kripaluschools@kripalu.org | 800.848.8702

Prerequisite Mindful Outdoor Guide Certification, Level 1: Forest Community

As a Level 2 Kripalu Mindful Outdoor Guide, you develop skills that take your leadership to the next level. Deepen your exploration and relationship to the land through advanced forest-bathing techniques; an expanded set of nature-based mindful meditations and inquiries; further study with Mass Audubon; developing outdoor skills such as friction-fire making, shelter-building, and foraging; and ongoing Council practice. In Level 2, you present your personal project to the group.

Expand your set of tools for guiding others in mindful nature connection through:

  • A variety of perspectives on the relationship between people and place, drawing from yoga, Ayurveda, modern science, and various indigenous cultures
  • Advanced Nature Meditations Delve into the air, ether, fire, water, earth, and wood elements as focal points for meditations in nature
  • Birthing Fire, Level 2  Learn to build your own bow-drill kit and how to make fire through friction. You also hone other techniques to deepen your connection to the fire element, and learn how to integrate fire into your guiding as a tool for meditation
  • Continue your studies with Mass Audubon as you deepen your exploration of the geology, flora, and fauna of the Berkshires. Tree and plant identification, animal tracks, signs and scrapes.
  • Learn how to forage wild teas and incorporate the art of making and sharing tea ceremony within the context of the mindful outdoor experiences you guide.
  • Finding prospect and refuge in nature can be an important part of creating a safe, satisfying outdoor experience. In this level, you play with various techniques for keeping cozy and dry when exposed to the elements
  • Experience the joy of cooking outdoors on an overnight adventure in which we learn more about the importance of circadian rhythms for aligning with nature.


Level 2 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

  • Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Wall Kimmerer
  • The Spell of Sensuous, David Abram
  • Tao Te Ching, translated by Stephen Mitchell

Note We will be sleeping and eating meals in the Main Building during this training. We may sleep outside one night, weather permitting.

  • 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
  • 20-degree sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad

Dates and Costs

June 7–16, 2019

Tuition $1,049, plus accommodations and meals

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.  


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.