Falling in Love with Your Life.

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Teaching at Abhaya Yoga, Brooklyn  (Photo-Katie Claire for Abhaya Yoga)

When it rains in summer I think about Krishna.

As I left this morning to teach, I watched the sun fading behind storm clouds and on my walk to the studio a few heavy drops landed before the entire sky exploded from its own heat. Whatever plan I had for the class was gone, having been blurred and dispersed by the downpour.


So…  Once upon a time, I told my class, the monsoon came to the cow-herding town of Vrindavan. The plants bloomed – a passionate chaos of fecundity. The most lavishly-petalled flowers and fruits burst forth in every conceivable jewel tone within the deep ripe green of the jungle. Some glowed red like embers, others were stained with shocking spills of pink and orange, and a few shone with the intoxicating midnight blue of Krishna’s skin. The jungle vines grew rapidly into thick tangles as the cows in the nearby pastures grew fat and healthy from the grass.

Adding to the exuberance of the landscape, Krishna played a few notes of love on his flute; some were as deep and private as the darkest earth and others were thin, reedy and wistful like a bird’s cry. The Gopis, Krishna’s beloved milkmaids, began to swoon with love, dropping their milk pails and abandoning their chores to follow the trail of Krishna’s music into the forest, the bright colors of their saris mingling with the plants so that they looked like moving blossoms. They began to play games deep in the forest as Krishna flirted and seduced them one by one, until each had discarded her clothing to bathe naked in the lake.

Krishna plays with the Gopis in the Forest

To tease them, Krishna gathered up their clothing and climbed high up into a tree then called down to them. “Look,” he said, I’m up here!” and playfully waved an armful of sari silk at them. Their love-dampened eyes lifted. They smiled and laughed. In love, in love, in love… with the music, with the forest, with Krishna. The waters surrounded them and the waters trickled down on them, filtered by the leaves and vines of the forest. They were lost in love.

Krishna Steals the Gopis’ Clothing as They Swim in the Lake

Imagine, I said to my class, that the story is happening inside of you. This is your inner landscape. You are the seducer and the seduced. The forest is your heart and the lake is your consciousness. You are the ripe earthiness of the forest floor and the cultured beauty of the women’s woven saris. You are the placid unquestioning cows and the yearning and intoxicated women. The music is your breath and you are falling in love with yourself. The purpose of your practice is to follow the breath in order to weave your own story.

So what is the story of your practice? How can you fall ever more deeply in love with your life? And how can you inhabit this inner landscape so thoroughly that it stays with you through whatever challenges you encounter and wherever you choose to go?


Thick overhead
clouds of the monsoon,
a delight to this feverish heart.
Season of rain,
season of uncontrolled whispers—the Dark One’s returning!
O swollen heart,
O sky brimming with moisture—
tongued lightning first
and then thunder,
convulsive spatters of rain
and then wind, chasing the summertime heat.

Mira says: Dark One,
I’ve waited—
it’s time to take my songs
into the street.

~Mirabai –The Dark One is Krishna (translation by Andrew Schelling)


Forest, 2010 (©SHR.com)

Photo of me teaching is courtesy Katie Claire at Abhaya Yoga, Brooklyn, NY

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anonymous Feb 25, 2013 9:01am

[…] I tell stories and teach his pose, Hanumanasana, or some variation of his pose in each of my February classes. I began this tradition, which one of my students dubbed “Hanumonth,” about seven years ago in reaction to the creaky and punishing February weather, opting to defy the cold’s stiffening and subduing effects with a month of playful hip-opening poses. I was personally dedicated to feeling open and spacious at a time of year in which my body and mind generally struggle to recall the sense of ease and connectivity that comes so naturally to me in warm weather. […]

anonymous Aug 26, 2012 4:48pm

This is your inner landscape. A story beautifully told. I miss you.

anonymous Aug 21, 2012 2:56pm

Thank you so much, Michelle. They are the questions that I ask myself again and again.

anonymous Aug 15, 2012 9:35pm

It’s beautiful to sit with the questions you ask at the end. Thank you.

anonymous Aug 11, 2012 10:45am

[…] love of my life would show up almost 10 years later in a different […]

anonymous Aug 8, 2012 9:54am

[…] these feelings of pure love, of being in love (our cells dancing in blissful contentment), we must first love who we are. I call this basking in our magnificence. We can then bring these authentic feelings into […]

anonymous Aug 3, 2012 3:19pm

[…] That can be enough for day one. Don’t get too ahead of yourself though—no need to burn any belongings. Don’t throw out photographs—memories are to be cherished. You love this person, very deeply. They’ve helped you grow. They are one more person on the path of this crazy life that you will live for many, many years I hope. All is not lost. […]

anonymous Aug 2, 2012 7:58am

Gorgeous imagery and insights … as always! 🙂

anonymous Aug 1, 2012 5:26pm

Susanna! Marvelous.

anonymous Jul 31, 2012 4:54pm

Posted on Elephant Journal main Facebook page. Nice job! 🙂


anonymous Jul 31, 2012 10:34am

Susanna, lovely, I adore this piece. In love with it, in fact. XOXOOXXO

    anonymous Jul 31, 2012 10:43am

    Thank you, Ariane – so much!

anonymous Jul 31, 2012 10:32am

Just intro'd on FB to: Culture, I'm Not Spiritual, Yoga & Health and Wellness.

Beautiful Susanna.


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Susanna Harwood Rubin

Susanna is passionately committed to finding beauty in everyday life. She is a yoga teacher-writer-visual artist, which means that she rarely stops moving except to meditate. She is ERYT-500, has been teaching for over 12 years, and travels regularly to South India to delve into the traditions of Rajanaka Yoga that inspire her work. Her spiritual home is the great Nataraja Temple of Chidambaram. She teaches internationally, but is based in New York. Find her weekly classes at Twisted Trunk Yoga and Abhaya Yoga .

Susanna’s artwork is represented in collections such as the UCLA Hammer Museum, the Berkeley Museum, and the Addison Gallery of American Art. She lectured and wrote for MoMA for years, including co-writing the book “Looking at Matisse and Picasso,” and she will still happily talk about Picasso for hours if you ask her.

Susanna currently writes on yoga, writing, art, and life for a number of publications, including The Huffington Post , Mantra Yoga+Health , Rebelle Society , and YOGANONYMOUS . She gives talks on yoga, Hindu myth, and philosophy, and created the popular Writing Your Practice workshops and telecourses for yogis, applying yoga philosophy and myth to the practice of writing.
Overall, she is amazed at the richness of her life.
Find her on Twitter , Facebook , &