Retreats & Events

Mindfulness and Meditation Retreats

Why make the effort to go on a meditation retreat? The joy of it all!

Meditation in the Forest offers a meaningful holiday that has the possibility of being 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 Living Centre has been a place for meditation for many decades. You can feel it; and relax into it…
  • A short teaching from Ian – combining the best of timeless wisdom with modern science.
  • Meditation sessions guided by Ian, Ruth and Melissa, along with optional, gentle yoga sessions led by Melissa.
  • 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.
  • Good 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…

Residential Retreats


Meditation in the Forest

Yarra Valley Living Centre (Yarra Valley) Victoria

A major part of the benefit will be gained by leaving the activity of your daily life behind for a while and entering into a meditative atmosphere; free of external distractions and in a natural, peaceful environment. Meditation in the Forest provides an ideal opportunity to take time out, to leave your daily life behind for a while, to relax, regenerate, re-calibrate and deepen your meditation experience. This is an immersive retreat, restful and regenerative; but also intense enough to be meaningful and effective for those seeking that deeper experience of meditation.

For more information view ... a PDF here


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 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.

This module is particularly relevant on a personal level as you will be practicing various contemplations that have relevance to everyone’s lives. Many past participants have been grateful for the personal insights that emerged from the program.

For more information view ... a PDF here


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)


I thought meditation… and all that stuff… was something I just didn’t do… but now I find it has been such a help to me, in my mind and in my body.

Jeff Davis

View the video of Jeff's story

This from a Life & Living Cancer Retreat participant.

Vana Minelle

View the video of Vana's story

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Ian's Blog - Out On A Limb