Hello and welcome!
My name is Ilana, and I am a second-year student at Grinnell College in a small town called Grinnell, Iowa—a town very different from my hometown, about 50 minutes outside of New York City. I am incredibly excited to explore another unique city, embarking on this adventure of both self and world discovery in Stockholm! I’ve always loved to travel, as I enjoy immersing myself in varying perspectives. That’s also why I’m an English major—I love delving into the seemingly infinite points of view that exist in this world. My core course, “Embodying the Other in European Literature,” seems like the perfect way to continue my practice of exploring different perspectives. From spacial/temporal to cultural to socioeconomic to racial/gender and even species differences, every individual has a different story, a unique voice—yet we are all essentially the same.
That concept easily brings me to my passion for yoga! I JUST graduated (yay!) from an intensive 200 hour yoga teacher training. Namaste, probably the most commonly known Sanskrit word in the Western world (and a common salutation to close a yoga class), can be translated as “the light in me sees and honors the light in you.” This light is what we all have in common; it is the reason why a 21st-century, 16-year-old, caucasian girl from a sheltered, affluent suburb can deeply connect with and embody a nineteenth century, 60-year-old woman from the rural Hunan province of China for 257 pages—why a DIS student can embody the “other” in European literature!
Not only am I excited to share my passion for literature with my community in Stockholm, but I greatly look forward to sharing my knowledge about and passion for yoga, health and wellness! In turn, I know I will learn more about myself and the world around me from my Stockholm community. One of the most valuable lessons I have learned from YTT is the importance of having a kula. My teacher’s translation of this Sanskrit word is “the radiant community that you choose”—in other words, a group of like-minded individuals who come together with the shared purpose of growing and supporting each other. I cannot wait to find the extension of my kula in Stockholm, both in the local yoga community and in my peers and neighbors.
NOW in regards to pre-departure….
I’ve been in training five days a week, eight hours a day for the past five weeks (no, we weren’t doing yoga the whole time). So I’ve been preparing for Stockholm in the free hours in between training and reading and sequencing assignments. Last weekend (August 4-5) my mom and I warily went in for the kill. After spending hours desperately attempting to fit everything into one bag and eliminating probably half of what I initially thought I would take, we completely finished packing! We had to get it done early because that Monday I started my last week of training. Additionally, I had to prepare for and present my final practicum (teaching an hour long class) that week. Then promptly after graduating on Friday night, I went home and packed for our annual family beach vacation; we left at 4:00am on Saturday (August 11). I’m currently finishing up this blog post on the car ride home to NY from the beach in North Carolina. My flight takes off for Stockholm tomorrow at 9pm! Tomorrow will consist of some last minute final touches on packing and some ~grounding activities~ to prepare me for the big move—a 9:30am yoga class, a healthy, antioxidant-rich lunch with my dad and cuddles with my dog! 🙂
“When you come to the edge of what you know, you can be sure of two things: you’ll be given ground on which to stand, and you’ll be given wings.”