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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. You will learn how to work with the great elements from Ayurveda; ether, air, water, fire and earth, and integrate them into your mindful outdoor experiences. Gain hands-on skills for deepening your bond with the earth and confidence outdoors through ancestral skills such a friction fire making, shelter building and carving your own bowl with fire. Forage for wild edibles and learn the art of the tea ceremony, a beautiful tradition you can integrate into your mindful outdoor experiences. Level 2 also includes a two-night trip to Mount Greylock, the highest Mountain in Massachusetts, where you will experience a truly unique alpine ecosystem, perfect for mindful time learning in a community of like-minded peers.

Expand your set of tools for guiding others in nature connection and community-building as you

  • 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 homelands.
  • Explore advanced nature meditations where you will delve into the air, ether, fire, water, and earth elements as focal points for meditations in nature.
  • Delve into Birthing Fire and learn to build your own bow-drill kit and how to make fire through friction. 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 as well as a tool for carving your own wooden bowl.
  • Continue your studies with Mass Audubon as you deepen your exploration of the geology, flora, and fauna of the unique sub-alpine environment atop Mount Greylock.
  • Learn Orienteering 101, the essential skill of navigation with map and compass.
  • Forage wild teas and incorporate the art of making and sharing tea ceremony within the context of guiding mindful outdoor experiences.
  • 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.
  • Learn how to fashion a safe, dry and cozy shelter using only what you mindfully gather from the forest—an important part of creating a safe, satisfying outdoor experience.

This program may be taken as part of Kripalu’s 1000-Hour Yoga Teacher Training or as a standalone program.


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

July 2130, 2020
October 1625, 2020

Tuition $1,074, plus meals and accommodations.

Student and Faculty Testimonials

Faculty Micah Mortali

Director of the Kripalu Schools

Faculty Mark Roule

Yoga teacher and outdoor guide who leads Kripalu R&R and other programs.

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.