Alan Muller took refuge in 1997 with Akong Rinpoche. In 2003, he completed a one-year closed retreat under the guidance of Lama Yeshe Rinpoche at Samye Ling Monastery in Scotland. During this period, he took novice monks vows. Alan remained a novice monk for six years and now presents courses and retreats as a layperson. He has formed Ngondro groups since 2004 around Southern Africa.
Bruce van Dongen founded the property that would become Waterfall Retreat & Environmental Centre in 2003. He has always felt strongly that our indigenous natural heritage is our most precious asset and that it is critical for us to try our best to be in union with nature and that we have an obligation to be guardians for our planet.
He is an Engineer by profession and has spent a large part of his working career on many continents. He returned to his home of KwaZulu Natal in 2003 with the motivation to acquire a special piece of land worthy of conservation to create a sanctuary for people, animals and the environment. He has been deeply grateful for the teachings of yoga and meditation and the impact that they have had on his life. He believes that we should always remain students of the practices we love, and as students we can share the practices that we love with others. He uses his love of nature and on- going projects at Waterfall Retreat to balance the pressures of the corporate world.
Carey Abercrombie has been practicing Yoga since 2006 and gained her 200 hour RYT certificate as a Vinyasa and Hatha instructor in 2008 under the guidance of Cherryl Duncan from Living Yoga in Johannesburg. Her aim is to share Yoga by teaching her truth honorably and with respect for all things. She hopes to help students find their own truth, happiness and joy in their practice. Carey has completed a 4 year mindfulness training programme through Mindfulness Africa and is a qualified Mindfulness Africa Facilitator.
Choden(Sean Mc Govern)Formally a monk within the Karma Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, Choden (aka Sean Mc Govern) completed a three year, three month retreat in 1997 and has been a practicing Buddhist since 1985. He is originally from South Africa where he trained as a lawyer and learned meditation under the guidance of Rob Nairn, an internationally renowned Buddhist teacher. He is now involved in developing secular mindfulness and compassion programmes drawing upon the wisdom and methods of the Buddhist tradition, as well as contemporary insights from psychology and neuroscience. He is an honorary fellow of the University of Aberdeen and teaches on their Postgraduate Study Programme in Mindfulness (MSc) that is the first of its kind to include compassion in its curriculum. He co-wrote a book with Paul Gilbert in 2012, entitled 'Mindful Compassion' that explores the interface between Buddhist and Evolutionary approaches to compassion training. In 2016 he completed a one year retreat focused on the foundation practices of Tibetan Buddhism
Chrissi Preuss A traveler of both the wide world and the inner world, Chrissi’s global travels and her cum laude honours psychology degree from Rhodes University (with specialisations in trauma and neuropsychology) help her in her career of coaching and guiding people to positions and occupations that suit their character and aspirations. After completing a Mindfulness Association 8 week course through The Waterfall Retreat & Environmental Centre she set her heart to teaching yoga. Chrissi is currently in the process of deepening her practice and knowledge through an intensive 2-year yoga teacher training program and aims to bring her philosophy of yoga being fully accessible and inclusive to her teaching.
Chrissi approaches every class she teaches, like she does life itself, with kindness and thoughtfulness. In so doing she creates space for all students of every stripe and ability to feel safe and at home with themselves – both on and off the mat.
Danika van Wyk is a 500hr ISTHA trained yoga teacher and spent a year in training at the Integral School of Hatha and Tantric Arts founded by Kavi Yogiraj Mani Finger. Her scope of experience covers Yoga Philosophy, Asana, Ayurveda, Meditation and Yoga Nidra. She orchestrates her classes to accommodate all levels from beginners to advanced practicing yogis and believes in encouraging everyone to explore and play with compassionate awareness in all her classes. She creates a loving and free atmosphere that inspires self-acceptance and mindfulness that can be taken off the yoga mat into our daily lives. She loves the outdoors, gardening, hiking, swimming and cooking in her spare time.
Ken Holmes is based at Samye Ling, Scotland, where he is Director of Buddhist Studies and has been assisting late renowned Tibetan Lama Akong Rinpoche for 37 “amazing and incredibly fortunate years”, translating Tibetan texts and interpreting for visiting Tibetan lamas. He is much respected internationally for his inexhaustible knowledge of Buddhism which he presents with wisdom and clarity, humility and an infectious sense of humour.
Kerri Martinaglia is the manager of The Waterfall Retreat and Environmental Centre. She is a student of the late Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche and has trained within the Karma Kagyu Lineage and participated in several meditation retreats over the past 19 years, including a 6 month closed retreat at the Tara Rokpa Centre Retreat Valley in Groot Marico. In 2009 she was invited to join the Mindfulness Africa Organisation. She is the Mindfulness Africa Coordinator for KwaZulu Natal and has certification in Hatha yoga and Qigong disciplines. Her special interests are how the combined practices of gentle movement, mindfulness and compassion can potentially help to restore our balance.
Louis van Loon lectured in Buddhist philosophy at the Universities of Cape Town and Durban-Westville for 22 years. He established the Buddhist Retreat Centre in 1980 and, along with his wife, Chrisi, directs its affairs. Both were involved in the compilation of the BRC’s popular recipe books “Quiet Food”, “The Cake the Buddha Ate” and “Plentiful:The Big Book Of Buddha Food”. His interest lies in the psychology of meditation and in the relationship between art, science, religion and philosophy. He is an architect and consulting civil and structural engineer in private practice in Durban. He teaches Sumie, Japanese brushwork painting, and sketching in Durban, Cape Town and Ixopo.
Lucy Draper - Clarke has been awarded a doctorate in Mindfulness and Teacher Education at Wits University, where her research focused on the use of Mindfulness Based Living with student teachers to alleviate their stress and enhance their classroom experience. The PhD provided the opportunity to bring her education background together with her spiritual life. She is a Director of “Mindfulness Africa”, an organisation launched by Rob Nairn, with the intention of bringing mindfulness-based living courses (MBLC) to Southern Africa. One of her current interests involves combining mindfulness and compassion with yoga asana, to create Mindful Yoga practices.
Nicky van der Hulst is a Chiropractor, Homeopath and Yoga teacher. She has a keen interest in the therapeutic benefits of movement and gentle preventative care on health and wellbeing. Nicky brings together her love of teaching, therapeutic movement and holistic therapies in the practice and facilitation of her work.
Nickys practice of yoga exceeds 20 years and 10 years experience teaching Hatha, Vinyasa and Astanga. Her teaching has a strong anatomical and physiological approach grounded in a deep understanding of the philosophy of yoga.
Pippa Cope has been involved with the Tara Rokpa Therapy Process, “Healing Relaxation, a creative fusion of Tibetan and Western Wisdom” since 1997, and was authorised as a senior helper in SA. Having worked in the caring, therapeutic and development fields in the UK, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka, she is currently the resident manager of the Tara Rokpa Centre, Groot Marico.
Pritam Hari Kaur Khalsa was Yogi Bhajan's European secretary in the Eighties, at Guru Ram Das Ashram in Germany. He asked her to relocate to teach in South Africa in 1987. Her family has been pioneers in natural and yogic living through their natural food businesses, Fruits & Roots and Earth Products and through their courses and teacher trainings. They now live on a sustainable, off-the-grid community farm in the Western Cape.
Rob Nairn resigned in 1980 as professor of Criminology at the University of Cape Town to commit full-time to his spiritual path. His training in psychology and Buddhism - including a four-year isolation retreat at Samye Ling Tibetan Centre in Scotland - enables him to translate ancient Eastern wisdom into concepts we can understand and apply. Rob is the author of "Tranquil Mind, Diamond Mind" and "Living, Dreaming, Dying". Currently, he is the representative of the late Dr Akong Tulku Rinpoche for Kagyu Africa, and teaches at the four Kagyu Buddhist Centres, as well as in the UK and Europe. Rob is an associate lecturer of the Education faculty at Aberdeen University, where he has designed a three-year master’s degree in Mindfulness. He has been active in bringing Mindfulness training to Southern Africa.
Tania Potter is a Certified New Insights Life Coach who specializes in Personal Development. After completing a BComm Degree, Tania was half way through Honours in Financial Management, when she realised this was not the life she wanted. A change in direction led to a daily meditation practice as well as a Post Graduate Diploma in Tertiary Education (Adult Learning). Tania has been a practicing Life Coach at Soul Sense Life Coaching since 2010. She writes a humorous blog about the trials of Buddhist teachings applied to our day to day life. She is a dear friend and support to Waterfall Retreat.
Thanissara From a London Anglo-Irish family in London, started Buddhist practice in the Burmese school in 1975. She was inspired to ordain after meeting Ajahn Chah and spent 12 years as a Buddhist nun where she was a founding member of Chithurst and Amaravati Buddhist Monasteries. She was also co-initiator of events for children and families at Amaravati. Thanissara has facilitated meditation retreats internationally the last 25 years and has an MA in Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapy Practice from Middlesex University & the Karuna Institute in the UK. She is co-facilitator of the Community Dharma Leader Program at Spirit Rock Meditation Centre CA, USA. Thanissara is co-founder of Dharmagiri South Africa and teaches and lives between S.Africa and the US. Visit www.dharmagiri.org for more information.