The World Cup tournament is a huge event worldwide, happening only every four years, which makes it an interesting and exciting theme for a yoga class. It’s an event filled with people from different countries all over the world, plenty of colorful accessories, festive clothing, and entertaining superstitions and traditions.
For a fun start to a World Cup themed class, we can ask the kids to wear a soccer t-shirt (if they have one). It is better if they have one from another country and if they don´t have one they can put a little sticker on their shirt with the country they want to represent.
Then, using the countries the children want to represent, build an imaginary little tour to all of those countries. Will you get there by airplane? By bicycle or boat? Drive a car or a bus? What might you see in these countries?
For example, if we are starting from Europe we can take our bicycle (bicycle asana) and go to Spain! When we arrive there we see a lot of people dancing Flamenco (dancer asana). Then we go to France and there we can see people walking around the Eiffel Tower (it is in the shape of a triangle) with their dogs (downward dog). Then we go to Calais in France and take a ferry (boat pose) to get to Dover and go to London where we pass below the big and beautiful London Bridge (bridge pose).
After that we might travel to Brazil in South America, so we fly there through an airplane (airplane pose) and there we will see a lot of exotic birds (little crow pose). Then we ride to Argentina and we prepare a delicious pizza (sit in a circle with legs wide, using forward folds imagine preparing your pizza with all the toppings you enjoy.) Of course, these travel plans are very flexible and will be based on the countries your students are interested in.
Next, let’s play a soccer game with our breath! Use pompoms for a soccer ball with them and the mat is the field. Take turns inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth to blow the pompom to your opponent’s goal (the edge of the mat) to score. But don’t let the pompom blow out of bounds!
After we finish the breathing exercise we can use the pompoms in a game of Toega. Put a box or basket in the center of the room which will be the goal and spread pompoms all over the room. Using only your toes, pick up the pompoms and place them in the box to score. At the end of the game, all the pompoms will be back in the box and the floor will be clean again. Goal!
If you are looking for a crafty activity you can print a soccer mandala the kids can color and have a pre-relaxation time. As you know mandalas have this calming effect.
Finally, we can rest in a guided meditation where we can create our own soccer stadium full of happiness and calm.
It is important to reinforce the idea throughout class that even though football/soccer is a competitive game, in the end it is about giving the best of us, and being respectful to everyone. We all are in the same world and we all can be friends. Of course, we can always just play for fun! Close your class with a song like Om Shanti to finish with a peaceful thought.
As you can see, it is not impossible to mix yoga with soccer. Actually many teams use yoga poses in their warm up exercises!