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.

Telford Scully - dance and martial arts yoga instructor

Maria Ogden

I have completed numerous teacher trainings, Power/Hatha Yoga with YOGA-NRG based in Queensland and Chair yoga with Nikki Knoff. Yin training with Senior Yin teachers Jennifer Crescenzo and Jo Phee and the founders of Yin, Paul and Suzee Grilley at the Land of Medicine Buddha in Santa Cruz, (USA). I recently completed a Yin Roll and Release Training with Lee Heron a Senior Yin teacher and Roll and Release Instructor.

Telford Scully - dance and martial arts yoga instructor

Frank Bonnici

Frank has a background in dance and a committed personal yoga practice for the last 18 years. Under the guidance of Johannes Mochayedi, director, Dance of Life, Frank began teaching yoga in 2013 in Hatha and Vinyasa. Following formal teacher training with Byron Yoga Centre, he now teaches yoga full-time. Frank is trained to teach in Power Flow and Hot Yoga yet in more recent years has continued to favour Slow Flow, Hatha and Yin, particularly with our ever-increasing erratic world. Frank has a strong focus on breath awareness, posture alignment, and ailment and injury management. His down-to-earth personality makes him a friendly, sort-after teacher.

photo of kitchen staff at Yogafest Retreat Somers

Jayashree Raghavan

Jayashree 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 also 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.

photo of kitchen staff at Yogafest Retreat Somers

Adam Breman

Adam Breman (Dadu) was initiated into yoga at the age of 7 when living at an Ashram outside of Mumbai India where he met Swami Muktananda (1980) and received a blessing that enlightened him emotionally and spiritually to adopt his bhakti yoga practice.
Bhakti or devotional yoga, includes meditation and chanting as well as karma yoga (seva or selfless service). These practices have helped Adam through thick and thin during his own life journey.

“Ever since I was a young child I have embraced the path of yoga and seen the benefits threaded throughout my life. “Mindfulness and meditation are wonderful gifts for stress removal and unwanted thoughts and have help me to be in the moment.”

Many years later Adam discovered Hatha yoga at Dance of Life Yoga Studio and has been a student there for the last 6 years. Adam also graduated with a certificate in Hatha yoga teacher training from the Yoga Social with Ambika after studying a 200 HR teacher training course there. Adam’s other interests include; Marathon running with yoga stretching (Melb Marathon 9 years), kite surfing, snowboarding and the philosophy of Yoga and Buddhism.

photo of kitchen staff at Yogafest Retreat Somers

Amma’s Sattvic cooking team

Back Row: Mani, Dave, Anil
Front Row: Kavitha, Jayashree, Sindhu
photo of kitchen staff at Yogafest Retreat Somers

More cooks

 Sindhu and Meenakshi