Spencer Nielsen

Spencer Nielsen is a guide to Nature inside and out: in the wild lands, gardens, and consciousness. He is a perennial student and teacher of Ecology, Permaculture, Yoga, Qigong, Ayurveda, and Herbalism. With nearly 20 years of experience farming, landscaping, and gardening, Spencer currently teaches permaculture at the Natura Institute for Ecology & Medicine in Bolinas, CA and Sivananda Yoga Farm in Grass Valley, CA. He is an herbalist weaving Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine, and Traditional European Medicine, along with bioregional California herbs, completing multi-year programs with both the East-West School of Planetary Herbology and the American Institute of Vedic Studies. He has also studied at Five Branches University and Kerala Ayurveda Academy. Spencer has worked on and designed farms and gardens around the world, studying ethnobotany along the way. Beyond plants and permaculture, his service path includes guiding youth nature connection, teaching ancestral skills, leading wilderness rites of passage, and sharing yoga and qigong. A lover of life, Spencer maximizes his time at his half-acre homestead, where he tends his garden and enjoys drinking tea and playing music.

Upcoming Permaculture Courses:

Workshops & Presentations

  • Vedic Permaculture - Ancient Wisdom from India for Modern Times

    60 min | Altar of Earth

    In this workshop, we will explore the intersection of various Vedic Sciences that come together to support whole systems design for health and healing. From Yoga and Ayurveda to Vastu and Jyotish, we’ll weave a web of wisdom from ancient India over the ecological and cosmological aspects of Permaculture Design. What if we could grow our own food, medicine, music in a garden designed for maximizing life force – for us as individuals as well as for the greater ecosystem and biosphere. Beyond carbon sequestration, we’ll dive into plants that can heal soil, soul, and society. The spaces we spend time in design us, so in this workshop, you’ll leave with a handful of simple yet potent practices to design healing spaces.

  • Elemental Qigong

    60 min | Water Flow (Movement Lab)

    This qigong practice will allow participants to embody the philosophy and cosmology of Taoist teachings. Utilizing purification and tonification practices, we’ll loosen muscles and joints as well as tend to our organ systems to support maximum Qi flow. This will be a standing practice merging practices from Medical and Spiritual Qigong, where we’ll cultivate Qi in the three Dan Tien with herbs, breathing, and movement to activate our body-mind-spirit. From the oneness of the Tao to the multiplicity of expressions of Qi, we will focus on an elemental form of qigong known as Taoist Five Yin Organ Qigong, which offers seasonal practices to stay healthy and heal if needed. We’ll complete with a meditation practice to nourish the energy centers of the body, supporting pure presence.