My friend, Lisa Wimberger, (founder of the Neurosculpting Institute, http://neurosculptinginstitute.com/), attended tracker training. Recently she shared that she learned to “fox walk” as part of the program. As part of the training, (for adults), participants would be led a half mile out into the wilderness on a dark, moon-less night, and would be blindfolded. A drummer would sit at the camp site and would slowly beat the drum every few seconds. It was each individual’s task to make their way back to the campsite by tuning into their senses and relying only on their senses as navigational tools to get them safely back to camp. Her Apache Chief trainer taught them all how to “fox walk,” in which they would begin with the heal first and slowly, mindfully put their foot down in stages, using only the side of the foot to connect with the earth. In this way, if they encountered the edge of a twig or a pinecone, they could avoid the snapping and crunching that would alert a predator or an animal of their approach.
What does this have to do with kids’ relaxation? Fox walking could be a beautiful mindfulness activity for the young nature lovers in your life. Not only is it incredibly relaxing, but, in the practice of fox walking, children can learn how to tune in to their senses and to feel the ground beneath them and their connection to it. And, walking like a fox is great fun!!
So, try fox walking this summer as part of your relaxation practice. Begin by finding a safe, clear place in nature to practice like a backyard or a park. Explain that you are going to pay very close attention and are going to walk like a fox! The fox could be hunting or it could be hiding from a mountain lion. Or maybe the fox is just playing hide and seek with another fox, you decide how authentic you want to make it according to your audience’s age and interest. These foxes are going to walk very slowly and mindfully, keeping their attention on their feet and how their feet are connecting to the earth (soil, grass, ground). The idea is to be as slow and steady and quiet as you can. Begin by taking a step with your heal and then add the side of your foot all the way up to the toes last. Then step the same way with the other foot. Pay attention to each part of your foot as it touches the ground. Keep walking for a few minutes and then ask children to share what they felt. As they are walking they should also be listening deeply to the sounds around them, collecting each one of them. Ask them to listen for one sound that really stands out as they are walking to share with others when the walk is complete. Ask them to check in with their bodies and to see how they feel before and if they feel any different after walking like a fox.
A variation for older children could be to fox walk with a blindfold, just make sure that they have a guide who can lead them so that no one gets hurt.
Have fun fox walking and placing your attention in the moment!!! Relax and enjoy!!