The internship: Each day was different from another.

Hi everyone! My name is Jana, I’m Russian-Estonian living and studying in Denmark. I’m yoga teacher and therapist but came to Jiwa Damai for an internship as a part of my Danish education (Global Nutrition and Health).

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When I chose Jiwa Damai I didn’t really know what to expect. I thought I’ll study permaculture and teach yoga but eventually it turned out to be so much more.

First of all, the place where Jiwa Damai is located is just magical. Peaceful and tranquil, surrounded by lush vegetation. People who are working here and other volunteers and interns make this place even more special. We were always together, chatting and laughing. Here you’re literally fell yourself like home.

I also feel grateful and blessed to had an opportunity to be supervised by Margret. She is a super women. Her life and professional experience is countless (and priceless). She was directing me throughout my entire stay - explaining, giving suggestions and recommendations about my project. What I really liked about her supervision is that she was interested in finding ways to make the internship valuable and beneficial for ME.

During my 2,5 months stay I was doing my own project of retreat center. I was learning how to manage, maintain and promote it. I learned different aspects of running your own center in another country. I learned how to do permaculture design and how to be responsible and sustainable in what you’re doing.

Each day was different from another.

Some days I was working more in the garden: making compost, preparing soil and planting seeds. Some days I was more focused on paper and computer work. Some parts of my project also involved traveling around, meeting with a culture, observing different places and getting inspiration from them.

But what was even more valuable is my personal transformation. I feel myself more calm and peaceful after almost 3 months here. I got some clarity about things I want to do in my future, I got inspired and ready to create new things.

I recommend this place to everyone who want to learn more about permaculture and sustainable living. Who is ready to transform, get inspired and immerse into Balinese culture. I had so much fun and gained so much knowledge! I couldn’t wish for a better place for my internship.

Thank you Jiwa Damai and Margret for a life-changing experience

Herbal garden at Jiwa Damai

At this time, at the beginning of the raining season, all is blooming and growing in leaps and bounds. See some of the pics…

We are nearly fully self-sufficient at Jiwa Damai, excluding the electricity. our watering systems are working via gradual flow form the highest area to the lowest. This year we have an extraordinary pineapple year. As soon as a pineapple is harvest , we are replanting the top green part of the fruit immediately. We also began anew herbal garden with 22 different herbs as well as a new medicinal garden with medicinal plants and are researching the healing qualities of the herbs as well as the medicinal plants. In general most of the plants for food in the garden also have healing and medicinal qualities.

Basically our whole garden is a healing field of plants and trees. From the Moringa trees, we dry and make powder, to the mint, lemongrass, ginger, turmeric and rosella we use as teas or smoothies, all have special healing qualities.

Our organic corn, with is much smaller that the general brands is carefully harvest, dried and the replanted.

If you want to find out more about our garden, send us an email at

BioChar, the Miracle Ingredient for the Organic Garden

Being blessed with many coconut trees, coconut oil is one of the main products of our organic garden. So far, only the shell and the flesh have been used, while the remaining coconut husks have been burned. Considering the fact, the dry season is just about to start, we wanted to try out making biochar out of coconut husks as a soil supplement.



Biochar adds many benefits to your garden and helps building up a healthy soil. Millions of microscopic holes provide a living environment for many different microorganisms and help holding back plenty of water. Also Nutrients are effectively locked up and are slowly released according to the requirements of the plants. This way, a loss of nutrients caused by too much rain can be prevented. Biochar can also be used in compost toilets, as a water filter or simply as a burning material. 

If you want to use biochar in the garden, it is recommended to saturate the biochar with nutrients before applying to the soil. This can be done by adding biochar during the composting process, mixing with fresh compost or watering it with compost tea. Applying unsaturated biochar directly to the soil could give plants a harder time to grow, because the majority of nutrients may be adsorbed by the char in first place.

The Principles of BioChar Production - Pyrolysis

If you want to make biochar, it is important to understand the physical principles behind the process. If you light up a fire, it is not the wood that burns in first place, but the released gases driven out by heat. The fire will burn these gases in a clear flame consuming all oxygen while forming a protective layer around the wood. As long as there is a lack of oxygen, the wood underneath will carbonize and turn into char. This is called pyrolysis. If no more freshly dried material is added and gases are no longer produced, oxygen can penetrate towards the coal, and the coal will slowly turn to ash. The key point to make biochar is to prevent coal turning into ash while maintaining a clear burn. It’s important to maintain a mostly smoke free fire in order to gain biochar with a good quality and less toxic substances caused by smoke.

To achieve the right process conditions, the physiology of the fire and the geometry of the pit are crucial. Lighting up the fire in a pit or a barrel helps suppressing oxygen flowing from underneath, causing the produced coal to turn to ash. As dry coconut husks are a good material to produce biochar, it can be hard to maintain a clear constant flame by just using husks. Therefore apply easily burnable material just as dry bamboo or wood in the middle of the fire and place the coconut husks around. This creates a chimney effect in the middle that will guarantee a good burning process.

We invite you to read the entire article from our German volunteer Phillip, who, with the help of Ella from Croatia and Evan form Australia demonstrated twice the process of bio charcoaling and enriched our Jiwa Damai soil with this precious fertilizer.

And if you like to visit our garden, or take part in our permaculture workshops, send us an email at

Wonderful guests at Jiwa Damai

A wonderful introduction to Experiencing the Heart through Permaculture at Jiwa Damai to a group of teachers from an international school in Bali. They were excited, engaged and involved into much hands on learning. An initial step was a Heart Mediation, and then to introduce various fruit and plants at Jiwa Damai while walking through the Mandala and Butterfly garden to taste, touch and feel. In between theoretical learning about the inherent ethical values of experiencing the Heart Through Permaculture, about people care, earth care and sharing surplus. Hands on with making compost and preparing the earth to receive the plantings was participated in with great enthusiasm.

The waran from Jiwa Damai

This is the very rare WARAN, in Balinese called Alu, which lives in our permaculture gardens. This one is  a small one. It hides in hollows under the tree roots and lives mostly on fish. Its beautiful lines on its back are yellow ad black and its head is shaped a bit like a tortoise.

A Permaculture Design Course with a transpersonal approach

A Permaculture Design Course with a transpersonal approach

Permaculture provides a design system which allows to move deeply into our abused eco-systems and release its inherent potential. Ethics of earth care, people care and sharing surplus are one of its unique contribution in our today world. They actually point the way to a new paradigm, from survival and lack of, to abundance and sharing.
Permaculture caught my attention quite a number of years ago, when searching for a system to develop the Jiwa Damai gardens in Bali. The book that introduced the practice touched me deeply. I came to respect permaculture’s inherently intelligent and wise approach to regeneration as a way to return to a healthy balance with the earth as a living being.
For the past 10 years, I immersed myself into Bill Mollison’s design concept, translating it by learning through doing into our beautiful Jiwa Damai garden. Over time, inviting known teachers, participating in various trainings, and delving deeper in its principles and methods, I introduced permaculture training into Jiwa Damai’s/Lagu Damai foundation educational offerings as well.

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The cacao bean

The precious cacao is contained in a hard shell, which when roasted opens easily and unveils the cacao bean. We are growing now the young trees from the seeds in our Jiwa Damai Garden.

Volunteers and research

At Jiwa Damai, we love to explore and experiment and we are very open to new ideas. We encourage learning by doing in our permaculture garden.

Cedric was volunteering for a 6 month period. While completing his other volunteer responsibilities, he had an opportunity to research cacao beans and cacao fungus. He also experimented with different mixtures of chocolate and sugar: 90% , 80% and 65%. We all loved the 80% best! Read Cedric's full research paper --> Cacao production at Jiwa Damai


Living with gratitude and apprecition

Margret Rueffler, our founder and caretaker of Jiwa Damai agro-permaculture and retreat center and the Lagu Damai Bali Foundationdiscovered the art of permaculture 9 years ago. A transpersonal psychologist and therapist as well as an acupuncturist, it seemed a very organic move to expand from learning to love one’s Self, to uncover the deep love for the earth as a living being.

Permaculture is a wonderful way to ground this deep love for the earth through a hands on approach, coming from the heart, touching the soil, plants and aligning with nature. It offers an intelligent approach to live the values of gratitude, apprecition on a daily basis. Its intelligent design incorporates the expansion from the personal growth to the landscape, buildings, communities as well.

Finding like minded who share and wish to deepen the inner knowledge in combination with a healthier style of living, the food becoming again true nutrition, a gift from the earth in its natural abundance. Letting the earth and nature experience our deep love by treating them with respect and care. If you wish to know more about the work of Dr. Margret Rueffler, please see Lagu Damai Foundation projects and her website