Sunday, March 11, 2012

You Are Invited - Bending Light: One Goddess - Three Reflections

 Kamaksi, The One Whose Eyes are Desire

For quite a while, I've wanted to offer a retreat with my teacher and good friend of many years, Dr. Douglas Brooks. I thought about it frequently, knowing that so many of his students and friends ask this of him, and finally realized that if I didn't ask, then he could never say course. And so I did and then he did.

I was thrilled. When I asked him what sort of topic he thought we might choose for the retreat, he responded, "Whatever you like." After a decade of study together, I had compiled a mile-long list of topics I wished to study with him, and had to contemplate it for a while.  

 Minaksi of Madurai, Warrior Princess

I thought about how the time I have spent with Douglas in South India has so sweetly and powerfully turned me inside-out and shown me deeper layers of myself. I thought about my profound love for and connection to Chidambaram and the way in which I feel so surprisingly at home wandering the grounds of this great temple and at the foot of Shiva Nataraja. I remembered how, after each visit, my teaching has been infused with the beauty of what I have experienced there, and my passion for teaching yoga is reignited.

Akhilandesvari, Mother of the Universe. She is Never Not Broken.

When I was in Tamil Nadu this past summer, I was determined to acquire a goddess murti. I have Natarajas big and small, and other forms of Shiva, but I felt lacking in the devi department. I found a beautiful one who now sits prettily in my apartment, her foot poised and hovering over a sricakra. I realized that this was what I wanted to study.

I wrote to Douglas that I was torn between studying three forms of Shiva Nataraja's beloved: Kamaksi, Minaksi, and Akilandesvari. They were so different, yet so significant - how to choose? He wrote back saying, "Do the three.  They are all you.

And just as they are all me, they are also all you...and you...and you. 

So with great happiness, we invite you to:

Bending Light: One Goddess - Three Reflections
a Yoga Retreat with

Douglas Brooks &  Susanna Harwood Rubin
May 31 - June 3

Kamaksi is the goddess whose eyes are desire, Minaksi is a warrior princess, and Akhilandesvari is known as mother of the universe. All three goddesses are forms of Shiva’s beloved, and are intimately associated with the sricakra, the Devi’s most sublime emanation. These Goddesses are nothing less than your very self, showing how to be empowered in your desire, sovereign over your strength and how to wear your own fractured presence as a mark of beauty.

In our practice and study together we will learn the stories of the Goddesses, advance our meditation, learn mudra, mantra, and step into the invitation of greatness so sweetly offered by the Shakti. No previous experience is expected or required.  Bring an open mind, a welcoming heart, and a desire to dream what more there is than waking consciousness, the inner light and shadow of your own possibilities.


Each day we will have lecture by Douglas on the three Goddesses, asana practice with Susanna weaving each lecture’s theme into the body, and time to relax, swim, canoe, hike, & enjoy the lush spring beauty of Lake Rahasya.

Lake Rahasya Retreat House in Bristol, NY is a modern log cabin on 20 acres in the hills of the Finger Lakes. The picture windows in the yoga room overlook the lake and hills. 

DATES - Thursday, May 31 – Sunday, June 3, 2012
REGISTRATION & MORE DETAILs–Vishali Varga - Rahasya Retreats website 
QUESTIONS – contact Susanna -
COST - $575 before May 1 / $625 after May 1. $250 deposit holds your spot. Balance due May 9. This includes all accommodations, meals & snacks, daily lecture with Douglas and asana practice with Susanna, and all of Lake Rahasya Retreat’s amenities. Cost without accommodations is $450


Join Us.


  1. I Iive across the continent, and so could not join you on what sounds to be a fantastic and rich topic. Would you not consider writing a short series on these goddesses, and their myths and iconography for your blog?
    The images you've posted here, and the description of the workshop both sound tantalizing, and I'm sure I'm not alone in craving to hear more.

    1. I cannot believe I completely missed your comment from nearly a year ago! I haven't posted here in a while, but am writing a lot for elephant journal. There are a few pieces I've written that offer stories of different deities. I'm putting the link to my EJ articles here. I hope that you get the message & that you enjoy them! Definitely more to come!