Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) Courses

"Be the change that you wish to see in the world" - Mahatma Gandhi

At The Yoga Forest, we are excited to offer 2 different Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) Course formats;

April 2017- 2 week Intensive PDC Collaboration Course with Atitlan Organics

April 2- 16, 2017. 2-week Intensive Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) Course in collaboration with Atitlán Organics. The first week in San Marcos la Laguna at The Yoga Forest, and the second week in Tzununá at Atitlán Organics. Led by Permaculture teachers and designers Jeremy Fellows and Shad Qudsi.

Course Cost: 

US$1495 staying in shared accommodation at both sites.

US$1795 staying in private accommodation at both sites. 

Includes tuition, certification, three vegetarian meals daily and morning yoga classes during the first week at The Yoga Forest.

Ready to register?  Use the button to sign up with a non-refundable US$300 deposit.

Aug 13-27, 2017 -  2 Week Intensive PDC Yoga Forest Course

Two week intensive PDC course led by Catherine Griggs and Shad Qudsi both weeks hosted at The Yoga Forest, with outings and field trips to other amazing sites. See more course information below!

Course Cost: 

US$1495 staying in shared accommodation.

US$1795 staying in private accommodation. 

Includes tuition, certification, three vegetarian meals daily and morning yoga and meditation classes at The Yoga Forest. Ready to register? Use the button to sign up with non-refundable US$300 deposit.


Looking for a Deeper Experience? Follow your PDC up with a Practical Immersion

August 27-Sep 24 - 4 Week Botanical Bhakti Permaculture Immersion

Led by the amazing Catherine Griggs, she has been teaching Permaculture all over the world for many years and with The Yoga Forest since 2013. Join us for a transformational experience acquiring new skills and applying practical Permaculture design and theory. Living in a community focused on harmonious relationships with our planet and natural systems. This course not only provides you with an opportunity to nourish your mind, body and spirit but provides you with the tools to go out into the world ready to design and create with intention, confidence, and a new perspective.

Immersion students receive 15% off the August Permaculture Design Course, offering 6 amazing weeks of Permaculture learning and integration at discounted rates!

Meet Jeremy and Cat; check out the 2014 video thanks to Matthew Marris;

Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) Courses

15% discount for our Permaculture Immersion Students! Check out our Immersion program


What language will it be taught in?


How do I book the course?

Use the above links to register and make your payment for the course of your choice. 

What will I take from the course?

You will be a certified Permaculture designer, a certification that is internationally recognized by the Permaculture community. You will also have the knowledge and practical skills required to immediately begin designing and creating Permaculture projects and sustainable landscapes. You will be provided with links and resources to help you proceed further on your chosen path.

You will be able to form land assessments and designs, and will be equipped with skills to start you off in natural building. You will also be able to implement basic grey water and composting systems necessary for a sustainable dwelling. In addition, you will have an understanding of aquaculture, vegetable production, integrated livestock management and food preservation to begin producing your own food and designing systems for yourself and others.

Course content and training is applicable to all climate regions and is designed for aspiring design professionals, permaculturists, farmers and gardeners, architects, engineers, scientists, and all other professionals who are interested in learning and promoting a more sustainable, nature-based approach to their work.

What does the course cover?

The course covers the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia’s PDC curriculum, following Bill Mollison’s Designers Manual. 

  • Introduction to Permaculture - Definition, History and Ethics
  • The Permaculture Principles
  • Design Process Theory and Techniques for Sustainable Settlements, Communities, and Gardens
  • Earthworks and Keyline Landscape - Design and Techniques
  • Natural Building - Traditional Guatemalan Techniques and Theory
  • Animal Systems - Bee Keeping, Chickens, Rabbits, and Vermiculture
  • Design Strategies for the Tropics - Housing and Landscape Design
  • Temperate Climate Strategies - Housing and Landscape Design
  • Drylands Design Strategies - Housing and Landscape Design
  • Social Permaculture
  • Economics & Financial Permaculture
  • Climate Factors
  • Pattern Understanding - Patterns in Nature Applied to Design
  • Food Fermentation and Preservation
  • Water Design Solutions - Catchment, Conservation, Grey Water Solutions, Swales, and Ponds
  • Soils - Composition, Biology, Food Web, Fertility, and Human Health
  • Aquaculture - Food Webs, Techniques and Fish Production


  • Design Projects: You will perform a land assessment, including client interview, Permaculture design and presentation for a project in a small team to a landowner from around the lake.
  • Designing Intensive Annual Systems and Guilds: this module will include seed saving, germination and plant grouping for annual vegetable systems.
  • Designing and Implementing a Forest Garden: this module will include propagation and planting techniques.
  • Compost Making
  • Sheet Mulching
  • Plant Identification
  • Night Walks and Forest Explorations
  • Natural Building using Mayan Earthen Building Techniques

Day Trips

  • IMAP - Instituto Mesoamericano de Permacultura
  • Quixaya - 18 yr old established Permaculture Community of 64 families
  • Atitlán Organics farm in Tzununá valley, run by Shad Qudsi
  • Bee Keeping Cooperative in San Pablo la Laguna run by local Mayans

Who are the facilitators?

Main Facilitators;

Jeremy Fellows, (B.S. Sustainable Food and Farming) Jeremy grew up with a fascination for the workings of nature. Enchanted by plants and their relationships with the soil, Jeremy took many classes on horticulture and plant identification in the Northeast US. Beginning work in landscaping, he soon learned about the great Permaculture gurus like Bill Mollison, Geoff Lawton, Sepp Holzer, and David Holmgren. This revelation created a new dimension in his love of botany; function and plant relationships, mycoculture, animal husbandry, agriculture and a study of natural and sustainable building.

At The Yoga Forest, Jeremy is our Permaculture Designer, Consultant, and Farm Manager. Jeremy's focus is in perennial food systems, mycology, botany, aquaculture, terraforming, landscape construction, resource management and passive energy. He has taught two annual Permaculture Design Certificate Courses with us at The Yoga Forest since 2013 and is scheduled to lead both our May and November 2015 PDC's.

Catherine Griggs, Originally from Britain, Cat is a jack of all trades and has always had a passion for wildlife and gardening, but her creativity led her on an unusual path to Permaculture through the world of fashion. The skills she learned in design are now used creating sustainable landscapes which forms the basis of her business Symbiont Gardens. After her rendezvous in the fashion world, Cat turned to shepherding where she developed a deep interest in agriculture and farming practice. Grounding herself in science, she completed a Diploma in Animal Management and a Degree in Zoology & Conservation with The University of Wales. Whilst working with the Scottish Wildlife Trust as a ranger, she realised Permaculture is the simplest solution to achieving symbiosis between humans and the majority of organisms on Planet Earth. She went on to complete a Permaculture Design Course in Bulgaria with Treeyo Permaculture. This led to the beginning of her career as a Permaculture Designer and the founding of the Cynefin Permaculture Project in North Wales. This project supports local growers and crafts people, helping to secure economic and social futures of the North Wales community. Cat ran the Pemaculture project at The Yoga Forest from March-November 2013 and taught our inaugural PDC with Jeremy in November 2013. She returns to us in 2015 to co-teach again with Jeremy our November 2015 PDC.

Shad Qudsi (Co-Founder Atitlán Organics) Shad has 14 years experience in organic and commercial gardening and farming. He is certified in Permaculture Design and has over 6 years experience in holistic site development and homesteading. After graduating from Johns Hopkins University with a double major in Applied Mathematics and Psychology, Shad and his now-wife, Colleen, moved to Central America with only vague goals of farming at some point in the near future. In January of 2010, Shad and Colleen moved onto a very small piece of land located in the traditional Mayan village of Tzununá, which is on the north shore of Lake Atitlan, in Guatemala. Shad has since developed the land into a small but profitable farming enterprise focused on salad and cooking greens, goat dairy products, and Agrotourism. Recently, Shad has been hired as an Agriculture Consultant for a development project being carried out in the Tzununá Valley. Now, he oversees four community gardens and is implementing two sustainable locally-run businesses based on the production and local marketing of clean organic food. Aside from all of this, Shad is an enthusiastic teacher who truly believes in the work he is doing. Human resiliency cannot be erased from the landscape and now, it is coming back with a vengeance. Shad teams up with IMAP (Instituto Mesoamericano de Permacultura) to run yearly Permaculture Design Certificate Courses in Guatemala, and joins us in May to co-teach with Jeremy our May 2015 PDC.

Guest Facilitators:

Charlie Rendall, (M.A. Social Anthropology) Charlie was the Natural Building Project Manager of The Yoga Forest throughout its construction, Charlie has been building sustainable houses and landscaping in San Marcos La Laguna, Guatemala for since 2004. He has tried just about every natural building method he could before settling on bamboo and earth as his favorites. He gave his first Bamboo Building Course in 2008 and loves helping others build. He now runs regular bamboo and natural building courses through his organisation Return to the Forest.

What is the location like?

San Marcos la Laguna is a small indigenous village in the western highlands of Guatemala, located on Lake Atitlán. Surrounded by volcanoes San Pedro, Toliman and Atitlán, the lake is a wonder to behold and many consider it to be the most beautiful lake in the world.

The surrounding mountains and cloud forests provide amazing hiking experiences, and amazing weather throughout the dry season.

What type of yoga is taught?

The Yoga Forest offers holistic yoga classes each morning before the PDC course workshops begin incorporating asana, pranayama, mantra, meditation and relaxation. 

What is the food like?

The Yoga Forest serves fresh vegetarian meals prepared with love and intention. We grow as much of the produce as we can and purchase from local markets whenever possible. We strive to use organic ingredients whenever possible. A professional chef creates the menus and our lovely local ladies prepare them in our kitchen.


We provide shared accommodation in our beautiful traditionally built cabanas constructed from bamboo, adobe, clay and wood from sustainable Guatemalan plantations. With palm roofs to match the natural setting that surrounds us and windows that overlook one of the most stunning views in Guatemala; Lake Atitlán and its volcanoes. Private rooms and circus tent options are also available.

If you would like to arrive early and/or stay later than the course dates, please check our availability online or by emailing

Do I need insurance?

We recommend course participants obtain travel insurance to protect their investment. We take no liability for missed/ cancelled flights or lost/ stolen property on your way to or at The Yoga Forest or any other location during the courses.

 What other attractions are in the area and in Guatemala?

At first sight San Marcos La Laguna is a sleepy village with a few simple hotels and restaurants, but it has much to offer hidden between its winding paths. Massage and therapy centers offering treatments and short courses, Meditation centers, Mayan spiritual centers, traditional ceremonies, Mayan saunas, yoga classes, chocolate ceremonies, a gym, walking tours, lake tours, Spanish schools, salsa classes, a variety of excellent restaurants and bars, waterfront activities such as kayaking, paddle boarding, swimming, Internet cafés, shops selling imported food, various humanitarian and ecological volunteer projects, and a diverse community of residents and tourists.

We will gladly help you arrange tours to other towns either on the lake or further afield. Popular destinations on the lake include Panajachel, Santiago and San Pedro, all of which have fun local markets and a wide selection of restaurants. Panajachel and San Pedro also offer a more active nightlife for anyone seeking live music or a dance party. We can also arrange Spanish lessons.

Beyond the lake's sanctuary there are many more attractions: the colorful artisans' market in Chichicastenango, the former colonial capital of Antigua (from where you can climb the live volcano Pacaya and get up close to real lava), the Mayan ruins of Iximche, bird watching and canopy tours in San Felipe, Monterrico on the Pacific coast for big waves and black sand beaches, and Quetzaltenango (Xela) for trekking, hot springs and city culture.

Further afield, you can explore the lost Mayan jungle cities of Tikal, Yax'ha and El Mirador, swim in the paradisiacal pools and caves of Semuc Champay and Lanquin, trek in the remote Cuchumatan mountains and boat down the Rio Dulce from Lake Izabal to the Caribbean coast.

If you would like us to arrange tours or transport before or after the course, then we will be happy to help - just let us know what you're looking for.

Please contact us if you have any further questions