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 organic vegetarian meals are provided. Each day’s theme will include lecture, discussion, activities, and hands-on application. 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.

Permaculture lays out a path for how we can approach our world under the current socio-political and economic climate to re-integrate ourselves into the ecological web of life and cultivate relationships of mutual aid and reciprocity with one another. Sometimes the most direct way to challenge and alter the dominant systems that shape our lives is to directly approach how we create what we need and how we take care of one another.

This workshop will look beyond the ways we grow our food, access water, build shelter, and tend to ecology to see how permaculture can also guide us in relating with one another and building community as we reclaim our lives and translate personal healing into collective healing.

The course will start with an introduction to permaculture design methods for reweaving ourselves into the natural world symbiotically, and move toward applying the principles to permaculture communities, relationships, and the social realm. The course will explore how we make decisions together as well as methods for conflict resolution and restorative justice. We’ll also look at alternative economies, placemaking, and collaborative group dynamics for liberatory communities.


Course Content


  • 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


  • 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 spring and one in summer. 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 & Breathwork (Asana & Pranayama) 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.


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
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.

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 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.


  • Experience hands-on permaculture education in the beautiful, pristine Sierra Nevada foothills.
  • Connect with nature and the land. Enjoy nature walks on multiple nature trails, connect with multiple outdoor temples, a peace labyrinth, an animal sanctuary, orchards, greenhouse and garden.
  • Learn from highly skilled, renowned and experienced permaculture teachers from the Regenative Design Institute.
  • Learn how to apply Yoga and Permaculture in symbiosis to build inner and outer resilience.
  • Participate in daily Yoga Asana, Pranayama (breathwork), Meditation, Chanting, and Spiritual Discourse.
  • Enjoy two ayurvedically prepared, organic vegetarian buffet meals a day.

Living Conditions.


  • shared rooms
  • private room
  • tent camping

Vegetarian Food

  • communal kitchen access
  • communally cooked meals


  • fast: streaming video

Ongoing classes

  • breathwork
  • meditation
  • yoga
  • permaculture

Getting here.

Public Transport – Take BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) from SFO to Richmond station. BART is at SFO, is marked well, but you can also ask at information and they will easily guide you. Trains run every ten or fifteen minutes or so depending upon the time. This is about $7, purchase a ticket at the station. In Richmond exchange to Amtrak for ongoing travel to Auburn station. They are both in the same station, BART is upstairs and Amtrak down. Go to Amtrak.com to book, there you will see service that is mostly connecting. Part of your travel to Auburn will be train, some bus. Give yourself at least 60-90 minutes between arrival at SFO and departure from Richmond. Please contact us to tell us your planned arrival time at Auburn, we will add you to our pickup list. If you are delayed on your day of travel, Amtrak will honor your ticket for the next train. Please call us to advise and we will adjust accordingly.

Public Transit – We recommend that you take Amtrak.com train or bus service from Sacramento to Auburn station and we will have one of our staff pick you up in Auburn to transport you to the Yoga Farm. From Sacramento Airport you may take either YOLO bus (approximate cost $2.25 but will require a walk of 6-7 blocks) or Supershuttle (approximate cost $15 direct) to the Amtrak station in Sacramento and transfer there (Amtrak fare is ~$16 each way). Please stop at the information booth at the Sacramento airport after arrival to inquire the options for this leg of your travel. PLEASE NOTE that Amtrak offers bus service from Sacramento to Auburn. Although the schedule is shown on the Amtrak website it is not possible to purchase tickets online for bus travel. For this you will need to arrive at the Sacramento Amtrak station with a few minutes early and purchase the ticket there. Please contact us at least one day ahead of your travel and advise your plans so that we may arrange to meet you when you arrive in Auburn. Supershuttle – is also available if you would like a direct ride to the ashram or to Auburn


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