Meet Emma

Yoga instructor, counsellor, and your host


My dream of Deśa began over 20 years ago as a hospitality graduate working overseas. The boutique hotel I envisaged then has since become more than just a place to relax and unwind. Deśa has evolved into a destination with the perfect environment to reflect and consciously re-engage with self. 


In our modern world, it’s easy to get caught up in a busy life spent running, where ‘relaxation’ means disconnecting from ourselves through distraction. Numbing ourselves through drugs, alcohol and buying more ‘things’. I am no stranger to this disconnection. From early adulthood I have grappled with trauma and circumstances where denial and distraction were my primary coping mechanisms. To escape, I travelled the world working different jobs in hospitality and management – always running away from the discomfort of the past. 

After several years, I returned to Australia. Feeling the pressure of family to follow the conventional path of settling down and mapping out my future, I got that ‘proper’ job, fell in love, and soon fell pregnant with my first child. Over the next four years, I had two more beautiful children and became engulfed in the role of motherhood. With a husband who travelled almost constantly for work, my children became my focus. Forced to stand still, the events of my past caught up with me. My self-perception became one of self-loathing as post-natal depression took hold. Something remained missing, the authentic me. 

A simpler life closer to nature beckoned. I returned to yoga and meditation and to my studies in counselling. After placing a note in a letterbox in a home in Jan Juc asking if the owners would be willing to sell, our family moved there in 2011. My dreams for Deśa began to take shape. My sense of self was returning and – recognising that we still barely knew each other – my husband and I separated in 2015, negotiating the terrain of shared custody of our children with care and love.

Deśa Retreat Enables you to:

By 2019, I was a qualified yoga teacher, personal trainer, and trauma therapist. With renovations to create Deśa complete, I looked forward to welcoming our first visitors with garden-to-plate meals in beautiful surroundings. 

Since then, helping people connect with their authentic selves in the ocean, by a fire, through yoga or song is a privilege I cherish every day. The path to healing for everyone is unique and can be simple or complex. At Deśa, my role is to provide a supportive space for my guests to embark upon this path. Through serving others, I have discovered a greater depth in myself. I look forward to playing a small part in your return to the real ‘you’. 

About Desa Retreat

Professional Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Physical Education Victoria University of Technology – 2 years
  • Advanced Diploma in Hotel Management – Blue Mountains international Hotel management School
  • Certificate 3 and 4 in Personal Training
  • International coaching accreditation – Primal Intelligence (in progress completion Sept 2022)
  • Bachelor of Counselling Australian College of Applied Psychology (in progress final year)
  • Over 2000+ hours in yoga teacher training across these styles
  • Hatha vinyasa yoga
  • Yin yoga
  • Nada yoga
  • Kundalini yoga
  • Trauma Centre Trauma Sensitive Yoga Facilitator (TCTSY-F)

Interested in a one-on-one personalised retreat, or private yoga class with Emma?

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