Mindful Outdoor Guide Certification, Level 2: Aligning with Nature



Prerequisite Mindful Outdoor Guide Certification, Level 1: Forest Community

This intensive nine-day immersion provides a powerful opportunity to deepen your relationship to the earth through meditation and practices, as well as traditional outdoor skills which add depth to your presence and practice as a guide. Learn transformational outdoor skills such as friction-fire birthing, shelter building, and Bush-craft tool making with KSMOL faculty. Learn the history of the first people of Kripalu’s land from Stockbridge-Munsee Community member Shawn Stevens and present your personal project and guide your solo mindful outdoor experience before graduation. 

Deepen your connection to nature and expand your skillset as a Kripalu Mindful Outdoor Guide as you

  • Share with your fellow guides the findings of your Level 1 home research project. 
  • Learn from Shawn Stevens, language and cultural peacekeeper of the Stockbridge Munsee Band of Mohicans, the history of the indigenous people for whom the Kripalu grounds are part of their ancestral homeland. 
  • Explore advanced nature meditation, working with the air, ether, fire, water, and earth elements as your focal points. 
  • Carve your own bow-drill kit, learning the ancient art of birthing fire through friction. 
  • Learn how to integrate fire into your mindful outdoor experiences, both as a focal point for meditation and as an ally for carving your own wooden tools and utensils. 
  • Continue your studies with Mass Audubon, honing your exploration of the geology, flora, and fauna, and developing the essentials of map and compass navigation. 
  • Forage for wild teas and incorporate the ceremonial art of making and sharing tea within the context of guiding mindful outdoor experiences. 
  • Discover how to fashion a safe, dry, and cozy shelter using only what you gather from the forest—a crucial skill for building confidence and a sense of connection to the outdoors. 
  • Receive mentoring and supportive feedback from faculty and peers on the 45-minute Mindful Outdoor Experience you lead at the completion of your Level 2 training. 

This experience will include two-full day excursions to ecologically and historically rich places of power in the Berkshires. We will explore Ice Glen and Masaswahi, two sacred places to the Mohican people that provide a powerful juxtaposition—a deep, boulder-filled chasm, inhabited by the oldest Eastern Hemlocks in New England, and the axis-mundi, sky-piercing summit of Masaswahi which provides the only 360-degree view above tree line in the Berkshires. This will be a true journey from the earth to the sky and will be both an educational and ceremonial journey, retracing ancient steps and honoring the Great Elements. You will also visit Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary where Dale Abrams will guide you through an ecosystem that has been protected for more than 100 years. 

Note Upon successful completion of KSMOL Level 1, you are eligible to register for Level 2. No additional application is necessary. 


Level 2 certification is comprised of approximately 75 hours of instruction and practice in the following categories:

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

Required Reading

  • The Spell of Sensuous, David Abram
  • Tom Brown’s Guide to Healing the Earth, Randy Walker and Tom Brown Jr.

Suggested Reading

  • Smoke Hole: Looking to the Wild in the Time of the Spyglass, Martin Shaw
  • Sand Talk: How Indigenous Thinking Can Save the World, Tyson Yunkaporta
  • A Field Guide to Nature Meditations, Mark Coleman


  • 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)
  • Day pack
  • 1 litre Water bottles (2)
  • Multi-tool and/or Small fixed-blade knife (Mora Eldris, Companion, Spark, or Kansbol recommended)
  • Headlamp
  • Mug and Thermos
  • Basic first-aid kit
  • Emergency whistle
  • Matches, lighter, and ferro rod
  • Snacks
  • “Solo Stove” Lite or Campfire (for cooking as well as fire meditation)

Dates and Costs

Level 2: Aligning With Nature | On Campus | October 18–27, 2024 Registration Coming Soon

Student and Faculty Testimonials

Faculty Micah Mortali

Founding Director of the Kripalu School of Mindful Outdoor Leadership

Faculty Katie Hagel

Kripalu Faculty

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.  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.
  • 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.

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.

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