Permaculture Design Certification: Part 1

  • Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm
  • 14651 Ballantree Lane, Grass Valley, CA, 95949, USA
  • Apr 15 - 20, 2019 (6 days)
  • Tent - Bring Your Own - $750.00 Tent - Ashram Provided - $825.00 Om Cabin - Shared - $825.00 Om Cabin - Private - $1,150.00 Siva Cabin - Shared - $1,100.00 Siva Cabin - Private - $1,350.00 Deluxe Shanti Cabin - Shared - $1,100.00 Deluxe Shanti Cabi

About This Event


IMPORTANT NOTE: This is a two-part Permaculture Design Course.  You must attend both to receive your Permaculture Design Certificate. Register for Part 2 here.

The 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.

Course Content


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-part Permaculture Design Course.  You must attend both to receive your Permaculture Design Certificate. This provides you with time in between to study, apply what you learned, and work on your homework (final design projects).

PART 1 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.

PART 2 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.


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


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.

Arrival and Departure

Arrival: Check-in time begins at 2AM on the first date listed above. The course will begin with an orientation 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

Slip on shoes, waterproof work boots, work gloves, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, bug repellent (we recommend organic or essential oil based bug sprays), loose comfortable and durable clothing, writing materials, meditation shawl or blanket, yoga mat, flashlight.

Students will be provided with supplemental reading material in digital form as well as a recommended reading list.

Additional books and materials are available in our boutique.


Do I have to complete parts 1 & 2 in the same year?

Yes. You need special permission from the course instructors to complete the course in two separate years. We understand that there may be life circumstances or emergencies, however, we still don’t recommend doing this for a few reasons. For one, there is no guarantee that part 2 of the course will be offered in the second year you want to take it, since it depends on the number of students that register. Secondly, you might find it difficult to retain the information you gained from part 1 and also working on your design project when taking a year or more in between. Finally, it is possible that the curriculum could change, which would potentially leave gaps or have repeat lessons.

Having a two-part course is actually a unique offering that students appreciate. It gives you time to take a break from the intensive course, allows more study time and plenty of time to work on required design projects.Design project work is often squeezed into other intensive two-week PDC’s on top of 7-8 hours of daily class time.

Are meals included in the course? 

Yes. Two high quality organic vegetarian meals are provided daily. It is served buffet style, so you are welcome to take a little extra for an afternoon snack. You are also welcome to bring your own snacks, but please follow the Ashram dietary guidelines. We have a shared student fridge available for storing food. Our boutique sells various vegan, gluten-free, organic and/or fair-trade snacks and beverages.

Can you accommodate special diet needs or food allergies?

We follow a strict yogic lacto-vegetarian diet at the Ashram. We never serve eggs, garlic, onion, mushrooms or meat. Dairy ((contact info blocked) milk, cheese or yogurt) is served separately on occasion and is sometimes included in our dishes. Our meals always have vegan options (including a salad bar). We usually have wheat-free options as well, but we cannot guarantee suitable conditions for severe gluten intolerance or people with celiac disease. We cannot guarantee suitable meals for people with dietary restrictions, extreme food or nut allergies, although we rarely use nuts in our cooking.

Can I commute to the course?

We recommend staying at the ashram to gain the full experience and immersion in Yoga life, however, we understand it is not always possible for people. Please email us at (contact info blocked) to ask for permission to commute. If approved, commuters are still asked to attend both morning and evening Satsang and one yoga class per day.

Do you offer scholarships and/or work trade?

Scholarships are not always available but sometimes discounts are offered on a case-by-case basis, contingent upon approval from the course instructors and the directors of the Ashram. Email (contact info blocked) with your reason for requesting a scholarship. We may ask for supporting financial documents and references.

We do not offer “word-trade” per se, but if you are interested in serving at the Yoga Farm you can fill out the Seva Study or Karma Yoga application. You can specify that you are interested in the Permaculture Design Course on the application. You may still be responsible for course tuition even if you are a volunteer. We recommend putting down your deposit for the PDC to secure your spot.

Have more questions?

Email us at (contact info blocked) or call us at (contact info blocked).


My Experience: I loved TTC. Every part of it. Really. I was always marveling at how seamless and spacious it all felt even in the midst of a tighter schedule. And then I remembered where the teachings came from. The staff at the ashram were all so supportive and kind. The teachers amazing and just breathed what they taught/teach. I felt nourished physically, mentally and spiritually from arrival through departure and it stays with me. I think some of the effect on me is trust. Deeper faith and trust in God which I practice through Sivananda yoga. I feel more relaxed, peaceful and often able to stay in the moment. TTC did change my life on many levels. An obvious change has been that I have let go of teaching Vinyasa and other asana practices and focused on teaching Sivananda. I had been worried if people would appreciate it here in Fairfield county but they do and who was I to doubt. And I don’t have to come up with sequences and playlists so I can spend more time sitting, breathing etc. My Advice to future students: Take it easy and breathe, do your homework, pay attention in lectures etc, trust the teachers when they say it’s all ok. Remember this is your guide, your friend and don’t take any one thing too seriously. Dance with it all and laugh. Enjoy it it passes way too soon.


Venue Highlights

Open to guests year round, the Yoga Farm welcomes people from around the world and provides a peaceful setting in which to find a way back to a holistic lifestyle in harmony with nature. Additionally, our guests testify to the effect of a sense of stress relief and moreover they feel an improved physical, emotional, and spiritual health. You can join for a day, a week, or longer.

06:00am Satsang (Meditation, Chanting, Lecture, or Silent Walk)
08:00am Asanas and Pranayama (All-Lervels Yoga Class)
10:00am Organic Vegetarian Brunch
11:00am Karma Yoga (Selfless Service)
04:00pm Asanas and Pranayama (All-Lervels Yoga Class)
06:00pm Organic Vegetarian Dinner
08:00pm Satsang (Meditation, Kirtan chanting and Lecture)
To keep up the spiritual atmosphere of the Ashram, the participation in the morning and evening meditation and one Asana class daily are mandatory. Programs are subject to change or cancellation.


The Yoga Farm accommodations are separate cabins that are nestled under trees with beautiful surroundings. If you would like to register, please click on the links below and it will bring you to the Yoga Vaction registration page for the accommodations of your choice. The rates below include daily Satsangs, organic vegetarian meals, Hatha Yoga classes and access to ashram facilities. Learn more by checking out our Guest Information page. Special courses and events have an additional tuition rate. You can check our Program Calendar for a full listing of events. We also welcome day guests, but please let us know ahead that you are coming. There is a holiday surcharge during Easter, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year.

Deluxe Shanti Cabins
These extremely comfortable and spacious cabins are tastefully furnished and decorated. Watch the deer wander by from the front porch with sun shade. For your comfort, an air conditioner, propane heater and ceiling fan are provided; furnishings include a desk/table and chairs, dresser/wardrobe and a sitting area. A small refrigerator, dishes and cutlery are provided.

Om Cabins
Our original Om Cabins are placed in a peaceful and tranquil setting, on a gentle hillside overlooking the pond and surrounded by the natural beauty of the Ashram. Each cabin is named for a different virtue, such as happiness or contentment. Each cabin is furnished with a dresser, desk, night stand, ceiling fan and propane heater.

Guests may bring their own tent or rent out an ashram tent and camp on the land. Sleep closer to nature in the fresh, open air. There are deck platforms designated for tenting.


  • Free Wifi
  • Towels
  • Free Parking
  • Coffee/Tea
  • Yoga Studio

Menu Types

  • Vegan
  • Vegetarian
  • Ayurvedic
  • Organic
  • Gluten Free
  • Dairy Free
  • Nut Free


Eating a plant-based diet has been conclusively shown to be good for health and well-being. Furthermore, it is detoxifying and nutritive at the same time. In addition, the meals are freshly prepared with love and care by dedicated karma yogis. Also, the ashram uses mostly organic, locally produced fruits and vegetables.

The buffet meals offered are lacto-vegetarian. We also have a permaculture vegetable garden and grow some of our own food and flowers.

Please note that meat, fish, alcohol, tobacco, coffee, black tea, and eggs are not served in the ashram.

The meals are offered at 10:00 am and 6:00 pm with a small fruit snack served in the afternoon. Additional snacks are available in the boutique if needed.

In case you have any special dietary restrictions please mention so on your application form and we will do our best to accommodate you.


The Ashram is situated near highway 49 between Auburn and Grass Valley, just one hour from Sacramento and three hours (without traffic) from San Francisco and is easily accessible by car or by Amtrak (train and bus).

By Air to San Francisco:
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 (contact info blocked) 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.

By Air to Sacramento airport:
Public Transit – We recommend that you take (contact info blocked) 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.

By Car:
From I-80 exit in Auburn and onto Hwy. 49 North towards Grass Valley. Go 11 miles to Wolf Road (traffic signal light) and turn Left. (note that right side of the intersection is Combie Rd.) Go 1.8 miles and turn right onto Duggans Rd. Go 2 miles to the end of the road and turn left on Lime Kiln Rd. Go 2.4 miles – (the road becomes McCourtney Rd.) (continue straight). Continue 1.2 miles and turn left on Ballantree Lane. (You will note an Adopt-a-Highway sign 1 mile ahead of the turn that the “Yoga Farm removes litter”) Go 0.9 miles to the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm driveway and turn left (It is marked by a big sign.) Please drive 10 MPH ONLY on Ballantree Lane.

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