With soft calming music playing in the background, a Yoga instructor is gently giving instruction to her fellow students about a certain Yoga position.
“Remember that everybody has different types of bodies, so don’t force yourself. Follow what your body can do.”
This is the scene you can find if you come to KDI School’s multipurpose room on Thursday evenings. Being the leader of KDI School’s student driven Yoga club is one of the duties of Ms. Elizalde Sánchez Ilyana Itzel – who goes by the name Ilyana. Although she is an activist by profession, she finds no difficulty leading a Yoga session for her friends. When asked how she started leading the club, she said,
“I practiced Yoga with the previous (club) leader after I arrived at KDI School. She knew that I really liked Yoga. She asked me if I wanted to lead the club, because she was graduating soon. And I answered, ‘Yes, I do!’”
Ilyana has been practicing Yoga for more than 5 years, back in her home country, Mexico. Her future plan is to get a Yoga instructor’s certificate, since she enjoys practicing and teaching people how to do it.
She wants to help her colleagues unwind and relax their minds and bodies through Yoga. This is why she keeps on leading the club, despite a busy class schedule.
“At KDI School, things go so fast. We need to catch a break. I tell myself to relax. I also make other people relax and take their time.”
She also always attentively seeks feedback from club members, and is happy that people think positively about the club.
“People are always in a rush. But in here, I can see them relax. They laugh, and try new things. I think that’s the best part of it.”
Ilyana also patiently explains the health benefits of Yoga, which include relieving stress, improving balance and flexibility, aligning one’s back and posture, and helping the body’s digestive system. It also helps with studying because it improves concentration.
But being a Yoga instructor is not all there is to this talented lady. She is also a law school graduate, and is actively involved in projects for empowering women and migrant children at a Mexican non-profit organization.
“As a lawyer, I have worked in big corporations before. But, I wanted to change my direction into helping people more. So, I started working in NGOs and doing more volunteer work.”
Her desire to pursue further studies, and her strong interest in Asia – mainly, South Korea – made her choose KDI School. She is currently studying in the Master of Development Policy Program, and is learning more about policies, in particular how to set strong development policies. She had taken on coordinator roles before studying at KDI School, but she is determined to broaden her horizons and step up her game as a developmental policy maker after her graduation.
As a senior student who is graduating soon, she also leaves some sensible advice for friends who are studying now, or who will be coming here to study.
“The real experience is beyond the classroom. Study hard, but also relax and have a good time with people from all over the world here at KDI School. That’s when you’re gonna learn more.”