By Ali Ikram

Kawai Purapura retreat on Auckland’s North Shore will play host to an international yoga festival this weekend.

Many yoga devotees can attest to its life changing power but two people say their lives have been changed more than most.

Antion and Elandra Meredith’s is a story about love and yoga.

“One night right after Christmas 1971 I was there to teach a class and only one person showed up and you know these romance books where they say all the forces of heaven and earth pushed them together it was like that it really was it was incredible what happened,” yoga teacher Mr Meredith says.

That was after he had studiously ignored Elandra in yoga class for six months.

This was easier said than done because not only was she a sought after model in London, but also starred in a trilogy of erotic vampire movies that are today considered cult classics.

But it was the music Mr Meredith played during class, that he still plays when they teach today that won over the Danish born, New Zealand raised beauty.

“The music he played, the sacred music he played, it played in my head every night,” Mrs Meredith says.

“So my life of fame and fortune and stars… first movie was Roger Moore, Tony Curtis and all kinds of famous people, it started to pale in comparison.”

Back in 1966 a young American guitarist called Jimi Hendrix came to London and at his first big gig he plugged into an amp owned by Vic Briggs who played for the animals.

In interviews Hendrix would list Briggs as one of his three favourite guitarists.

And it turns out Mr Meredith is Vic Briggs, but turned his back on playing with some of the biggest names in pop after becoming disillusioned with the music business.

“I just started praying, I decided I was going to meditate. I didn’t know how to meditate I just sat down and meditated and I worked out it was 40 days and after 40 days a miracle happened – I was fired from capital records.”

And New Zealand also has a special place in his transformation.

It was here in 1967 while touring with The Animals he first took LSD in Rotorua.

While he cites that as the beginning of his spiritual journey Mr and Mrs Meredith say if you have yoga you do not need drugs.

“It just wasn’t necessary and when we started doing yoga it was obvious that we could transform our consciousness with yoga.”

“The base condition of a human being should be love but the way civilisation treats us, it all gets squeezed out of us so we seek alternatives when you can connect to the love that’s inside ourselves you don’t need these things.”

As for their former lives of stardom they say have not given them a second thought – happily living here for the last four years

The couple celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary in two weeks time.