Permaculture Weekend: Ayurvedic Herbs in the Garden

Taught by Spencer NielsenFriday, June 1 – Sunday, June 3, 2018Tuition : $100.00












In this weekend workshop we will dive into the realm of healing plants, exploring plants as food and medicine from the perspective of Ayurveda.  With a basic introduction to Ayurveda (some knowledge is helpful), we will take an Ayurvedic perspective on Permaculture with a specific focus on agroforestry and plant guilds.  Lecture time will be balanced with garden time: planting, tending, and harvesting herbs.  We will explore the parallel roles of plants of nourishing humans and Nature, from soil-building to pollinator-offering and ecosystem restoration.  Attention will be given to Ayurvedic constitutions and appropriate foods, herbs, and spices for seasonal health and vitality.  Tips on how to balance doshas with plants will be offered.  

We will sample teas and practice meditation and mantra in the garden.  Attention will be given to the gunas as it relates to garden design and tending as well as our way of being in the garden.  The intention is to support individuals in creating not only sattvic states of body and mind, but also creating sattvic gardens as sanctuaries.  If we can grow our own food and medicine while offering our prana to it as well as wildlife and human visitors, then we can create opportunities for healing inside and out.  In this case, Ayurveda as “the knowledge of life” is being applied to healing ourselves as well as landscapes and cultures.  The impact is local and global, as we regenerate both ecosystems and ‘ego-systems.’  

Topics covered:

  • Doshas as climates and microclimates with herbs to grow and use in each to balance our gardens and ourselves
  • Permaculture design for perennial polycultures through an Ayurvedic perspective
  • Guild functions for whole systems design
  • Herbal energetics: rasa (taste), virya (heating/cooling action), vipak (post-digestive effect), prabhav (special potency)
  • Dhatus and botanical associations, with herbs per dhatu
  • Koshas and prana vayus applied to permaculture design

Suggested Reading:

  • Yoga of Herbs, Frawley & Lad
  • Life in the Medicine, Gardner
  • Gaia’s Garden, Hemenway

Daily Schedule

6-8am................ Satsang: Silent meditation, chanting and lecture
8-10am.............. Yoga Class
10am................. Brunch
11-1pm............. Permaculture Theory
2-6pm............... Permaculture Practice
6pm................... Dinner
8-10pm............. Satsang: meditation, chanting and lecture

6-8am................ Satsang: Silent meditation, chanting and lecture
8-10am.............. Yoga Class
10am................. Brunch
11-3pm.............. Permaculture Theory & Practice


There are no prerequisites other than a sincere desire to learn.

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.

We encourage you to arrive by 4pm on Day 1, making the most out of the afternoon by joining us for the Asana class and dinner. You are always welcome and encouraged to extend your stay to any length before or after the course. Please indicate your desired arrival and departure dates on your registration form.

What to Bring

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.

Accommodation Prices and Photos

Tenting: $50/night

Om Cabins
 - Dorm: $65/night per person
 - Double: $85/night per person
 - Single: $130/night

Siva Cabins
 - 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%

Click here for detailed information on accommodations

Spencer Nielsen

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.