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.

Ayurvedic plant medicine: a consciousness based science

Kerala Ayurveda is a source of Ayurvedic teachings, products, lineage traditions and healing services. Much of Ayurveda’s wisdom comes directly from nature and the plant world. Plant medicine is becoming increasingly popular across various industries – wellness, spiritual, food and pharmaceuticals. But what is true plant medicine?
This blog is inspired by the webinar, “The Healing Consciousness of Plants” with Vaidya. Jayarajan Kodikannath
Click here to view the webinar To take care of ourselves and our planet, working with plant medicine in a sustainable and respectful manner is important. It’s our goal at Kerala Ayurveda to preserve the ancient respect of the plant world embedded in the tradition practice of Ayurveda. As holistic remedies become more popular and trends lead to the increasing commercialization of plants, as well as the industrial manipulation of them, it’s all the more important we take cues from the ancient ways. Improper use of plant medicine is not only disrespectful to the plants, ourselves and the earth; it also diminishes the efficacy of the ingredients. Respect and healing potential go hand in hand – isn’t that beautiful? According to the history of Ayurveda, the wisdom of healing was gifted to the ancient sages by the plants themselves. To understand plant medicine in Ayurveda, it’s important to look at consciousness itself. Ayurveda’s wisdom is not considered to be derived from the “normal” human experience we have day to day. The true essence  of this wisdom is considered, according to Ayurveda, to exist beyond the material plane, at the highest state of awareness of Trikal Gyani’s – or, Enlightened Rishis or Seers who could see the past, present and future. That might seem intimidating, but from an Ayurvedic perspective: we’re all truly capable of accessing higher states of awareness, and connecting with this wisdom. When we recognize that plants possess another form of consciousness, we can begin to connect appropriately with that consciousness to facilitate effective, soul nourishing healing.

Close up of tumeric plant


The story of Turmeric

To understand the depth of plant consciousness, let’s look at the story of turmeric as one example of the thousands of plant stories in the Ayurvedic knowledge base. Bhavaprakasha, the herbal dictionary mentions that turmeric:
  • Pacifies the Kapha and Pitta Doshas 
  • Enhances complexion
  • Helps with skin and urinary disorders, diabetes, blood-related issues, inflammation, swelling, anemia, and wounds
  • Enhances mental functions
  • Is efficacious in cardiac issues, vitiligo, jaundice and is an anti-toxic
  Turmeric transformed in recent times from a village girl to a city girl. The village girl was organic and true to herself, and the urban version developed from use of her extract: Curcumin. Scientists discovered Curcumin is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that helps with metabolic syndrome, arthritis, mind, exercise-induced inflammation, but has side effects. It causes bleeding disorders, diarrhea, skin rashes, hot flashes, and itchiness. Turmeric does not cause side effects when used in moderation, though Curcumin can.  When using the modified turmeric as Curcumin, the whole and original turmeric is lost. In that process, we lose Ayurvedic tradition. Would you consider everything from plants to the human brain as merely a chemical cocktail? That’s how turmeric is perceived when the extract of Curcumin is isolated as a supplement. Turmeric is not alone – more than 90 percent of supplements are synthetic. Studies show that Vitamin E from natural sources is at least two times more efficacious than synthetic Vitamin E. There is something within the natural plant sources, something subtle and hard for modern science to pinpoint, which enhances their healing potential. Similarly, research on mantras reveals they aren’t mere superstition; they can transform mental and functional systems in human beings. Research on plant cells communicating like animal cells, using bioelectricity or neurobiology, is underway, but we have a ways to go. The world at large still identifies plants as material, and unfortunately denies subtle levels of consciousness.

Woman meditating on a rock in the middle of a stream


Embracing a broader definition of consciousness

The subtle layers of consciousness permeate everything in the universe, according to Ayurveda. Ayurveda translates to “the science of life” and offers more than a system for human health. It encompasses the entire cosmos, for it recognizes the interconnectedness, and resulting interdependence, of all existence. Nature is now teaching us a very challenging but important lesson: what it means to live in Adharma or unrighteousness. Our health, the health of many species, our water and our planet as a whole is under the threat of our own human industry’s fallout. When we treat everything for our convenience and consumption, including how large or quickly plants and animals grow, we assume earth and nature are created just for us. Ayurveda reminds us that we must learn to honor all beings and consider them our family. We would not manipulate our family members in a way that goes against their nature. The root Ayurvedic text, Charaka Samhita, talks about the wrongdoings of humans that contaminate and pollute air, water, earth and cause derangement of time cycles, climate change and lead to annihilation of communities through reduction of immunity and pandemics or Janapadadhwamsa Vyadhi where pathogens overtake us. The Covid19 pandemic happened because of our long-standing Adharma to ourselves, animals, plants, and fellow beings.  Studies suggest that we are reaching a point where it is difficult to go back to the normal sustenance of humanity, and have crossed the limit in damaging the environment. However, every transformation in human consciousness starts with a shift in awareness in one individual. This spreads to families, communities, nature, and ecosystems get transformed. You have the power to make the change for yourself, and the whole planet in the process. Ayurveda is here to guide you, by helping you tap into your innate knowledge.

Plant covered bridge


Three layers of existence and “One World Family”

Vasudev Kutumbhakam implies we are all a part of this cosmic vibration or “one world family.” All living beings, including plants, animals, birds, and humans exist in three layers and real existence is a union of these layers: 
  1. Physical, material, or structural layer which includes Dhatus, or tissues and the physical body.
  2. Subtle, functional, or energetic layer which includes Doshas and the mind. 
  3. Consciousness, casual layer, or spirit which is sometimes confused with the mind but is the quantum layer beyond energetics. We rarely access this in modern life. 
  Living beings are Stavaram (stationary, like plants) or Jangamam (moving). They have an individual consciousness and are part of the cosmic or collective consciousness. Every being has a tangible influence and contributes to other beings at a physical, energetic, and conscious level. If all honey bees go on a strike, many species can perish, causing extinction of the human race. Which is why we have rituals honoring animals and plants that support us, mantras are chanted in Panchakarma and if we ignore these practices, we lose the essence of Ayurveda.  We honor all beings as an integral part of us. Traditional Ayurveda is clear that we are part of the collective consciousness; if we can harness, align with, and honor every being with body, mind, and soul; with our physical, functional, and conscious existence, we will get the complete potential of nature for our sustenance to bring health, harmony, peace, happiness, and longevity for all, and fulfill our lives’ purpose.

Woman harvesting cardamom


How to work with plants as whole, conscious beings

Prabhava is a concept in Ayurveda that defines how materials like herbs, gemstones or even mantras have an action that can’t be explained. While this might appear to defy science as you know it, keep in mind that Ayurvedic science is a 5,000 year old system and the oldest known documented healthcare system. It was formed in a time when humans lived closer to the earth and possessed more tolerance of the unknown, as well as a deeper awareness of subtle energy. What may look like a pointless ritual to some – like chanting mantras – is felt and experienced as a powerful transformative tool to the individual who uses it. Similarly, Ayurvedic plant medicine involves a variety of rituals designed to maximize the efficacy of a plant. When we bring the full material, energetic and plant consciousness through the right processes the plant will bless us with its fullest healing potential. Sharangadhara Samhita, the go-to text for Ayurvedic pharmaceuticals, explains how to harvest herbs and make formulations. It details what parts of specific plants to utilize, when to harvest them based on the seasons, weather and moon cycles, as well as what exceptions can be made in these processes. The text stipulates that you must hold positive intentions in the mind, possess a clean body and spirit, and perform the act on an auspicious day and time in order to create plant medicine. For instance, you may harvest the plant in the morning but not at dawn, facing the sun with silent prayers and mantra chanting, seeking blessings, plucking herbs grown towards the northern direction. Furthermore, you must connect with the plant and specifically request the plant to join you in relieving your suffering, and that of fellow humans.  When the above process is followed, your medicine won’t be limited like Curcumin. When you ask plants to help alleviate suffering and follow these traditions, the plant’s consciousness becomes an active participant, and in essence, sacrifice themself to join you in the healing process. Helping another being in pain is the highest Dharma or righteousness, and the plant takes this opportunity to transition to a higher self. The benefit of herbs harvested as per these traditions is far beyond the material. It is a spiritual journey between family members who happen to be different species. This explains the rituals at our Kerala Ayurveda formulation making unit and why we are so committed to tradition. It also explains why Pudikaranja merely tied to the waist of babies provides colic relief. If the consciousness science of Ayurveda can permeate industries and other healing modalities, we have much potential to heal ourselves and our planet.