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Susan Desmarais

If you are looking for a week of healing movement, good company, relaxation, delicious food, beautiful scenery, Turkish hospitality and good fun, this is the week for you.

Susan has been teaching yoga holidays in Turkey since 2010.  Her retreats build from one day to the next, enabling the group to make significant progress in their practice. She provides an accessible toolbox of skills to take home and integrate into daily life.

Morning and evening sessions vary, with more active poses in the morning. Evening sessions are more restorative with seated and supine poses, as well as pranayama (breath work) and meditation. Props are provided for all students to use, as needed.

Having been a former executive for many years, and a yoga retreat attendee during those years, Susan understands the value and the needs of a yoga "re-treat". She strives to provide a week of work that will invigorate and replenish.

Students of all levels are welcome and encouraged to attend, including those who experience chronic pain or limitation of movement. The therapeutic nature of Susan’s work is for anyone who would like to gain a strong foundation for a lifelong practice of balance and well-being.

Being a student of yoga for over forty years and a teacher for over twenty years, Susan’s interest in Yoga Therapy originated out of her own need for healing. She is a certified Yoga Therapist, and also certified in Nutritional Endocrinology.  Susan's original teacher training was in Ontario, Canada in the Sivananda tradition. Once a certified Anusara Inspired teacher, Susan now continues to study primarily in the Iyengar tradition.  She is certified as well with Yoga Alliance.



yoga retreat Susan
yoga retreat Susan

Breath is central to Yoga because it is central to life...And yoga is about Life. - T Krishnamacharya

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Previous Visitors

"I have been travelling around and time has slipped away but I always talk fondly of the fantastic time I had in Gölköy. Thank you for such a wonderful experience - I couldn't have asked for a better week. Everything was just perfect from the food, to the lessons, the people, the hotel, the energy and of course, Susan. I found her to be one of the most caring and engaging teachers I have ever had. Her lessons were challenging but not so much you couldn't keep up and she focused on the individual. I had such a wonderful time that I do hope I can come back in the next few years and hopefully bring or encourage others to have a week with you both. In fact, it was so good and relaxing that as soon I got to Bodrum I had a little breakdown and felt completely overwhelmed!

"Thank you again, thank you for setting up such a fantastic retreat that excites not only the body but all the senses. You have a beautiful home and I am grateful I was a part of it for a short time."

Lydia C., Sardinia

"With slight trepidation, we ventured on our third yoga retreat in as many years - this time in the delightful surroundings of Turkey. My partner is exceptionally flexible, and I as a lump of wood, so we were hopeful of a teacher who would cater to both of us!! We were not disappointed with Susan, and her methods of teaching a variety of yoga techniques. From our first lesson in origami, which was used to show symmetrical body movement - to our final tearful yoga session, Susan taught with humour, knowledge, patience and enthusiasm. Some of her phrases "toolbox hand" to name but one, was used to make us remember where each movement originates from, and to help hold each pose as effortlessly as possible! The group had a range of ages and experiences, but all were treated with warmth and kindness - at the same time pushed to our own physical limitations. An excellent and unforgettable yoga experience; one I would recommend to anyone whether an experienced yogi, or a complete novice".

-Kevin & Helen, (London, England)

"Susan brings a natural (and hilarious) sense of humor to yoga. I laughed more than ever while making my way into, a once very scary, handstand. She makes the practice so approachable and fun that you don't realize how much she's pushing you into poses that once seemed inaccessible. Susan has a special energy and I hope to participate in her yoga retreats again. I highly recommend her yoga holiday for anyone interested in deepening their practice or starting to explore yoga." -Katie (Washington D.C., USA)

"Being apprehensive about my lack of experience in yoga, my fears were soon put to rest. My week in Turkey was excellent. Susan is a very gifted person with a special talent for making yoga both rewarding and enjoyable."

-Bob (Birmingham, UK)

“Susan really got everyone’s Yogic FIRE started - this made our muscles burn, our skin glow, and got our hearts wide open. A lasting inspiration.”

-Daisy (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

“Susan is a teacher with unique knowledge, style and energy. She is authentic. She establishes trust and comfort. She sees each student’s journey and teaches a yoga suitable for everyone!! Her combination of a sharp mind, strong physique and soft heart has forever made her one of the most important and special teachers I have ever had the honour to meet. Thank you!”

-Annie (Stockholm, Sweden)

“My first yoga retreat, but certainly not my last...a great journey. I was inspired and impressed by Susan’s energy, professionalism, and all she shared with us. She is a brilliant yogi, but more importantly, an excellent teacher with the ability to reach out and challenge everyone at different levels.”

-Rikke (Copenhagen, Denmark)

“I am getting so much more out of my Yoga since attending your workshop. Your instructions were so precise and logical, I now follow them (albeit in my head) during my practice. Thanks for getting me to practice Yoga safely and also for working so hard to make it intense and interesting with a great big feel-good factor (hence overcoming my attention span issues). You put so much into your teaching, you should be very proud.

-Colin (London, UK)

Susan's yoga retreat was so much more than I had anticipated. She is an incredibly talented and accomplished yoga instructor. Susan quickly assessed the wide range of ability present in the group and designed her classes to support all of us, regardless of our level and experience. Personally, I grew tremendously both in my yoga ability and spiritual awareness. Susan encouraged me to take risks and personally assisted and encouraged me to work slightly out of my comfort zone. I left the retreat relaxed, refreshed and a much better yoga practitioner than the beginning of the retreat just a week earlier!

-Susan (The Hague, Holland)

“Susan is a truly inspirational teacher and I loved the partner work as it enabled me to learn from others and develop my own yoga practice confidently. Throughout the whole week there was a real sense of group ethos and strength - all of us working together towards one common goal. I had a fantastic time and this experience has motivated me to join my own yoga group back home.”

-Sarah (Brighton, United Kingdom)

"Being new to yoga and fresh from a hip replacement operation, I approached the retreat with trepidation. The classes were like Susan herself - an interesting fusion of culture. Susan's approach let 'suffering be an option', but was so encouraging that all got involved from complete novices like myself to the more experienced members of the group; all gaining a sense of improvement…on leaving I felt refreshed by the yoga, Susan's teaching style, and meeting the rest of the group. A great way to get into, and enjoy yoga."

-John (Istanbul, TK)

“My practice has been transformed from spending just one week with Susan. I’ve been practising for many years, and this is the first time I have had my practice improved upon and inspired so intensely.”

-Karen (London, UK)

"Having not done a whole week of yoga before, let alone twice a day and not feeling at my fittest, I wasn't sure whether I would be able to keep up with the amount or the content of the class. Would I be good enough? Well I needn't have worried! Susan's style of teaching couldn't have been more inclusive, no matter what your age, yoga experience or general physical ability etc. Each day we built upon the previous days work so that every day I felt that my yoga was progressing. My boundaries for what I thought I could achieve in yoga were definitely pushed by Susan! We were actually a large group of very varied ability but Susan is incredibly sensitive to each persons needs. She also gave us plenty of tips to use once back into our yoga classes at home and these have helped me immensely. Last but not least, yoga with Susan is fun!"

-Debbie (Cardiff, UK)

"I took a one-week yoga retreat with Susan in Autumn 2012. I approached it with some trepidation, as I’d had some bad back problems and some people had warned me that yoga might make them worse. I need not have worried; it was a wonderful week and at the end of it all of me felt stronger – body, back, mind and heart. What makes Susan special is partly her long experience with, love for, and profound understanding of yoga. It’s clear that she knows what she is talking about, what she is doing and what you (the student) are doing. Once I realised this I felt a strong sense of safety; and from that place, with Susan’s guidance, yoga positions seemed to emerge (almost) effortlessly. Even head and handstands! Susan is a gifted teacher; there is a lightness about her teaching style that makes it easy to listen, and absorb what she is saying. There is no competitiveness, no one-up-man-ship; instead, she manages to create a sense of working together, in a relaxed and supportive atmosphere with no one taking themselves too seriously. At the same time, Susan doesn’t oversimplify yoga, or dumb it down. She works at a deep level, but she does so by distilling essentials (for instance in terms of preparing for a posture) and by coming back to them over and over again, always with that light touch. It never gets boring and somehow, at some point, your body ‘gets’ it - almost miraculously, but very much thanks to Susan."

-Mimo (Edinburgh, UK)

Susan completely changed the way I practised yoga on my return from Turkey in 2012. The warm guidance, jam packed with her hilarious sense of humour, guided me through my personal yoga practise during the week, which has armed me with confidence and acceptance of my own limitations as a trainee yoga teacher. This beautiful goddess will take you on your own personal journey that will change your life in an instant forever. All you need to do is open your mind and heart and move with Susan’s yogic flow."

Ally (London, UK)

"Susan's lively enthusiasm, spiced with touches of humour, was a great motivating source for all course members. As the oldest of the group, I appreciated her patience and understanding."

- Brian (Kendal, UK)

“I must have been building up some good karma to have earned a week’s practice with Susan. She has the empathy that the nervous student needs. She also has a great teaching technique, a wonderful laugh and a huge heart. If you have the chance to work with her, grab it with both hands.”

-Jane (London, UK)

“As soon as I arrived Susan made me feel very relaxed and part of the group. We had an amazing week, and I felt my yoga improved a lot. With Susan's breathing techniques, I managed to do some challenging poses which I never thought I'd be able to do. I can't wait to join her on another retreat...”

-Becky (Cornwall, UK)

"Susan is an inspirational teacher. She challenges you to find your limits and then extend them--you find yourself doing things you never imagined you could achieve. A yoga retreat with Susan is also fun:there is plenty of room for laughter and good cheer."

-Adam (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

“Susan cares, and this is what it’s all about. She is a seasoned yogi, a hard working professional, an inspired teacher and a life companion. Her retreats are hidden gems that have made a marked difference in my life. I have attended two of her retreats already and I will surely be going back again! I had a great time and I returned home happier and stronger. I would recommend her retreats to anyone who wants to go the extra mile in their yoga practice.”

-Valeria (Milano, Italia)

"Susan's approach to teaching is very firm and very tender. The result is that people in her retreat experience, in mind and in body, ripple at the edges of courage and fear, trust and the unknown. My body and heart were, and are, extremely grateful!"

-Jill (New York, USA)

Susan's classes were always fun. She approaches things in a creative way...her own way, and makes them informative, interesting, and illuminating. She also created a very supportive quality in the classes, a nice atmosphere within the group. I hope to go again.

-Carol (London, UK)

“Here is why Susan Desmarais is a great teacher: She inspires you to reach for goals you didn't know you could reach, and she helps you to reach them. She led thoughtfully organized sessions, each with a leading idea or thread, all tying to the larger theme of the week: our need to balance striving and effort with receptivity and flow. The group that Susan assembled was wonderful to work with, and to share conversations and delicious meals with. The retreat will certainly be a highlight of my year.”

-Michael (San Francisco, USA)

"After reading previous testimonials I decided that Susan was going to provide me with what I needed on my first yoga retreat. I have severe osteoarthritis in one of my hips and was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the rest of the group. Susan was wonderful and did not make me feel uncomfortable with the attention she gave me. I came away invigorated and very able. Thank you Susan for your kindness."

Andrea (London, UK)

“Susan guides you through the yoga with direct and precise directions, which were incrediby helpful as I worked my way into many new and challenging poses. Each session was an exercise in trust (in ourselves), in letting go, and opening up mentally and physically. It will be difficult to follow up her skills and abilities as a teacher.”

-Bobbi (Seattle, USA)

"Susan's teaching style is light and fluid, challenging and strong, but most of all fun and inspiring. There are no 'passengers' in Susan's classes; both the most humble of beginners and adept of yogis will gain from her instruction. I tell so many people to go, and want to go back myself – it's that simple!"

-Liagh (Dublin, Ireland)

"Susan is unique. Her teaching style shows her profound understanding of yoga, in a place where east-meets-west. One can learn so much at her enjoyable, fantastic retreats."

-Chrystel (Merano, Italia)

Susan is a unique blend of Eastern and Western culture and she blends them both with panache, style and grace. She is a very radiant, very “rooted” Lotus.

-The Group (International)

“Susan has the gift to make me humble and turn inside every time I work with her. She is fun, wacky, and quite humourous, yet she holds this place of self-discovery with compassion and sweetness. Thanks for being the teacher that you are.”

-Marieluise (Zurich, Switzerland)

“Susan's teaching skills enabled me to go beyond my normal physical limits. Teaching us how to help others was a bonus. Her ability to create dynamic group energy made everyone feel welcome and part of something special.”

-June Yvonne (Palermo, Italia)

“I could feel the magic that ran through the group. I know each of us will bring home something very special, maybe even life changing.”

-Elizabeth (Roma, Italia)

For all yoga courses, please bring your own mat.

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