Who can teach Koru Mindfulness?

The Center for Koru Mindfulness offers a certification program for those who wish to teach the Koru Mindfulness curriculum. Anyone who wishes to teach Koru Mindfulness and meets the pre-requisites may apply to the program.

Is there a list of teachers and locations?

Yes! You can see a list of our teachers (both certified and in training) and their locations in our teacher directory.

What is Koru Mindfulness?

Koru is a mindfulness curriculum designed specifically to target the developmental needs and interests of young adults. Koru was developed at the student counseling center at Duke University where it has become a very popular program. Koru has been empirically tested in a randomized, controlled trial and found to have significant benefits on sleep, perceived stress, mindfulness, and self-compassion.

The full Koru Mindfulness curriculum has three components: Koru Basic, the introductory course; Koru 2.0, the advanced class; and Koru Retreat, a half-day mindfulness retreat. Koru Basic consists of four, 75-minute classes and is described in detail in the book, Mindfulness for the Next Generation: Helping Emerging Adults Manage Stress and Lead Healthier Lives (Oxford University Press, 2012).

Why is the program called “Koru”?

“Koru” is the New Zealand Māori word for the spiral shape of the unfurling fern frond. The word literally means “looped” or “spiraled,” but the shape symbolizes harmony or balanced growth, representing layered growth around around a stable center. Holly lived and worked in New Zealand for two years, where she fell in love with the people, culture, and natural world. While there, she spent many hours in the bush (forest) where the koru are abundant. She chose the koru as the symbol for our program as it perfectly reflects the kind of growth that young adults experience as they begin to develop a mindfulness practice for themselves.

We are sensitive to concerns of cultural appropriation that can arise when using cultural practices or language from a culture different from one’s own. To address this we have sought advice from friends and colleagues in New Zealand, including individuals who identify as Māori. We have also consulted the Waitangi Tribunal Report, a document that explores Maori cultural claims and discusses the use of taonga (Māori cultural representations), and te reo Māori (the Māori language). The guidelines in the report indicate that concerns only arise if taonga are used in a derogatory manner. We have been advised that our use of the word “koru” is acceptable as it falls clearly into the non-derogatory category.

Cultural appropriation is particularly of concern when cultural representations are used without attributing and honoring the culture from which they come. For this reason, we always reference and honor the Māori roots of the word “koru” when we write or speak about our program.

How is Koru Mindfulness different from other mindfulness training programs?

Koru was designed specifically for young adults and differs from mindfulness programs developed for more general populations of adults in several ways.

  • Teaches mindfulness meditation as well as stress-management skills
  • A brief model to accommodate the busy schedules of young adults. Taught in four, weekly, 75-minute classes.
  • Highly structured with daily homework of a mindfulness log and 10 minutes mindfulness practice
  • Personal coaching paired with cutting-edge technology
  • Taught in small, diverse groups
  • Active teaching to address skepticism and build motivation
  • Stories and metaphors relevant to the lives of young adults


Emerging adults and young adults: What’s the difference?

Emerging adulthood is the name of the developmental stage that young adults are in. It lasts from about age 18 through age 29. So essentially, emerging adults are the same as young adults, just like adolescents are the same as teenagers. Young adulthood is an exciting time of life but it also involves lots of change and lots of stress. Mindfulness is a great tool for optimizing this period of growth.

What’s the difference between taking a Koru Basic Course, Koru Fundamentals, and becoming Certified?

Koru Basic is designed for emerging adults learning basics for mindfulness and meditation. It consists of a 4 week course, with a requirement of 10 minutes a day of daily mindfulness practice.

Koru Fundamentals is for those who want to learn more about Koru and are considering whether they would like to teach Koru and apply for certification. It meets the pre-requisite for a formal mindfulness course that one needs to enroll in our certification program. It is also useful though for anyone who is wanting to learn more about mindfulness, develop their practice, and learn the Koru curriculum. It is a 5 weeks course: 1 week teaches participants about Koru, how it was developed, who it is designed to reach, and reviews some of the research. 4 of the weeks follow the Koru Basic curriculum where participants will learn techniques and skills. Please note that completing the Koru Fundamentals course does not allow you to advertise as a Koru Mindfulness teacher. Koru Fundamentals is also a recommended prerequisite for our Teacher Certification.

Teacher Certification is a 1 year process designed to teach everything needed to know to effectively teach mindfulness to emerging adults using the Koru Mindfulness curriculum. Throughout the year, participants receive support and consultation from Koru faculty. Certified, licensed Koru teachers are listed in our teacher directory and have permission to use the trademarked Koru Logo in all of your training and advertising materials.

Does Koru Fundamentals “count” as the formal mindfulness training that is a prerequisite for becoming a Koru teacher?

Yes. Because Koru Fundamentals is taught by Koru trainers and has a more intense practice requirement, we will accept it as the formal training prerequisite for becoming a Koru teacher.

In general, participation in a 4 week Koru Basic class is not considered sufficient practice to become a Koru teacher.

What if I don’t finish my Teacher Certification portfolio within one year?

You will be able to extend your training period for 3 months at a time at a cost of $59.

How do you enroll in the teacher certification program?

The first step is ensuring you have met our prerequisite. If so, you must download and complete the application, then upload it here. For more details on these steps, please visit: How to Enroll.

What are the requirements for completing the certification portfolio?

  • Completion of a formal mindfulness-training program or similar experience with mindfulness training is required (we recommend Koru Fundamentals).
  • Participation in a 3-day or longer silent mindfulness meditation retreat, either prior to commencing certification or during the process, is required.
  • An ongoing personal practice, most days, for at least 6 months.
  • Experience teaching classes or facilitating groups is suggested.
  • Experience working with diverse populations or participation in diversity training experiences is strongly recommended.

For more details on these steps, please visit: Pre-Reqs.

Have more questions?

Feel free to send us a note!