This course will follow the structure and content of internationally-recognized PDC's, while adding principles and practices of Yoga and Ayurveda. We will look to the roots of permaculture with Bill Mollison and David Holmgren as well as the application and influence it has had around the world.
The daily rhythm will include participation in the ashram's meditation, chanting, & satsang, as well as pranayama & asana sessions. Two sattvic meals are provided, between which we will cover theory and practice of permaculture. Each day's theme will include lecture, discussion, activities, and hands-on application to digest the content in a dynamic way. We will use the wild lands, fruit/nut orchards, gardens, and greenhouse as our classroom. The container of the ashram will provide it's own education - learning to live in harmony with the daily rhythm of the land and the community. Yoga and Ayurveda will be explored in the context of holistic, regenerative living and will also provide frameworks for exploring permaculture in a Vedic way, such as through the five elements.
- Soil Science & Soil Food Web
- Fertility management including Composting, Compost tea
- Natural Building
- Agroforestry and agriculture
- Ayurvedic herbalism - growing and using medicinals
- Carbon sequestration
- Land access
- Rainwater harvesting
- Grey water design
- Irrigation basics
- Storing water in the landscape
- Alternative currencies
- Renewable Energy
- Appropriate Technology
- Fire ecology
- Ayurvedic diet and cooking
- Animals in the landscape
- Site Analysis & Self Analysis (Ayurvedic Doshas, constitution)
- Reading the landscape
- Climatic strategies (Ayurvedic concepts of Desha, land)
- Creating and working with microclimates
- Mapping and map reading
- History of Permaculture and it's roots in traditional cultures worldwide
- Permaculture Ethics & Yoga Ethics: Yama & Niyama
- Permaculture Principles
- Design strategies and Ayurvedic elemental design
- Social permaculture
- Community organizing and governance
- Urban permaculture
- International applications & opportunities
- Permaculture connection to Yoga, Ayurveda, Vastu, Jyotish (Vedic Astrology)
This is a two week Permaculture Design Course - one week in fall and one in spring. You must attend both to receive your Permaculture Design Certificate.
WEEK ONE will focus on the context of permaculture along with it's foundations of principles and patterns. We will dive into core subjects such as soil, water, plants, and the basics of design. Students are expected to do some work/study in between courses and will present a final design project at the end of second week (in spring) - also a requisite for graduation.
WEEK TWO will focus on the wider application of permaculture to various climates, social permaculture and community governance. Infrastructure such as natural building and renewable energy will be taught alongside other "strategies for an alternative nation" (Mollison) such as land access and alternative economics. International and Vedic permaculture/agriculture will be explored as well. We will end with design presentations from students and a graduation ceremony.
Both weeks will include seasonally appropriate work on the farm to experience the rhythms of growing food and medicine.
06:00 - 08:00 am Satsang: Silent meditation, chanting and lecture
08:00 - 10:00 am Permaculture Class
10:00 - 10:45 am Brunch
11:00 - 04:00 pm Permaculture Class
04:00 - 06:00 pm Yoga Class
06:00 - 06:45 pm Dinner
08:00 - 10:00 pm Satsang: meditation, chanting and lecture
Arrival and Departure
Arrival: The course will begin at 7pm on the first Date of the course with an Ashram Orientation followed by Satsang at 8pm.
Departure: The course will conclude at 3pm on the Final date.
What to Bring
Students will be provided with supplemental reading material in digital form as well as a recommended reading list.
Other: slip on shoes, loose comfortable clothing, writing materials, meditation shawl or blanket, yoga mat, flashlight. All books and materials are available in our boutique.
- Dorm: $65/night per person
- Double: $85/night per person
- Single: $130/night
- Double: $120/night per person
- Single: $170/night
Deluxe Shanti Cabins
- Triple: $120/night per person
- Double: $160/night per person
- Single: $240/night
- Family of two: $280/night per family
- Family of three: $320/night per family
Accommodation Discounts: Seniors (60+) 10% & Students 10%
The core instructors have been in collaboration for a decade. They each design ecological gardens and teach permaculture together at the Regenerative Design Institute in Bolinas, CA.
Spencer Nielsen is a guide to Nature inside and out, in the wild lands, gardens, and consciousness. He is a permaculture designer and educator based in Fairfax, California. He has studied Ecology, Environmental Education, and Eco-Social Design, as well as Permaculture, Yoga, Qigong, Ayurveda, Daoist medicine, and Planetary Herbalism. With over a decade of experience farming, landscaping, and gardening, Spencer currently teaches permaculture at the Regenerative Design Institute in Bolinas. He is a perennial student of herbalism and Ayurveda, currently with the East-West School of Herbology and the American Institute of Vedic Studies. Spencer has worked on international projects helping to design farms and gardens in India, Myanmar, and Indonesia. Yoga is foundational to his life path which includes guiding nature connection, ancestral skills, wilderness rites of passage, and sharing yoga and qigong along with Vedic and Daoist herbal wisdom. A lover of life, Spencer maximizes his time at his half-acre homestead, where he tends his garden and enjoys drinking tea and playing music.
Through her businessRehydrate the Earth, Lydia Neilsen
works on a practical and consciousness-based level to teach and
implement techniques for ecosystem revitalization. Lydia educates
individuals and communities in the creation of stunning regenerative
designs including do-it-yourself scale earthworks for water
infiltration, productive water conserving polyculture landscapes, soil
building, greywater and other Earth healing strategies. She listens to
the land and its inhabitants to facilitate the creation of vibrant,
energetically alive, functionally beautiful habitats.
In addition toRehydrate the Earth, Lydia teaches as part of
several Bay Area Permaculture Design Courses and is a certified
Permaculture Educator through the Permaculture Institute of North
America (PINA). Lydia is a lead teacher and the program manager
for the Regenerative Design Institute (RDI) Four Seasons
Permaculture Design Course at Commonweal Garden in Bolinas.
Colin Eldridge (Krishna Das)
Colin has been a Permaculture enthusiast and advocate since 2011. He enjoys sharing teachings on design, principles, ethics, medicinal plants, edible forestry, ecology, and sacred regenerative knowledge. His goal is to spread seeds of awareness and inspiration for people to bring collective healing to each other and the planet. He completed a Permaculture Design Certificate, 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training, and Gentle Yoga Teaching Training at the Sivananda Yoga Farm and has been teaching and designing ever since.