Awake in the Wild Teacher Training in North America

with Mark Coleman and Lori Schwanbeck
October 2024 – July 2025

The Awake in the Wild Teacher Training is an apprenticeship training in guiding contemplative nature practice, inspired by wisdom teachings from the Buddhist tradition, by Mark’s book Awake in the Wild (AITW) and by the wilderness retreats led by Mark and Lori for more than two decades across the Americas. Nature meditation brings mindful awareness practices into the outdoors as a support for presence, connection, and insight. Mark is excited to share this cherished work with a group of dedicated nature meditation practitioners that will give them tools to begin to share similar practices with others.

The Awake in the Wild Teacher Training is for people who care deeply about the earth, who have a strong Dharma / meditation practice and who take that contemplative presence into the outdoors. Equally important, it is for those who feel called to take people deep into nature with a spirit of reverence and contemplation.

This program will have four residential retreats with Mark Coleman and Lori Schwanbeck in California, the western states or Mexico. There will also be monthly online tutorials, personal nature-based work and a teaching practicum.

The next North American Awake in the Wild Teacher Training program will run from October 2024 through July 2025.

“When we attune to nature with sensitivity, we can see just how connected we are. We are always in relationship; we just rarely notice it. From this perspective, everything on this earth, from the spring rains that provide fresh drinking water to the warmth of the sun, is an open-hearted, generous offering.”

Mark Coleman, from Awake in the Wild: Mindfulness in Nature as a Path of Self-Discovery

“In my own life, the combination of mindfulness and time in the wilderness has greatly increased my capacity for joy. Awareness practices taught me how to pay attention and how to wake up to the beautiful world around me. Practicing mindfulness outdoors has exposed me to a deep well of abundant happiness. It is this joy that has inspired me to lead others into the wilderness. It is too much to keep all to myself, and it feels natural to share the joy and blessings of nature.”

Mark Coleman, from Awake in the Wild: Mindfulness in Nature as a Path of Self-Discovery

“Nature is a nurturing environment in which we can begin to open up to emotions that have long been repressed. The spaciousness and openness we feel when we look at the ocean or walk in the mountains can give us a larger container to hold any difficult inner experience.”

Mark Coleman, from Awake in the Wild: Mindfulness in Nature as a Path of Self-Discovery

“Oscillating our attention between our inner feelings and the outward tranquility of the natural world can prevent us from becoming so overwhelmed by our emotions, and support us in staying balanced even in the midst of great difficulty.”

Mark Coleman, from Awake in the Wild: Mindfulness in Nature as a Path of Self-Discovery

“Opening our awareness to the natural world can bring us a balanced perspective between life’s agonies and its ecstasies. When we turn our attention to the beauty of the wild, both outside and inside ourselves, even in the midst of city life, the core of our being comes alive with joy and vitality.”

Mark Coleman, from Awake in the Wild: Mindfulness in Nature as a Path of Self-Discovery

Awake in the Wild Teacher Training Course Overview and Q&A Session

This course overview was recorded at the beginning of the first retreat for one of the Awake in the Wild Teacher Trainings.

This Zoom session was recorded on November 30, 2023 to answer questions commonly asked about the Awake in the Wild Teacher Training.

What to Expect

This in-depth apprenticeship training in nature-based mindful contemplative practice trains you to:

  • Skillfully teach guided mindfulness in nature practices
  • Prepare for the unique challenges in facilitating meditation programs in nature
  • Create and facilitate immersive nature meditation programs
  • Teach Awake in the Wild classes, daylong and weekend programs

This training includes:

  • Four week-long, immersive study retreats in nature
  • Monthly online tutorials
  • A rich collegial learning community of peers
  • Studying mindfulness-based nature meditation
  • Practice teaching nature-based meditations
  • Mentoring and supervision with Mark and faculty


There will be 4 week-long teaching retreats throughout the year of the training. These retreats are where you will receive the bulk of your training from Mark and Lori and where they will be preparing you for the next phase of the training.

These retreats will take place in different locations throughout the western United States and Mexico. They may involve tent camping or staying in rustic cabins or lodges.

October 14-21, 2024 – Point Reyes, CA

January 13-19, 2025 – Southern Baja Mountains, Mexico

April 14-20, 2025 – Pilot Hill, CA

July 7-13, 2025 – Canon Plaza, NM

Tuition and Costs

Tuition: $6,900 (does not cover retreats)

Retreats: $350 – 750 each (estimated and dependent on lodging and location, excludes travel and supplies)

The training retreats are mostly camping retreats and will cost on average somewhere between $350 and $550 to cover the cost of all meals and the rental of the retreat center. Retreats with additional options to stay in lodges or small cabins may cost up to $750 for those who chose not to camp. These estimates exclude travel costs and camping/retreat supplies.

Monthly payment plans are available.

Note: Though partial scholarships are offered for the training, they have all been awarded at this time.

FAQs about the Awake in the Wild Teacher Training

Click the questions below to open and reveal the answers.

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 trainings. 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 trainings’ member-only classroom 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.

Book Readings

Retreat 1 – Intensive Training Week – September 2024

Between Retreats – September – December 2024
Group Online Meetings with Mark (1 hour)
Book Reading
Group Meetings (Number and Amount in Hands of Your Group)

Retreat 2 – Intensive Training Week – December 2024

Between Retreats – December 2024 – April 2025
Group Online Meetings with Mark (1 hour)
Book Readings
Short Meditation Video
Group Meetings (Number and Amount in Hands of Your Group)

Retreat 3 – Intensive Training Week – April 2025

Between Retreats – April 2025 – July 2025
Group Online Meetings with Mark (1 hour)
Book Readings
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
Collect Feedback Evaluations from your Practicum Participants
Group Meetings (Number and Amount in Hands of Your Group)

Retreat 4 – Intensive Training Week and Graduation – July 2025


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

On the top:
2 polypropylene shirts
3 t-shirts
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:
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

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

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. You will also be offered the opportunity to enroll in online and in-person alumni retreats. The cost of affiliation is currently $150.
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.

Remaining Questions?

Email Jen at

Mark Coleman Teaching


Minimum three years regular meditation practice (mindfulness based)

One silent mindfulness / meditation retreats of 5-7 days or longer

Extensive experience being in nature

To Apply


  • This is not a Wilderness Guide Training
  • 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

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.

Meet the Teachers

Mark Coleman

Awake in the Wild Founder and Lead Teacher

Awake in the Wild (AitW) was founded by Mark Coleman — a leading mindfulness meditation teacher, nature guide, and author. Mark published the seminal nature meditation book, Awake in the Wild, in 2006, with an introduction by Jack Kornfield.

Mark has led AITW retreats and programs since 2003 in the U.S., Canada, Alaska, Europe, and Australia. He leads AitW teacher trainings in the U.S. and Europe. He has now trained over 90 teachers to lead their own AitW programs across the U.S, Canada, Europe, and beyond.

Mark Coleman

Lori Scwanbeck

Awake in the Wild Teacher

Lori brings a unique set of skills and expertise to working with individuals and organizations. She has taught thousands of people in diverse global settings and is known for her ability to foster connection with warmth, humor and authenticity, while inspiring the best in others.

She is a senior faculty member at Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute (SIYLI), an organization born at Google, where she mentors and trains teachers, and designs and facilitates both in-person and virtual mindfulness based emotional intelligence programs.

Lori Schwanbeck

“I joined the first AITW Teacher Training because I appreciated Mark as a teacher and I already had, what I felt was, a deep connection to nature. I wanted to help others use nature to support them in their lives. But, through the experience of the AITW training, I found this training has really connected me to nature and to all living things on this earth more than all my years of backpacking and hiking in nature had done. I found the experience to be profound in how it expanded my relationship to the earth and how I share that relationship with others. I would recommend AITW Teacher Training to anyone with a love for both nature and Mindfulness.”

Christine Lustik, graduate of the AitW Teacher Training

“The Awake in the Wild Teacher Training has been a great way to deepen my practice and connection to nature. It has become a way of being that influences not only my professional life but my life.”

Dorthe Djernis, graduate of the AitW Teacher Training

“I use these practices to help my own students cultivate mindful connection to the Earth and to find their own meaningful place in the natural world.

This practice has taught me to look more closely at flowers, listen more attentively to the chirping of birds and insects, feel the subtle touch of the wind on my skin, and feel more vibrantly alive in each moment.”

Topher Stephens, graduate of the AitW Teacher Training