‘Last weekend I attended the Art of Meditation Retreat run by Mark and Emily of Alamandria. This retreat exceeded all my expectations and provided an incredibly rich kete of resources to support my own practice of meditation.

The manner in which the various exercises, insights and experiences that Mark and Emily facilitated was deeply authentic and mindful. Their approach, rather than intellectual, was based on their own extensive practice and experience in this field.

I particularly enjoyed exploring how the process of art and movement can deepen and support meditation. This was a very empowering process, and one in which we were unimpeded by any pressure to produce an artistic result or to be skilled artistically.

On returning home from this retreat I have already incorporated several of these exercises and practices. Whether you are beginning or experienced at meditating I would fully recommend this retreat. Away from the rush and bustle of an ever busy world, I came away feeling restored and inspired.’

Deirdre Reid


‘Participating in two so far –I’ve loved their vitality. ‘Art in the service of the spirit’, meditation practices and movement – mindfully nourishing and colourful, whether working alone or with others, and wherever the setting… At Tora, a wild wind and wave worn coastal retreat with its isolated raw beauty or in the lushness of Aio Wira’s ‘peace wheel’ Waitakere warmth – both retreats were held with dignity, depth and delight by Mark and Emily, characterised by their unique artistic gifts, perception and complementary leadership. Each event, thoroughly enjoyable, held unexpected thresholds for my own research for which I will always be grateful. Alamandria’s mystery has a certain magic to it!’

Gaylene Denford-Wood


‘As a graphic designer, creativity is my craft and my livelihood. I have over 20 years experience working in the design industry – with web, print, film and television, and a degree in graphic design.

It was in fact, when I was completing my degree that I first encountered Mark Geard. I found Mark to be an exceptional tutor. He has a teaching style that is supportive and encouraging. By combined with his extensive knowledge of design with his life lessons, Mark always offers a rich learning experience.

I would describe the ‘Art of Meditation’ retreat run by Alamandria as practical in nature and nurturing in its approach. At the retreat I also had the pleasure of meeting Mark’s ‘Alamandrian’ colleague, Emily. Wise beyond her years, Emily complements Mark perfectly. Like any great team, they bring out the best in each other. Together, they harness their broad range of knowledge, practical solutions and entertaining wit.

The net result was a weekend that fed into my creative practice, nurtured my soul and gave me a much needed break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. I would thoroughly recommend participation for anyone who is looking for these things.

Thank you Mark and Emily!’

Robert Stevens