fbpx

Free Webinar: Transform Your Life with an Ayurvedic Certification

Side view of young adult woman sitting on garden using laptop
with Suzanne Otterbein, AWC, National Enrollment Adviser
and Vrinda Maria D’Sa, AWP, Enrollment Advisor & Student Mentor

 

The world needs heart-centered, holistic-minded professionals in all industries. In this webinar, learn the transformational possibilities for your life with Ayurvedic certification. Hint: it’s so much more than just physical health!

Embarking on an Ayurvedic certification program is a big decision! During this webinar, your hosts and Kerala Ayurveda Academy Enrollment Advisors, Suzanne and Vrinda, will guide and support you in the decision-making process as well as answer all your questions.

 

In this webinar, we’ll overview:
  • What is Ayurveda?
  • The most common life and health challenges Ayurveda can resolve
  • What to expect from an Ayurvedic certification program
  • Examples of what you can do with your Ayurvedic certification
  • Kerala Ayurveda Academy’s unique heritage
  • PLUS answer all your questions!

 

Sign up

How to find the best Ayurvedic certification

Have you been called to study Ayurveda? Being a healer is one of the most important dharmas, or purposes in life. It is an opportunity to serve your community and the world by helping others find health, happiness, and longevity. Fulfilling such an important dharma requires seeking the right Ayurvedic certification program. And while it can be an exciting and emotional process, it can also be a bit stressful as you strive to make the best decision.

In ancient times, Ayurveda was taught based on the “Gurukula” system of education. This system required that the teacher (guru) hand-select each student based on their personal readiness in mind, body and consciousness. The guru and students lived together for the duration of the learning process. Today, learning Ayurveda is a bit different. With programs available for purchase and Google at your fingertips, you can search to find many offerings, schools, and certifications. But how do you find the one that works for your needs, budget, and heart? This blog will guide you through the process of selecting an Ayurvedic certification program that will fit your needs and help you achieve your highest dharma: becoming a healer.

Kerala Ayurveda golden lotus logo

Establish your goals

Setting goals helps you to identify a list of criteria for school selection and can be developed by examining your purpose for study and what you want to achieve with your Ayurvedic program.

Some examples of goals are: 

  • Improve your own health
  • Enhance or build upon your current career
  • Change careers or start a new business
  • Learn a new skill
  • Gain knowledge for fun
  • Become certified by a nationally recognized organization (National Ayurvedic Medical Association or NAMA)
 

Don’t skip the goal-setting exercise! It will help you to prioritize your selection criteria and ensure your program has all the content, skills, and attributes needed to support your desired outcome.

Define your criteria

Prerequisites

Investigate any requirements or prerequisites needed prior to program registration. Do they need to be 100% completed to be accepted in the program or may you fulfill them any time prior to your graduation from the program? Frequent requirements include items such as fluency in English and High School or GED completion. Higher-level certifications may also require a set number of credits in Anatomy and Physiology.

Program format, schedule, and location

Ayurvedic certification programs come in many shapes and sizes. They can be online (live streamed or recorded), in person, or a combination of both. Are you disciplined enough to self-guide your progress through a recorded program, or do you learn best directly in front of the teacher in a classroom setting? Do the classes require daytime, evening, or weekend attendance, and will they fit into your work, family life, and other commitments?

Physical location may or may not be a consideration depending on the format of the program you are pursuing. If you are pursuing a NAMA-approved program, there will be a mandatory number of hours for which in-person attendance is required.  Is the location of the school within an acceptable travel range to allow you to attend in-person classes and internships? Does it allow for easy access to an airport, hotels, restaurants, public transportation, and other amenities?

19.03-Practical-Immersion-Dr.-Kamya_s

Evaluating program content

Referring to your goals, do the modules and lectures offered in the program match up to your objectives? For example, are you a yoga instructor wanting to enhance your current studio offerings by including dosha-specific class formats? Are you a massage therapist wanting to learn more about the additional services Ayurveda could bring to your business, such as bodywork therapies? Or are you focusing on your own health and desire a program that will provide you with a toolkit for selfcare?

Program content is not just about the modules and the lectures. Considerations for the content include:

  • Real-life experiences and training are very important as well. Will the program give you the hands-on clinical experience needed to gain confidence in healing yourself and others?  
  • What types of internships and clinical evaluations are offered and are they offered frequently enough for you to gain adequate experience?
  • Are the assignments and projects “busy work” or do they serve a deeper learning purpose? Do they connect you with your community and help you share Ayurvedic knowledge and potentially find new clients?

Program length and hours

Our Ayurvedic certification programs begin at the Coach level, and progress all the way to the Doctor level, each program building upon the others.  Program lengths range from six months (300 hours) to several years (2600 hours). Whether you choose our programs or another school’s, consideration should be given to the time frame in which you would like to graduate, your ability to commit to the length of the program, your desire for NAMA certification, and the scope of practice you wish to perform.  

Examples of program terms and lengths based on our roster include:

  • Holistic Health Coach – 6 months – 300 hours
  • Ayurvedic Health Counselor – 1 year – 600 hours
  • Ayurvedic Practitioner – 1.5 years – 900 hours
  • Ayurvedic Doctor – 3 years – 2,700 hours

Total hours may differ amongst schools. While NAMA certification requirements stipulate the minimum hours required for a program, schools can include more hours at their discretion. Programs that are not NAMA-approved may align with the hours to remain competitive, but they aren’t required to have them.

Tuition

One of the major considerations in selecting an Ayurvedic certification program is of course the level of financial investment required to complete the program.  Just like the hours and length of programs vary, so do tuition rates. Explore your school’s payment options. 

Tuition considerations:

  • Do they offer discounts for payment in full, early registration, etc.? 
  • Are payment plans available and/or scholarships? 
  • Are there additional costs, e.g. fees for books, materials, registration, application fees and internships? 
  • If travel is required for in-person requirements don’t forget to factor in travel expenses.

Accreditation

Currently, the practice of Ayurveda is not licensed in the United States nor is it regulated by state or federal agencies.  Standards of Ayurvedic competency are set by individual schools and organizations like NAMA (National Ayurvedic Medical Association). State educational bureaus like BPPE (Bureau for Post-secondary Professional Education) may govern a school’s operational status and general program deliverability. While accreditation is not required for completion of an Ayurvedic certification program, selecting an accredited school can bring assurance that the program has undergone review to ensure content, hours and encounters are appropriate for the program.

India-Immersion-Group-AyurvedaGram

Faculty and Support Staff

“Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher”
-Japanese Proverb

Explore the credentials of an Ayurvedic certification program’s faculty.  Faculty credentials are variable. We include some explanations of what they mean below.

Faculty considerations include:

  • Are the teachers Vaidyas (Ayurvedic physicians coming from a lineage of Ayurvedic healers)? 
  • Do their education credentials include BAMS (Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery – India), BSc (Bachelor of Science – India) and/or AD (Ayurvedic Doctor – U.S.)?  These are the highest levels of study.
  • Does the school’s faculty have clinical experience practicing Ayurveda, and how much?

Student services are also important. In addition to faculty, take time to evaluate the student support services offered by the school.  

Student support considerations:

  • Are student mentors available and accessible to answer your questions and guide you through your projects and assignments?  
  • Do the admissions staff take time to understand your goals, consider your needs and recommend appropriate programs and payment options?
  • Are there any student and alumni benefits?

Trust your feeling

Lastly, take notice of how you feel about the overall vibe of the prospective school. Each school has a unique energy and culture, and some may be a match, while others are not. It’s nothing personal!

  • Do your interactions leave you with a feeling of community, family, and belonging? 
  • Are those you interact with genuine, caring, and compassionate? 
  • Do you sense a dedication to the school, students, and the study of Ayurveda?
Kerala Ayurveda golden lotus logo

Take notes as you research

To help you on your search for the perfect school, we created a free, downloadable guide you can fill in and use as you compare the beginner Ayurvedic certification programs you consider. We have done the legwork for you and filled in the details for our Coach and Counselor programs in the guide. 

Download our Ayurvedic Program Comparison Guide

* indicates required

*By downloading this guide, you agree to receive emails from Kerala Ayurveda USA. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Kerala Ayurveda golden lotus logo

Ayurvedic study is a beautiful journey. We congratulate you on taking these first steps in the pursuit of your Ayurvedic education and we wish you much success with your studies! 

 

“Do not be led by others, awaken your own mind, amass your own experience, and decide for yourself your own path.”
― Atharva Veda

Reaching the Asian & Pacific Islander community: interview with July (Su-Yen) Huang Part 2

Close-Up Of Palm Leaf
In part 1 of this interview series, we learned about July Huang’s background studying and healing with the Vedic sciences. July also collaborates with Kerala Ayurveda Academy to bring Ayurvedic education to the European community. We had so much to talk about, we’re sharing the rest of the conversation here in part 2. Here you can learn more about July’s current Ayurveda practice, her role in bringing the Ayurvedic Health Counselor program to Europe and her experience as an Ayurvedic Doctor student.
Kerala Ayurveda golden lotus logo

Starting a practice and teaching Ayurveda to the Asian population 

How did you get started with your Ayurveda practice?

I had my clinic and was promoting Ayurveda, but before 2015 I was pregnant twice and had my two kids. I started running my clinic in 2015, providing Panchakarma and food consultations. I was providing online consultations with an Indian Doctor to design Panchakarma. I translated because they spoke English with a strong accent and used a lot of Ayurvedic vocabulary. And they didn’t know about local food, so he helped design Panchakarma and I did the rest. I could then do Panchakarma, but it was not so practical to continue that way. In the end, I decided I needed more knowledge and wanted to promote Ayurveda in Norway. I was not just a yoga teacher and masseur, I needed a title. Though I didn’t want to aspire for the title, it would convey my qualifications as a doctor to promote Ayurveda in Norway. I needed the qualification and title, to communicate with the government, other doctors and the market.

I couldn’t go to India to study in a university since I’m a mother. Through NAMA (National Ayurvedic Medical Association), I found Kerala Ayurveda Academy. I started with Ayurvedic Counselor, went on to study Ayurvedic Practitioner and then joined the Ayurvedic Doctor program. 

I had experience leading Yoga retreats and I wanted to introduce practicing and teaching Ayurveda in Mandarin. People said that there already is TCM in Taiwan and other Mandarin speaking countries, but I heard it was becoming a lot like Western Medicine. Practitioners were so used to checking pulse and doing acupuncture or providing medicines, but they didn’t explain much about food and lifestyle. I wanted to emphasize this part, and there were Yoga teachers trying that. I thought I have a unique skill, I understand Mandarin, speak the language and I understand Ayurveda. I also knew the lifestyle in Taiwan.

July Huang meditating with her hands on her belly

Did you ever encounter racism when you started Ayurveda?

In Ayurveda, there is no racism for me. People are surprised that I’m from Taiwan and they think I should study TCM. Clients from India are especially surprised that I’m not from India. But in a nice way, they trust the profession. If you know what you’re doing, they trust you.

In KAA, did you feel like you’re the only Asian person?

I met a Mandarin speaking Asian, someone who is from Taiwan, who moved to Mongolia. She went to India to study Ayurveda, BAMS (Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medical Science). She is also in her last year of study and we compare notes.

What’s your current practice and philosophy?

Any practice takes time. In the beginning, when I started in Norway, I was so panicked. My schedule was not full and I felt like I didn’t have enough appointments. Somehow, I reached one point during the pandemic when I thought, what if clients are lesser, I have enough money for rent and food and to be able to take time for studying. Once these feelings became stronger, I enjoyed my job more. When I have more appointments, I focus on Rogi’s, other times, I study books and cases.

In my current practice, I do assessments and bodywork but I don’t employ anyone else. I prefer being the first line person. When I touch my client, I receive so much information, much more than pulse reading, it’s an energetic healing.

In terms of infrastructure, I have a clinic room, one part is for treatment, one part for consultation. A simple room, but cozy, with my therapy table and swedana box. It’s 12 square meters. I have each corner to do what I need.

Do you teach larger Asian populations?

I offer three training sessions in Mandarin and have students from Hong Kong, Europe, Taiwan, Mexico and the US.

Foundational Ayurveda is 30 hours, where I teach basic principles like Prakriti, Vikruti, Dinacharya and seasonal changes. I help my students to be able to read the seasons because every location has a different doshic energy. As long as you can see what is going on outside, you can balance it inside.

Further, 60 hours in Food as Medicine, where we discuss food with attributes, Rasa (Ayurvedic tastes), Veerya (hot or cold potency), Vipaka (post digestive effect), prabhava (any special effects) and Karma (action) as per the classical Ashtanga Hridayam (the root text). I also teach them how they can analyze traditional food. I want them to be able to use local ingredients, based on these principles, not just Indian food. Different countries don’t have to cook Indian, they can adapt their food for different imbalances

I do not delve into the medicine part because not every country can have support with formulations. I work with lifestyle, yoga and food as the best medicine.

Screenshare of July Huang's powerpoint teaching Ayurveda
Kerala Ayurveda golden lotus logo

Trailblazing as an Asian bringing Ayurveda to Europe

How did you become involved in setting up the European Ayurvedic Counselor program for Kerala Ayurveda Academy?

Actually, I asked KAA if they wanted to do something. I noticed the need. I’m the only one or two people doing Ayurveda in Norway. And it’s not enough, we need more people. Some people only went to India for a one-week retreat and say they can do consultation. There are so many places like that. Ayurveda is very new here. The government earlier had a very bad image because they tried to do alternative medical system research and some people provided mainly information about heavy metal contamination in formulations. When I talked to the government, they didn’t want to do research again, they promoted homeopathy, acupuncture, naturopathy. I told them that’s a pity. They did not care because not many people use it.

I decided it is necessary to have someone teaching authentic Ayurveda. I tried to cooperate with someone in India and offer 100-150 hours training but the quality was not the same. Then I knew that if I can do things like this, many other yoga centers will follow suit. I wanted a school that can teach in a trustworthy and eternal manner and know what they are doing. Not a one-person school, so many have a spiritual guru, others are not supported so well. 

In 2019 during my internship in America, at the Kerala Ayurveda Academy reunion, I met Suzanne and Kathy and we discussed in detail that we needed to set up a school. Then, I discovered so many details and laws to discuss about school systems. But luckily, all rules regarding private institutes are not as strict as in America, so we didn’t need to set up a school for the local law. Suzanne approached the authorities and Dr. J and Suzanne discussed that with everything online, they needed someone who can answer questions on the ground, so I’m like the distributor here. I have my company anyway, my clinic is registered as a company that is able to offer workshops and training, not a diploma, but like a yoga school. And it can cater to all of Europe. Right now, we have students from the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, and Norway.

Photo of a newly graduated Ayurveda class

What has been the impact of the Ayurvedic Doctor level of study?

The Ayurvedic Doctor program has already helped me. My consultations are so different when designing protocols or Chikitsa, shamana (pacification) or shodhana (cleansing) or full Panchakarma. Also, I can use data from Western Doctors as well now. This has opened the door for me to understand professional books written by very good Vaidyas, to see how Samprapti (pathogenesis) works. We informally interact with medical doctors here and it really helps. 

I also have Rogis from the medical field. In my office we have Naturopaths, muscle therapists, a psychologist and a western medicine doctor and we help each other. Also, one of the biggest medical research centers in Norway is here and many nurses and doctors come to me for consultation or massage. The more they come, the deeper we talk. There are also mental health medical centers, some psychologists are my clients. They see the value, at least they don’t close the door. The conversation is on! It’s like integrative medicine for them, they are willing to integrate at some stage with their clients. When I have my certificates on the wall it helps more and it does make a difference, because it shows the clinical expertise behind that training.

Kerala Ayurveda golden lotus logo

July’s advice to the Asian and Mandarin speaking communities

What’s your advice for the Asian community seeking Ayurveda?

I would encourage them that they are already following Ayurvedic, holistic, natural, mind-body-spirit medicine. 

TCM can definitely serve you well. But, most of my Mandarin students feel many essences of TCM have been forgotten. Like in cold weather, we have chicken soup, when we get a cold, ginger tea. No one tells us the reason why and how to connect these, otherwise, it becomes cliché and a grandma thing. Ayurveda is providing the bridging, with teaching when, what and why. That is very important and logical.

If you’re studying, practicing or seeking healing from Ayurveda, don’t think you have to give up Chinese cooking, culture or tea, but enjoy life Ayurvedically. You can eat in an Asian ayurvedic way, adapt it into Asian life.  

As a mother, Ayurveda helped me with relationships with kids. I use prakriti for communication and encourage them to do things. It is about life, not about changing, but how to adapt this into your life to live it in the best way. So many students realize after just 30 hours, Ayurveda helped them so much, taking care of small discomfort, kids, talking to their partner, changing their attitude. 

Lastly, I’d like to say, if you have a Mandarin cultural background, no matter where you are, to accept Ayurveda in your life doesn’t mean you have to give up Mandarin culture, you don’t look down on either of them. You don’t give up, you add something, that is how we make life more beautiful and gain more experience.

July Huang teaching an outdoor yoga class
Kerala Ayurveda golden lotus logo
CONNECT WITH JULY

Visit www.shankha.no to find out more about July’s practice.

New certification formats – from 100% online to NAMA-approved

Multiracial colleagues discussing on video call

We run our certification programs every spring and fall, and we continue to adapt them based on our students’ feedback, as well as to accommodate the latest requirements for accreditation. One of the challenges we encounter as an Ayurvedic school is to balance this spectrum of needs, as higher levels of requirements dictate certain restrictions on our program’s format, and impact the cost. We feel that our fall 2022 lineup is the best set of program options yet. Here’s why.

Industry standards – what, why and how

Kerala Academy team standing on the stage at NAMA conference

 

Alignment with National Ayurvedic Medical Association (NAMA)

Our Academy aligns with the National Ayurvedic Medical Association (NAMA), the largest Ayurvedic organization in the U.S., to provide industry standards. NAMA association by schools, and membership by professionals, are both optional. We opt into this alignment as we believe that standardization of the profession and licensure offers benefits to professionals as well as clients, making Ayurveda more accessible.

That said, it will take time for the industry to progress, and it’s not possible for all of the current prospective students to meet these requirements. Access to in person training is determined by proximity to an Ayurvedic school, or the time and financial resources to travel for potentially multiple stretches of time to visit a school. We do not wish to inhibit prospective students from completing our training programs, so we set an intention for our fall 2022 lineup to meet the needs of everyone.

2021 program requirement changes

We introduced online learning to Ayurvedic education in 2012. At that time, we knew this would make an Ayurvedic certification achievable for more students across the U.S. in regions without access to Ayurveda. Our motto was flexibility – all classes were live streamed and recorded, and hands-on training was available for those who were able to come in person. With minimum live class attendance, this flexible format met the requirements set forth by the National Ayurvedic Medical Association (NAMA) for a level I Ayurvedic Health Counselor (AHC) program.

These requirements changed in 2021 to require a new minimum number of in person training and clinical encounters. For the level II Ayurvedic Practitioner program, in person training was already a requirement, though the number of hours increased in 2021. NAMA introduced these requirements to elevate the training benchmark, as part of an accreditation and licensure agenda. We support this agenda, and have modified our program to provide this benchmark. We also offer alternative formats that do not meet NAMA requirements, but offer students an opportunity to be certified.

Close up of graduation certificate from Kerala Ayurveda Academy

 

Explained: certification is not equivalent to NAMA membership

One of the most common questions we receive about NAMA has to do with how our programs qualify graduates. Key points to keep in mind:

  • Certifications are awarded by schools.
  • Professional Membership with NAMA is awarded by NAMA.
  • For NAMA membership eligibility, a graduate must have completed a program that is NAMA-approved and pass the NAMA Board Exam.
  • Our Academy offers program certifications for both NAMA-approved formats. The NAMA Track must be completed to be eligible for taking the NAMA Board Exam.
  • Enrolled students do not have to wait until graduation to pursue NAMA membership. They can apply for Student Membership.

Introducing our fall 2022 program formats

Some of our students prefer to take their certification entirely online, while others wish to complete the requirements for NAMA eligibility. One of our trademarks has been the added flexibility to choose between online and in person attendance throughout the year. We wish to continue offering this flexibility, with a clear pathway for meeting NAMA’s requirements.

Our answer is three tracks: Online, Hybrid and NAMA.

We introduced this approach to all of our professional certifications, beginning with the Holistic Ayurvedic Coach (HAC) program – which is equivalent to the first 6 modules of level I AHC, and therefore outside of NAMA’s requirement threshold. It also seamlessly transitions into the AHC program for students who wish to upskill.


The three tracks of our certifications

All Online Track
Hybrid Track
NAMA Track

All classes are attended via live streaming

Available for:

Holistic Ayurvedic Coach (HAC) – 300 Hours

Level I Ayurvedic Health Counselor (AHC) – 600 hours

Classes are attended in person and via live streaming

Available for:

Holistic Ayurvedic Coach (HAC) – 300 Hours

Level I Ayurvedic Health Counselor (AHC) – 600 hours

Level II Ayurvedic Practitioner (AP) – 910 Hours

Classes are attended in person and via live streaming

Practicums, Practical Immersions and Clinical Internships are attended in person based on NAMA requirements

Available for:

Level I Ayurvedic Health Counselor (AHC) – 600 hours

Level II Ayurvedic Practitioner (AP) – 910 Hours

close up of students engaging in class

The in person requirements: what to expect

A few important points about in person training with us:

  • Not all of the in person training available in a program is included in the in person requirements for the NAMA Track. This is because NAMA’s definition of these requirements is specific about the type of training the student receives – specifically, clinical training that is supervised.
  • The above point explains why our Hybrid Track exists – it offers in person training to the student based on what is convenient for the student, though it does not include the additional hours required to meet NAMA requirements.
  • In person requirements for the NAMA Track are unique to each program, so we recommend reading our Course Catalog to learn more about these requirements.

Transitioning to the NAMA Track

One of our prerogatives when designing the layout of these program formats was transitioning. We understand that circumstances can change, and want to offer options for students who complete the All Online or Hybrid Tracks and later wish to fulfill the NAMA Track requirements for NAMA membership eligibility. Our course catalog outlines the add-ons required for completing this transition as well as the costs involved. Both currently enrolled students and graduates can make this transition, and our team is available to support students in achieving this goal.


In short: what the new tracks offer

  • Track options are now crystal clear to help you pick what works best for you!
  • All Online Track is 100% online.
  • Hybrid Track is a blend of online and in person – flexibility!
  • NAMA Track is specifically designed so that you can meet all the requirements to be eligible for taking the National Ayurvedic Medical Association’s Board Exam.
  • Transition options are available for Counselor (AHC) and Practitioner (AP) students who wish to fulfill the requirements for our NAMA Track at a later time.