Course program “Mindfulness and Compassion in Nature”

postponed to next year, July 2021

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Interconnectedness With Our Inner and Outer Nature Through Mindfulness and (Self-) Compassion

The radiant, elegant cosmos that we can observe is actually our own consciousness and not something separate from us on the outside.
(Thich Nhat Hanh)

Join us in July 2020 (now: July 2021) for a sparkling, pioneering initiative, in which we take compassionate action by bringing together passionate professionals from different cultures, countries, areas of expertise and training to explore mindful ways of living and caring for ourselves and our planet.

We will be inspired by and further explore the interwovenness of mindfulness, compassion, sensory awareness and body movement, science, systemic design and sustainability in an Alpine nature setting.

We will become witnesses and participating actors in the framework of adaptation and resilience of local mountain communities in times of climate change, maybe daring to start befriending any unconscious eco-anxiety and intending to forge a new, loving relationship with our planet Earth and ourselves as part of the Earth  – together, in connection, and hopefully, also a sangha.

After exploring your inner nature during the 5-day Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) Intensive program with the title “Opening Hearts through Mindful Self-Compassion – A Time to Come Alive, Thrive and Care for our Planet Earth”, by Mirjam Luthe and Cassondra Graff, you may choose to continue the journey by further immersing yourself in a variety of other forms to explore our inner and outer nature:

Join Mark Coleman in his 6-Day Retreat “Awake in the Wild – Mindfulness in Nature as a Path to Joy, Wonder and Insight” (confirmation pending)

Mark is followed by a half day of science, systemic design and sustainability with Tobias Luthe, founder of Monviso Institute, closing with a joyful and artistic celebration with local villagers.

The circle of offers will be completed by a 4-day-long “Timeout Trekking – A hike in Mindfulness and in Nature” in the mountains with Philip Svobodnik.

Detailed 2021 course descriptions

Mindful Self-Compassion Intensive (MSC) – Opening Hearts Through Mindful Self-Compassion: A Time to Come Alive, Thrive and Care for our Planet Earth

approx. dates July 11-17, 2021

Mirjam Luthe (MA International Cultural & Business Studies, Development Cooperation & NGO Management) is a practising Certified MSC, MBSR ad Yoga Teacher, trained in the Mindful Schools Curriculum, and continuously exploring Council Practice and contemplative dialog as a means to invite equity and build bridges in-midst of diversity. She cooperates with the CMSC since 2016, has taught MSC in Germany, Vietnam and in California, works for Arbor Seminare, teaches at AVE Institut (Germany) and is engaged since its foundation in the core team of the European network for Grateful Living „Dankbar leben“. Currently, Mirjam explores Mark Coleman’s “Awake in the Wild” nature meditation Teacher Training “Awake in the Wild” to integrate interconnectedness with our planet into all other classes. She has lived in Brazil, France, Italy, Spain, California and other countries; her home base is Freiburg, Germany. Mirjam has most of her work life been engaged in development cooperation in developing countries. She passionately stands for a socially engaged practice out of a dharma perspective. As a mother of three children in rapidly changing times, she cherishes the power of connection and cooperation, in order to learn from each other and inspire.

Cassondra Graff (M.S., LCSW)is a Certified Senior teacher of MSC and MBSR. She taught at the University of California at San Diego Center for Mindfulness and was the Director of the Speakers Bureau and teaches MBSR for a long-range National Institutes of Health (NIH) research study evaluating the potential benefits of mindfulness in the senior aging process. Cassondra works closely with the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion, CMSC. With over 22 years of experience as a mental health practitioner, Cassondra had a private practice as a licensed psychotherapist and also mentored therapists for the California state licensing exam. Her work transformed over the years, becoming mindfulness and compassion based. “I cannot, not do this work. It is tied to the way I live, truths I cannot deny.  It is a joy to witness us humans discover our own strengths and capacities, and in this, become more alive and thrive. MSC offers skills and wisdom needed to effect real growth, real freedom.” She offers Mindfulness and Compassion Training in the USA and worldwide, is currently being based in Arizona, USA, but she also is aware of her Greek heritage.

We are living in a time, when confusion, loss of control and fear seem to take hold of our minds. As an antidote, compassion has become a world-wide imperative: To live well, we need to live well together. Compassion helps to broaden our awareness and our respect for other living beings; expanding and deepening our relationship with our beloved planet Earth, opening us to our interconnectivity. Our strength lies in the wisdom of knowing we cannot live in disconnection, separation from ourselves, each other, the Earth. And compassion is not a luxury, it is a necessity, if we are to survive. Life is calling us to live it and live it well, fearless and intentional, to not only survive, but to thrive. Life is a precious gift. Let’s celebrate it!

Join Mirjam Luthe and Cassondra Graff (Certified MSC Teachers) at Monviso Institute, Italy, for an immersion into self-compassion in connection with nature. Set in the mountains of the Italian Alps, in Ostana province, immerse yourself in your natural capacity for compassion and wisdom by taking a 5-Day Mindful Self-Compassion Intensive course, the empirically-supported 8-week Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) program designed to cultivate the skill of self-compassion. It was developed by Christopher Germer, PhD, a leader in the integration of mindfulness and psychotherapy and Kristin Neff, PhD, a pioneering researcher in the field of self-compassion. MSC combines the skills of mindfulness and self-compassion to enhance our capacity for emotional wellbeing. Mindfulness is the first step—turning with loving awareness toward difficult experience (thoughts, emotions, and sensations). Self-compassion comes next—bringing loving awareness to ourselves. Together, mindfulness and self-compassion comprise a state of warm, connected, presence during difficult moments in our lives.

Program activities will include meditation, short inspirational talks about the science of mindfulness and self-compassion, many experiential exercises, and group dialogs. We will take care of our physical needs and incorporate movement though yoga, hikes, swims and dance (optional). We will enjoy healthy local food. The goal is to provide a safe and supportive environment for exploring how we typically respond, when difficult emotions arise and to provide tools for becoming a warm and supportive companion to ourselves. The emphasis of the program is on enhancing emotional resources and personal capacities. We will also enjoy sensing and savoring in the great outdoors and explore our surroundings, the local Occitane culture, connect with local people and learn about their adaptive resilience to climate change and about new ideas for repopulated Alpine villages like Ostana.

No meditation experience is necessary. All are welcome.
This course qualifies as a pre-requisite on the path towards becoming a Trained MSC Teacher (see www.centerformsc.org)
Course language: English

Retreat „Awake in the Wild – Mindfulness in Nature as a Path of Joy, Wonder & Insight“

possible dates July 19-24, 2021 – confirmation pending

Mark Coleman is an inner and outer explorer, who has devotedly studied mindfulness meditation practices for three decades. He is passionate about sharing the power of meditation and has taught mindfulness workshops and meditation retreats in six continents for the past twenty years.  Mark is a senior meditation teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and has taught there since 2000. Mark holds a MA in Clinical Psychology and draws on his extensive experience in working with people as a therapist and coach.

Through the Mindfulness Training Institute Mark leads Professional Mindfulness Teacher Trainings in the US and UK annually.  Mark likes to share the fruits of meditation to wider audiences and founded The Mindfulness Institute, where he has brought mindfulness training programs to companies and the non-profit sector across North America and Europe. Mark is a trainer for the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute, developed at Google and teaches on their teacher trainings.

Mark is an unabashed nature lover and, through his organization Awake in the Wild, he shares his passion for integrating meditation and nature. He leads wilderness meditation retreats from Alaska to Peru, taking people on inner and outdoor adventures. Through Awake in the Wild, Mark also leads year-long meditation-in-nature teacher trainings in the US.

Mark is the author of From Suffering to Peace: The True Promise of Mindfulness, Make Peace with Your Mind: How Mindfulness and Compassion Can Help Free You from the Inner Critic and Awake in the Wild: Mindfulness in Nature as a Path of Self-Discovery. 

Mark lives in Marin County, California and enjoys spending his free time hiking, biking and kayaking.

To draw inspiration from nature during times of ecological crisis is essential for a healthy inner sustainability. As we experience ourselves as part of the broader web of life, our lives gain new meaning and we can renew the sense of enchantment and connection with life as well as a deeper motivation to engage.

Following ancient traditions that value the transformative power of nature, we will seek refuge in the beauty, stillness and silence of the natural world in the breathtaking Italian Alps, in Ostana province. In this silent, nourishing retreat we will utilize sensory awareness practices drawn from the Buddhist tradition, that help deepen a receptivity to the wisdom of nature and the perennial truths that can be found there.

Practicing with mindfulness outdoors helps awaken our sensitivity to our inner and outer world, open our appreciation of nature as a profound teacher, and invites a wakefulness to every moment. Every activity, from meditation to hiking and sitting around the campfire is an opportunity to deepen awareness.You will discover how meditative time outdoors leads to beautiful states of joy, peace, wonder, love and connection with oneself, each other and the larger web of life.

Suitable for beginning and experienced meditators from all traditions.

Mark Coleman

Author, From Suffering to Peace




Regenerative Design Talk: Mindfulness and Innovation for regenerative community resilience

approx. date July 25, 2021

With: Mark Coleman (see bio above)

Tobias Luthe, PhD, is Founding Director of the MonViso Institute. He is specifically interested in the “overlays” and boundaries between systems. In nature, diversity is greatest where systems meet – similarly, he likes to explore the innovation potential between science disciplines, design, engineering, practice– because complex (sustainability) challenges require timely and evolving “neuronal” approaches, with regenerative design. Tobias is a mountaineering guide and adventurer, loves photography and co-founded Grown, an outdoor creativity lab designing eco skis and offering design thinking mountaineering trips. He is professor for systemic regenerative design at The Oslo School of Architecture and Design (Norway), visiting professor at Politecnico Torino (IT), senior research scientist and lecturer at the Institute for Spatial Development and Landscape Planning at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich (Switzerland), and visiting professor at the University of Freiburg (D). Personal website: www.tobiasluthe.de

Haley Fitzpatrick, Architect, raised on a rural farm in Ohio (USA), Haley’s respect and curiosity for the natural world has been lifelong. She is passionate about the realms of landscape architecture, systemic design, geography and ancient cultures with the belief that multi-scalar, interdisciplinary design will better our relationship with nature. Since her graduate school studies at the University of Texas at Austin, she has been captivated with big systems in wild places, from her research on Mayan urbanism in the Yucatan to the relationship between tourism and the built environment in Iceland. Currently, Haley works as an architect at Renzo Piano Building Workshop. In her spare time, she collaborates with MVI to develop tools to measure, understand and express the layered identities of mountain communities, in order to help foster resilient alpine urbanism. When not designing, you can find Haley collecting “data” on mountains by enjoying the spectacular hiking trails, rifugi, and ski slopes that the Italian Alps have to offer.

Experiment with future solutions – between people, technology and nature

The MonViso Institute in Piedmont, Italy

A real world laboratory for research, education, entrepreneurship and new lifestyles on sustainability and regenerative design in the Italian Piedmont Mountains

The world around us is changing rapidly – the climate, the economy, our way of working and living – everything is becoming more variable, faster, less controllable. The weather is becoming more unpredictable, the winters milder, the politics more populist, the economy is thinking more regionally. We humans are part of the changes; we are both directly affected, but also responsible. The rapid changes in the human-environment system have both negative and positive effects. With opportunities for conscious design.

As part of our annual program on the diverse topics of sustainable development and regenerative design, nature sports, building and handcrafts, MVI will become a new experience and learning center for mindfulness in and with nature in an atmosphere of traditional culture in July 2021. Together with people who are reinventing their village and region, we offer a special day for the exchange of consciously designed innovation processes in complex human-nature systems with our “Monviso Regenerative Design Talks” format.

For half a day, we invite all course participants to the public “Regenerative Design Talk (RDT)”, organized by the MonViso Institute. The RDT are a series of discussions on systemic innovation and regenerative design in mountain areas and beyond. It is about the connection between local identity, global change with local effects, technical and social innovation, nature and culture, and regional resilience. This RDT focuses on the topic of “careful handling of changes”. The mindfulness trainers of the weekly courses, in dialogue with local residents, investigate how necessary innovation on site can also be implemented with influence from outside. Everyone is invited to contribute.

Monte Viso – Timeout Trekking: A Hike through Mindfulness and Nature

approx. dates July 26-30, 2021



Philip-Alexander Svobodnik, Vienna,

Moment by moment – Experience Team, Systemic Adventure Pedagogue, Outdoor Guide, TrekkingGuide i.A.

Where could it be easier to adopt the mindfulness attitude than in nature. In nature we relax and calm down and the more we let it affect us, the more attentive we become.

Mindfulness & movement in nature enrich and accompany me my whole life. As a leader of learning and experience journeys with a systemic orientation, I consider myself a companion of people on their journey of discovery, both inside and outside. Through self-awareness in nature, I want to inspire people to a conscious and fulfilled life.

What awaits you:

In this timeout trek we consciously take a break from our everyday lives. During a hike lasting several days we come into the here and now, decelerate and (re)connect with ourselves and nature. Supported by meditation, systemic exercises and the liveliness of nature, we can take in new perspectives and draw strength and inspiration to get closer to our personal goals.

Tour description:

In the beautiful Cottian Alps in Piedmont – Italy, we will circle Monte Viso during a 4-day hike including overnight stays in various huts. With its peak at 3.841m asl, it is the highest and most impressive mountain of the Southern Alps. Freestanding and over 500 meters higher than its neighbors, Monte Viso is visible from Corsica, Tuscany and even in the far away Southern Tyrolian Alps. Its shape became the basis for the Paramount logo, which is known from so many movies. On the circular hike around Monte Viso, we get to know the different faces of this mountain and the varied landscapes in which it is embedded. We will explore boulder fields that bear witness to huge landslides, meditate on deep blue mountain lakes and hike through Swiss stone pine forests with trees up to 600 years old.

Giro del Viso (2.950 m) circumnavigation of Monte Viso

ascent 2,100 m, descent 2,100 m, 4 days, route length: 35 km 

Highest point:

Colle delle Traversette: 2,950 m

Difficulty / requirement:

The paths are easy to walk, but a minimum of surefootedness and sufficient physical condition are required. Due to the altitude, experience in alpine terrain is required.

For whom:

Sportingly adults and young people who are looking for new ways to live. People who want to take a break to get inspired. People who enjoy participating in group dynamic processes.  

Key words: nature experience, self-awareness, perception training, awareness training, inspiration

Courses postponed to July 2021 – pre-register here

New course program “Mindfulness and Compassion in Nature”

With this new course program in mindfulness and compassion, the MonViso Institute teamed up with leading trainers, teachers and organizations to offer a program in mindfulness and compassion that is tailored to landscape, spirit, energy and culture of this place, which is strongly related to powerful mountain nature, the Occitan-Italian culture, and regenerative design.

Full of positive energy and with a great team of passionate people, we developed this enriching course program, originally to be offered in July 2020, at and around the beautiful campus of the MonViso Institute in Ostana, Italy.

Given the current global health situation, and only after carefully considering the situation, we decided to postpone this program for one year to July 2021. This was a very difficult step, but the only responsible and realistic decision we could take at this point.

We thus invite you to already pre-register now your interest in the July 2021 course program, so we can reserve your space and transfer the current spirit to the following summer.

We will keep you informed. Please check back here, follow us on Instagram or sign up for our newsletter.

Select one or multiple courses to pre-register