"Folding Fire and Water"
At first Hadyn hates the idea.
She doesn't want to leave Hannah,
not even for a little while;
doesn't want to talk about
her power or even think about it;
doesn't want "special" lessons at all.
She just wants to be normal again.
Hannah is gentle and patient and firm.
"I won't leave until you're comfortable,"
she says. "I can stay with you in
the yoga studio while you do the lessons."
"But I don't want to learn stupid yoga,"
Hadyn says. She's whining and she knows it
and she hates that too, but she can't stop.
"It will help you get ready for school again,
so you can get back to your life," Hannah points out.
"It's for freaks," Hadyn complains.
"Lots of people learn yoga," says Hannah.
"Most of them are ordinary, but some soups find
that it helps them control their powers. All I'm asking
is that you give it a fair try, three sessions. If you
try it and hate it, or it just doesn't seem to help,
then we can find something else instead."
"Okaaayyy," Hadyn grumbles.
Hannah ignores the grumbling
and takes her shopping, because
Hadyn doesn't have much to wear yet
and nothing good for a yoga class.
They go to a nice sporting goods store
and Hannah tells her what kind of clothes
to look for. "Pick something you can really
move around, but that won't flop loose and
get the way of your poses," she explains.
Hadyn expects everything to look ugly
like the gym clothes at her old school, but
instead there are racks of pretty things
in pink and orange and purple and green.
Hadyn likes the bright, sunny colors.
Maybe yoga won't be totally awful after all,
if she gets a nice set of clothes out of it.
She picks a pair of pink and melon pants,
an orange t-shirt with a gold foil flower on it,
and a hoodie that matches the pants.
When it comes time for the lessons,
Hannah sits on the bench and knits
while Hadyn learns how to breathe.
Hadyn thought she already knew that,
but it turns out there are lots of different ways,
some of which make her head feel funny
and others that make the world slow down
so she doesn't feel like she's always running
but never catching up to it.
That's the whole first class.
In the second session, Hadyn
learns how to bend her body into
strange new shapes, some of them fun,
and some that hurt when she tries them.
Mrs. Reed tells her not to do the hard ones
until after her body loosens up some more.
There are poses for water.
"What do these have to do with water?"
Hadyn gasps as she struggles
through the stretches.
"Water poses are fluid and help your energy
to flow and to calm down," Mrs. Reed explains.
"They can help settle superpowers that
are based on fire, like yours."
Hadyn gets a lot more interested
in the water poses after that.
In the third session,
there are poses for fire.
Hadyn balks at those, though.
"I don't want to learn how to turn it on!
I want to learn how to keep it off."
"How will you know which way you're going
if you don't know what they both feel like?"
Mrs. Reed asks, demonstrating the first pose.
Hadyn goes along mostly because
she's starting to like Hannah and
doesn't want to disappoint her.
She is surprised to discover that
the fire poses don't make her feel like
her power's going to get loose and
burn up the whole house again.
She just feels kind of sparkly inside.
So Hadyn learns the poses
for turning her energy up and down,
folding fire and water like colored paper
to make the shapes that she wants.
"Now look at this one," says Mrs. Reed,
showing her a picture in the folder.
"Downward Facing Dog," says Hadyn.
"Also known as Adho Mukha Savanasana,"
says Mrs. Reed, who speaks Sanskrit.
"Notice that this pose appears in both
the water set and the fire set.
It promotes balance."
"How can it be both?" Hadyn asks.
"Water isn't fire! They're opposites."
"How can a teakettle be both?" says Mrs. Reed.
Hadyn thinks about that, clicking her thumbnail
against her front teeth. "Well ... I guess you
turn the gas on and the stove lights up and
then the water gets hot enough to whistle."
"That whistle is the power you get
when you combine water and fire,"
says Mrs. Reed. "It can tell you
that your tea is ready, or it can
run a steam engine to pull a train."
"Neat," says Hadyn.
"So that's why it's important to learn
how to turn your power up and down,"
says Mrs. Reed. "When you understand
how it works, then you can control it.
Maybe you just want a nice cup of tea --
but maybe you've got a load of something
really important, and you need a steam engine."
Hadyn thinks that being a steam engine
would be a lot better than being a bomb.
She practices the Downward Facing Dog
and tries to feel the balance inside herself.
She isn't sure that she's got the hang of it, but
maybe she can get there with more practice.
"That's three sessions," Hannah says
on the ride home. "What do you think about
yoga, now that you've had a chance
to see what it's really like?"
"I think" Hadyn says, "I'd like to learn more."
* * *
Marcia Reed -- She has fair skin, short blonde hair starting to go gray, and gray eyes. It's the kind of blonde that starts out darker at the roots, but rapidly bleaches pale in the sun. She likes to wear comfortable clothes, but prefers to keep her arms and legs covered. Marcia teaches yoga, both in a large studio for public classes and in her home for private ones. She's comfortable teaching soups, who often find meditation and yoga helpful for controlling their powers. For fun, Marcia raises goldfish and lotus lilies in her backyard pond.
Qualities: Master (+6) Yogini, Expert (+4) Flexible, Expert (+4) Teacher, Good (+2) Crossword Puzzles, Good (+2) Equanimity, Good (+2) Grandmother, Good (+2) Meditation, Good (+2) Sanskrit, Good (+2) Soup Friends, Good (+2) Water Gardening
Poor (-2) Noise Tolerance
* * *
Yoga is a spiritual exercise style that benefits fitness and serenity. It is good for children as well as adults.
Yoga clothes for girls include these colorblock leggings with matching hoodie and India Rose t-shirt.
Pranayama, or yoga breathing, uses various exercises to control body and mind.
Yoga poses may invoke the elements such as water, fire, or both.
Much of the yoga vocabulary comes from Sanskrit. Some people find that using the original language helps them focus; others find it a distraction and prefer English translations.