AitW Teacher Training

Next Training: Sept 2021 – July 2022

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AitW Teacher Training

Become a Nature Meditation Teacher

Next Training: Sept 2021 – July 2022

The Awake in the Wild Teacher Training is an apprenticeship training in contemplative nature practice, inspired by traditional Buddhist wisdom, and by Mark Coleman’s 2006 book Awake in the Wild. Mark has been leading wilderness retreats for mindful nature lovers across the Americas since 2003. Our community has grown to 50+ AitW trained teachers around the world.

When we bring awareness, inquiry, and meditation into the outdoors, we cultivate a deeper connection to ourselves, each other, and our planet. Mark is passionate about sharing this cherished work with dedicated practitioners so that they can continue to pass on these profound tools and practices. This training is for those who care deeply about the Earth, who have a strong Dharma/meditation practice, and who want to share contemplative presence with others in the outdoors.

Training Dates and Locations

There will be 4 week-long teaching retreats throughout the yearlong training. These retreats are where you will receive the bulk of your training from Mark Coleman, and may involve tent camping or staying in rustic cabins or lodges.

Due to the pandemic, the retreat dates and locations for the 2021-2022 training may be adjusted to allow for a successful roll-out of vaccinations. We are planning and hoping to hold the retreats on the following schedule:

  • September 1-7, 2021 | California (Location TBD)
  • December 13-19, 2021 | Baja, Mexico
  • April 4 – 10, 2022 | Location TBD
  • July 11 – 17, 2022 | Location TBD

There will also be monthly online tutorials, personal nature-based work, and a teaching practicum.

Training Schedule

What to Expect

The Schedule of Activities

Students are expected to participate in the following activities:

  • The study of mindfulness-based nature meditation
  • Four weeklong, immersive study retreats in nature
  • Monthly online tutorials with Mark and faculty
  • Monthly small group meetings and a collegial learning community
  • A teaching practicum and teaching practice
  • Mentoring and supervision by Mark and faculty

Training Outcomes

The AitW Teacher Training will empower you to:

  • Skillfully teach mindfulness in nature in a variety of formats
  • Organize and facilitate nature classes, courses, and immersive retreats
  • Navigate the unique challenges of teaching nature-based meditation
  • Mindfully work with diverse populations
  • Integrate the reality of the ecological crisis into your teachings with compassion

Acquired Skills

Costs of Training

Tuition, Retreats, and Other Costs

Tuition is $5,950, which does not include the costs associated with each retreat. Each retreat will cost roughly $350-600. This estimate excludes travel costs and depends on location and your choice of accommodations (tent camping will be less expensive than cabin choices).

Monthly payment plans are available. If you think you might be in need of a custom payment plan, please indicate that in the last question on the application form, and please give us a sense of what would be within your means.

Application Process

The application asks specifics on your meditation practice, your retreat experiences, your teaching experiences, and your intentions in taking the training. If you would like a downloadable, Word document version to submit or to use to prepare your online application, you may download it here. To submit the downloadable version, please email it to jen@awakeinthwild.com or, please click the button below, to apply online.

Prerequisites

  • Minimum three years regular meditation practice (mindfulness based)
  • One silent mindfulness/meditation retreats of 5-7 days or longer
  • Extensive experience being in nature

Disclaimer

  • This is not a Wilderness Guide Training (all AITW retreats are accompanied by a certified wilderness guide)
  • This is not a mindfulness teacher training. (Applicants are expected to have a pre-existing thorough understanding of mindfulness meditation and preferably have had some experience in teaching/facilitation)
  • To teach AITW intensive silent retreats longer than a weekend, this requires individual approval from Mark. Apprenticeship for this is available on an individual basis with Mark post-graduation

 

Start Your Application

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Got Questions?

Ask us Anything!

If you still have questions about the training program, prerequisites,  travel components, self-study process, or anything else that might help you decide whether this training program is a fit for you, please do not hesitate to reach out to ask us for more information. We’re happy to chat. You can contact Jen, our wonderful program administrator, with any and all questions.

Frequently asked questions

In general, the time requirements increase as the training progresses and you move closer to holding your own Awake in the Wild retreat for your practicum. You can divide up the year into three segments, each one bookended by the week-long intensive training. These retreats are where you will receive the bulk of your training from Mark and where Mark will be preparing you for the next phase of the training. Though we do record sections of the training by audio and video for you to review afterward, missing even one will severely hamper your learning process. You are expected to attend every one.

After the retreats, there will be one-hour online group meetings with Mark each month to discuss teaching topics and for the group to ask questions. You’ll be encouraged to meet with your fellow student-teachers–both through the training member-only website and directly–to discuss homework assignments and issues that come up in your own teaching: a support group that will hopefully last much longer than the training. As for those homework assignments, below is a general timeline of the homework assignments to help you better gauge the workload.

Pre-Workshop

  • Book Readings

Retreat 1 – Intensive Training Week – September 2021


Between Retreats – September 2021 – December 2021

  • Online Meetings Once a Month (1 hour)
  • Book Reading
  • Essay
  • Group Meetings (Number and Amount in Hands of Your Group)

Retreat 2 – Intensive Training Week – December 2021


Between Retreats – December 2021 – April 2022

  • Online Meetings Once a Month (1 hour)
  • Book Reading
  • Short Meditation Video
  • Essay
  • Group Meetings (Number and Amount in Hands of Your Group)

Retreat 3 – Intensive Training Week – April 2022


Between Retreats – April 2022 – July 2022

  • Online Meetings Once a Month (1 hour)
  • Practicum and Teaching Video (of you doing your practicum – roughly 10 minutes of teaching a meditation topic followed by a 5 minute Q&A)
  • Two Essays

Retreat 4 – Intensive Training Week and Graduation – July 2022

 

The total tuition cost is $5,950. This does not include travel, books, supplies, or the lodging and food costs of the four training retreats, which will be roughly $300-600 each. A $1,000 non-refundable deposit is required to reserve your place in the course.

Payment plans are available.

A $1,000 non-refundable deposit is required to reserve your place in the course. Then there will be a $750 payment due at the start of the training. After that, we ask for monthly payments of $600 will be due every month for the next 7 months. As a sign of your commitment to the training, instead of sending a check every month, you would send in your installment payments as postdated checks when you send in your deposit. The checks will be deposited as they become payable.

If this payment plan would not work within your budget, you do have another option. For those with financial need, Mark asks that you submit a paragraph or two describing your financial situation. Along with this statement you should also submit a payment plan proposal of your own that will work within your budget. Mark will review your statement and proposal with your application to evaluate whether it is acceptable.

You will be camping during the majority of the retreats, either in tents or simple cabins. Below is a list of recommended items, particularly for the first retreat.

On your head:
wool hat
baseball cap, sun hat, or visor
sunglasses

On the top:
2 polypropylene shirts
3 t-shirts
windbreaker
fleece or down jacket
warm sweater for the cold nights

On the bottom:
2 nylon long pants
warm pants or thermal layer for evenings / mornings

On your feet:
2 pair wool socks
2 pair socks
hiking boots
shoes for wearing in camp

For camping:
tent
floor tarp for tent
sleeping bag
sleeping pad / thermarest
camping pillow – can be found at camp stores

For meditation:
Zafu or thermarest back jack  (that your thermarest fits into – that’s what I use and its very comfortable)

Important Miscellaneous Items
small day pack for carrying lunch, water, etc. during day hikes
personal toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, lip balm, etc.)
bio-degradable soap
flashlight – headlamp is ideal
cup, silverware, bowl & plate
small towel
sun block
water bottle
journal / pens
bug spray / repellent
spare batteries for headlamp

Food
personal snacks – bars / trail mix etc.
personal teas
any special dietary foods you may need​

The costs for the retreat are to cover the rental of the location, food, supplies, and any provided lodging. Since the retreats will be at different locations and we are uncertain how many people will be in the training, the retreat costs are estimated, to begin with. Some may be lower than $350-600 and a few may be higher, though we are trying to ensure that they will not be the latter.

After you have completed the training, you will be invited to affiliate with Awake in the Wild, much like you would do with any professional or medical association. Affiliation will allow you to network with other graduates of the training and include 4 online group meetings with Mark to help you continue expanding your practice and ask questions that may have come up in your teachings. The cost of affiliation is currently $150. Eventually, there will be optional Awake in the Wild Alumni retreats.

The apprenticeship with Mark Coleman lasts from 1-2 years, depending on how often you would be able to assist with Mark’s retreats, and is by invitation upon completion of the Awake in the Wild Teacher Training. It is an unpaid apprenticeship, but you would gain a wealth of knowledge as you assist Mark.

Depending on the retreat locations, there would be the travel and potentially some lodging costs associated with the retreats you would be apprenticing on. There would be no other fees involved.

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