We are an all inclusive strong support husband and wife team, a yoga teacher and retreat coordinator who have individually 15+ years experience in organising and managing quality retreats internationally.
Our Offerings & Services
I love creating a soothing
nurturing environment and
a tranquil, safe space for
people to relax and feel
I have been running and managing retreats for more than 16 years.
I started out when I was put in charge of managing the events programmes for Nan Hua Cultural Centre in South Africa in 2001, where I started some of the first women's retreats in South Africa and organised the annual Peace and Light Festival.
My journey 'began' in 1997 when I went to India at 19 and lived there for a year fully immersed studying meditation techniques, doing long retreats and studying philosophy in the small village of Bir and in the Tibetan refugee settlement, Dharamsala in the Himalayas.
After I met with the Dalai Lama, my path to support people to spend meaningful time on retreat and embark on the inner journey unfolded. Meeting the Dalai Lama was a humbling and profound experience that shook my world. Since then I have been working towards creating conducive nurturing, peaceful spaces for self-reflection.
During our longterm stay in India Justin (Samten) and I volunteered and managed many retreats at spiritual centres, charitable organisations and worked long-term with Himalayan refugees on refugee programmes and educational projects.
During this time we were very fortunate to study with wonderful and kind Himalayan meditation masters in humble surroundings who generously shared their wisdom teachings.
RED LOTUS RETREATS & SATI YOGI
Justin (Samten) and I started Red Lotus Retreats and Sati Yoga in 2014 in London (U.K.), after living in India full time since 2003.
RED LOTUS WOMEN'S RETREATS & SACRED JOURNEYS
After being diagnosed with a chronic illness and struggling to find medical care that would support my healing and recovery journey in a more complete way, I recognised that there is a vital need for specialised women's nurturing retreats to support women to sustain a greater sense of overall wellbeing and a gentle compassionate approach to healing.
I find the practice of meditation, and especially the art of relaxation with deep awareness, using the profound gentle practice of yoga nidra, to help aid better wellness, sleep and a greater sense of overall balance.
Self-compassion, deep recharge, mindful integration and cultivating balance is at the heart of the women's retreats I organise and manage.
I regularly collaborate with warm, committed and open-minded women on various women's programmes and projects. If you would like to collaborate on a special retreat please get in touch.
I am a qualified coach and love supporting people to uncover and ignite their own heart's potential. Most recently I completed an intensive three month entrepreneurial course for immigrants and refugees with DeliteLabs in Amsterdam.
One of my passion projects is 'Finding Our Way', created in partnership with Robyn Peel. We regularly host workshops and programmes i.e. at Escape the City in London for busy women. We are developing our 3 month seasonal programmes online and we recently completed our first online prototype which was a great joy.
Robyn and I are currently developing a one year signature programme to offer a more in depth approach and ongoing support circle for heart-centred women.
Red Lotus Retreats are passionate about organising Sacred Journeys and Pilgrimages to India and other parts of Asia. The last Women's Pilgrimage to the Himalayas was during 2015 with four amazing women who described the experience as 'unforgettable' and 'life transforming'. Another one of our newly developed retreats during April 2019 will be 'Invisible Givers' lovingly crafted, with Bhikkhuni Visuddhi from Karuna Sevena, in Czech specially created for carers, teachers and facilitators and all those invisible compassionate givers who give so much of themselves, to take some essential time out to deeply nourish, recharge and restore those who suffer from fatigue, depletion and need some quality time spent in a safe caring space for retreat and deep rest.
CO-CREATION & RETREAT MANAGING / HOSTING
Since a young age I have had a curious entrepreneurial mindset and as a creative and independent spirit I love supporting people to thrive in a setting that nurtures and supports a sustainable mindful life. I qualified as a Life Coach in 2014 in London to support fellow adventurers on their life journeys.
In the spirit of balancing entrepreneurship with a richer, deeper more purposeful life, we created the Soul Trader Mindful Leadership and Compassionate Business Retreats led by the esteemed Rasheed Ogunlaru, a compassionate master business coach and author of the acclaimed book Soul Trader - bringing the heart back into business. Rasheed is a big hearted person of great integrity, insight and compassion. The quality we appreciate most about Rasheed is his genuine interest in people's wellbeing and success. Rasheed has the unique ability to meet everyone exactly where they are.
We are honoured to be working in partnership with him.
The way is not in the sky.
The way is in the heart.
May all beings have
a happy mind.
I like to share authentic methods to help people to get to know themselves better and create a space of clarity and insight.
My interest in Yoga and Meditation started in my teens when I was lucky enough to attend a public talk by the Dalai Lama in South Africa in the mid 90’s. From that point I started reading and studying anything related to Buddhism, Yoga and eastern philosophy.
At the same time I started practicing meditation at the Lam Rim Buddhist Center and yoga at the Sivananda School of Yoga in Johannesburg..
From 2002-2003 I taught and lead yoga classes regularly during retreats while engaging in monastic training at the African Buddhist Seminary at Nan Hua Cultural centre in Bronkhorstspruit. I was also translator and retreat assistant to Ven. Hui Re the senior Ch’an master of Fo Guang Shan Monastery.
Following that, together with my wife Leigh, I traveled to India and Nepal to further study the spiritual traditions of India and the Himalayan regions. During this time we volunteered at various monasteries and refugee centres assisting with event management, retreat care publication and other tasks. During this time it became clear that our focus should be on creating retreats and places for retreats to happen.
From that time all our efforts have been put into realising that goal.
From 2010 - 2013 upon our return to South Africa, we organised and facilitated numerous meditation retreats and events. In the summer of 2013 we assisted at Shenten Dargye Ling meditation centre with various tasks including - kitchen management, retreat care and food preparation for residents and guests at the centre.
In 2015, I completed a formal International Teacher Trainer qualification (200HR) Yoga Alliance accredited, at Yoga London with Rahoul Masrani, London, UK.
The following year 2016 I continued my yoga training with yoga master Sri BNS Iyengar at the Krisnamachayrr Ashtanga Yoga Shala in Mysore, India. This consisted of intensive teacher training in Ashtanga Yoga and teacher training in Pranayama (Yogic Breathing techniques).
It was at that point that we had the opportunity to make our passion a reality when we were able to purchase land for a small retreat house, practice and healing centre at the ocean in South Africa. We moved back to being this new chapter with great excitement.
At the same time we opened Red Lotus: The Art of Conscious Living & Yoga Studio where I taught yoga and pranayama regularly and private classes for surfers at the popular Surf Lodge at the breathtaking ocean. This was while we prepared building plans for approval and prepared the site.
Since this time we have focusing on both creating yoga, meditation, mindful living and wellness programs while at same time working on the Red Lotus Retreat Centre.
Reflecting on our journey we felt strongly compelled to create and run quality holistic retreats that serve and nurture the whole being - body, mind and spirit in order to sustain overall wellness and wellbeing, especially in these challenging modern times. We are both passionate co-ordinators, besotted with nature and the seaside and love cooking nourishing vegetarian meals to support participants to feel a sense of being warmly cared for and appreciated.
"In a gentle way you can shake the world." Mahatma Gandhi
We form a strong, calm yet dynamic team who work well in harmony
and with a firm foundation in meditation practices we strive to be of service
and to create friendly, nurturing, and tranquil holistic spaces.
We are currently in the process of working towards creating and establishing a healing sanctuary and meditation retreat centre - Sukhavati - for individuals wishing to do personal and group retreats in a nurturing space in the breathtaking setting of Paradise Beach, along the spectacular Garden Route in South Africa.
We have a wonderful group of enthusiastic supporters who have been encouraging us every step of the way amidst huge challenges to manifest such a project. South Africa would benefit greatly from a peaceful sanctuary to support overall wellness and wellbeing.
The centre aims to support sustainable building practices - Sustainable Human Being - that will help to uplift and empower the local community.