I was a very lucky girl who didn’t realize how lucky I was. Growing up between Yogaville and Harlem was hard for me as a little girl. I was so jealous of the kids who lived in Yogaville full time. No one was telling them that they were weird for bringing tofu for lunch, or for thinking Yoga was cooler than Menudo (where are my 1980s babies at?!). By the time I got to junior high school I was too busy pretending to be cool to ever admit to anyone that my name was actually Sundari on my birth certificate. It’s Sanskrit, means cosmic beauty, and was given to me by Swami Satchidananda (the Swami in this photo, talking to me and my mom, Anandi) and the only man I’ve ever felt safe with besides John, my husband.
Iana is a Russian name my father gave me, thinking it would make life easier in high school—being black and not rich was hard enough in Chappaqua, New York. I definitely wasn’t brave enough to invite friends over to my place to witness the chanting my mother was prone to break into or the crystals and written affirmations scattered around the house. By the time I was in college and in my early 20s, I had become a completely different version of what they wanted for me. Old me was fun and sometimes I missed her, but her life was dramatic and she makes me tired when I think about her.
It’s taken me a long time to settle into being me; to let go of the shame of being different and to realize how perfect it is. To eat tofu with wild abandon and carry crystals in my purse and to accept that these two have been my bookends from the beginning. I’m such a lucky girl. To have been blessed by Swamiji’s presence, to have had my mother as my mom and now as my angel [having passed away from cancer]. And, at 38 I finally get it. Being cosmically and uniquely beautiful should always be the goal. Being unapologetically me is the only mission. #sundari #atlast
About the Author:
Iana Sundari Malcolm began her study of Yoga at birth at the feet of Swami Satchidananda and alongside her Yoga-loving parents. When she was 21 years old, and as her mother battled breast cancer, Iana became her Caregiver and began to move away from her successful career in public relations towards the holistic life calling to her. Following the passing of her mother, Iana became a 200-hour certified Integral Yoga teacher. In the years following, she became an ERYT-500 level teacher certified in Children’s Yoga, Prenatal, Post Labor, Mom & Baby Yoga, Yoga for Cancer, Yoga for Seniors and holds a medical specialty in Orthopedic Sports Injury. In addition, her Yoga therapy program for the Special Needs Child, has been implemented in numerous school curriculum though out New York and Southern Florida. Iana is also a DONA certified Labor Doula and has assisted in dozens of births throughout New York and Southern Florida. At 31-years-old, Iana lost her father to brain cancer. After his death, Iana became a Certified Holistic Life Coach. She has dedicated her career to the caregivers of terminally ill loved ones. Through her work, and with her years of personal experience, she helps them to navigate their difficult time, support them through the impending grieving process and equip them with the tools she used to move into a happier and calmer space in life. For more information, please visit: sundariblissed.com