Paul von Bergen

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Paul designed and built the retreat centre and is director of all the retreat programs.

After a fifteen year stint in corporate world promoting fizzy drinks, toys, cigarettes and alcohol, Paul experienced a business failure and found himself sitting on a Thai island licking his wounds and pondering what life was all about. By fate, there was a health retreat one hundred metres down the beach and Paul found himself absorbed within its energy, ideas and people, particularly with regard to yoga.

On return to Australia Paul was trained by Michael de Manicor, Director at the Yoga Institute, previous President of Yoga Australia and psychologist. This followed the teachings of Krishnamacharya, one of the most authentic sources of classical yoga teachings this century and source of ancient wisdom about the mind & body connection. Paul completed a two-ear advanced teacher training qualification and has since been inspired by many other brilliant teachers including Jon Kabatt-Zinn Phd, Daniel Siegel MD, Bruce Lipton Phd, Stephen Hawking Phd, Sir David Attenborough, Jane Goodhall, Brian Cox, Louise Hay, Joe Dispenza, Mark Whitwell, Eckhart Tolle, the Buddah, Jesus, S.N. Goenka, Hippocrates, Rumi, Ghandi, Confucius, Lao Tza but perhaps most of all his three young children and the thousands of amazing human beings that come to Billabong Retreat.

Paul & Tory purchased the land in 2008 and set about creating what is now Billabong Retreat with Paul focussing on the design, building, operations  & teachings and Tory focussing on the interior design, food, nutrition and most important of all, their young family.

Paul’s teachings at Billabong Retreat combine ancient wisdom with modern scientific thinking. They are not affiliated with any particular organisation or religion but instead a summary of the experiences and knowledge that Paul has acquired in his varied life. They explore how changes such as language, the agricultural and industrial revolutions and the very recent informational and technological mega-revolutions are reshaping modern human experience like never before.

Fields of study include the Yoga Sutras, Asana (postures), Pranayama (breathing), Pratyahara (senses), Dharana (focus), Dhyana (absorption) & Samadhi (bliss), tantra and modern areas include mindfulness, breath and body work, the mind body connection, meditation, consciousness, neuroplasticity, epigenetics, meta-cognition, psychedelic medicine, emotional intelligence, the stress response and energetic fields.

Understandably, Paul is not a world leader in any of these fields of study and does not have formal qualifications in them, but instead has distilled that the message from all these teachings is fundamentally the same and can be learnt by anyone with a little effort, an appropriate teacher and some fun.

Some of the simple techniques that Paul teaches, if practised daily for 15 minutes, will help any human being life a longer and happier life. All Paul’s programs teach to connect body, mind and breath, and how to avoid being dazzled by the many senses of modern human consciousness, especially thought.

Paul’s programs involve physical movement, attention & awareness, breath exercises many types of seated meditation, summary of the peer reviewed modern science and presentations on the application of these skills at home and in the workplace. Everyone is welcome to contribute as we all have something to learn from everyone else.

1971 – Born UK
1991 – BSc (Maths & Mangement) – Manchester University, UK
1991 – 2004 – Corporate Brand Marketing Consultant
2004 – Launched retail business & suffered large financial loss – moved to Thailand
2005 – 2008 – Yoga Teacher Studies
2008 – Mum dies after struggle with alcoholism – decide to create wellness centre
2009 – Get married, have twins, co-create Billabong Retreat with Tory
2009 – Launch Billabong Retreat & start teaching
2015 – Phase II development
2019 – Phase III development
2021 – Step down from operational role
2022 – Launch Church of Kindness & Radical Expansion and focus on pastoral work