Permaculture Courses

Care of People, Care of Earth, Share the Surplus

What is Permaculture?


Permaculture stands for permanent agriculture, or more simply, permanent culture. The term was coined by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in the 1970s. Permaculture is an ecological design science that compiles ancient indigenous knowledge with modern technology. Its foundation is the three ethics of care of people, care of earth, and share the surplus. It is a way to design communities, buildings, gardens and life based on patterns in nature. Permaculture guides us to live and design systems in a way that regenerate, rather than destroy, nature and our connection with each other.

A permaculture design course teaches you to engage in human and ecological communities in ethical and harmonious ways.

Permaculture Design Certification Course


A Permaculture Design Certification Course (PDC) is a 72-hour or more training that prepares the student on the path of regenerative, ecological design and leadership. It covers the foundations of permaculture ethics, principles, and design methods. The training experience offers students a formalized structure in learning to design regenerative solutions that address water scarcity, climate change, food production, sustainable infrastructure, renewable energy, social systems and more .

It is a great opportunity for those who are interested in environmental sciences, landscaping, farming, gardening, community building, and sustainability. Upon completion, students receive an internationally recognized certificate.

A PDC at the Sivananda Yoga Farm is not only inspiring, but is an opportunity for inner growth and transformation. The daily rhythm of the course will follow the Ashram’s daily schedule of morning and evening meditations, chanting and spiritual lectures. Yoga classes and two organic vegetarian meals are offered each day.

The course is a wonderful way to experience a classical Yoga lifestyle and to network with like-minded individuals.  The course also includes outdoor hands-on activities, which not all PDC’s offer.

PDC Course Content

The Permaculture design course will spend time in the garden.


  • Soil Science & Soil Food Web
  • Fertility management including Composting, Compost tea
  • Earthworks
  • Natural Building
  • Agroforestry and agriculture
  • Ayurvedic herbalism – growing and using medicinals
  • Bio-remediation
  • Carbon sequestration
  • Land access


  • Rainwater harvesting
  • Grey water design
  • Irrigation basics
  • Storing water in the landscape
  • Aquaculture
  • 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
In the Permaculture Design course we will learn how to grow vegetables sustainably.
In the Permaculture Design course we will learn about social permaculture and other topics.


  • 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)

Get Involved

The Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm seeks people interested in yoga who have practical skills in permaculture, gardening and landscaping for the ashram’s upkeep. If you are interested in volunteering with us, please read the full Karma Yoga or Seva Study page before filling out the application. Make sure to specify your skills and financial needs on the form.

We are committed to being in positive relationships with nature and community.

Hands-on Learning

In addition to the Permaculture Design Course (PDC), the Yoga Farm also offers several classroom and hands-on permaculture courses and workshops throughout the year. Students learn through participatory, experiential activities in our garden, greenhouse, orchards, lavender fields and woodlands.

On the first Sunday of each month, Permaculture Service Days are offered as an opportunity for people to come experience the Ashram schedule, learn through hands-on service on the land, and join a free 1-hour permaculture workshop.


Upcoming Dates

Dates Program Name Price see more... Register
February 3, 2019 Permaculture Service Day
February 8 - 10, 2019 Permaculture Weekend: Ayurvedic Agroforestry $200.00
March 3, 2019 Permaculture Service Day
March 29 - 31, 2019 Permaculture and Gardening Weekend $170.00
April 7, 2019 Permaculture Service Day
April 15 - 20, 2019 Permaculture Design Certification: Part 1 $750.00
April 20, 2019 Earth Day Celebration $10.00
May 12, 2019 Permaculture Service Day
June 6 - 13, 2019 Permaculture Design Certification: Part 2 $1,050.00
June 9, 2019 Permaculture Service Day
July 7, 2019 Permaculture Service Day
August 4, 2019 Permaculture Service Day
September 8, 2019 Permaculture Service Day
October 6, 2019 Permaculture Service Day
November 3, 2019 Permaculture Service Day
November 22 - 24, 2019 Permaculture Weekend: Social Permaculture and Community Building $160.00
December 8, 2019 Permaculture Service Day


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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…

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Colin Eldridge (Krishna Das)

Krishna Das teaches and helps coordinate Yoga and Permaculture programs at the Sivananda Yoga Farm. He has been studying and practicing both Yoga and Permaculture since 2011. He has a BA in Environmental Studies, Education and Applied Art/Design from Hampshire College. He completed a Permaculture Design Certificate, 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training, Gentle Yoga Teacher Training and Trauma Sensitive Yoga Course at the Sivananda Yoga Farm. He has been teaching, designing and consulting ever since. Krishna Das enjoys sharing teachings on design, principles, ethics, medicinal plants, edible forestry, ecology, and sacred regenerative knowledge. He teaches participatory and interactive workshops around topics such as Yoga, permaculture, art, social justice,…

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Lydia Neilsen

Through her business Rehydrate 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 to Rehydrate 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…

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Ryan Rising

Ryan Rising is a community organizer and permaculture educator based out of the San Francisco Bay Area. After organizing Pushing Through the Pavement: a Permaculture Action Tour with The Polish Ambassador in the Fall of 2014, Ryan co-founded the Permaculture Action Network and has worked with festivals and artists like Lightning in a Bottle, Rising Appalachia, Burning Man, and Beats Antique to mobilize concert-goers and festival attendees to install permaculture systems and create community spaces that move us further on the transition to a just and regenerative world. www.PermacultureAction.org  

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Dwayne View

Dwayne received his Horticulture Degree in 1996 and recently received his SmartScape and Qualified Green Gardener certification to further his plant knowledge. If you have a plant related question, Dwayne is your guy!

Check out our Permaculture Blog


Our Sivananda Yoga Farm Permaculture Blog has more information, updates, transcripts, videos, and articles.

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