Most Zen Schools

In case you hadn’t heard, college can get stressful. But between guided meditation, farming and picturesque campuses surrounded by nature, students at these schools are more than well equipped to confront those finals (if they even have grades at all!). Check out our list of best schools for yogis in the making.

10. COLORADO COLLEGE (Colorado Springs, Colorado)

This picture-perfect campus is located in the Pikes Peak mountain region, and encourages students to use the outdoors to contemplate and discuss the issues that matter most to them. The Wellness Resource Center has an impressive holistic approach to health, and is dedicated to intellectual, socio-cultural, emotional, physical wellness and more! It offers plenty of stress management workshops, so that students can feel and do their best all year long. As for residence halls, they are "oases" to retire to, and the plentiful on-campus eateries promise the option of enjoying a meal made with all-natural ingredients.

9. ECKERD COLLEGE (St. Petersburg, Florida)

Aside from its amazing waterfront location, this small liberal arts college promotes overall student health through fitness classes like yoga, pilates and tai chi, plentiful annual wellness education events and a financial incentive for students and faculty who register for local fitness events—think 5Ks and triathlons.

"We have a Reflective Service Learning course that focuses on yoga," says Julia, a junior at Eckerd. "Before any of the Service Learning events, the Director of Service Learning leads the group in meditation and yoga. Walk past South Beach and Kappa Field at sunset on any given day and you will see a handful of individuals becoming one with nature. Most students walk barefoot everywhere; in fact, we are classified as a barefoot campus! We are all proud of the zen vibe we give off and we truly embrace Eckerd's motto, 'Think Outside.'"

8. BOWDOIN COLLEGE (Brunswick, Maine)

Ranked #15 on Greatist's list of the 25 Healthiest Colleges in the U.S. in 2014, Bowdoin has some of the best dining hall food in the country. It's not surprising, considering many of the ingredients come from the school's very own student-initiated Organic Garden! The garden produces tons of vegetables and even maple syrup! Mmmmh.

There are also plenty of yoga classes to choose from, as well as free meditation and Qigong. The Wellness Center offers seminars, workshops and retreats for students to learn about acupuncture, massage, reflexology, Chinese Medicine and integrative medicine approaches to health and wellbeing. We feel more relaxed already.

7. UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON (Seattle, Washington)

So Huskies like to throw the word "mindfulness" around, in true Washington State fashion. The UW Mindfulness Project is a work in progress run by students, faculty and soon, yoga and mindfulness instructors, to promote holistic wellbeing on campus. But for the time being, students already have access to yoga and meditation classes, and the Yogis at UW club has a huge membership and a blog with yogi highlights, healthy recipes, mindful tips and more! Namaste.

6. HAMPSHIRE COLLEGE (Amherst, Massachusetts)

Hampshire academics are the definition of laid-back, with broad, personalized concentrations instead of majors and detailed, comprehensive narrative evaluations in place of traditional grades.  As for the spiritual life department, it goes way beyond religion, offering yoga and meditation workshops and an alternative health fair. The department also brings in health practitioners to speak to the student body. Finally, there are plenty of relaxing fitness activities to choose from, including yoga, Aikido, hiking and—wait for it—Japanese Zen archery. We could probably deal with that.

5. WARREN WILSON COLLEGE (Asheville, North Carolina)

Originally founded as a farming school, it’s no wonder Warren Wilson is so committed to healthy living! The student-run farm still operates today and makes a point of producing meat and vegetables through sustainable practices. The Wellness Program on campus offers activities like "yoga, vegetarian cooking, and workshops on topics such as herb identification, gender-specific health, healing arts, meditation and Earth skills," whatever that is. And in the Warren Wilson Wellness Apothecary, students can learn all about herbal healing practices. Sounds pretty zen to us!

4. LEWIS & CLARK COLLEGE (Portland, Oregon)

Lewis & Clark offers students the opportunity to apply for themed housing programs called Living-Learning Communities (or LLCs), including the Holistic Wellness LLC. This program encourages its students to develop a personal philosophy of holistic wellness through meditation, community service, exercise, proper nutrition, stress reduction and relationship building. And apparently, L&C's dining services were the first to commit to a whole bunch of sustainable food practices, such as reducing antibiotic use in farm animals and supporting local agriculture. Plus, the school gym offers pilates, meditation and yoga classes.

3. GREEN MOUNTAIN COLLEGE (Poultney, Vermont)

GMC takes wellness through meditation to whole new level. The campus labyrinth (yes, you read that right) "offers a space for prayer, meditation and centering." The chapel and meditation room host artwork inspired by many religions, ranging from Judaism to Taoism. It is furnished with chairs and meditation cushions, and equipped with a sound system and a collection of spiritual music and guided meditation CDs.

This eco-friendly campus also features a student-motivated farm and a meditation space and medicinal garden, where students can meditate in the midst of medicinal herbs and plants. The Wellness Center offers plenty of activities, like yoga, massage therapy and—surprise, surprise—guided meditation. And Green Mountain students are totally into it, participating in organizations such as Healers Club, a New Age spiritual group, and HERBAL Tribe, which aims to "educate the community about the health benefits of herbal remedies."


At UNM-Taos, students can basically minor in yoga and meditation, thanks to the Holistic Health and Healing Arts Certificate program. To become a yoga instructor, they can take a training course right on campus. And if their stress levels are still high, the Lobos have plenty of relaxing events to choose from on campus, which have previously included a Pre-Finals Blow Out, the Taos Sustainable Living Symposium and "Live Happy: Five Habits for Less Stress and More Fun" with author Ellen Wood.

1. UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT (Burlington, Vermont)

"Stress" isn't in UVM students' vocabulary. Between FREE drop-in meditation groups, yoga, pilates, Vinyasa classes and massages, finals will never get the best of the Catamounts. And if that wasn't enough, students and faculty can head over to the campus Relaxation Room between classes.

For those who want to take their passion for yoga one step further, UVM offers a yoga teacher training, and an annual yoga conference is held on campus. And because eating right is a big part of being healthy, Catamount Educational Farm sells organic produce from early June to mid-October. Staying healthy in college has never been easier!