People

Demeter

 

I started Iyengar Yoga in Sydney in the late 90’s, committing to regular classes and home practice while I was at Glebe Yoga School in 2001. I had been searching for a practice for a long time, and was studying Buddhism at Sydney Uni as an undergraduate when I recognised that the contemplative traditions offered a way to work with the impact of my past and deepen self-understanding.

Iyengar Yoga offers a way of being with, and processing, emotional content by working directly with the body. Effective in my life from the very first day, it offered tangible improvements in various dimensions of my health which only increased as I invested in regular home practice.

I began teaching as an apprentice in Peter Thomson’s lineage in 2003 before moving to Canberra to study with senior teacher Alan Goode. In 2020 I co-opened South Ground as a small school in the ACT  before closing during the Covid lockdowns. In early 2022 the opportunity for a fresh beginning for South Ground emerged when I discovered the space in Queanbeyan.

My decision to develop a place for Iyengar yoga to be studied alongside the provision of counselling support reflects my passion for challenging the increasingly reductionist view of yoga, seen from some sides as an anatomical study or exercise modality, or alternately from the world of psychotherapy as an interventional add-on delivered as a tool in a therapy session.

Although yoga can benefit other domains, it is traditionally and optimally a practice of meditative self enquiry,  offering a depth that is encountered through a commitment to learning over time, and the integration of regular practice into daily life.

The school is devoted to helping students develop their understanding of yoga in this light.

Visiting India to study with the Iyengar family at the Iyengar Institute in Pune (RIMYI) several times, I’ve attended Iyengar Yoga conventions over the past 20 years in India and Australia where possible. I am currently certified as an Intermediate Junior 1 teacher (Level 2) and continue my study with both Alan Goode and Peter Thomson.

In addition to directing the school in Queanbeyan, I am the mother of three vibrant children. Yoga supports me to meet the demands of daily life as well as adjust to the more significant challenges over the years since I started. I return to my practice day after day because it offers me a sense of clarity, meaning and peace.

Lineage

The centrality of the teacher student relationship within the Iyengar tradition supports transparency and ethical intent. Our code of conduct as teachers and our association’s ethical position can be found here.

To maintain certification requires that we continue to attend classes with a senior teacher. This allows our teacher to monitor our practice and ensure that we are upholding the standards of our lineage. But in addition, as teachers we are always students, always learning.

Our teachers learnt from BKS Iyengar directly. Iyengar’s own teacher was T. Krishnamacharya, often referred to as the father of modern Yoga. We endeavour to pass on all we have learnt from our teachers and those who came before them, as well as discoveries from our own practice. Ours is a living tradition.

In classes we do not simply deliver instruction.  We observe a student’s body, breathing, and through these the expression of their mental emotional experience. We get to know each student over time and help support and challenge them. We provide feedback to ensure that students learn to work to their capacity and become familiar with any habits that may become obstacles to progress.

Through this ongoing connection, a student will become more familiar with any need for modifications to their practice and over time will learn how to study Yoga in an ever deeper way.

Demeter Davis, Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher

Iyengar Teacher Certification: Upholding an Exacting standard

A key feature of Iyengar Yoga is the rigour of its training and ongoing professional development requirements.

As outlined in the association guidelines, to become an Iyengar Yoga teacher involves many years of study, prior even to the commencement of teacher training, and often a minimum of 3 years of teacher training with a senior teacher, who has themselves made their way through an arduous assessment process.

Often candidates do not pass the high standards demanded at assessment. In a world where consumer pays=consumer gets, this is testament to the high standards set by our peak body- RIMYI– governing association criteria worldwide.

To progress beyond basic level 1 certification requires even more years of training and further assessment.

Demeter has passed Level 2 Certification (previously known as Intermediate Junior) allowing her to mentor trainee teachers in addition to teaching students from a more demanding syllabus of asana and pranayama.