Kris August

Celebrating the Interconnectedness of Life

Self-Care Through the Cycles of Nature: Creating Your Own Personal Habitat - Course Details

A 9-month online interactive course for caregivers of all kinds who find nourishment in nature!

Next offering: September 2024 - May 2025

Over a period of nine months, we will move through the seasons, considering their natural influences on our activities and self-care needs. This course will introduce many ways of nurturing yourself and those around you, and its relaxed timetable will allow you to pick and choose what works for you and your lifestyle. Participants will be supported in building personal habits of gentle self-care following the natural cycles of life, which include not only hard work and physical exercise, but also rest, healing, celebration, community, remembrance and gratitude.

Throughout this course, a variety of learning techniques are used to engage all the senses and enhance
curiosity and wonder. This helps to awaken mindfulness and awareness of the world around you while keeping things fun and interesting!

The open community model allows for discussions and friendships to grow naturally.

This course includes:

  • Video and written material for each module along with journaling questions, and at-home activities that help bring the subject to life. Journal responses are optional and can be posted for group discussion or sent privately to the instructor.

  • A care package mailed at the beginning of the course contains gift packets that correspond to each month and provide additional sensory and experiential connections to the topics including a monthly herbal tea sample and an extra little something.

  • An online community that provides a space for ongoing discussions and connection as well as sharing of resources, and nature observations continuing throughout the year.

  • Monthly Zoom calls to integrate the materials and welcome live discussions of the challenges and inspirations participants encounter throughout the course.

  • Weekly check-ins in the online community help bring the monthly topics to mind and give insight for putting them to use in your everyday world.
Every module you are encouraged to try adding something new to your routine or
habits. There is no pressure. Some things will be useful, others may not. Some will be familiar to you, some will be new. This is an opportunity to grow and learn in a supportive community.

Bring your curiosity!


Module Topics:

1.     September: Introduction and Overview
  • The Importance of Self-Care for Caregivers and Communities
  • Cycles of Nature - 8 Directions
  • Creating your Habitat with Gentle Habits
  • Core Routines of Nature Connection

     October: Southwest – Healing, Rest, and Recovery
  • Southwest Overview
  • Supporting Health and Wellness
  • Breathing and Body Scan
  • Timelessness
3.     November: West – Celebration and Story Catching
  • West Overview
  • Creating Space for Appreciation and Celebration
  • Catching the Stories of Others and Being Heard
  • Community Building
4.     December: Northwest – Honoring, Remembering, and Release
  • Northwest Overview
  • Moving through Grief
  • Compassionate Listening, Empathy, and Resilience
  • Meaningful and Supportive Gifts
5.     January: North – Sleeping and Dreaming
  • North Overview
  • Importance of Sleep
  • Reflection and Integration - Establishing goals that support personal values
  • Love and Forgiveness - Loving Kindness meditation
6.     February: Northeast – Mindfulness and Creativity
  • Northeast Overview
  • Mindfulness, Meditation, and Gratitude in Nature
  • Cycles of the Moon
  • Timeless Creativity
7.     March: East – Inspiration and Wonder
  • East Overview
  • Childlike Happiness
  • Herb Gardening—Nourishing Body and Spirit
  • Bird Language
8.     April: Southeast – Movement and Motivation
  • Southeast Overview
  • Playfulness, Energy, and Vitality
  • Removing Barriers to Forward Momentum
  • Orientation for the Day
9.     May: South – Positive Focus
  • South Overview
  • Setting the Stage for Focused Work and Accomplishment
  • Nature Journaling - artistic/experiential – follow your curiosity
  • Closing Intentions and Celebration of Accomplishments
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Our self-care needs change with the seasons and daily rhythms. Aspects and variations of these cycles or directions are found in many indigenous cultures that live closer to nature, including Native American, Celtic, and others. The natural cycles are also an integral part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda and other traditional medical systems. In addition to exploring these traditional cultures as an herbalist, Dr. August has spent several years studying Village Building and Nature Connection with the 8 Shields Institute founded by Jon Young, author of
Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature. The model of the 8 directions encompasses a universal connection to the natural cycles and is used in a welcoming way to include diverse cultural, religious, and social life experiences. This is a respectful, loving, and inclusive community.

Let yourself be nurtured by nature!


Kris August, DVM, GDVWHM (Western Herbal Medicine), CHPV (Hospice and Palliative Veterinarian)
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Dr. Kris August values compassionate care for animals, people, plants and our world, with a special focus on caring for the caregiver. We cannot help others unless we continue to care for ourselves. She is currently a student of tai chi and qigong and practices nature meditation. Dr. August enjoys bringing a holistic approach to learning through sharing her passions with others and has taught in a variety of capacities from Waldorf-inspired playgroups to Tae Kwon Do, to teaching veterinarians and veterinary students in herbal medicine, animal hospice, and self-care topics.
Dr. Kris August received her DVM from Colorado State University in 1991 and earned a Graduate Diploma of Veterinary Western Herbal Medicine (GDVWHM) through the College of Integrative Veterinary Therapies (CIVT). She is a Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Veterinarian (CHPV) through the International Association of Animal Hospice and Palliative Care (IAAHPC) as well as a contributor to the certification program, a co-author of the IAAHPC Animal Hospice and Palliative Care Guidelines (2013) and the textbook Hospice and Palliative Care for Companion Animals: Principles and Practice (2017, 2022). Dr. August has had an integrative veterinary housecall practice in Ames, Iowa since 2005 with a primary focus on geriatric and end of life care, and herbal medicine. Dr. August also lectures and writes on topics concerning end of life care, herbal medicine and “caring for the caregiver”.