By Carl Muir
“Follow the voice of your soul, and listen to your intuition.”
Twenty years ago doing just that led Dhyana Muir down the path of training to be a Yoga teacher. “It is something I always wanted to do, and I believe in following your heart.”
We’re sitting on the deck of Tairua’s Marina Bar and Grill, Dhyana is soaking in the epic views, talking from her heart and beaming with a big smile. “Just look at this view, this is paradise, where would you rather be?”
Like many of the interesting people we talk to at Coromandel Goodness, Dhyana has many strings to her bow, she teaches yoga, is a talented painter, makes jewellery, runs wellness retreats, and is also a photographer and writer.
Seven years ago, following her heart led Dhyana to the Coromandel, and more specifically to Tairua which she calls “heaven on earth. I had always wanted to live on the coast, but Tairua is something more than that. It is a place where anything can happen, there is a mystery and magic here and a space that connects you back to your purpose.”
And Dhyana’s purpose, she says, has been uplifting people. “Yoga can make a huge difference in people’s lives. It is an ancient science designed for the human being. Classes vary in size, so even if I am only taking a small class of 2 or 3 people, you never know the ripple effect that might come from just positively influencing one person in one day.”
“Yoga helps you be an observer. It brings you back to the breath. It reveals your aches and pains if you have them, and shows you how you might heal yourself by helping you to see the mind, breath, body connection. Yoga connects the mind, body and soul. So many people are stuck in their heads these days and forget to look after all three. It is all about being compassionate to the body, reflecting, stepping back from your emotions and accepting what you are feeling. I’ve have been so blessed to see clients benefit from peace of mind and increased strength and flexibility.”
Dhyana first felt compelled to learn yoga over twenty years ago and kept studying for some time after training, before she felt ready to share her learnings. “I thought I had to know it all! My teacher told me something very important and that is “teach what you know”. That has always stuck with me. I’ve adapted my style as I learn and grow as a teacher. Opening one door can lead to many more doors opening as you continue to honour your intuition.”
Dhyana’s journey has led her on a creative and spiritual path that she says she could not foresee when she decided to start teaching yoga. “There is something about helping others that uplifts you. I have been fortunate to be able to do that not only with Yoga, but also through creative expression.”
Painting and making jewellery is not something Dhyana foresaw herself making a living out of. “Sometimes you just have to trust in how things unfold. That is what I would tell anyone looking to do what they love. Don’t hesitate, trust yourself. Put yourself out there and be prepared to let the path unfold before you. Don’t focus on perfection or let that stop you taking a step to doing what you love.”
Dhyana says she has always been creative from designing children’s clothing to selling in markets and owning her own clothing store in Ponsonby. Her flair for photography came to light photographing children in the clothes she produced, that led on to further honing her skills producing actor and model portfolios. She then combined nature photography with other images and patterns, leading to a series of gift cards she sold throughout stores nationwide. When she moved to Tairua she took stock of all her loves and created “The Pacific Princess Collection” which was printed on to fabric and exhibited in Whitianga and the local gallery in Tairua.
This running theme of inspiring and uplifting people led Dhyana into co creating the book “The Dreamcatcher” with Tairua artist and “soul sister” Reina Cottier. Dhyana wrote the book which is all about uplifting children and encouraging them to follow their intuition and dreams. Dhyana’s words are illustrated with Reina’s pacific style art and also Dhyana’s unique style of mixed media photography. That led to another book “You are made from stars” which explores sisterhood and the power of the human spirit.
While Dhyana’s mixed media style of photography became very popular in local galleries, well respected local artist, Paul McNeil, kept saying “When are you going to put down the camera and pick up the paintbrush. Just get out there and paint!” Dhyana did just that and in her first week painting, says she “let is all out” and produced 37 paintings over two weeks, all of which she eventually sold.
“Painting challenges me to stay centred, not judging myself, and to be completely present with what wants to be expressed through me. It also reminds me of the beauty of play. It gives me peace to be completely present in the moment.”
Dhyana’s paintings are large, abstract and expressionist. “I always paint outside in the sunshine. The colours change with the natural light as it moves through the day from dusk til dawn. That is how my paintings look once they are hung on your wall. Every painting is a memory expressed or a feeling released. I just let things unfold as they go. I believe in life you have to play, and that is what painting is for me. It is my love and my passion. The name of each painting usually comes to me as I paint.”
During the winter months when it is difficult to paint, Dhyana hand makes jewellery. Her creations combine crystals, wood and glass beads and macrame. “All my pieces are made with loving intent. I love things that come from the earth. There are many ways that wisdom comes to us, and I believe in the healing power of crystals. If you are drawn to something, use it, work with it and wear it.”
Family is very important to Dhyana and doing what she loves has helped her support and nuture her two daughters and now a young granddaughter as they have grown. “We’re only on this earth for a short time. What we leave behind is a legacy of love.” Nurturing that mother daughter relationship is something Dhyana wants to help enable with others through her wellness retreats. “I’ve started extending my yoga classes into retreats which combine good healthy organic food, yoga and other activities which give people the chance to revive, reflect and renew. That is where I see my future, linking all of my life learnings to provide tailor made retreats using a combination of my skills, in this beautiful setting we have on the Coromandel.”
In the meantime you will find Dhyana teaching yoga on the beach at Tairua and Pauanui every weekend over summer, and every day from 27 Dec to 6 Jan on Tairua beach. She can also be contacted for private tuition.
After all this talk about how good yoga is for you and where it can lead to, I decided to join Dhyana for one of her classes. It was my first ever experience on a yoga mat. While Dhyana’s classes are predominantly frequented by females she does have more males attending, and says several years ago she regularly took “Broga” classes for a group of Tairua blokes.
Our class was small, just like Dhyana had talked about, I joined in with two others, and we set up in a clearing overlooking Tairua beach. What an awesome setting, the waves were lapping on the beach, the tui’s were singing behind us in the native trees and the summer sun was beaming down on us.
Over an hour, Dhyana got us to focus on our breathing, helped us relax and I stretched out all sorts of muscles I didn’t know I had. I realised just how inflexible and out of shape I was, but as Dhyana says “Yoga is about accepting your body for what it is, and being compassionate towards it. It is a continuous process, and it takes practice. It is only through time the true benefits will reveal themselves.”
After an hour I felt completely relaxed with loads of energy to tackle the rest of my sunny Sunday on the Coromandel. I felt like I had a positive outlook that flowed on to how I dealt with others through the day - the ripple effect Dhyana had talked about in action. I will be back - Dhyana’s yoga classes are Coromandel Goodness for sure!
For more information:
Dhyana’s jewellery and painting can be found at the Little Gallery of Fine Arts in Tairua and Whangamata, and Create in Matakana.
Dhyana’s summer Yoga timetable: