For more than a century, Mohonk Mountain House has been providing "opportunities for recreation and renewal of body, mind, and spirit in a beautiful natural setting." We invite you to discover the many opportunities for mindfulness on our mountaintop. Since 1869, we have delighted in having our guests enjoy the remarkable benefits of nature in fact, you might say that we were ahead of the "forest bathing" trend!
Mindfulness - Outdoor Experiences That Create Inner Space
From the earliest days of Mohonk Mountain House, the opportunity to delight in nature has enriched our guests’ stays. The invitation to explore this spectacular setting and be inspired by the natural world is at the heart of the Mohonk Mountain House experience. As far back as 1869, founder Albert Smiley and his family led walks that guided guests along lakeside and mountain trails. Over the years, this tradition has continued, with naturalist Daniel Smiley, environmentalist Keith Smiley, and botanist Ruth Smiley, among others, leading the way.
Over time, our walks, hikes, and outdoor experiences have continued to evolve, as does Nature herself. Being centered within the natural world has always served as a touchstone for centering within - for accessing quietness, spaciousness, and clarity. The walks described below are a means of connecting today’s guests with both the inspiration of nature and with themselves.
The walks described below are a sampling of what you may find during your stay.
Mindfulness Walks with Our Staff Naturalist Michael Ridolfo
- Mindfulness Walk: The Way of our Ancestors: Learn how moving efficiently through the natural world helps to pattern our brains for expanded awareness and our bodies for balance, agility, and strength. Shifting from an urban or suburban gait to our ancestral gait makes us instantly quieter in the woods and enables a more intimate perspective into the natural world. Through this simple shift we are able to see more wildlife and discern more subtle patterns. In addition, we will learn to expand all of our senses to their fullest potential.
- Tracking: Reading the Stories in the Earth: We have been tracking as long as we’ve been human. It’s what we do. Some anthropologists and neuroscientists propose that tracking is what has allowed our brains to develop into the immensely complex logical and creative tools they are today. Our brain structure is wired for it—or in response to it. We’ll begin with some clear print identification and move into tracking of situations, moments in time, and even ourselves.
- Night Hike: Moving deftly and silently and tapping into our night vision, we'll be on the lookout for creatures and events of the night—owls, insects, coyotes, stars, and satellites. We'll tap into our deep sensory awareness to take in as much information as possible.
- A Mindfulness-in-Motion Walk with Dr. Nina Smiley: It may surprise you to learn that mindfulness meditation does not require a quiet setting, sitting down, or even closing your eyes. Practicing mindfulness is simply being present in the moment in a gentle, nonjudgmental way. There's no better place to begin a practice of being truly "present" than the magnificent natural setting of Mohonk Mountain House. Timeless cliffs, a crystal clear lake, and wooded trails invite you to embrace your senses. The term "forest bathing" has recently been used in Japanese writings and research to describe the sense of well-being that comes from being outdoors immersed in nature. At Mohonk Mountain House, we honor the intersection of nature and mindfulness with Mindfulness-in-Motion walks.
Scenic Hikes, Brisk Walks, and Energetic Excursions
- Led by our Activities Staff every morning and afternoon, these outings vary each day and offer an opportunity for you to enjoy the great outdoors, along with others. During the outing, be convivial or be quiet— the choice is yours.
Other Moments of Mindfulness
- Experience the mindfulness of hiking on miles of trails and carriageways with spectacular views.
- Explore the concept of "forest bathing" —simply focusing on the senses as you immerse yourself mindfully in nature and allow it to "bathe" you—reducing stress and restoring well-being.
- More than 600 rustic rocking chairs grace our balconies and porches—providing the perfect perch to enjoy our stunning setting.
- We offer complimentary meditation and yoga classes each day, for all levels of experience. Fitness classes including "Peace in the Pool" help you to relax and renew in no time at all.
- Take a brief mindfulness break for yourself with a Mindfulness at Mohonk Guided Meditation by picking up any House phone and dialing extension 2333. Nina will lead you through a simple meditation that will make a difference in your day.
- Take a photography walk and discover how calming it feels to have a mindful moment to center before you snap the shot- and another moment after to appreciate the image. You'll bring more than the photo back with you.