Meet The Teach: Deidra Demens

Seeking To Shed Pounds She Found Her True Nature

As a theatre major at DePaul University in Chicago, Deidra Demens had aspirations of performing in NYC and on the silver screen. It was there she discovered her love of yoga, while seeking a means to shed the weight she'd gained freshman year.

After graduating, Deidra moved to NYC to pursue her acting dreams. But the aggressive auditioning process proved daunting, leaving her unhappy and uncertain of her future. Stefani Jackenthal talked with Diedra about her journey to becoming yoga instructor and how yoga has helped her find the beauty of being comfortable in her own skin.

Stefani Jackenthal: When did you start practicing yoga and why?

Deidra Demens: I walked into my first yoga class in 2005, as a freshman in college at DePaul University in Chicago. Like many others, I'd gained the “freshman 15” and in attempting to lose weight I started taking fitness classes, such as cardio kickboxing, spin, boot camp, Pilates, etc., etc. Even before I took a yoga class, I knew that I wanted something that was not just physical – but emotionally and spiritually healing as well. I was looking for a particular path and I soon found it in yoga.

SJ: When and why did you decide to pursue Teacher Training?

DD: During my senior year of college when I was exploring my next step, I briefly thought about becoming a yoga teacher and quickly shut the thought down – thinking I wasn't good enough, didn't have a strong enough practice and hadn't been practicing long enough.

But after moving to New York City to pursue an acting career, I became fed up with the whole acting-theatre-film scene. At the time, I was working at a dead end job. I wasn't happy and felt like I was going nowhere fast. I don't know how or why, but it became clear that I had to pursue teaching yoga. Upon being denied an internship at Yogaworks, which would have subsidized 50% of the teacher training tuition, I decided to save up for a year and do my teacher training at Greenhouse Holistic – the first studio I practiced at in New York.

SJ: When you were growing up, did any of your friends and family practice yoga?

DD: I was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. Growing up, I didn't know anyone who practiced yoga. I didn't even know what it was. Yoga kind of found me.

SJ: How would you describe your teaching philosophy?