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.

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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. 

  • 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)
  • Etc.


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.

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Define the criteria to evaluate your Ayurvedic certification program


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?


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.


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.


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.


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?
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Document your 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

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

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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

Finding life balance while studying Ayurveda

Choosing and committing to an Ayurvedic training program is a big decision.  And while you know an exciting educational adventure awaits, you may be a little nervous about how you’ll fit your Ayurvedic studies in, while finding life balance.

Finding life balance requires juggling a lot of balls (family/work/school) all at once, and if you don’t have a plan while you do it, you’re destined to drop a few along the way. To help you successfully keep all those balls in the air, we asked Kerala Ayurveda Academy students to share some of the methods they have used in finding life balance, not only in their studies, but in all aspects of life.

Cut aloe balancing on itself to represent work-life balances while studying Ayurveda

Ayurveda is all about balance

The main goal of Ayurveda is to bring balance to your mind, body and spirit. It encourages alignment with the circadian rhythms of nature so you are mentally and physically prepared to live your best, balanced life. The first step to success is finding life balance within yourself which requires a bit of fine tuning for your diet and lifestyle. 

Regular mealtimes

Have you ever gotten so busy you completely forgot to eat?  Probably not, if you are of Pitta constitution, but everyone can relate to skipping a meal every now and then or eating at times that are not optimal for digestion. Keeping our mind and bodies optimally fueled and our digestion on point requires eating meals at consistent times each day, breakfast (7-9am), lunch (11am-1pm) and dinner (6-8pm).

Regular sleep

In Ayurveda sleep is one of the three pillars of health. Throughout the day, our bodies and brains experience wear and tear. They need sleep – seven to eight hours daily – to rejuvenate. To stay in balance with our natural rhythms, Ayurveda suggests being in bed by 10pm and rising with the sun.

Seasonal shifts

Be aware of the impact of the seasons on your personal body constitution and make adjustments accordingly.

  • Summer can be a time of Pitta Dosha aggravation . Take time to cool down and relax more often.  Avoid too much heat inducing activity and embrace a little “do nothing” attitude. 
  • Fall and winter increase Vata Dosha. During this time it’s important to balance Vata with warm, moist food and seek lifestyle activities that are grounding in nature. 
  • Winter and spring are the Kapha Dosha season.  This is a good time to lighten up the foods in your diet, amp up your exercise routine and possibly engage in an Ayurvedic cleanse.

Connect with your dharma or purpose

The Sanskrit word “dharma” translates to your soul’s purpose: your reason for being here on this earth! Connecting with that purpose can provide a great sense of satisfaction as well as energize you to great accomplishments.

  • Embrace your purpose and acknowledge you’ve been drawn to explore Ayurvedic study for a reason.  Take time to consider why you are choosing the Ayurvedic path and what it means to you; reconnect and recommit with that purpose.
  • Allow your relationship to your purpose to shift, and be open to how it manifests itself. It might not look exactly how you imagined it to be, but feel confident it was destined to fit within the whole of your life.
Sitting next to a window, embraced by natural light, this determined young adult (mixed-race) woman is working from home on a tight deadline. She is leaning in and focused to finish her project. Prominent laptop computer, a reference book, and mug of tea on a natural-edged redwood slab table complete her workspace. A houseplant, pine cone, and candle sit on the window sill. Outdoors: yellow flowers, foliage and daylight are visible in soft focus. Young woman wears a cozy gray wool sweater and has dark brown, wavy hair. Natural light illuminates her workspace and her profile. She appears to be turning the page of the reference book, while reading.

Create new rhythms that support you

Our lives are filled with natural rhythms making us ritualistic and habitual creatures who thrive on patterns and routines.  Incorporating learning into your daily rhythms can be easily accomplished if you make a plan and introduce information in digestible portions.

Here’s our top tips for healthy study rhythms:

  1. Set aside a dedicated time to study each day. Earlier is better as your brain is fresh and distractions typically fewer, allowing for maximum information retention. If finding a full hour isn’t in your cards, then break down your study time into half hour or 15 minute increments. Just make sure whatever time element you choose, that you can devote 100% of yourself to your studies without distraction.
  2. Read your course manuals or view lecture material during your commute if you use public transportation. Bring headphones to block out noisy distractions.
  3. Set small, attainable goals such as reading a certain number of pages per day/week or viewing a specific number of minutes/hours of lecture. The same goes for larger assignments and projects. Don’t procrastinate, just get started and whittle away the larger tasks in a manageable way.  And… don’t forget to reward yourself when your goals are accomplished!
  4. Get to know your fellow students and join networking groups. Many of our students form groups within their cohort to stay in touch. It’s helpful to communicate with people who can relate to your situation. These groups also offer a wealth of additional information, resources and accountability.
  5. Schedule a monthly check in with your Student Mentor.  Use this time to brainstorm on the best protocol for your rogi consultations, discuss special projects and gain ideas on how to carry forward with your new found knowledge after graduation.
  6. Read your materials before class. This will help you to better retain lecture information and pre-formulate questions to expand on learning.


Set and communicate new expectations and boundaries with people in your life

Strong relationships with your partner, children, family and friends are important. They will be impacted by the changes in your life, but there is nothing to fear. If you’re on a positive growth path, the positivity can spread to them as well.

Open an upfront dialogue with people in your life

Be clear with your friends/family about the impact your studies will have on your time and attention for them. Engage in an open and honest conversation as to how you can work together to navigate obstacles, set boundaries and meet expectations.

Share your Ayurvedic wisdom with those that surround you

Invite people into this new and exciting part of your life! The discussion will make them feel included in your journey and give you practice in framing information for future rogi discussions. It may even warm them up to volunteering as part of your clinical case studies. Just be mindful of reading your audience during this process so as not to put people and their personal health on the spot.

Don’t forget to include your boss and coworkers in the discussions

Make sure people in your workplace are aware of times when you need to attend classes and internships. Request any needed leave well in advance and clearly mark your calendar so all are aware of when you’ll be unavailable. Share your Ayurvedic knowledge, if appropriate. Consider your “work family” as an audience for a wellness discussion, yoga session or guided breathwork/meditation. 

Small empty planner with coffee espresso and flowering cherry branches on white table in sunlight spring morning. How to start and planning perfect day.

Rejuvenation and self care

When life gets busy, there’s one person that is often forgotten. You! Self-care is important to ensure you perform at your best, stay energized and focused. 

Actually schedule your self-care

Schedule some mental self-care into your calendar, even if it’s a 5 minute date for a little breath work, gratitude journaling or meditation. Mental wellbeing is key to minimizing stress and anxiety, increasing your positivity, building confidence and helping you avoid burnout. And don’t forget your body. Make sure to get plenty of rest, make time for exercise and keep your body fueled consistently with wholesome, energizing meals. Schedule all the aforementioned if you find that you otherwise miss them.

Prioritize and make shifts

Take a look at your to-do list. Being busy doesn’t always equal being productive. Are you spending too much time on what feels urgent and not enough time on what is important?  Realize it’s OK to say “no” sometimes. Let the important things be your priorities and forget about the rest, for now.

Slow your roll

Avoid multitasking and take a quality over quantity approach. Give each aspect of your life it’s full, deserved attention. When you multitask you may feel like you’re getting more accomplished but in fact, it can impact your memory, result in mistakes and actually eat up more of your time as your brain resets to follow each task.

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In finding life balance, we must consider the life we have and those that surround us and then make adjustments that will allow us to personally grow, fulfill our dharma and find happiness. The first steps of an educational journey are often the hardest, but if we take them with confidence and a little planning, we’ll easily complete our journey to success. 

To start planning your Ayurvedic educational journey, follow the links to learn more about our upcoming Holistic Health Coach, Ayurvedic Health Counselor and/or Ayurvedic Practitioner programs.

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

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.
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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
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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.

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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
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Visit to find out more about July’s practice.


July was interviewed by Anuradha Gupta, a Content Specialist at Kerala Ayurveda USA, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner and Ayurvedic Doctor in training. She is an Engineer, MBA and 200 Hr RYT with her own practice, Ayurvedic Footprints. Anu is an LGBTQ+ advocate who represented the Human Rights Commission at the US Senate in 2021; she is a Board Member of PFLAG SRV, and a volunteer with many organizations including the Art of Living Foundation and Free Mom Hugs.

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Sanskrit’s history and relevance to the modern Ayurvedic practitioner

Students of Ayurveda and Yoga are often drawn to the study of the Sanskrit – the ancient and slightly mystical mother language of the celebrated verses chanted during class or meditation. But where did this profound language come from, and what exactly does it have to offer an Ayurvedic practitioner today?


The origin of Sanskrit

Before you can understand the value of Sanskrit as a modern-day practitioner, it is important to be aware of its relevance in the history of Ayurveda, which is a product of the Vedic period of the Indian subcontinent. Sanskrit is an old Indo-Aryan language in which some of the most ancient documents known today, the Vedas were composed. It originated in the second millennium BCE. In the Indus Valley Civilization, where the natives were most likely earlier cousins of the Vedic people, a rudimentary form of Sanskrit was spoken with some Dravidian elements. The civilization began sometime around 6,000 BCE, and spread as far as the borders of modern-day Iran. The Indus culture was probably succeeded by the early Vedic culture around 2,000 BCE with Sanskrit as the principal language of communication, at least among the elite and ruling classes of the society. From the earliest verses found in the Vedas, we understand that Sanskrit had already evolved into a full-fledged language by the time they were composed.

Panini, a fourth century Sanskrit scholar, popularized the language with his systematic treatise, Ashtadhyayi. His inspiration made Sanskrit the preeminent Indian language of learning and literature for two millennia. The 14 sounds of the Maheswara Sutra are the most ancient known Sanskrit alphabet sequence. More than just alphabetical sounds, the Maheswara Sutra is a powerful mantra, and the vibrations of its utterance are known to have healing powers. The sounds of the alphabet are said to have originated from Lord Siva’s Damru, or drum, during the universe’s creation.


What makes Sanskrit unique amongst the ancient languages

Sanskrit is considered the mother of all languages with an influence as vast and deep as its spiritual associations. It belongs to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European family, and the oldest form is the Vedic Sanskrit. In India and Southeast Asia, the language enjoys a status similar to that of Latin and Greek in the western world. Literary researchers have identified Sanskrit as originating from the same source as Latin, Greek, and Persian. However, Sanskrit has its own wonderful structure. With exquisitely refined grammatical forms and verb roots, it is considered more “perfect” and copious than its counterparts. In its native Devanagari script, Sanskrit is known as Samskrta, which translates to “most refined.”

Sanskrit exerted a great deal of influence on all languages and cultures of the Indian subcontinent as well as beyond. The vocabularies of many Indian languages are heavily Sanskritized as a result. It is largely used today as a ceremonial language and in Hindu rituals due to its integral part of Hindu tradition and philosophy. Sanskrit language has also enriched many European languages, including English, and possibly many western philosophies. Modern Indian scholars of Sanskrit culture have often remarked that many of the new concepts of nuclear physics or modern psychology are easy for them to grasp, since they correspond exactly to familiar notions of Sanskrit terminology! Its versatility and power of expression can be appreciated by the fact that this language has 65 words to describe various forms of Earth, and over 250 words alone to describe rainfall.

Sanskrit’s connection with Ayurveda

Sanskrit is regarded as the language mother of all the universe, an explosive source of endless knowledge. The four Vedas, which document the knowledge of the Vedic period, are composed entirely in Sanskrit language. Ayurvedic knowledge is contained in the Upaveda of Atharva Veda. The ancient Ayurvedic philosophy, formulae, suggestions, herbs, herbal formulations, treatment methods, lifestyle management protocol and all medical instructions were first written down in Sanskrit. Since Ayurveda is codified using Sanskrit, a good knowledge of this language is crucial to properly understand the Ayurvedic texts.

Both Ayurveda and Sanskrit can touch you in a metaphysical way. A Sloka, or Sutra is the poetic form of the language used in the Ayurvedic root textbooks. Any form of Ayurvedic knowledge is a direct or indirect translation from the original Sanskrit verse. Learning Sanskrit language and Ayurveda together allows the student to truly embrace the best of both worlds: studying the source of nourishment and fullness of life in Sanskrit likewise offers the deepest possible access to Ayurveda’s wisdom. The ancient language embodies the principles behind Ayurveda, in its structure, sound and vibrations.


The value of Sanskrit knowledge for western practitioners of Ayurveda

A basic knowledge of Sanskrit is essential for understanding the essence of Ayurveda. It enriches the understanding of the classical textbooks as well as the commentaries. Ayurveda’s mind-body science has a rich heritage, and this ancient language is a direct route to get there. Sanskrit is also a verbal cleanser of the mind, enabling a practitioner to embody the balanced state from which he or she can best support the health of others.

A knowledge of Sanskrit benefits a Western Ayurvedic practitioner in the following ways:

  • Provides access for studying the root texts of Ayurvedic philosophy
  • Improves sense of learning Ayurveda and ability to follow lectures
  • Creates an overall more authentic learning experience
  • Deepens understanding of a Sutra’s more complex meaning
  • Aids in comprehension of the Mantras while doing meditation
  • Makes the learning process much easier
  • Enhances memory and retention with the power of the syllables
  • Helps the student make “quantum leaps” and learn more than initially expected
  • Calms the mind while learning the Sanskrit sutras
  • Enriches the learning experience with healing vibration
  • Increase connectivity and spiritual invocation

Ayurvedic Doctor program launch

A letter from Kerala Ayurveda Academy Director, Dr. (Vaidya) Jayarajan Kodikannath:

It’s with great pleasure I announce the launch of Kerala Ayurveda Academy’s third level Ayurvedic Doctor certification program, open to students from all Ayurvedic schools. It’s a 2.5-year program with 2,500 hours of learning, including both in-class and live streamed training hours, clinical internship, projects and a clinical specialty. The prerequisite for this program is a level II certification or equivalent, and the first session begins this August 24.

The Ayurvedic Doctor (AD) program is a culmination of our academy’s strong desire to create confident, advanced clinicians of Ayurveda, capable of helping people with the complex health concerns in this modern world. Our mission is to preserve the authenticity of Ayurveda in the U.S., which is why the curriculum of this program is carefully designed to align with the World Health Organization’s benchmarks for Ayurvedic training, as well as the curriculum for the Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (BAMS) degree in India. To satisfy the unique standards here in the U.S., this program  matches the competencies from the National Ayurvedic Medical Association (NAMA) for Ayurvedic Doctor professional membership. It is also approved by California state’s Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education.

As you may know, Kerala Ayurveda Academy was established in 2006 and has grown from one 500-hour certification program to now three levels of professional certification, the specialty Panchakarma certification, plus several continuing education workshops. This growth is a sign that we are, as a community, fulfilling the deeper mission – to spread awareness of Ayurveda and help positively shift the lives of more people.

Coming from India and representing an Ayurvedic lineage, I have witnessed the profound healing potential of Ayurveda – not just in my two and a half decades of practice as an Ayurvedic Doctor, but throughout my entire life. Growing up, herbal medicine and Panchakarma was not an alternative choice, but just a way of life. It has been my personal mission to share the traditional teachings of Ayurveda with the world: train high quality professionals of Ayurveda in traditional Indian medicine, and transmit the most comprehensive, holistic and personalized healing methodologies.

It is my hope that the addition of our level III AD program will support the continued learning of those who wish to reach their full potential as Ayurvedic professionals with advanced clinical training, at the highest level of certification here in the U.S.

For those of you who are ready and qualified, we invite you to apply to our first AD program beginning this August. Our online application launches this Friday, February 8.

Dr. (Vaidya) Jayarajan Kodikannath
Vice President & Academy Director
Kerala Ayurveda USA

Agni: the force behind digestion and metabolism:

We utilize energy for all physiological actions and functions in our body. In this process, our tissues are constantly being broken down and rebuilt. They receive needed replenishment for this activity from food, water and air.

When we eat, our body does not utilize all foods in the same manner. Food needs to be transformed into physical form to help in building new tissues. The energy responsible for this discrimination and transformation is called Agni.


An Ayurvedic Definition of Agni

1) Fire, one of the nine substances (Dravya), one of the five elements (Bhoota)

2) Digestive power


Agni and The 5 Elements

Agni is one of the Panchabhutas, or five elements – one of the foundational principles of Ayurvedic philosophy. According to this theory, everything in the universe is made up of these five elements. Agni referred to as the “Teja Mahabhuta” in the body. It governs our life, strength, health, energy, luster, Ojas (fluid of life, responsible for vigor, heartiness, immunity and more) and Tejas (radiance). Agni represents the root of healthy life when balanced. If deranged, it causes disease. Also, Agni keeps us alive. If Agni is extinguished, a person dies.


Functions of Agni in our body

  • Digests food
  • Nourishes the Doshas (the three energies governing all functions of the body)
    • Balanced Vata (Air + Ether) creates energy
    • Balanced Pitta (Fire + Water) creates radiance
    • Balanced Kapha (Water + Earth) creates strength
  • Nourishes Dhatus (tissues of the body)
  • Creates OjasTejas and Prana (Subtle Doshas)
  • Clears mind, thoughts and ideas
  • Maintains life force


Tips for maintaining balanced Agni and metabolism

The choices we make not just daily, but throughout the day influence the status of our Agni. When Agni is strong, we are able to sustainably digest and assimilate what we consume – food, thoughts, actions and ideas. When Agni is weak, we are not able to digest what we intake. We are not what we eat. We are what we digest. Thus, a strong, balanced Agni is crucial to our health!


Each individual will require different lifestyle choices to balance Agni for their unique constitution, though there are general guidelines we can all follow:

  • Eat 3 healthy meals a day and according to your unique needs
  • Avoid consuming things you know tax your system (such as wheat, dairy, spicy food, raw foods, etc)
  • Eat your largest and most diverse meal when digestive fire is strongest: between 10am-2pm
  • Ginger tea can stimulate digestion
  • Avoid cold beverages – they can extinguish the fire of our Agni
  • Don’t overeat – end a meal before the “full” feeling
  • When hunger strikes, don’t ignore it – you need fuel to keep the fire going!
  • Get plenty of sleep so our system can rest and replenish

9 ways to build a career with Ayurveda

The Ayurvedic industry is an exciting place to be right now. With an increasing demand for Ayurvedic resources and products, pioneers in holistic health can create rewarding careers in a number of traditional ways.

Yet the need for sustainable solutions applies to all of us – no matter what industry we might be in. Thanks to the universal quality of Ayurveda’s philosophy, the possibilities are endless for applying it to your career!

1. Become an Ayurvedic health & wellness professional

In the U.S., the National Ayurvedic Medical Association sets the standards for three levels of Ayurvedic professionals: Health Counselor, Practitioner and Doctor. Each of these professional roles entails a unique scope of practice within which a client-based career can emerge.

As a Health or Wellness Counselor, you can analyze client constitutions, offering lifestyle and nutritional guidance to support your clients in managing health imbalances.

At the Practitioner or Doctor level, you can begin to analyze the stages of disease, offering more targeted guidelines for your clients in managing imbalances that have developed into more serious conditions.


2. Apply Ayurveda to your healing practice

Yoga teachers, massage therapists, physical therapists, acupuncturists, herbalists – the list goes on when it comes to alternative health solutions. Ayurveda’s universal nature makes it complementary to each and every one of these modalities, which means it can enhance your existing practice. Applying the client-customized solutions of Ayurveda can transform your services from exceptional to truly life-changing.



3. Develop or join an integrative medical practice

In addition to complementing alternative health modalities, Ayurveda pairs beautifully with conventional medicine and satisfies the rising demand for personalization in the medical industry. All positions within the medical industry, including physicians, nurse practitioners, pharmacists and health aids can find new solutions and improved results for clients using Ayurvedic knowledge.



4. Personalize your guidelines as a nutritionist or dietician

One of the primary tools used in Ayurvedic health is diet, and nutritional guidelines are fundamental to the scope of practice of Counselors, Practitioners and Doctors. By analyzing Ayurvedic constitution types and how various foods will impact an individual’s system, nutritionists and dieticians are uniquely positioned to support dramatic improvements in clients’ lives.



5. Use Ayurvedic philosophy in your counseling or life coaching sessions

Ayurveda recognizes that imbalances occur at all levels – physical, emotional and intellectual. Looking at the whole person includes all aspects of their lives, including relationships, work and hobbies. By applying Ayurvedic physiology and psychology to client sessions, counselors, therapists and life coaches can get to the root of a client’s blockages and challenges, helping them to adjust their lifestyle and goals to match their personal needs, as well as provide natural solutions for managing stress & change.



6. Add Ayurvedic cooking and nutrition to your food or catering business

Just as the universal principles of Ayurvedic nutrition can be applied to anyone from any background, they can also be applied to any cuisine, not just Indian! Using Ayurvedic principles of cooking creates healthy, balanced meals that are more nourishing, easier to digest and truly satisfying. In today’s fast-paced world, it is difficult for many to affordably eat freshly made food at each meal, though the impact on our health when we can do this is profound. If you have a passion for cooking, the world is waiting at your table!


7. Launch or enhance a natural product line

More and more consumers are looking for natural products that are locally sourced. You don’t have to make traditional Ayurvedic products to be inspired by its wisdom & and apply its guidelines to a product line. Beauty products, makeup and food are an excellent place to start, but the sky is the limit!



8. Incorporate the ancient wisdom in your business consultations & programs

The principles of Ayurveda are truly so universal that they can even be applied to businesses! Whether you deal with small businesses or corporations, you’ll discover a new way of understanding the dynamics of health and balance by analyzing organizations through an Ayurvedic lens.


9. Revolutionize your teaching or instruction methods

If you offer educational services, your work involves a high level of connection and intuiting the needs of your students. Understanding the different body and mind constitutions according to Ayurveda and their unique needs can help you learn how to communicate best and set realistic goals and expectations with your students.


Remember – the possibilities are truly endless!


Want to learn more about career planning with Ayurveda?

View our most recent informational webinar, “Building a Career with Ayurveda”

Learn More