Retreats & Events

Mindfulness and Meditation Retreats



After the most recent and very much appreciated 7 day meditation retreat in June of 2024, the next meditation retreats are planned for 2025.

We are waiting to be able to confirm venue and dates (this is likely to be possible in August), however, we do hope to be back at the Yarra Valley Living Centre.

Our intention is to present 2 meditation and yoga retreats in 2025; both with Ruth and Ian Gawler, with Melissa Borich.

1. Meditation and Contemplation – mental clarity and the possibility of accessing truth directly – 7 days probably in May

2. Meditation and Silence – a classic meditation retreat; deep natural peace – 5 or 7 days probably in early November

BOOKINGS will open once we can offer you the full details – most likely in August 2024


The plan for the Meditation Teacher Training in 2025 is to complete the trilogy. In 2024, new manuals and thorough training will be provided in

1. Mindfulness-Based Stillness Meditation – the foundational course and this has now been completed in May 2024

2. Contemplation and Meditation – this will be presented from 2–6th November at the Yarra Valley Living Centre – details below and is booking out fast.

So in 2025, we will present the third Module:

3. Guided Imagery, the Power of the Mind and Meditation.

 The intention is for this to be a similar 5 day training with another new and comprehensive manual.

All trainings are led by Drs Ruth and Ian Gawler, along with Murray Paterson.


For the Contemplation Module, bookings are now open – [email protected] and more details below.

For the 2025 Guided Imagery, the Power of the Mind and Meditation Teacher Training Module,
bookings will open once we can offer you the full details – most likely in August 2024.

In the interim, if you do have any enquiries, please do contact our Retreat Manager on [email protected]

Our retreats are of medium intensity and offer the possibility of a meaningful holiday that could also be transformative…

Your days will include:

The delight of being in a meditative environment free of external distractions. The Upper Yarra Valley is renowned for its natural beauty and inherent peace; The Yarra Valley Living Centre has been a place for meditation for many decades. You can feel it; and relax into it…

Teachings from Ian – combining the best of timeless wisdom with modern science.

Teachings and Meditation sessions guided by Ian, Ruth and Melissa, along with optional, gentle yoga, mindfulness walking and free time.

Wonderful plant-based meals; simple yet delicious; highly supportive of the meditation.

Being amidst like-minded company. Some come on retreat preferring silence, but many delight in meaningful conversations with the diverse groups that inevitably gather for these retreats. There are a couple of days of silence to deepen meditation experience.

Evening time time for discussion, questions and answers. If you have nagging questions around your meditation, or the philosophy that wraps around it, be sure to bring them along…

Additional information is available via this link

Residential Retreats

Mindfulness and Meditation Teacher Training

Drs Ruth and Ian Gawler have regularly presented mindfulness and meditation teacher training programs over many years. Many who have learnt through them have gone on to become major teachers in their own right, while many others have developed the skills required to register with Meditation Australia and go on to teach within their communities or workplaces on a part time basis.

In 2024, there will be 2 five day residential Modules of Meditation Teacher Training presented at The Yarra Valley Living Centre. Both modules are highly interactive. You will be encouraged to enquire, to experiment and to determine what style of meditation, and what content will suit you and those you serve the best.

Having said that, each module comes with an extensive manual, so you will go home with complete session plans and guided meditations to cover an 8 week course. You can use these guidelines directly, or use them as a basis from which to develop your own program.

Both modules have been developed for those new to teaching meditation, and for those more experienced teachers seeking to broaden and deepen their skills. Ideally you are recommended to attend both, but each training stands in its own right; you can attend just one or the other.

Both Meditation Teacher Training modules are approved by Meditation Australia.

Meditation Teacher Training


Meditation Teacher Training - Part 2: Contemplation

Yarra Valley Living Centre (Yarra Valley) ___ Victoria

Rarely taught, this Contemplation teacher training is an opportunity to learn how to teach contemplation either in a structured course, or as an integral part of another program. This module also includes 40 hours of in-person training in a residential setting.

Ideally participants have completed Meditation Teacher Training - Part 1 but this is not essential.??This module is particularly relevant on a personal level, for you, as you will be practicing various contemplations that have relevance to your own life. Many past participants have been grateful for the personal insights that emerged from the program. As well as "the qualification" of teaching contemplative meditation to others and Meditation Australia recognition for 40 hours towards MA membership.

For more information view ... a PDF here


Latest Testimonials from Meditation in the Forest 2024

“Enriching. An opportunity to focus on self and slow down. So very informative from all 3 presenters. Accommodation, food, assistance from staff all wonderful. Excellent value for money.”


“Very good. I enjoyed meditating for longer periods than I was used to and the lead meditations were excellent. The retreat was very well organised and the balance was just right. I had body therapies – Shiatsu and Spinal Flow and they were both very good.I really enjoyed the retreat and feel like I”ve improved my meditation practice, learnt a lot and met a lot of lovely people.”


“The balance was great. Really enjoyed having sufficient time to digest and reflect and read my notes. As usual lovely food, very comfortable dorm and loved the gentle, helpful demeanour of all the staff. Please pass on my gratitude. It has been just what I needed. I feel as if I have had a reboot and am feeling very positive about weaving all the learnings back into my life on return.”


Guest Speaking & Seminars


Public Events

There are no events scheduled at this time


Request Ian to speak at your conference, workshop, seminar or event

Ian and Ruth Gawler have played a major part in popularising meditation, Mind-Body Medicine and other self-help techniques in the Western World. Ian does most of the public speaking, while Ian and Ruth combine to present their retreats and trainings. A compelling and meaningful speaker, Ian Gawler has presented at many major conferences around the world.

If you are interested to have Dr. Ian Gawler present at an event, or if you are interested in supporting or volunteering help with organising a mindfulness retreat, a meditation retreat, or a public event in your area, please contact us by email or call +61 (0)417 869 938 (9-5pm AEST Mon-Friday)

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Ian's Blog - Out On A Limb