new podcasts about Western yogis in India

Ali talks candidly about everything you need to know about moving from being an ordinary yoga tourist in India to being a real yogi with yogic wisdom.

These free podcasts are part of a series, preparing people for a forthcoming trip to India. Ali thinks you can take people out of the West to India but can’t always take western attitudes out of their yoga practices … listen and find out more!


Easter opening hours


Yoga classes will run at the NZ Yoga Centre, Marton, during the school holidays and over Easter:

  • Monday 15th April – 9.30 am & 6 pm Hatha Flow
  • Tuesday 16th April – 7.15 am Gentle & 9.30 am Gentle & 6 pm Active 
  • Wednesday 17th April – 7pm Gentle
  • EASTER SUNDAY – 9.30am Restorative
  • EASTER MONDAY – 6 pm Hatha Flow 
  • Tuesday 23rd April –  9.30 am Gentle & 6 pm Active 
  • Wednesday 24th April – 7pm Gentle

No booking required. See you there!

Yoga over boulders

This Sunday, the yoga group and I ventured out to the Whitecliff boulders just north of Ohingaiti (SH1). This incredible world class site offered us the perfect place for deep yoga retreat and contemplation.



To get to Whitecliff boulders you have to follow Peka Road to the very end, and walk across farm land for about an hour. After a steep descent you arrive on the banks of the Rangitikei River. The boulders are just on from there.



There is such a magical air about the forest, with trees growing in and around moss covered rocks. IMG_3007.JPG


Keraru, Tui and fantails created a beautiful soundscape for our yoga & meditation. Berries and leaves covering the forest floor were multicolored and soft underfoot.IMG_3026.JPG


The rocks have such a presence about them and the sanctity of the place reminded me of amazing temple sites like Kamakya Temple in Assam. Awesome day. Awesome group of people!


Artist’s Open Studios weekend II

We had a great turn out of people for the second weekend of the Artist’s Open Studio (Whanganui). Over 80 people came through the doors of the Iconic Art Space in Marton and many more visited the other 5 participating studios.


Ali Hale Tilley pictured with Micah Rickards who bought the painting ‘Dia Del Muertos’

Resident artist Ali Hale Tilley showed some amazing people around, explaining works and having interesting conversations about topical events. Out of the 160 people who visited over two weekends, around 40% of people came from Marton, 20% from Whanganui, 16% came from the surrounding Rangitikei, with others coming from Wellington, Foxton Beach, Taupo, Palmerston North, Auckland, and from as far afield as Canada!

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Pictured Raina Potoka, and Di and Laurine

Lots of amazing locals dropped in to say hi. While some looked around and engaged in conversation, others were happy to just relax and soak up the atmosphere. IMG_2964.JPG



Some very special friends from Wellington coming up specifically to support the event. Special thanks to Micah who bought a painting, and Mary and Gillian (Wellington) for offering your support, love and delicious fruit bread. Special thanks too to Gillian (Marton) for giving a special gift for the shrine.


Ali pictured with kumo-kumo given by the Potakas of Rata (thanks Raina!)


Gillian from Marton gave a wonderful African statue of the Virgin Mary and child


Talented architect Micah Rickards bought the Day of the Dead painting

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The beautiful Mary Watson and Gillian Christian visited from Wellington

Lastly, thanks to a myriad of helpers (Luca, Raina, Micah, Shirley, Fran, Bridget, and Sarah) for holding the front-line over the weekend. Some of you even had time to produce some fun artwork – well done!




If you are interested in buying original pieces of art please call Ali on 06 327 4108.

Artist’s Open Studios weekend

A great turn out of people came through the doors to view art at the Iconic Art Space (Marton),  stop #72 on the Artists Open Studios (Whanganui) trail.


Artist in residence, Ali Hale Tilley (pictured above), spoke with over 70 people, explaining her works and showing visitors around her Art Apace. 5 pieces of art have already been sold so if you are thinking of investing in art, now is the time.




Local artist Daniel Williamson (pictured below) also exhibited his sharpie sci-fi sketches and dropped in to make an appearance.


Lots of amazing locals gave their time,  relaxed and played games, adding to vibrancy of the day. 

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Participating artists from around Marton added to the festivity of the weekend, which continues next weekend as well.


Whether you are interested in viewing or buying art, or discussing creative topics, Marton is a great place to descend on next weekend. the Artist’s Open Studios will continued  Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st March with participating studios open from 10.30 am – 4.30 pm.


Iconic Art Space is situated on the corner of Stewart Street and High Street, Marton.


 Look forward to seeing you!

See for more information

Yoga in 3 great locations


Imagine yourself taking part in an adventure-filled 5-20 day yoga & meditation immersion. Ali Hale Tilley – director of the NZ Yoga Centre and experienced tour guide- will be running 3 different yoga workshops throughout October 2019.

Groups will practice yoga in beautiful Dubrovnik, historic Tbilisi and exciting northern India. Each 5-day yoga module has up to 20 hours of yoga, meditation and guided self-exploration amidst vibrant culturally-rich locations.

The cost of each five day module is only $300 NZ/ person, Join us for an adventure of a lifetime. 

You can chose you own accommodation and travel plans to suit your budget and comfort levels. Or Ali can advise you on how to plan the trip around your budget and departure locations.

for more information contact Ali on or check out for previous guided tours.

A commission for Father Peter


my most recent painting of the Virgin Mary’s Annunciation 

story and painting by Ali Hale Tilley


The person racing across the tarmac was a minute late for the expected departure of the Intercity bus from Wellington Airport to Whanganui. “You’re very lucky the driver waited for you,” I said, as he dropped into the adjacent seat. He told me he had just returned from a Catholic gathering in Brisbane and had nearly missed the departing plane too but for the intercession of the Virgin Mary. Our conversation quickly fell upon deeply religious themes. We shared narratives of the Virgin Mary, ecstatic dreaming, and wild dance.

We shared narratives of the Virgin Mary, ecstatic dreaming, and wild dance.

This young man, an Austrian by the name of Andreas, said he was a “Fellow” working at a Benedictine monastery beyond Woodville. When he mentioned the monastery’s name was ‘Southern Star’, I reached into my bag and pulled out a medallion of Mary holding a star. I had bought the brass pendant from a coin collector at the Alicante Town Square market a few years before. He examined it closely.


I told him that although I was not a Christian, I had done many pilgrimages to Virgin Mary shrines and basilicas around Spain. I also mentioned I loved painting the Virgin Mary, and that I had offered my services to Father Peter, the Catholic priest in Marton, to repaint the faded Mary statue in the church’s outdoor grotto. At the time, Father Peter had someone else in mind for the restoration.

After a short time Andreas said, “What is your bank account number?” Not being in the habit of giving my bank number to relative strangers, I declined his request. He then asked if he could commission me to do a painting of the Virgin Mary for Father Peter. Finally, I agreed and he transferred money into my account somewhere before Foxton.

When the bus pulled into Palmerston North and Andreas got off, I smelt the distinct scent of church incense lingering in the air. That is how I knew the transaction was legitimate, authenticated by some sort of divine sanction.


A few weeks went by and I popped into the Catholic Church in Marton to check out the colours of the stained glass, and to get a feel for the interior. Father Peter was there in his white robes. Not being Catholic, I kicked off my shoes and approached the Virgin Mary statue prostrating as I would at an Indian temple.

A few days later Father Peter came by the Yoga Centre and we chatted in the garden about deep and meaningful topics including the commission. I kept as much as I could a surprise. However, our talk echoed what Andreas said that the work I was doing at the Yoga Centre was a type of ministry.


I started the painting the picture using influences from the medallion, and of a sketch I had done of a painting in the Santa Maria Basilica, Alicante.


A few weeks later, on another Intercity bus trip out of Wellington, we stopped for an hour at Wellington Central. I popped over to the Anglican Cathedral to get some inspiration from the stained glass and sit in contemplation at the small chapel of Mary. Soon an American woman entered and we engaged in conversation about Mary’s Annunciation. She joined me a close reading of Luke  1: 35 (King James version)

 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God

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I talked about the Holy Ghost’s part in the inception and the notion of Mary being overshadowed by the “Highest”. I wanted to find a way to express that exact moment when Mary first conceived “that holy thing.” She told me she was an art history major and that in Renaissance art of Mary’s Annunciation the Holy Ghost was portrayed as a flying dove. At that time, I had already painted a dove sitting in Mary’s left hand. This conversation confirmed the significance of the symbol I had chosen.


I wanted to share this story and a copy of the painting of Mary’s Annunciation commissioned for Father Peter of Marton. I hope this painting inspires you to make time over Christmas for deeper contemplation of life’s mysteries.




20 Stewart Street, Marton 4710

Phone: 06 327 4108 // Facebook: NZ Yoga Centre


Southern Star Abbey / Kopua Road.
Takapau RD2.
Hawke’s Bay 4287.
New Zealand