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Introduction to Practical Permaculture
with Michael Judd, Lindsay Napolitano & Johann A. Rinkens

Friday, June 5 - Friday, June 12

Introduction to Practical Permaculture at the Sivananda Yoga Ranch


Michael Judd, Lindsay Napolitano & Johann A. Rinkens

Tuition: $550 + Accommodation or Ashram day rate

Register Now

Permaculture is an ecological design system that mimics naturally occurring ecosystem functions through patterning, and harnesses their potential for long term ecological regeneration. The foundational ethics presented in permaculture; earth care, people care, fair share, offer a universal compass to navigate our interactions with our environment, our communities, and ourselves.

Join us for a week long permaculture design immersion where we will explore foundational concepts, core ethics, techniques and approaches for small to large scale land management, and design strategies for cultivating a meaningful relationship with the natural world. The program will be hosted at the beautiful Sivananda Yoga Ranch located in Woodbourne, New York where we’ll combine guided karma yoga, lecture, discussion, and practical on-the-ground techniques for truly integrated permaculture design. Beginners will benefit from this immersion as it empowers you to develop and refine your approach and interaction with living systems. Let this course be the fertile soil to grow your understanding of permaculture design from the ground up!

Course Topics Will Include:

Cultivating a Web of Relationship

Permaculture as a term and practical field of study was developed by Bill Mollison & David Holgrem in the 1970s, and many of the techniques are inspired by and build upon indigenous land management practices from across the world. Rooted in ethics, and inspired by nature, permaculture design offers a framework for developing an authentic relationship with our environment. Since its inception, permaculture has evolved to address the personal and interpersonal relationship dynamics that inform the way in which we relate to the larger social web of life. Permaculture design can been applied to gardens, homesteads, agricultural operations, community development projects, and organizational structures. Rather than a rigid orthodoxy of perfection, the principles of permaculture invite practitioners into the mutable ebb and flow of thoughtful observation and interaction.

Principles at Play

The principles of permaculture, as articulated by co-founder David Holmgren, present a starting point for thoughtful, sustained interaction with our environment. Principles like design from patterns to details, use edges and value the marginal, and apply self regulation and accept feedback have resonance within our shared external ecology, as well as our personal inner ecology. The degree to which the principles and practices feel intuitive speaks to their elegance. For us, permaculture is not a collection of techniques, but rather a framework for approaching disparate landscapes to enhance harmonious relationships. The principles we’ll explore operate outside linear convention as each one continually feeds and fuels the others in a cyclical pattern that spirals in unison with the natural world.

Energy Flows: Defining Zones of Use

How we distribute our energy and engage with our surroundings influences the shape of the world we inhabit. As we elucidate unconscious patterns of movement and interaction and bring them to the surface, they can become the basis for conscious, thoughtful design. As we uncover the language of daily and seasonal interaction, we can begin to draw a map of relationship with our environment. Zones of use, within the context of permaculture design, help us to appropriately organize elements within the landscape and our lives to make the most efficient use of energy.

Reading the Landscape

All beings experience the world from their own unique subjective perspective. The natural processes and phenomena that unfold around us are interpreted and acted upon relationally based on our perspective value system. Observation can quickly slip into the realm of interpretation, and in doing so, what makes a plant a “weed” distills down to a matter of opinion. When we take a step back to observe our environment from a purely observational perspective (that weedy thistle patch is covered with butterflies and native bees!), details emerge that help us to understand how we might interact and design to account for the needs of all elements within a functional ecology.

Goal Articulation & Vision Crafting

What if we could restore integrity to our shared planet with deeper connection? Connection to our role as earth stewards. Connection to the plants that sustain us with their vital food and medicine. Connection to the interaction of elements that comprise the environment we inhabit. In this spirit, a permaculture approach to land management and design begins and ends with a process of listening and understanding, not only to the environment that surrounds us, but also the underlying dreams, visions, and goals that inspire us. Understanding these motivations are foundational to the process of design, and provide guidance for creating a life in authentic and healthy relationship with the ecological web that surrounds us.

Site Analysis & Assessment

There is an implicit design resonant within the landscape that can be understood through careful site assessment. It is the culmination of all natural processes as they relate to the functionality of the ecology. Every location on earth is playing a role within a set of interconnected biological behaviors that culminate with the “functionality” of our shared landscape. Beginning with the basic geography of landforms, permaculture design reads integral patterns present within the landscape, and uses that knowledge to create informed design that enhances the health and functionality of the environment down to each detail present within it. Thorough site analysis assesses light conditions, water and wind flow patterns, soil type, site dimensions, access and flow patterns, and established roads and features already present within the landscape to build our permaculture design upon.

Introduction to the Design Process

The permaculture design process is the catalyst for synthesizing human desires with the implicit design resonant within the landscape. The goal is to create functional systems that enhance the integrity of our shared ecology and bring meaning to our lives. We’ll explore how each design is approached from a truly local perspective that requires thoughtful examination of the environmental history, current conditions, and regional context, before applying a design that is unique to your goals and local ecotype. Building upon previous sessions, we’ll de-mystify the design process and provide a practical framework for creating conscious designs for our landscapes, our lives, and our shared world.

Registration Information

The course tuition (listed above) is for the whole program. Your accommodation rate includes meals, Satsangs, and Hatha yoga classes which are offered daily.

Program Schedule


2:00pm                 Check-in
4:00-6:00pm       Hatha Yoga Class
6:00-6:45pm       Dinner
7:00-8:00pm       Permaculture Orientation
8:00-9:30pm       Satsang*
10:30pm               Lights Out


5:30am                  Wake Up Bell
6:00-7:30am        Satsang* or Silent Walk
8:00-10:00am      Permaculture Practice & Theory
10:00-10:45am    Brunch
10:45-11:30am    Karma Yoga
12:00-4:00pm      Permaculture Practice & Theory
4:00-6:00pm         Hatha Yoga Class
6:00-6:45pm         Dinner
8:00-9:30pm         Satsang*
10:30pm                 Lights Out


5:30am                            Wake Up Bell
6:00-7:30am                  Satsang* or Silent Walk
8:00-10:00am                Permaculture Practice & Theory
10:00-10:45am              Brunch
11:00am-12:00pm       Closing Circle (combined with Children & Permaculture course)
12:00pm                          Room Check-Out

* Satsang – 30-minute silent meditation, kirtan / chanting, spiritual lecture.
Daily activity schedule, and/or possible changes, will be announced at morning Satsang.

Arrival & Departure Information

•   Friday – 2:00pm onwards
•   Friday – 12:00pm (room checkout)

Planning to arrive and depart here by bus?  See more information.

Helpful Links

Yoga Vacation
Guest Information
Accommodations & Rates

Michael Judd

Michael Judd has worked with agro-ecological and whole-system designs throughout the Americas for nearly two decades, focusing on applying permaculture and ecological design. His projects increase local food security and community health in both tropical and temperate growing regions. He is the founder of Ecologia Edible & Ecological Landscape Design and Project Bona Fide, an international nonprofit supporting agro-ecology research. Michael is also the author of ‘Edible Landscaping with a Permaculture Twist’ a popular how-to manual on creating productive and beautiful landscapes, and ‘For the Love of PawPaws’.

Michael and his family live in Frederick, Maryland, at Long Creek Homestead. The Judd’s Long Creek Homestead is 25 acres of mixed woodland, food forests, gardens, and nursery designed for experimentation and education. To learn more please visit www.ecologiadesign.com.

Lindsay Napolitano

Lindsay Napolitano is an herbalist, farmer, artist, and permaculture designer living and working within the fields and forests of the Delaware River Watershed. She is the co-founder of Fields Without Fences, a forest garden farm and permaculture design service. In collaboration with the natural world, she designs, cultivates, and tends wild gardens and woodlands while growing and crafting plant medicine for her extended community. Combining a love of story, myth, metaphysics, and ecology, Lindsay weaves an inspired narrative throughout her teachings on the subjects of herbalism, permaculture, and agroecology. She is a practicing clinical herbalist and writes professionally on subjects including herbalism, permaculture, and environmental renewal. You can usually find her outside, aiding and abetting the plants in their ceaseless quest for world domination.

Johann A. Rinkens

Johann A. Rinkens is an ecological designer and experienced agriculturalist consulting and advising on regenerative land management. He is the co-founder of Fields Without Fences, a forest garden farm and permaculture design service, and teaches extensively on the subjects of permaculture design and agroecology. His background in anthropology, agrarian land rights, and over fifteen years of work in the field as an organic farmer, combine to inform his perspective on integrated, place based, and functional ecological design. Approaching landscapes from a restorative perspective, Johann is motivated by the dynamism of natural systems, and an eagerness to continue to evolve his understanding to reflect that elegance within design.

The Ranch's Daily Schedule

5:30amWake Up
6:00amSatsang or Silent Walk
8:00amHatha Yoga Class
11:00amKarma Yoga
12:00pmAfternoon Program
& Free Time
4:00pmHatha Yoga Class
10:30pmLights Out

Satsang & Yoga Classes

Satsang consists of a 30-minute silent meditation, followed by 30 minutes of spiritual chanting (kirtan), and finishes with 30 minutes of spiritual lecture.
Daily attendance at both Satsangs and Hatha Yoga Classes is encouraged for your health and well-being and to maintain the proper rhythm and atmosphere of the ashram community.

Sivananda Yoga Ranch


Friday, June 5
Friday, June 12


Sivananda Yoga Ranch
500 Budd Rd
Woodbourne, NY 12788
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The Sivananda Yoga Ranch