Yoga and Permaculture Course

"Growing Awareness & Planting a Food Forest” at the Himalaya Shanti Ashram Eco Retreat for Yoga, Mediation & Healing in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh

Iyengar CentreThe Yoga and Permaculture course takes place on September 5th to September 17th 2017, prior to the International Permaculture Convergence (IPC) in India. It is hosted by the Himalayan Shanti Ashram, in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh. It is a place of outstanding natural beauty and biodiversity. The course is co-taught by one of the Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre trained Yoga Teachers and international Permaculture facilitator and artist Claudiu Oprea, with support and assistance from local and international Permaculture practitioners.

This course is the first of its kind. It merges the ancient eastern philosophy of Yoga with the relatively new western design science of Permaculture. Both disciplines speak a similar language and stem from a deep care for humans and the earth. The course will fulfil the international standard 72-hour curriculum and participants will benefit from the added aspect of designing and starting to implement a food forest, which is one of the specific applications of permaculture. The design principles can be applied to both an urban setting with limited space and vast pieces of land.

Students will have time to focus on the inner journey and health with morning and evening yoga sessions. This wisdom and connection is expanded into Permaculture sessions with an opportunity for immediate application and interaction with the earth and the other four elements. This will allow for the information and experiential knowledge to sink in naturally and with ease.

Yoga and Permaculture Crossover:

Iyengar CentreYoga teaches us to find truth and freedom in our bodies, creates harmony in the mind and spirit. It connects us to the 5 elements that make up the world, Earth, Fire, Water, Air and Space. Permaculture teaches us to live in harmony with the earth and meet our needs in sustainable ways. With the food forest we aim to create a harmonious community of trees, shrubs and herbs, following a design process and Permaculture principles to fill in niche habitat with beneficial plants. Through companion planting we cultivate numerous beneficial relationships between the plants, fungi and micro-organisms that feed and form the soil, the building block for life. Permaculture teaches us to see and nurture the connections between all living things. These are valuable metaphors we can all learn from as a species.

The aim of this course is to show how Yoga is deeply connected with the Nature, and how we can nourish our practice by combining Asanas and the plantation of trees. Ecology & Yoga have the same principles; one applies to our surrounding environment, the other affects our inner nature. In both situations, positive influences only depend on care, the essential ingredient of all harmonious systems.

Without care, humans experience only basic survival without bearing the fruit of self-evolution. Unless we steer our lives towards this goal, we may waste moments of real bliss. The perpetual pursuit of material things gives us the feeling of meaningless existence.

What we want to explore during this unique experience of learning about Permaculture and practicing Yoga, is how to combine the care of our bodies with the care for the Earth which results in a life of comfort, pure pleasure and happiness.

Monsoon season is the best time for planting, due to the natural watering system and the favourable moist condition that takes place for about 2-3 months. Our course is held at the end of monsoon, with moderate rainfall.

Our day will start early with 3 hours of Asana class, which will take us to breakfast. Here starts our time dedicated to Permaculture. After a proper lunch, we will keep working till  the relaxation class and dinner. To end our day, we will take care of our community, all together by sharing some inspiring videos on Yoga & Permaculture, but also time for dancing, for live music or chanting, on some days.


Forest gardening is a low-maintenance sustainable plant-based food production and agroforestry system based on woodland ecosystems, incorporating fruit and nut trees, shrubs, herbs, vines and perennial vegetables which have yields directly useful to humans. The design principles can be replicated in even the smallest of urban gardens. Join us and find out how!



Claudiu Oprea Bio

Romanian born, London based Permaculturist and artist Claudiu or Claude as he is often called, has a deep connection and appreciation of nature and plant medicine that was inculcated by his white witch grandmother who raised him at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains in Romania.

"I have been blessed with a proper free range childhood with the most wonderful, loving grandparents who have taught me how to observe and deeply appreciate nature's magic and abundance.

As a rebel young adult I disconnected from this path. Led by curiosity and the promise of a better life, I moved to the UK chasing the dream presented by the wild west. London offered me the best platform to experiment and work in many industries, from restaurants, to translating and court interpreting, massage and later a 7 year career in broadcasting.

In 2010 whilst on a trip in Vanuatu in the South Pacific, I came across a food forest whilst trekking through the jungle. It was such a gift. We ate the tastiest bananas, avocados and local guavas and washed them down with fresh coconut water. This sparked my interest in Permaculture and I soon did my PDC in London and two years later completed my teacher training with Looby Macnamara, Rosemary Marrow and Chris Evans.

Now, I travel the world with my partner Nicky, also a young Permaculturist, learning and teaching people how to grow fresh food, plant trees and create healthy communities. I look forward to welcoming you at the Himalayan Shanti Ashram for an immersive experience into Yoga and Permaculture."

For more information and projects please visit


One of the trained Teachers of Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre will teach the Yoga part of the Course. Click here to read more…


The HIYC Yoga Courses immerse the participant into the essence of Yoga, teaching both its aspects, philosophical as well as practical. During these Courses, a student learns everything that is needed to maintain a regular self-practice independently.

Sharat Arora, Indian Yoga Master, designed the program using a scientific approach and an awareness that is often overlooked in other forms of Yoga. During his 39 years of experience and research in the field, he developed and still continues to explore a unique approach to teaching the foundations of Yoga practice in the simplest way possible.

There are thousands of Yoga Asanas, but which of them are the most beneficial for our modern times? This question is being answered on the Yoga Courses conducted by one of the HIYC Teachers. They are introducing the B.K.S. Iyengar Yoga as well as providing a working knowledge to become a self-practitioner. Corrective, rejuvenating / energizing and relaxing / meditative postures are taught. Those students with ailments are given specific therapeutic attention and guidelines. The Course provides a fundamental framework and inspires one to explore deeper within. The Course is informative, motivational and, above all, experiential.

Who can attend the course?
The course is designed for all people with an interest in self-care and a passion for learning new tools, design methodologies to assist us in having a happier more connected life. Prior Yoga or Permaculture experience is not essential. If you do have some experience and knowledge in Yoga, Permaculture, organic farming and forest gardening the course will present you with an opportunity to deepen your knowledge and gain experience from designing for the unique conditions presented by the land and its people.

What will you gain from the course?

  • Yoga knowledge and techniques to help connect to your body, mind and energy
  • All the necessary understanding and “tools” to continue your Yoga Practice at home and on the road
  • Gain deeper understanding how to heal yourself with the regular Self-Practice
  • You will learn how to sit and stand correctly aligned with gravity
  • You will gain an understanding of the ethics and principles of Permaculture design and an opportunity for hands on experience
  • Permaculture design tools and methodologies, materials (print and digital) to help you make a difference in your life and those around you, with immediate effect
  • The opportunity of co-creating, sharing and learning with an international community of like-minded people
  • Collaborate in a small group on a design project that you will present at the end of the course
  • Obtain the Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre Certificate of the 12-Day Intensive Yoga Course Completion
  • Obtain an internationally recognised PDC certificate

We will learn how to feel freedom in our bodies, take responsibility for our actions and initiate positive change, starting from within and expanding outwards into our families, communities and the world. We will explore solutions to the problems we face as a species, and find the motivation to start implementing them without delay.

Permaculture Subjects include:

Permaculture ethics and principles, design methods
Patterns in nature, earth systems processes, climate
Sector analysis and zoning
Soil ecology, organic soil building, mulches and compost
Water harvesting, storing and conserving, earthworks and aquaculture
Trees and forest ecosystems, designing a food forest, forage, timber, medicine, habitat, conservation, wildlife
Urban Permaculture
The design process
Green technologies, renewable energy systems, passive solar homes
Community development strategies, urban regeneration, eco-village design, community economics, legal structures, community gardens and city farms

Skills and knowledge:

Working with natural systems and processes, learning our place in the life web
Integrated design and strategies for self-evolution, urban and rural environments: domestic to large scale
Creative problem solving
Tools for community building, transition towns, international Permaculture network
In addition to covering the international 72-hour curriculum, participants get to help design and start planting a food forest.

Hands on learning:

The course venue is the Himalaya Shanti Ashram, a place of outstanding natural beauty and biodiversity. In addition to beautiful Yoga Hall where participants will learn about connection to the body, mind and spirit, the ashram is home to a small organic farm. We are transitioning to a Permaculture set up with a plan to start planting a food forest and starting a seed bank. This gives participants an opportunity to get hands on experience on organic farming practices, and a real life design and implementation of a food forest.  

Important information:

All the students are requested to come on 5 August afternoon - the dinner will be served - and check out from the rooms on 17 August morning.

Daily Schedule: Tuesday September 5th to Sunday September 10th,
Tuesday September 12th to Sunday September 17th
Monday September 11th off

Wake up 6:00am
Herbal tea, NO FOOD 6:30-6.45am
Yoga Session 6.45-9.45 am
Breakfast 9.45-10:30 am
Permaculture Session -class based- 10:30-1pm
Lunch and rest 1-3 pm
Hands on Permaculture Session -outdoors- 3-5.30pm
Break 5.30-6pm
Yoga Relaxation 6:00-7:30pm
Dinner 7.30 -8.30 pm
Rest, reflect/movie nights 8.30-10 pm
Sleep 10:00pm

On selected evenings, we will be screening Permaculture and Yoga films. Dates tbc.

We will begin and end the day with yoga practice. This is specifically designed to help us relax, connect to our bodies, minds and spirits in order to facilitate the accelerated Permaculture learning sessions before and after lunch.

Location and logistics:

Himalaya Shanti Ashram is a mountain retreat specializing in the healing power of Yoga, Meditation and Permaculture (sustaining our environmental awareness). We are 15 kms from Dharamsala airport and 25 km from Mcloud Ganj. Located on the banks of a sparkling clear river, receiving its water from the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas, all surrounded by forests and tucked away from the industrial development. It is a true paradise, bringing about quietness and peacefulness unknown in most of the world. Natural dwelling facilities and accommodations provide all that is needed for intensive Yoga and Meditation practice as well Permaculture and organic farming.
Himalaya Shanti Ashram
Village Manyana,
PO Bhitlu,
Tehsil, Dharamsala,
Kangra, HP, India




Food - At the Himalayan Shanti Yoga Ashram we believe in the “do no harm” ethic and as such we do not consume meat or fish. Participants can choose between vegetarian and vegan options. All food is cooked following Ayurvedic principles and is mostly home grown produce on our organic farm. We will try to source organic, locally grown produce wherever possible to supplement our own, however this may not always be possible.

Please note: Participants who have special diet requirement will be charged additional 150 INR per day.


We are blessed with a subtropical climate. September usually brings warm and pleasant days and cool nights with temperatures averaging 25 Celsius. It can get hotter with highest recorded temperatures of 38 Celsius and lows of 10 Celsius. As the tail end of monsoon, it may also rain.

Booking and Deposit:

For booking and deposit please email us at

Course fee:

The Course fee for Yoga & Permaculture Course is a sliding scale starting at Rs. 60,000 to Rs. 40,000 (which includes food and excludes accommodation); and has to be paid fully before the course starts. Please look the discount offers below. The booking fee is Rs 20,000.

The accommodation fee depends on the room type of the student's choice.

Accommodation at the Himalaya Shanti Ashram:

At our Himalaya Shanti Ashram, we have a variety of rooms available for your selection. After making the deposit for the course, you can select one of the options and pay accordingly (accommodation is not included in the course fee).

  • Shared room with two single beds and shared common toilet/shower outside / 330 INR (down) and 280 INR (up) per day*
  • Shared room with two single beds and attached toilet/shower / 380 INR (down) and 330 INR (up) per day*
  • Single room with shared common toilet/shower outside / 550 INR per day
  • Single room with swinging bed, and common toilet/shower outside / 600 INR per day
  • Single room with attached toilet/shower / 650 INR per day.
  • Single room with attached large toilet/shower (room No. 1) / 700 INR per day.
  • Extra-large room with attached toilet/shower and kitchenette for 2 persons or family with kids / 1800 INR per day.

* For those sharing a room, downstairs is more expensive than the attic upstairs.

Please note that participants are requested to remain in the Ashram for the whole duration of the course, which also means not go outside the premises of the Ashram in the afternoons or on the free days. It is strongly recommended to spend that time in nature in silence with oneself to keep the mind as quiet as possible.

DISCOUNT: Both Yoga and Permaculture offer a flexible fee structure.
Full time employed overseas rate - 60.000 INR
Students overseas - standard rate - 50.000 INR
Indians, or participants from economically challenged backgrounds - reduced rate - 40.000 INR
Please note that this discount is not applicable to Non-Resident Indians (NRIs).
Free spaces - we aim to offer 2 free spaces to key members of the local community, such as local school teachers and farmers. Please contact us at to apply.

Full time employed and overseas students are encouraged to pay the full support rate, which will enable us to offer a discounted rate for those who would not otherwise be able to participate.

The reduced rate is offered to make the course accessible to enthusiastic participants from economically challenged backgrounds. Preference will be given to Indians, though all people are eligible, especially those from the global south.

To apply for a discount please contact us at

The passport or Aadhar Card copy with residence address proof sent by email is required

Before booking and sending the payment please inform the HIYC office by and get the confirmation along with the details for bank transfer.

Please click here to read: Requirements for Participation, Code of Conduct, Terms and Conditions of Payment.

Upcoming Trainings & Events

15th Anniversary of the BKS Iyengar Yoga Hall
Venue: Dharamkot
Date: 27 May 2017
Price: Free


Yoga and Permaculture Course
Venue: Himalaya Shanti Ashram
Date: 5 - 17 September 2017
Price: Consult
More Info     Book Now


Yoga & Meditation Silent Retreat
Venue: Himalaya Shanti Ashram
Date: 18 - 29 September 2017
Price: ₹ 33,500.00
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Yoga and Ayurveda Intensive Course
Venue: Himalaya Shanti Ashram
Date: 2 - 21 October 2017
Price: Consult
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Yoga Teachers Training Course
Venue: Himalaya Shanti Ashram
Date: 2 October - 11 November 2017
Price: Consult
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Chakras and Evolution of Consciousness Special Yoga Course
Venue: Goa
Date: 22 January - 10 February 2018
Price: Consult
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Pranic Healing Intensive Yoga Course
Venue: Himalaya Shanti Ashram
Date: 19 March - 7 April 2018
Price: Consult
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Yoga Teachers Training Course
Venue: Himalaya Shanti Ashram
Date: 19 March - 28 April 2018
Price: Consult
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Yoga & Meditation Silent Retreat
Venue: Himalaya Shanti Ashram
Date: 30 April - 11 May 2018
Price: ₹ 33,500.00
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Yoga Therapy Course
Venue: Dharamkot Centre
Date: 30 April - 25 May 2018
Price: Consult
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Special Yoga Course for Vipassana Meditators
Venue: Dharamkot
Date: 28 May - 1 June 2018
Price: ₹ 7,000.00
More Info Book Now