In Susanna Harwood Rubin’s yoga and writing class*, every session is framed by a Hindu deity, myth or concept: one week it’s all about Ganesh and how his qualities manifest in you; another week it’s Vac, the vibratory power of everything that exists.
One week was inspired by Shri which Susanna defined as a kind of amalgam of auspiciousness, sweetness, abundance, and specificity. People and situations and things can all be Shri. A flower poking up through a crack in the sidewalk is the very expression of Shri. Undeterred by concrete impediments, it grows — a sign of the regenerative nature of the universe. I love that every time someone invokes Shri, its very essence continues growing and expanding, just as it’s meant to.
Shri “becomes an instrument of revelation.”
When you write or engage in any other creative undertaking, Shri acts like an aperture, dilating and refining your language so that it illuminates the shadows and contours of your thoughts. To illustrate this idea, Susanna read Ode to a Chestnut on the Ground, a beautiful poem by Pablo Neruda. In Neruda’s hands, the chestnut’s tale is one of birth and rebirth, told through metaphors of light, music, texture, trees and sea life. It is a descriptive marvel whose recursive rhythms sway between the “majesty of foliage” and the “dark damp plan of new roots.” All this from a little chestnut!
When you practice yoga, Shri acts in much the same way. It is in seemingly ordinary details such as the way you extend your fingers in Trikonasana, and how you position your mat in the classroom. Do you plop the mat down, pell-mell, or do you consider its placement and act deliberately, like the chestnut, in a “leap to the earth, burnished and ready”? Once on your mat, Shri impels you into deeper refinements of poses, and — possibly! — greater articulations of movement and art. Asana thus becomes more than asana, more than just a little chestnut at your feet. It becomes an instrument of revelation.
* Susanna’s courses are a fantastic way to dust off and dig into the overlapping spheres of yoga and creativity. Her deft intertwining of yogic ideas with practical tools nurture your writing and imagination, whether you’re a budding or seasoned artist.