Open Finding New Ways To Bend

Tazrae takes a yoga class from Zayne.

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Syka is a new settlement of primarily humans on the east coast of Falyndar opposite of Riverfall on The Suvan Sea. [Syka Codex]

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Finding New Ways To Bend

Postby Tazrae on July 10th, 2022, 9:49 pm

Timestamp: 12th of Summer, 522 A.V.


The Tranquility Center had been put up by Standing Tall. It was one of the first buildings finished, in fact, because it had a multiple-use situation that gave a new man – Zayne Nightstorm – a place to teach and share a space with Rainmere the firedancer. Taz had bumped into Zayne and been briefly introduced to him during the first Tenday of the season, but all the time they’d got together had been an exchange of names. However, being friends with Rainmere, the Firedancer had raved about how good Zayne was of a teacher and that Tazrae should join one of his yoga classes.

Taz knew a tiny bit about Yoga. She had picked up a book in The Outpost and practiced a bit of it with Alric at one time at the T&T in The Outpost. However, other than reading from a book, she’d had no formal training and hadn’t really had much practice of it since. When pressed, Rainmere admitted it was more of a spiritual practice turned body functionality and that was what made it so great – so unique – and had impressed Rainmere enough to routinely drop by Zayne’s classes.

His schedule was posted for everyone to see, and regardless if students showed up or not, he was on his deck doing yoga each and every hour he advertised he had a class available. It was a beautiful deck too, all stained and sealed hardwood overlooking the ocean. He also gave unarmed combat classes – or so the rumors had said – but Taz was shaky in combat and would rather try out yoga before getting more deeply involved in a class situation.

It was late morning – right after her busy time – and her head was still filled with the noise of making breakfast and prepping for lunch. Dinner plans were starting to creep into her mind as well. That was the single most appealing thing Rainmere said to her about yoga. The art of balancing one’s body tended to clear one’s mind. Those words echoed in Tazrae’s head and she hoped like the sun hoped to rise that they were true. She had a busy head and needed to clear it out.

When she showed up at the eleventh bell and skipped up onto the deck, she had to shoo several young Ixam away. They’d been following Taz in a sort of extended lounge this season mainly because she’d gathered up so many eggs in the name of watching them and making sure they hatched. When the younglings had indeed hatched, most of them hung out at Garden Beach, tiny ferociously hungry creatures, that ate everything in sight that wouldn’t give them upset stomachs.

The bright side of that was that Syka had a new generation of young Ixam that actually knew and liked people, rather than older mount-sized creatures that were tamed ferals or ex-captive Ixam from the original twelve that Tazrae had rescued from the Benshira incursion. The bad news was they begged for food, stole food, and ate a great deal of fish once they learned to properly swim. Luckily, they ate all kinds of fish, not just the types of fish the settlers liked… so it was working out fine. But Tazrae had long since decided no more egg harvesting and relocating, that it had been too successful and that they’d be overrun in a few generations.

“Welcome Tazrae. Take a seat… any place you want.” A male voice said, causing Taz to look up and notice Zayne off to one side. He was spreading out towels and something that looked like hard blocks at each little place. Taz picked a towel up front and close to where she suspected the instructor would stand.

“Good Morning… or is it… afternoon already? To you too, Zayne.” She replied cheerfully. “I’ve come to take you and Rainmere up on an offer of a class Yoga. I could use some help relaxing, stretching, and clearing my mind.” She added, dropping down onto one of the towels and leaning back glad to have a moment of peace after the frantic pace of the morning of serving breakfast and doing the lunch prep.

Taz had dressed in loose cream Isuas pants, a form-hugging dark brown tank top, and had her unruly curls up in a bun. She was barefoot, but still wore her usual jewelry. “I hope these clothes are alright. I wasn’t sure what to wear.” She said, frowning slightly down at herself. She had a few stains on the tank, though luckily they only showed in the sun. She got dirty working and had changed, so her pants were clean. She’d thought the tank ‘good enough to keep wearing as she settled onto her towel and shook her head.

“That’s fine. Loose clothing works well, but so does your tank. You can do yoga in just about anything.” He responded, finishing passing out the blocks to the toweled-off spaces and then looking around hoping that more people would show up. There were, happily to Tazrae, more than one that joined the group, so she wasn’t sitting in front of Zayne alone and completely clueless for the most part. She’d smile and nod at anyone that joined in, then watch Zayne attentively as she did so.

Before long, he started speaking. “Some of you… most of you look like beginners, so I thought I’d start at the beginning.” He added, then gave each one of them a kind look. “I know Rainmere’s been spreading the word and I’ve been inviting you to classes. Welcome to the Tranquility Center. We teach a lot of different things here. I teach Yoga, Unarmed Combat, and Meditation. Rainmere teaches Firedancing. We also offer classes in Massage and Flux as well as lessons in Staff Combat. I am Zayne Nightstorm and I am an ex-Constellation from Lhavit. The Constellations are an organization of peacekeepers and mages from the city of The Sun, Moon, and Stars. I left there on a call to here… tired of the winter and feeling lost among the crowd. I wanted to be needed and so far I found Syka in need. So that works well for both of us. Take a moment, introduce yourselves, and let us know why you are here.” He said, then paused to let everyone else introduce themselves as if they weren’t known to each other. Syka was small, but this season did have newcomers.

Taz waited her turn and when the person next to her introduced themselves, she did too. “I’m Tazrae. I run the local Protea Inn. I’m here to figure out a way to relax and clear my head of crowded thoughts. Rainmere recommended I come take classes.” She pipped in, wondering what in the world a class was doing with passing around introductions. It seemed odd, but then again it was a bit fascinating hearing why everyone was there and what they wanted from the Yoga class.

From there, Zayne continued. “Yoga is a skill that is invaluable to both fighters and scholars. Even mages can benefit from it. Yoga is learning to ground yourself and your mind, retrieve your scattered thoughts, and focus on your inner self. It’s about finding your body’s limits and expanding your boundaries. Many of us live in our own heads but refuse to branch out and find awareness in our bodies. I’m going to help you push your consciousness so you can live not only in your head but in your heart, your spine, your limbs… each finger should – if you study properly and routinely – be a place your consciousness can roam.” He added.

“Yoga is the stilling of the mind through the awakening of the body. That is what we are going to do here today.” He added, then smiled, letting everyone absorb the information and ask any questions they might have before they dove straight into the motions.

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"A mark of an open mind is being more committed to your curiosity than your conviction.
The goal of learning is not to shield old views against new facts, but to revise old views with new facts.
Ideas are possibilities to explore, not certainties to defend."


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Finding New Ways To Bend

Postby Cleon on July 12th, 2022, 8:38 pm

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After having breakfast and a good smoke, Cleon spent the early morning as he had spent many others. Walking the beach barefoot with his sandals held in one hand. He was wearing a pair of light gray isuas breeches and a dark green isuas shirt which inclined his mark to travel down to his left calf. In his other hand he had a red felt ribbon that had long ago been undone. The cloth now fluttered between his pinched fingers, catching the breeze as he walked. A subtle reminder of a life he had left behind, but had not yet lost its grasp on him. His mind was full of thoughts about her these days. What she was doing. If she was hungry or scared. Troubling thoughts that made it difficult to concentrate if his hands were not otherwise occupied with a task. Cleon rubbed the strip of felt between his thumb and forefinger, trying to remember her face but it was difficult to do without bringing up other thoughts as well.

Cleon took a deep breath, and looked up from where he stood on the beach. The settlement was serene at this hour with a calm that belied the turbulent thoughts that were bouncing around in his mind. He watched as a few people drifted up towards a place he had yet to visit yet, but had been a part of the settlement for as far back as he could recall having only arrived last season. Eventually he wasn’t following them along with just his eyes, but his feet as well, curios to see what was drawing the people there at this hour. His movements were hesitant and furtive at first, not quite sure what he was walking up to until he recognized a few familiar faces among the gathering. Well most of them were at least passingly familiar to him, but the couple that mattered were Tazrae and Zayne, and he found himself gravitating to the former, leaving his sandals in the sand before the wooden deck before walking onto it.

It was a beautiful place, and its open design was appealing to him. He didn’t like to be cloistered in a room all day which is why he spent most of his free time outside enjoying all the settlement had to offer on that account. He started walking over to stand somewhat next to Tazrae when he noticed the way the towels had been arranged on the floor, and the positions people took relative to them. Had he stumbled into a meeting? Cleon felt a sudden flush of embarrassment as he hurried the last few paces up to Tazrae when his eyes met Zayne’s and he gave the man a subtle nod.

“Welcome Cleon. Have you come to take a yoga class?” Zayne asked.

Cleon hesitated. “I guess so. I was really just seeing what everyone was gathering here for when I spotted you and Tazrae. I could try out this yoga though while I’m here.” He said with a slight shrug of his shoulders. Truthfully a class sounded interesting to him but he was so nervous at the moment about being put on the spot that he didn’t quite know what to do or say. So he ended up blurting. “What is yoga anyways?”

Zayne smiled gently. “Yoga is a way of clearing your mind and becoming attuned with your body. If you take a seat I promise I’ll explain more in just a moment.”

Cleon nodded slightly then turned towards Tazrae and his orientation to the ‘seats’ Zayne had mentioned. Seeing as everyone was picking a towel, Cleon chose one next to Tazrae and took a seat, crossing his legs before he set about unwinding the length of ribbon from around his fingers.

“Good Morning Tazrae. Pleasant to see you again so soon after breakfast. How are you doing?” Cleon as he put the ribbon into his pocket and then rested his hands in his lap, not sure what to do with them otherwise. His mind drifted towards the impending class, wondering what it was going to be like. He could certainly use a lesson in what Zayne had mentioned. Because of his curse last season he still felt somewhat off. Like he didn’t belong in his own body which was a feeling that was hard to shake. He could put it of for a few bells but it always came back to plague him and to add fuel to the fire he had been having strange reoccurring dreams of late that troubled him more than he liked to let on. Because of them he couldn’t help but feel he wasn’t living up to his true potential, but on that account he was lost as to where to start. There were so many places and Orenmir had been less than helpful. If he was going to do something, it had to be of his own power and will. Nothing else would work.

His mind turned back to Zayne whom was speaking now. Cleon listened carefully, intrigued by more than a few of the things he mentioned, specifically the unarmed classes for which he learned he was absolutely pitiful at last season. He was also surprised at the breathe of lessons available here, and he felt kind of bad that it had taken him so long to visit. Then again, they all had their burdens to bear last season so he supposed it might not have rang the same then. He felt another pang of nervousness when Zayne suggested that they all introduce himself, and when his time was nearing he tried to press down that unreasonable fear as he looked around briefly before looking down at his hands.

“My name is Cleon. I… well I work at the Ride the Waves Surf Shop, and well I enjoy learning new things so I figured why not give this yoga a try.” Cleon said smiling nervously as he looked over at Tazrae who introduced herself next. Afterward when Zayne picked the conversation back up, Cleon looked at him, relaxing somewhat now that he didn’t feel like he was being paid close attention to. Leaning forward slightly, he listened carefully to what Zayne had to say about yoga which was still something of a mystery to him. What it could accomplish though sounded very interesting and matched what he was hoping to get out of it, which was hopefully a little more understanding of his inner being so that he might finally work on getting to the bottom of these dreams. Without even noticing what he was doing, Cleon reached into his pocket to grasp the felt ribbon, rubbing it between his fingers as he listened to Zayne talk.

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Finding New Ways To Bend

Postby Rhydian Lamoze on July 13th, 2022, 1:30 am

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Although it had only been about a tenday since Rhydian had found himself as a resident of Syka, this Eypharian had yet to explore each of the central locations within settlement. This much had become quite clear to him when he had begun to hear rumors of a yoga class that was supposed to be taking place today. This whole yoga thing wasn't something that Rhydian had ever really heard of before but it had sounded interesting overall. And from what he could tell, it was likely a good place to run into many faces, both old and new. That being said, after having done his daily rounds of stopping by The Children's Pavilion to say good morning to Brea and the other children, Rhydian had eventually managed to find his way to the Tranquility Center.

Upon arriving at his desired location, Rhydian would begin to take in the sights of a couple of people that he had thankfully been able to meet thus far. Tazrae and Cleon. Both were individuals that had helped him to further feel comfortable with residing in Syka and both had been people that he had desired to see again. Thankfully the gods had allowed for him to do so in their own way. A bright smile had dawned the Eypharian's face as he had encountered the pair but that smile would begin to soften quite quickly, given the fact that his gaze had managed to stay solely on Tazrae for a moment. That would remain the case until Zayne had decided to speak up of course, ultimately snapping him out of the trance that he had somehow found himself in around her.

A wave of embarrassment washing over him, Rhydian would quickly locate a seat and plop a squat down onto one of the many mats that had been placed down on the ground and would quickly turn his attention towards the instructor. Unlike a few of the others that had come prepared for the class, Rhydian had been wearing the only real outfit that he had even owned... A simple outfit that consisted of mere scraps that were barely holding on. It honestly would have been easier for him to just strip everything down but that wasn't something that he was going to do quite yet. Not until he could gauge how the others in the group would react to such a thing. Rhydian held no embarrassment when it came to public displays of nudity but he hadn't wished to make anyone uncomfortable if he could help it.

As Zayne would go on to introduce himself and speak a bit on his past, Rhydian couldn't help but wonder just how long Syka was going to have Zayne with them. If he would simply leave after feeling as though Syka had no longer needed him, how long would he ever truly remain here? Did this have something to do with wanderlust or was there perhaps something deeper stewing just beneath everything. Honestly not sure, Rhydian would opt to try and remove the thoughts from his mind. There was no point in ruminating this deeply about someone that he was only really encountering for the first time or so.

With each individual within the room going around and speaking on who they were and their reasoning for being at the tranquility center today, Rhydian would have to think on just what kind of answer he was going to provide here. He could just blow past it and come up with an excuse but that felt dis-genuine. Ultimately that wasn't something that he had wanted to do. Lying wasn't something that the Eypharian was comfortable with so he was really going to have to sit here and try to think of a good enough reason to explain why it was that he had come today. Once things would land upon himself though, Rhydian would know exactly what to say. The truth. "Right.. My name is Rhydian, as some of you might know, and I came today simply because I was curious. Nothing more and nothing less. I must admit though that clearing my mind of any crowded thoughts, like Taz had suggested, does sound quite good to me though."

Shortly after having introduced himself, Zayne would begin to go through the motions and ask if Rhydian held any real experience with Yoga in the past. To answer such a question was quite easy for Rhydian, given that he hadn't really experienced much in life up to this point. This was something that was entirely new to him and that was okay.

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Finding New Ways To Bend

Postby Tazrae on August 6th, 2022, 3:43 am

Zayne walked around them, listening as each spoke, and speaking in his turn. He shook out his arms gently. And though the man was well muscled, he was light footed and moved with a balance Tazrae envied. “Yoga will help you develop an awareness of your body’s habitual holding patterns. All three of you have less than an ideal posture. I can see just by the way you sit on your mats. We can fix this with yoga. We ca balance your weak areas, making them stronger and loosen your tight areas, letting you become more flexible. This will bring you general vitality and raise your energy levels. As you decompress your body, your bodymind will drop into relaxation more easily. This means you’ll develop coordination, flexibility, stamina, balance, mental clarity, increased concentration and overall enhanced health. Now, what is the bodymind? It’s a combined physical, psychological, and spiritual aspect of yourself. All of you are made up of these three things, but they have different combinations which make you utterly unique.” He added, then walked to the front of the group.

“I’m going to teach you a series of beginner poses to start helping you move that consciousness from just your head into the rest of your body. But before we do that… I want to get you guys breathing correctly. The essence of Yoga and meditation itself lies in breath. Good breathing is reassuring, soothing, and healing. It will bring your body alive. If you can discover and reconnect with your natural breath, you will feel cleansed, lighter, and add clarity to your thinking. This will also help you enormously in any activity, especially weapons work or unarmed combat. Conscious breathing with each posture will draw your mind to the present moment. That helps minimize distractions. You are trying, in this practice, to master your mind and body and unite them. Breath does this.” He added.

He paused then, stretching slightly up on his heels, and then studied his three students. “As your breathing becomes more conscious, you’ll find it a useful tool to measure your proficiency in each posture. The aim is for your breath to stay steady. If your breathing ceases to flow naturally and becomes jagged, jerky or forced, you are doing the posture wrong and need to back off and go at it another way. You don’t want to hold your breath. Holding breath is a natural startle reflex, which is what students tend to do when they find themselves in a new and strange yoga position.” He said, moving again, traveling between them and around them.

Taz found herself sitting relaxed, now paying attention to her breathing. As she did so, Zayne continued.

“Breathing through your mouth is rarely done during yoga. We breathe through the nose to filter and warm the air before it enters our lungs. Your breath should become intuitive, but in principle let your body inhale when opening or unfolding the body. This is when you are coming up out of a pose, raising your arms, or while you are twisting the upper back or expanding the chest by say bending backward. Most yoga practitioners exhale naturally when moving downwards, lowering the arms or legs, bending forward or sideways or when twisting the lower back.” He explained, closing his mouth and inhaling deeply and steadily as he did so. He opened his mouth to exhale though, keeping up his pacing around the group until he settled on one of the mats in the front.

“If this will work for you, I want to ask you to try and make your practice regular. Once a day is ideal, such as a morning routine of stretching and poses, practicing your breathing, and clearing your mind, but every other day or every third day works too. when you first begin, we need to talk about the intensity of your practice. It’s common for intense sensations to arise. You’ll feel stimulated by a strong stretch, but don’t force yourself in any of the various postures I teach. Some of them need to be worked into. Discomfort is a feeling of working strongly that still feels positive. Pain is more acute than discomfort and you feel no joy from it. Discomfort is a ‘good hurt’… pain is not. If you feel pain, you are overshooting your body’s limits, working into a posture too soon, or improperly aligned. Pain will lead to injury, and we don’t want that. Discomfort is fine… discomfort is that ‘hurts so good’ sensation where you can stretch a little more day after day until you find yourself far more flexible than you’ve ever been before.” He added, then shifted slightly.

“Ready to actually learn some yoga?” He asked, and then shifted until he was on all fours. “I’m going to teach you the cat pose first. It’s a foundational pose that will teach you how to think through your yoga poses in the easiest and simplest way possible.” Then Zayne arched his back down, tipped his chin up as if he was looking at the sky, then arched his back up and seemed to hang his head between his arms staring back at where his knees braced on the mat. “We are simply stretching and posing in this position.” He said… then went on to a more lengthy explanation as he gestured for everyone to get into the post.

Taz shifted from a sitting cross-legged position to being on her hands and knees as if she were indeed a cat. Then, as Zayne instructed, she followed his direction.

“From being on your hands and knees, inhale and lift your tailbone and head so your back becomes concave. Due to our skeleton, our lower backs will dip down but your upper back will become concave less easily. I want you to think about your back, don’t just drop sloppily into the position. It won’t be pretty to watch and it isn’t so good for your body. Instead, mentally push your awareness down your back across the sleek downward curve of your spine. Feel the muscles along your spine working, feel the energy flow in your body start circulating differently… remember to breathe. Feel your breastbone move naturally forward. Don’t collapse into your shoulders. Keep them strong and keep your elbow straight. As you lift to the sky, keep your neck soft – pretend an egg is cradled there – and don’t squish it. Then exhale, let your shoulder blades spread wide apart… feel the tight muscles of your upper back release… and arch your back upwards, dropping your head forward and down…putting a convex curve into your spine. Feel the difference… feel the energy shift. It’s beautiful when done right, relaxing, and you should feel your spine popping and aligning correctly. So inhale, arch upwards and become concave… exhale, arch downwards, become convex… feel your spine… be part of your neck… mind your shoulders and lock your elbows.” He added, rising now to walk among the three.

“How does that feel?” He asked, curious, studying each of them as they moved, exploring the cat pose.

Tazrae, on her part, liked it. She liked the strength in her spine, the way her shoulders moved, though she caught herself more than once dropping them. It was a conscious effort to keep them engaged and strong. She was used to the lazy way out but saw immediately how this control was better… even as her breathing eventually came on board and she flowed easily from the concave to the convex.

In fact.. she loved it. It was comforting in the extreme.

Finally, after about five chimes, Zayne moved back to his mat but didn’t settle down. Instead, he bid them all to rise and began to demonstrate the Sun Sequence.

Words: 1298
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"A mark of an open mind is being more committed to your curiosity than your conviction.
The goal of learning is not to shield old views against new facts, but to revise old views with new facts.
Ideas are possibilities to explore, not certainties to defend."


Garden Beach Syka The Protea Inn

"Listen to the wind, it talks. Listen to the silence, it speaks. Listen to your heart, it knows."
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Tazrae
Be savage, not average.
 
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