Overview

kripaluschools@kripalu.org | 800.848.8702

As a Level 1 Kripalu Mindful Outdoor Guide, you gain foundational skills to lead individuals and small groups in connecting mindfully with nature. This training is perfect for yoga teachers, outdoor guides and educators, Ayurvedic practitioners, yoga therapists, and anyone who is passionate about sharing with others the benefits of being in nature.

You learn the basics of nature connection and community-building, including:

  • Forest Bathing Fundamentals Forest bathing, or shinrin yoku, is the practice of taking in the forest’s atmosphere through all the senses. This practice is a potent, proven method for relieving stress, boosting mood and immunity, and fostering deeper bonds with nature.
  • Nature Meditation and Observation Sitting quietly and mindfully in nature is a powerful way to become a part of the forest community. Practice the art of sitting in nature to expand awareness and become one with your surroundings.
  • Group Facilitation and Council Practice For most of human history, people have gathered in a circle to share their stories. This practice, called Council, is an invaluable tool for building community, as well as developing communication and facilitation skills as a Mindful Outdoor Guide.
  • Efficacy of Nature Therapy Discover the latest scientific research on the health benefits of spending time in nature and learn to share these benefits with others.
  • Animal and Plant Connection, Level 1 Animals and plants have so much to teach us about living and being on the land. Explore some of the common flora and fauna on the Kripalu grounds, including trees, basic animal tracks, scat, and signs. You also get to share your insights about the meaningful connections you have made with the forest community.
  • Birthing Fire, Level 1 Learning how to safely and responsibly birth and tend a fire is an instrumental skill for Mindful Outdoor Guides. Here you experience the basics of fire-making using primitive techniques such as flint and steel and friction. You also explore fire as a potent tool for practicing meditation.
  • Wilderness First-Aid and CPR Certification As a Kripalu Mindful Outdoor Guide, it is necessary to know the basics of wilderness first-aid and CPR when leading others outdoors.
  • Home Project Investigate opportunities to help connect people with nature in your community. During the break between Level 1 and Level 2, you will work on a personal project to present to your class. This project focuses on research you will conduct on some aspect of your home environment and how you plan to incorporate those elements into your work as a Mindful Outdoor Guide.

Curriculum

Level 1 certification is comprised of approximately 75 hours of instruction and practice in the following categories:

  • Nature Meditation/Observation
  • Council Practice/Group Facilitation
  • Forest Bathing/Mindfulness
  • Naturalist Instruction
  • Science/Evidence
  • Outdoor Skills

Required Reading

  • Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder, Richard Louv
  • The Way of Council, Jack Zimmerman and Virginia Coyle
  • Your Brain on Nature, Eva Selhub and Alan C. Logan
  • Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Wall Kimmerer
    Please read ‘Learning the Grammar of Animacy,’ ‘Allegiance to Gratitude,’ ‘In the Footsteps of Nanabozho: Becoming Indigenous to Place’.
  • The Miracle of Mindfulness, Thich Nhat Hahn
  • Your Guide to Forest Bathing: Experience the Healing Power of Nature, M. Amos Clifford

Suggested Reading

  • The Nature Principle, Richard Louv
  • The Nature Fix, Florence Williams
  • The Tao of Pooh, Benjamin Hoff
  • What the Robin Knows, Jon Young
  • Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Eastern and Central North America, Roger Tory Peterson
  • National Audubon Society Field Guide to Trees: Eastern Region, National Audubon Society
  • Tracking and the Art of Seeing: How to Read Animal Signs, Paul Rezendes

GEAR
Note We will be sleeping and eating meals in the Main Building during this training.

  • Comfortable hiking shoes
  • Mud boots
  • Rain pants
  • Rain jacket with a waterproof shell
  • Wool or synthetic base-layers (no cotton)
  • Wool or fleece mid-layers
  • Rain hat
  • Warm hat/beanie
  • Gloves
  • Sunglasses
  • Trail seat (for sitting on wet ground)
  • 30-liter backpack
  • Water bottle
  • Gerber multi-tool or Swiss Army Knife with a locking blade
  • Headlamp
  • Mug and Thermos
  • Basic first-aid kit
  • Emergency whistle
  • Matches and lighter
  • Snacks

Dates and Costs

April 26– May 5, 2019
October 18–27, 2019

Tuition $1,049, plus meals and accommodations.

Daily Schedule

When you train with the Kripalu Schools you benefit from a unique immersion experience in our beautiful setting. While you’re here, you develop tools to cultivate health, create community, and encourage a quest for knowledge.

Student and Faculty Testimonials

Faculty Micah Mortali

Director of the Kripalu Schools

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Kripalu starting a school of mindful outdoor leadership?
The average American spends eleven hours per day on a screen and more than 90% of their lives indoors.  As human beings we spent the majority of our history as a species living very close to the Earth, the seasons, other creatures and the elements.  The dramatic transition to an indoor, sedentary lifestyle has serious health consequences and research is now showing what indigenous peoples, mystics, poets and ecologists have known for a long time, which is that mindful time in nature is profoundly good for us on all levels.  The Kripalu Schools are launching this new school to take the tools of yoga, Ayurveda, and mindfulness off of our mats and cushions and into the outdoors so that we can train mindful outdoor guides who can go back to their communities and guide people back into relationship and connection with the Earth, one breath at a time…

Do I need to be an experienced outdoor leader to take this training?
No.  You do not need to be a seasoned outdoor guide to take this training.  The Kripalu Mindful Outdoor Guide certification teaches you how to lead others in connecting mindfully with nature.  You do, however, need to be able to be outdoors for up to twelve hours each day for seven full days in a variety of weather conditions.

Is the whole training outdoors?
Yes, barring extreme or unsafe weather conditions the entirety of this training is held outside on the land surrounding Kripalu Center.  As a Kripalu Mindful Outdoor Guide in training it is important that you prepare for the training by spending regular time outdoors in a variety of weather conditions before arriving.  Proper clothing and gear is also essential.  You will receive a complete gear list when you are accepted into the training.

Do I need to be a yoga or meditation teacher?
No.  In this training you will learn to lead short centerings, simple breathing and mindful movements within the context of nature immersion.   You do need at least two years of experience with a mindfulness based practice, such as yoga, meditation, mindful walking, Qi Gong etc.

What is Mindful outdoor Leadership?
Mindful outdoor leaders use mindfulness, which is the practice of cultivating non-judgmental awareness in the present moment, to help those they are guiding get out of their heads and into their bodies in order to connect more deeply with nature and the outdoors.  In our modern society people are spending less and less time outdoors and more and more time on their devices.  Mindful outdoor guides help people to open their senses in nature for greater health and quality of life.

What is Nature Deficit Disorder?
In 2005, author and journalist Richard Louv added a new word to the English lexicon, Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD).  Louv defines NDD as, “The human costs of alienation from nature, among them: diminished use of the senses, attention difficulties, and higher rates of physical and emotional illnesses.”  Louv’s book, “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder”, framed the loss of connection with nature as a public health issue and challenged the trajectory of our current course of unbridled and unquestioning integration of tech into all aspects of our lives to the exclusion of time spent in nature.  

 

Apply

Admissions to the programs are determined on a rolling basis. Given high program demand, a maximum number of students per training, and limited housing availability, we strongly recommend that applicants submit applications as soon as possible (two–four months prior to the program start). Trainings typically fill to capacity about one month in advance.

We rely on information provided in the application to make informed decisions about your capacity to fully participate in and benefit from all aspects of the program. Please answer the questions honestly and completely. Providing inaccurate or incomplete information may result in a declined admissions decision or removal from the program without refund. The Kripalu Schools do not discriminate in admissions, administration, or educational policies with regard to race, ethnic origin, gender, age, sexual orientation, creed, or religion.

Application Process

  • Review information on program dates, costs, faculty, curricula, certification criteria, and general information about Kripalu on our website.
  • Complete the appropriate application for the program for which you are applying in its entirety, including the short-answer questions. Be sure to indicate your preferred program dates. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed. Kripalu reserves the right to require a phone interview or take other steps to supplement your application, if needed, in order to arrive at an informed admissions decision.
  • Include a passport-sized headshot. This will not be considered in the screening process; however, it will help us begin to cultivate a relationship with you prior to your arrival. You are welcome to submit a headshot upon acceptance into the program.
  • Submit the $25 application fee by credit card at the end of the online application process. You may also pay by check: see below. For international applicants, checks must be drawn on a domestic bank. If you prefer to make a payment by credit card over the phone, please call the Kripalu Schools at 800.848.8702.
  • You will be notified of your admissions decision via email within two–four weeks of receipt of your application. If you do not have an email address, we will send your admissions decision by regular mail and also call you to inform you of your status.
  •  If you are accepted in the training and the course you are interested in is full, you may register for the waitlist, which will remain open until the program’s start, or you may register for any training date within one year of your acceptance.

Application Fee by Check

If you prefer to pay your application fee by check, make checks payable to Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, and indicate the program and date you applied for on the check.

Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health
Kripalu Schools
PO Box 309
Stockbridge, MA 01262
Fax: 413.448.3384 ATTN: Kripalu Schools

Scholarship Application
Please note To submit this scholarship application, you must also submit a program application or have already been accepted into a program. Scholarship applications will not be reviewed until the applicant is accepted into a program.