Taking a jump from Tristen Wilson’s Rainbow Yoga lesson plan called “Happy Feet”, this weeks Yoga-Snack revolved around the feet. I had the extreme pleasure of bringing the Yoga-Snacks program back to the Baldwin School, Cambridge, MA earlier this week and then I will be in Ms. Forzaglia’s 4th grade classroom at Brown Elementary, Natick, MA tomorrow.
I started class today with a simple centering exercise. We all sat in a circle, legs crossed, with our knees touching on both sides the person’s knees sitting next to us. The circle was nice and close and personal. First we placed our right hand over our own heart and quietly listened and felt our own heart beating. Then we gently placed our left hand on the back of the person sitting to our left just behind the heart and settled in again to listen and feel….to see if we could connect with the heart beat of our neighbor.
I found a funny kid’s poem about the feet by Kenn Nesbitt:
My feet, my feet,
I love my feet.
I think they’re great,
I think they’re neat.
They’re pretty, pink,
They look so perfect
on my desk.
sad to tell,
they also have
a funny smell.
So though I’m fast,
and though I’m fleet,
and though at sports
I can’t be beat,
no team will pick
me to compete,
because they always
How cool are our feet??? Take a look down right now and check out your feet? Here are some interesting foot facts…
* A human foot & ankle is a strong, mechanical structure that contain 26 bones, 33 joints, and more than 100 muscles, tendons & ligaments. Without all those hard working arts, we would just be a sac of bones!
* The 52 bones in both of your feet make up one quarter of all the bones in your body (206). Just imagine how much work those two feet do all day…carrying you! What if we were born without feet? We’d be walking on our hands and knees for sure!
* There are approximately 250,000 sweat glands in a pair of feet, and they excrete as much as half a pint of moisture each day. Ewwwwwwww!!!! No wonder our feet are so stinky!
We took child’s pose to start us off, increasing the flexibility in our hips, offering a therapeutic stretch for our lower backs, allowing the natural “c” curve into the spine, calming our energy and allowing us a moment to regroup. Life can be so frenetic sometimes, a simple child’s pose can be your yoga all in one pose!
Seated in bound angle pose (soles of feet together): feel your toes pressing into each other, feel the balls of your feet pressing into each other, feel your heels pressing into each other-can you feel all three parts at the same time? What about your arches?
Standing again we lifted and lowered our toes. Closed our eyes to see if we could balance, also noticing the natural rocking motion that occurs when the eyes are closed ans your body shifts between the two feet. We looked to the right, gently stretching our necks, then took the right hand and placed it on the neck/shoulder area of the left side and gave ourselves a little massage-then repeated on opposite side. Then a little all over body thumping, making a bit of a cup shape with our hands and moving up from foot to head and finally a good Tarzan style thumping on the chest (thymus thump) (with a few yodels too!)-great to pump up our life energy force!
A modified Sun Salutation: Mountain pose, reach up tot he sky, reach down to the ground, Step into a high plank, lower to the floor, press up to a cobra and rise and lower as you snake your back up and down, hissing, curl toes under and press up to downward facing dog pose, bring feet close together, lift right leg up behind and bark Lower and repeat with left. Look forward to hands and jump feet to hands.
Tree pose: a great foot and ankle strengthener. And as a balancing pose a great tool to focus the attention inside.
3 part warrior sequence:
Jump out to star pose
Turn right foot out and then turn left foot in a little towards the right so you can easily face the right foot. Bend and straighten your right knee a few times-try to get it to a 90 degree angle with the floor-keep back leg straight.
Next time, keep knee bent and lift arms to sky “I am brave” (Warrior I)
Open arms wide, turn body so back foot faces side, right leg stays bent, facing front) “I am bold” (Warrior II)
Cast off so left leg lifts behind and you are facing floor with head to tip of left foot in a straight line, balancing on right foot “My own power I can hold”
Foot down, jump together, hands to heart center, breath in and exhale.
For dances: Grade two did “Happy Jio” which got rousing cheers of “Again!” at the end; first grade did “Yogini Went To Sea” which is an all time favorite.
For meditations: My version of “I Am Happy, I Am Good”
Guided Meditation into savasana: Children lie on backs, arms out, eyes closed. Paying attention to our breath as it goes in through the nose and our bellies rise and out through our noses as our bellies descend. Our breathing comes in and out like waves on the ocean, very relaxed, very peaceful. For several breaths, just notice the rise and fall of your belly.
- As you breathe in and out, become aware of your whole body lying down. Imagine you are at the beach and the sand is supporting your body. You feel warm from below and warm from above as the warm sun shines on you. Feel all the areas of your body that are touching the sand; your heels, the backs of your legs, your bottom, your back, the back of your hands and arms, the back of your head. With each out-breath, feel yourself relax deeper and deeper into the sand, letting go of everything, letting go of worries, or fear, or thoughts about homework or things you have to do after school.
- Breathing in, I feel my two feet. Breathing out, I completely relax all the muscles in my two feet. Breathing in, I feel lucky to have two good feet, breathing out, I smile to my two feet. My feet hands are so precious! Because of my feet I can run in the sand or kick a soccer ball. With my two feet, I can stand tall like a mountain. I can ride a bicycle. I can walk to the store. I can ski or snowboard or skateboard too. I can climb a tree and jump up high. I can swim. My feet are mine, and I promise to take good care of them. I promise to rest my feet when they tell my they are tired or hurt. I will exercise them and stretch them like I learned how to today, so my feet will take good care of me too.
- Now lying completely still, with palms facing up by your sides, Imagine you have some bird seed in your hands and if you lie completely still, maybe a small shore bird will fly over to you and eat the seed from your hands. As the kids settle here, I begin to encourage their stillness, calmly and I go to each child and tickle one palm as if a bird is eating the seed. Every child should receive this little reward even if you have to wait for the one second the fidgety child holds still, even if you have to gently assist a foot or hand to stillness.
- Then get children to quietly awaken…wiggling their toes, rolling ankles, flexing feet up and down.
Curling up on one side like a baby for a moment and then coming to a seated position.
Love, peace and happiness! Namaste!
Always Be Dancing: Move With Eve: I bring accessible yoga, dance and mindfulness programs to school communities, fitness professionals, Pt's/OT's, yoga studios and every(body) in between through classes, workshops, professional development seminars, public speaking, and guest blogging. I can create a program specific to your needs.
My self designed ¡Ole Namaste! infuses the movements, breathwork and meditation of yoga with the music and dance of flamenco. Come have a body stretching, breath enhancing, mind relaxing, hand clapping good time! In this fun, upbeat mindful movement class, that is infused with the music and dance of flamenco, students will absorb the dramatic postures and colorful flavor of flamenco while exploring yoga poses, flamenco technique, breathwork and meditation. Each class will include a demonstration of flamenco by the instructor.