Yoga, Seva, and Naps: A Q&A with the Founder of the Kripalu School of Mindful Outdoor Leadership

We catch up with Micah Mortali, Director of Outdoor Education and Programming at Kripalu, Dean and Founder of the Kripalu School of Mindful Outdoor Leadership (KSMOL), Kripalu Yoga teacher, and devoted dad.

What brought you to your current role at Kripalu?

I came to Kripalu for teacher training in 2004. After graduation, I went back to my life in outdoor education, but something in me had shifted dramatically, and I knew I had to come back. In 2005, I returned as a seva volunteer, then started teaching here—and I’ve never looked back. I worked at the Front Desk and in the Production Department, taught R&R retreat workshops, even lifeguarded at the lake. I was eventually asked to help create curriculum for the Kripalu Volunteer program and ended up running the program for four years before becoming Director of the Kripalu Schools. In 2018, I founded KSMOL and in 2019, transitioned into a role overseeing all of our outdoor programming.

Why do you practice and teach yoga?

Yoga helps me touch the sacredness of the moment. When I practice and teach, I feel how precious all life is, and how temporary. Teaching yoga is a form of seva for me, a way of giving back what I have been given.

What inspires and motivates you?

It changes from moment to moment. Sometimes it’s the love I feel for my family. Sometimes it’s Led Zeppelin, loud! Other times, it’s tracking a coyote through a foot of snow and feeling the wild raw energy in the woods.

How has Kripalu resonated with you?

There is a love at the center of Kripalu that is very mysterious and special. There’s something about this place that transcends us—maybe it’s all of our intentions joined together with those of the people who have come before. Whatever it is, I stay because I want to help keep it alive.

How do you like to spend your free time?

With a tween stepdaughter and a son and daughter both under 10, free time is a pleasant memory. I try to think of all my time as “free time” and be grateful for the many blessings in my life. When I have a moment truly “free,” I love to make and shoot traditional wooden bows—and take naps!