Did you know that our feet have 26 bones and 25 joints? Not to mention, they also have over 20 muscles and tendons. Feet are the basis of many yoga poses. It makes sense that we should focus on them. According to one yoga expert, we know the importance of healthy feet and toes to supporting our bodies in practice, but often forget to focus on caring for the feet. Though central to our yogic training, feet are not often front and center as a class theme. Try something new by enjoying some focused foot time in class. Here are some fun ways to incorporate yoga with an emphasis on the feet!
Simple concepts of foot care can convert into entertainment for little yogis. Start with giving heels, arches and toes a little TLC: Yoga Journal offers some easy ways to focus on pampering and strengthening our feet. All of these techniques are kid-friendly. The first is weaving, which is putting our fingers between our toes. For example, left hand fingers weaved into right foot toes. Another way of explaining this concept to children is to hold hands with your feet and massage them. During the massage, ask students to give gratitude to each toe. They might make up a story or thank each toe for a specific action or purpose. You can tie in the “This Little Piggy” song for younger yogis.
Another foot-focused idea is towel scrunches with our feet. Sit on the floor with a towel under the feet. Feet are flat on the towel and knees bend at a 90-degree angle. Have little yogis scrunch up the towel with their toes and release. This is a great way to strengthen the arches of the feet. Consider incorporating pompoms by sprinkling them on each student’s towel, allowing for a Toega type foot activity where students grab the pompom with their toes. If you are not familiar with Toega, make sure to check out the video.
Some other class ideas to add more focus on the feet are those inspired by Kidding Around Yoga music. For example, begin class with the Really Stinky Feet Song. If able, get permission from students to give them a spray of Kidding Around Yoga Stinky Feet Spray or make your own spray containing essential oils, preferably with lavender to help calm kiddos and combat foot odor. Once toes have been deodorized and students are calm, introduce a foot theme with a quote from Dr. Seuss’ Oh, the Places You’ll Go!: “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”
Perhaps incorporate some Silly OMs focused on journeying with the feet. For example, ask students to focus on their feet as they practice the Wizard of Oz Silly OM, “There’s no place like OMMMM.” Another fun OM to incorporate the concept of traveling with feet is the John Denver song Country Road, “Country road, take me OMMMM.”
There are many different ways to focus on the feet. This short foot themed yoga video will inspire you with additional interesting foot focused poses. Do not forget, without our feet, we cannot stand tall in mountain pose. Grounding our feet and feeling the difference in our posture is a reason why feet are sacred in yoga practice. Teach your little yogis to treat their feet right!
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