2013 Natural Building Project and Workshops

Join us this summer, and learn how you can build your own natural building, practice yoga, meditation, and feed your spirit. Workshop participants will get hands on experience with rock-bag foundations, making cob, building a cob bond beam, building bale cob walls, timber framing, installing an earthen roof, and working with earth plasters.  We will learn through discussion about rubble trench foundations, concrete tie beams, earthen floors, and give a quick overview on electrical, plumbing, solar water heating, and grey water harvesting.  You will also learn how to use some essential permaculture design principles to create your own food garden.  Our workshop participants will gain an in depth understanding of the natural building process, and experience the benefits of daily yoga and meditation.   

The  workshop participants will be working on the cottage pictured above in small segments, in a way that allows them to experience all aspects of the building process.  Since our workshops are condensed into 6 days, our schedule will be very full.

  • Sunday- Arrive after lunch, get tents set up, join us for a meditation class, and participate in the afternoon yoga and meditation.  After dinner, we will have our orientation.  
  • Monday – Foundations
  • Tuesday – Cob wall systems
  • Wednesday – Timber framing
  • Thursday – Roof systems
  • Friday – Permaculture and earth plaster
  • Saturday- After breakfast we will have our final question and answer.

Each day will begin with yoga and meditation, followed by an informative discussion of the day’s topic, and will end with an evening question and answer session.  We will end our week with a pizza party in downtown Ananda Village, at Masters Market.  

LWS Cobing


As part of the workshop, you will enjoy camping at the Expanding Light, the yoga and meditation retreat at Ananda Village, a drug and substance free environment.

By signing up for our workshop, you will be named on our website as part of the 2013 Natural Building Team and receive an electronic copy of The Natural Living Journal, covering in detail every step of the natural building process. Your support will help make this year’s building a reality.

LW Group Bale Cobing

2013 Building with Spirit Workshops

June 2nd-8th -A 6 day intensive natural building experience .

  • $565 This includes a campsite, 3 vegetarian meals per day, and all the added benefits mentioned above.

Aug. 11th-17th– A 6 day intensive natural building experience.

  • $565   This includes a campsite, 3 vegetarian meals per day, and all the added benefits mentioned above.

Sep 22nd- Sep 28th– A 6 day intensive natural building experience .

  • $565 This includes a campsite, 3 vegetarian meals per day, and all the added benefits mentioned above. 


Please phone 1-800-346-5350 to reserve your space.

More About The Project

The cottage will be built affordably, and to code. We believe that everyone has a right to affordable housing, and to be able to build in a sustainable way, limiting the destruction of our natural resources, and limiting the large amount of waste that is often produced in conventional building.

In most counties around the country you are allowed to build a timber-framed house with straw bale walls and use earthen plasters, as long as the building has been engineered. We have found an amazing engineer that works with natural materials and can help us engineer a structure that can be built simply and affordably using materials from the land.

The cottage will be built using round wood timbers to frame the entire structure, including the roof. Then we will infill the walls using cob and straw bales to create a natural, non-toxic, breathable, highly insulated wall system. There will be natural plasters, an earthen floor, and it will have sustainable heating and cooling methods to work with nature, rather than against it. This structure can be built with a basic understanding of natural building, and yes even you can do it.


2013 Building Season, Phase 1

The Goal for the 2013 building season is to timber frame the entire structure, roof it completely, and then only enclose the walls in the red section, as illustrated on the above floor plan.  Phase two will be to infill the rest of the walls in the blue section during the 2014 summer building season.

Flexible Design

Anyone interested in duplicating the original structure, could construct the red section only, which is about 500 sq ft. This structure could stand alone as a cozy cottage, or could be added on to later.  The main room could be used for the living room and kitchen, with a sleeping loft above the bathroom and closet.  Later, if more space is needed, one could add on the blue section from the original floor plan.

If you are interested in being a part of the 2013 building team please contact us.


Natural Building with Spirit

To us building with spirit means working selflessly with joy, love, and intention.  The spirit in all of us, is co-creating with the spirit in nature, and working in cooperation with each other and those that will use the building.

If you have been lucky enough to be a part of working on something joyful, meaningful, and uplifting, you likely know what we are talking about.   I have spoken with artists that create from their heart and describe the experience like being in a deep meditation.

Kid are great natural builders, and they help bring joy and love to work site
With Kids at the work site, you will away have laughter and lots of positive energy

During the creative process, one of the most important things to consider is our state of consciousness.  Just like when we are cooking, if we are in a bad mood, angry, or just not enjoying the process, our food can absorb that energy, and can affect the taste, or even pass that negative energy to those eating it.  Similarly, when we are building with natural materials, our state of consciousness can be absorbed by the materials like clay, wood, and straw.  These vibration can stay in these natural materials and affect the energy or feeling of the building.

Have you ever been in a building that just felt cold, not in the literal sense, but in the energetic realm?  It’s not that it doesn’t look beautiful, or that it’s physical presence is intrusive.  These buildings at some level just don’t feel right.

In contrast, if you have ever been in a natural building or a building where the homeowner, builder, or architect put a lot of their joy, love, and intention into the building, you can feel the positive energy in the dwelling.

The Laughing house kitchen, an example of an uplifting building.

At the Natural Living School, we help the participants understand how important their consciousness is during the building process.  Not just during building, but during the whole process, including site location, design, and sourcing materials.  One of the ways that we help the participants, is by practicing meditation, yoga, sharing nature activities, and other uplifting activities to instill the principles of building with spirit.

You too, can join us this summer, and participate in a joyful, meaningful, and uplifting workshop.  Take a look at our programs page.

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