Yoga and Permaculture: similar and complementary

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“Permaculture is yoga for the land, as yoga is permaculture for the body”.

Yoga is a path to unification, balance and eternal bliss and Permaculture is a framework for sustainable living so how can they be similar, and how do they complement each other?

The first thing I learned at my yoga teaching training course is that yoga was inspired by nature. A lot of the Asanas (pose) have animals’ name like cat cow pose or downward dog. These Asanas where developed by looking at nature and working with nature. So essentially both Yoga and Permaculture have in their core principles observing and working with nature. Both discipline are also concerned with balance and harmony with the natural laws of the universe.

Definitions of Yoga and Permaculture

Permaculture is about observing and following the patterns in nature to design sustainable agricultural systems and communities. The practice of Permaculture is to develop a balance system in harmony with nature, which sustain communities.

Read more about Permaculture principles

The practice of yoga is dedicated to creating union, balanced and harmony between body, mind and spirit and the environment around you. It is a way of life, which leads you to your true nature, your true self. The practice of Yoga brings you back in harmony with nature.

“Yoga is about bringing yourself in harmony with nature from within just like Permaculture is about bringing harmony from without, between human communities and nature. “

 

Ethics and Principles of Yoga and Permaculture

Permaculture is a system of design that approaches communities, housing, energy, food and waste the way a yogi approaches her thoughts, breath and actions. Permaculture is applied according to 3 ethics: care for the earth, care for the people and fair share while in Yoga path, the first limb, out of 8 is Yama, universal morality.

The first principle of both disciplines is the observation of what is already occurring. In the body for the yogi and in the landscape for the Permaculturist . Both then interact with the natural laws to improve the flow of energy such as sunlight, rain or breath. The optimized system (body or farm) produce an abundance of food, shelter or bliss and optimum health.

Yoga traditionally was practiced in nature. Yogi used to cultivated gardens and learned how to live in the wild. This was an integral part of yogi training and it used to allow them to practice harmony in nature not only within them but within their environment as well.

“Permaculture is an Earth-centered expression of the spiritual practice of yoga.”

Both Yoga and Permaculture share many more similarities in the way action is taken. We’ll use the Permaculture principles to highlight them.

Catch and store energy

We talk a lot about energy in both yoga and Permaculture. How can we optimise the flow of energy in our body, within our community and in our farm? Yoga is concerned with the flow of energy within the body while Permaculture is concerned with the flow of energy within communities. One is directed inward while the other is more concerned with the physical world outside.

Edges

In Permaculture we say that where two environments meet, the most diversity is found like in Mangrove where the sea meets the land or on the edge of a forest. When designing, we are encouraged to take advantage of the edges. In yoga our edge is our aim, it’s our limit and it is from where we grow.

Zones

Even the idea of zone in Permaculture is relevant to the different layers of our bodies in yoga. The innermost zone in Permaculture is the person’s immediate environment, it is where the design starts from. In yoga we start to work with our our physical body (zone 1) to then move onto the different layers which make our being (astral and causal body or soul). The path to yoga starts by cleaning and preparing the body through Asanas for concentration and meditation

Accelerating succession and evolution

In Permaculture we talk about the succession of plants and the evolution of the natural world. While yoga is concerned with the evolution of the soul.

 

Yoga and Permaculture are designed for different purposes but both disciplined found their inspiration in nature. Both understood that harmony, balance and union with the natural laws are the key to efficient system within and without. They are complimentary disciplines, one concerned with the health of our body and mind and the other with the health of our environment. Yoga and Permaculture are both increasingly necessary and valuable tools to deal with our environmental and social crisis.

Yogis and Permaculturists are now getting together to join both practices. Bill Wilson, co-founder of Midwest Permaculture, and the staff and students at the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center are conscious of the synergy between these two practices and have joined forces to raise awareness of both.

“We recognize the fact that permaculture is a logical outward expression of the inner practice of yoga,” says Narayana Chaitanya, director of the Sivananda Center. “It is yoga philosophy in action.”

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About Author

Hi, I am Marine a wandering farmer. I am a marketer and blogger by profession and a passionate sustainable farmer by heart. I just quit my job to travel and discover the world’s countryside, its farming communities and the roads least traveled. I want to change our food and agricultural system by documenting successful sustainable farming initiatives across the world and prove that another future in cooperation with nature is possible.

4 Comments

  1. I love how you have phrased this connection between two systems I’ve recently been working with and making connections in too!
    Looking for healing, yoga and gardening things to volunteer in, teach and study in anywhere . . .
    If you can recommend places let me know
    X

    • Hi Mikka,
      Sorry for the late reply and thank you very much for reading and commenting. Yes i love the connection also between spirituality and Permaculture in general. I am working on an article about Islam and Permaculture at the moment, it is so interesting.
      There are many places i can recommend depending on where in the world you would like to go so let me know.

  2. Hi Marine, thank you so much for sharing your experiences. As Mikka, I’m also interested in training in permaculture and eatable gardens, while deepening in my spiritual practice. The way i see it, everything is connected and goes hand by hand.
    At the moment i’m based in London, and looking for internship/volunteering experience in South East Asia, the more round and holistic the better.
    I’m a furniture designer/maker by training, with business management and administration experience. Im passionate about culture, ecology and sustainability, and design in all its forms. Any ideas and suggestions are welcome!
    Thank you so much Marine, really looking fwd to hearing from you.
    Blessed journeys and safe travels.
    Valxx

    • Hi Valentina,
      Thank you for contacting me and it is always so nice to hear of people with similar interest and to see the growing number of people wanting to live a life more connected to nature.
      I need to write an article about this place because it has been my favourite so far, In Indonesia it is called Bumi Langit, they have a website so you can check.
      Also if you have project you would like to experiment on and are happy to stay long term then Panya project in Thailand is good. Though if you want to learn with the best farm, I recommend AUstralia and not southeast Asia.
      Another great project is Gaia Ashram in Thailand, they also work with kids and do lots of meditation, mindfulness and yoga also.
      Mindfullness farm in thailand is first a spiritual farm but the permaculture work there is amazing and you will come out a change person for sure.
      There is so many more farm i have visited that i need to write about. All of your comments are motivating me so thank you

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