Hridaya Yoga France
Sustainability and Permaculture
Creating a Sustainable Retreat Center
Sustainability is a major part of Hridaya Yoga France’s vision. Personal transformation and care for our environment naturally go hand-in-hand. As you learn to take care of your body and mind, you become more aware of the importance of living in harmony with nature.
Through the practice of yoga, you become more sensitive to the interconnectedness of thought, energy, and action. You learn to cultivate deeper respect and reverence for the give and take that is inherent in existence.
By addressing this exchange from a yogic perspective, the projects we undertake at Longeval offer insights into the direct ways that yoga can engender greater harmony between people and the Earth.
Sustainability is at the front of our minds when it comes to renovating and running the center.
How can we not only reduce our negative impact on the environment but also prepare this historic property to contribute to a peaceful and plentiful future? Using permaculture design, we are gradually reducing our material and energy use, and we are starting to produce food on-site.
When renovating the Château, we used ecological insulation and materials whenever possible and furnished our home mainly with second-hand and recycled furniture. We installed a new ecological heating system, an eco-friendly wastewater treatment system, a rainwater collection system for irrigation and are planning a natural swimming pool that will be part of a larger system of water management. We have also created beautiful vegetable and herb gardens that provide fresh produce and are gradually planting food forests.
Growing Towards a Respectful and Purposeful Use of the Land
Life on Earth naturally moves towards abundance. When we work with its cycles and biodiversity, we can create and sustain environments that allow our communities to thrive. Permaculture is a holistic design system for creating sustainable human settlements and food production systems. It is guided by three principles: people care, earth care, and fair share. These principles lead to a fundamental shift in perspective: rather than asking what we can get from the land or a person, we ask what the land or the person has to give when we cooperate with it. In permaculture, decisions are made via applied systems thinking: by observing and using nature as a guide, we can consciously design resilient systems following a set of ethics. Furthermore, as in nature, closed-loop systems are developed, minimizing external inputs wherever possible.
Healthy Food Grown through Respect of Biological Cycles
We modified our heating system from being fossil fuel-based to using wood chips, which is more sustainable. The wood chips are a byproduct of forestry activities in the surrounding valley. The use of a renewable resource results in less greenhouse gas emissions, as the carbon in the wood chips does not come from fossils but from a forest ecosystem that will continue to remove carbon from the atmosphere. Additionally, as the wood chips are purchased nearby, the local economy is supported, whereas the purchase of fossil fuels often supports political regimes in countries with questionable governance. This project required us to change our two main boilers and renovate part of our heating infrastructure to a state-of-the-art system.
Ecological Sewage System
Harnessing the Power of Nature in Water Management
Our retreat center must treat the water used by up to a hundred visitors each day. At the same time, our ever-expanding gardens and food forests require water during periods of drought. Rather than releasing polluted water into the grounds or sewer system, we purify it on-site using a natural system called “phytodepuration.” This effluent water purification system uses basins containing specific plants to eliminate the polluting substances found in wastewater. The system functions as a self-sustainable and natural ecosystem, with reeds working together with microorganisms to filter chemicals, unwanted nutrients, and organic matter. Clean water is then returned to the land and helps water our food forest. We have also installed a rainwater collection system that captures and stores rainfall runoff from the Château’s roofs. In summer, this water irrigates one of the vegetable gardens. In the future, we plan to turn an old basin into an ecological swimming pool, whose overflow will feed another vegetable garden. We further aim to reduce our water consumption by installing more compost toilets.
Ecological Heating System
Using Locally Renewable Sources of Energy
We modified our heating system from being fossil fuel-based to using wood chips, which is more sustainable. The wood chips are a byproduct of forestry activities in the surrounding valley. The use of a renewable resource results in less greenhouse gas emissions, as the carbon in the wood chips does not come from fossils but from a forest ecosystem that will continue to remove carbon from the atmosphere. Additionally, as the wood chips are purchased nearby, the local economy is supported, whereas the purchase of fossil fuels often supports political regimes in countries with questionable governance.
This project required us to change our two main boilers and renovate part of our heating infrastructure to a state-of-the-art system.
Apply to Volunteer
Help Manifest Our Vision
At Hridaya, we are grateful to be able to share knowledge and educational resources. In addition to sharing the teachings of the Heart through yoga modules and silent meditation retreats, we love to share them through the practice of permaculture. We are looking for permaculture enthusiasts to co-create an oasis of natural beauty and abundance.