Cindy O.

This program opened me to the magic of nature, so the power of being able to share that is so much deeper.

The Kripalu School of Mindful Outdoor Leadership training impacted me physically, emotionally, and mentally. Mentally, it opened my mind to the magic in the forest. I actually teach children in nature, so I see it through their eyes every day, but this program has opened me to the magic, so the power of being able to share that is so much deeper.

Physically, the impact of just being with the trees for that amount of time is incredible. At the end of the week, my stress levels were down, my heart rate had slowed down, and even though I’d been outside in the cold and rain for seven days, I felt healthy, because the trees have chemicals in them that heal.

I didn’t actually expect this to be an emotional experience. I thought that we would learn to be outdoor leaders; I didn’t expect to go on an emotional ride, which was the most incredible, unexpected roller coaster that I can ever remember in my life. I felt loved through it all—not only by the trees, but also by the other students.

It unfolded perfectly, from day one when I got there and felt scared in the forest, to the last day, when I actually led a group myself. There were so many moments of complete awe, from building fire from flint and steel, to taking a rock to the top of a summit and building a cairn with the community that I’d formed, to the moments that I had privately when I was in my sit spot in the morning.

The program was described to me as a way to mindfully approach the forest. I wanted to feel that connection and alignment, and share it with others, and that’s exactly what this training has accomplished for me.