Vanam Retreat - A Place Where Seekers Go


VANAM is a Sanskrit word that means sacred forest, beautiful garden or cluster of lotus flowers.  But it is more than just a garden.  It is a sacred space where yogis of old would gather to do their practices. There is an implication of wildness to this word. Something mystical. In Sanskrit language the root Van has other connotations - longing and desire (for spiritual growth), abundance, and a sacred ‘abode’.
— Katie Manitsas

An Eco Retreat Space

Situated on 40 acres of native bushland and home to a wide variety of native birds and other wild life, Vanam Retreat is a living, breathing home.  Built with natural materials including straw bales, cob, recycled timbers and earthen renders, this contemporary, architecturally-designed and hand-crafted home was built using ancient building principles applied in a modern context.  The main building includes 3 large guest bedrooms each with private ensuite and deck, a large, modern kitchen and a spacious, open-plan indoor-outdoor living/dining room.  Staying in this contemporary earth house in the unspoilt beauty of the upper Blue Mountains is a unique experience.  Guest have exclusive use of their spacious bedrooms, ensuite and private deck and share the common lounge and dining spaces. We also have a 2 bunk houses, sleeping up to 5 people total, a dedicated yoga shala for 12-14, a solar-powered hot spa, and extensive edible and ornamental gardens.  

Andrew and Jeff, locals of the Blue Mountains, have been establishing the landscape and creating this unique sacred space for the past decade.  As caretakers of the land, we do our best to walk lightly and minimise our impact.  We are off-grid, use rainwater & solar power and we grow our own fruits and vegetables and have 2 friendly and well-socialised dogs, Aston & Diesel.  We are proud left-leaning yogis who practice kindness, compassion, joyful living and moderation and we welcome like-minded people to share our space.


IMG_0718 (1).jpg

About Andy & Jeff

Andrew Stevenson

Andy grew up in a garden. After studying horticulture and spending many years working in orchards, nurseries and gardens a plenty, he went on to complete a diploma in Architectural Technology and earned his Structural Landscaping license which became the cornerstone of Botannix Landscape Design and Construction, founded in Sydney 2002. With his husband, Jeff, he created a successful landscaping business operating under the belief that a household garden should be a refuge from life’s daily dramas and a place for connecting with nature, family, friends and self.  Andy earned his hospitality stripes owning and running numerous cafes over the past 30 years, the most recent being Botannix Yoga Studio & Garden Cafe in Sydney from 2006-2015.  Now a dedicated yoga practitioner, gardener and host extraordinaire, Andy can often be found tending to his gardens, bushwalking with his husband and dogs, Aston and Diesel and sharing his humorous insights about life. 

Jeff Miller

Jeff, is the the founder of Botannix Yoga and with Andy, the co-creator of Vanam Retreat.  He is yoga & meditation teacher, counsellor and therapist.  A highly experienced instructor with over 600 hours of formal yoga teacher training qualifications, studying with number of renowned gurus including Donna Farhi, Jasmine Tarkeshi and Emily Stone, Alana Kaivalya, Katie Manitsas, David Life and Sharon Gannon, Jeff is a certified Lotus Flow and Jivamukti Yoga Instructor and is highly-regarded for his creative and thoughtful approach to yoga and his ability to make the ancient teachings relevant to a wide range of people living in the modern western world. A doctor of psychology with special interest in interpersonal relationship and men's well-being, Jeff combines his in depth understanding of human nature with techniques of yoga, meditation and mindfulness, creating a practice that is personal, heartfelt, uplifting and spiritually supportive.  He is known for his focus on compassionate self-inquiry and radical self-acceptance as a path to greater health, happiness & connectedness. His teaching involves a creative and insightful journey through intelligently-sequenced postures,  uplifting music, meditation and deep relaxation.  While not in the yoga studio Jeff enjoys working on the property, bushwalking and spending quiet time with his family.  

Andrew Stevenson and Jeff Miller

Andrew Stevenson and Jeff Miller