Narayana Ayurveda and Yoga Academy is a registered school with Yoga Alliance, and our professional Ayurveda programs have been reviewed by National Ayurvedic Medical Association (NAMA)and meet their requirements for professional membership. Our professional Ayurveda Programs are approved and regulated by Texas Workforce Comission-Career School and Colleges.
*Professional Ayurveda Programs
** Ayurveda Counselor-600 Hrs (Level 1)
** Ayurveda Practitioner (Level 2)
*Yoga Teacher Training
*Self support short courses under 24 Hours to unlock your healing potential through yoga and Ayurveda.
Note: Our Yoga studies are not regulated by Texas Worksforce Commission.
Our programs are a mix of online, distance learning, and onsite internships. We also have plenty of community and public workshops that we encourage students to attend.
Please use the CONTACT FORM for quicker response time.
The college was established by Husband and Wife team, Monica B Groover, Ph.D. (Manjulali Dasi), and, Pandit Atul Krishna Das. Both wanted to establish an affordable, online college, based on Samkhya as well as Vedantic principles. The team wanted to make Ayurvedic education affordable by using Open Source Learning Management like Moodle. Other teachers include Dr Aparna Dandekar (threeriversayurveda.com), and, Dr Priyanka Rajan, BAMS. Guest lectures and yoga therapy lectures may be provided by other highly qualified faculty as well.
Self Support Program
Bring self awareness to your life, and learn secrets of ancient Ayurveda and Yoga therapy, Pranayama in this short 24 hour program designed for personal growth. May 2017.
Introduction to Ayurveda Yoga Therapy Practices-150 Hrs. This program is specifically designed for Yoga Teachers who want to deepen their practice of Yoga Therapy and delve much deeper Ayurvedic Principles. May 2017
Ayurveda Counselor 600 Hrs (Level 2) May 2017
NAMA Reviewed Professional 600 Hour Ayurveda Counselor program, offered via distance learning and online live classes.
Our admin office location for yoga programs in Austin, Texas.
United States Residents
Students from USA may decide to follow the NAMA (National Ayurvedic Medical Association) mandated Ayurveda Counselor curriculum for 600 Hours and Ayurveda Practitioner for 1000-1500 hours in order to qualify for a board examination. This enables the student to take a qualifying exam offered by NAMA, enabling them for a CERTIFIED AYURVEDA COUNSELOR label, or, CERTIFIED AYURVEDA PRACTITIONER LABEL.
Food Rules by Laurel Byrne (Student)
Here in the United States, we’re inundated with a wide variety of dietary protocols and food rules. These diets and rules often contradict each other, and it seems like almost every time you turn around there’s a new “best diet” fad taking the place of the last. From 3 meals a day to 6 meals a day, from low fat to low carb, It can get confusing. If you’re anything like me, you may have found yourself wondering, how should I actually be eating to optimize my health and wellbeing?
Many of us grew up hearing mainstream statements telling us things like “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” and that in order to be healthy and lose weight, that you should opt for low-fat and non-fat options whenever possible, and that your main energy source should be through carbohydrates. However, over the years, we’ve been introduced to various diets that have conflicted with what we were originally taught about healthy food choices.
Some of us may have recently be introduced to some of the latest popular dietary protocols, the Ketogenic and Paleo diets. Both of these diets emphasize the restriction of carbohydrates, and but the Ketogenic diet emphasizes the consumption of more high quality fats while Paleo emphasizes the consumption of more high quality protein.
Another popular dietary protocol touts the benefits of utilizing intermittent fasting to promote health, as well as weightloss. Many promoters of dietary protocol recommend skipping breakfast in order to put your body into a fat-burning state. This was a stark contrast to everything that I was originally taught about what and how I should be eating.
So, should we be eating high carb, high fat, or high protein diet, or something else entirely? Should we be eating a square 3 meals a day, 6 smaller meals, or implementing intermittent fasting and skipping some meals altogether? Lets get back to the core question, what food rules best promote optimal health and wellbeing?
To answer this, let’s take a step back from the diet centered approach of the Western world, and venture East, to uncover the wisdom of Ayurveda. For anyone who is unfamiliar, Ayurveda originated in India, and is the multi-modality approach to health and wellness which holistically seeks to balance the mind, body, and spirit of the individual through understanding their unique constitution.
The food rules of Ayurveda have two specific considerations. First, what I will be discussing here, are specific rules and guidelines for meals that are recommended to be followed by everyone, as they take the basic science of our human bodies into consideration. Secondly, there are a great number of additional food rules recommended for your specific constitution and body type, so the full scope and emphasis of your dietary recommendations based on Ayurveda are not a one size fits all approach.
The basic Ayurvedic Rules for meals are in alignment with the natural rhythm of our bodies. There is just as much consideration into how we are eating as there is into what we are eating. Eating should be considered a ritual that you bring your mindfulness and attention to your meal and nourishing your body. It is recommended that you do not eat while you may be distracted by conversations or by watching tv. (Svoboda, 2003, p. 55) It is recommended to chew each morsel slowly and many times as this “allows the digestive enzymes in the mouth to their work properly and, in addition, it gives the stomach time to prepare for the arrival of the masticated food” (Lad, 1984, p. 85)
Rather than following a rule for eating a certain number of times per day, Ayurveda recommends that we should eat when we are hungry. We have different rates of digestion and metabolism, so it is important to be in touch with our bodies and nourish it when we are hungry. If we eat when we are not hungry, our previous meal may not have had time to digest yet. Subsequently, not eating if we are hungry can cause imbalances in our doshas. It is recommended that we eat until we fill satiated but not overly full. It is also recommended to not drink a lot of water, especially cold water during a meal, as it can decrease the body’s agni, or digestive fire.
Ayurveda recommends that lunch be our heaviest meal, around noon, as our energy is higher at this time of day, and that we have a lighter dinner, as our energy for digestion is lower as we approach nighttime. Ayurveda does not recommend that raw and cooked foods be eaten together in one meal, as they require different digestion processes. For example, Ayurveda recommends that most melons should be eaten alone. This is because “in combination with other foods, they create clogging and may prevent absorption by the intestines” (Lad, 1984, p. 81) This can create imbalances within the doshas, and therefore within the body.
I hope that these Ayurvedic food rules help you to be begin to understand how the way you eat affects all levels of the self. However, this is just a starting point, and I would strongly encourage you to learn more about your own unique Ayurvedic constitution, as that understanding can help you truly optimize your health and wellbeing through your food and dietary choices.
Lad, V. (1984). Ayurveda : the science of self-healing : a practical guide. Santa Fe, N.M: Lotus Press.
Svoboda, R. (2003). Prakriti : your ayurvedic costitution. Twin Lakes, WI: Lotus
By Monica B Groover
What is a Yoga Therapist
Most Yoga Teacher Training have only 200 Hours of basic training. This means the objective of the training is to do a generic yoga class for generic public irrespective of who is attending the class.
Yoga Therapy is a different ball game.
First of all the training required to be a Yoga Therapist may exceed 500 Hours.
Yoga therapists use yoga for a very specific purpose for healing. They may use Yoga as a tool to help a person move, support healing. Example, Prenatal yoga class, post natal yoga class, yoga class for cancer survivors who have had surgery. Yoga therapists may study how pain produced due to a movement, the mechanics of movement both normally and its deviation during pain, or, when suffering from musculoskeletal issues. It includes studying the body’s posture, and, requires a sound knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and bodily planes, especially of the musculoskeletal system.
Ayurveda Yoga Therapists training may exceed even that of a yoga therapist, and, definitely may need to clock more than a 1000 hours.
Should a Yoga Therapist study more anatomy, more physiology or more Kinesiology?
Whether a Yoga Therapist, or, an Ayurveda Yoga therapist- sound knowledge of anatomy and physiology is crucial, and, at least a basic understanding of Kinesiology becomes absolutely essential. This is ignored and an understudied area in some yoga therapy schools.
Kinesiology is the study of the movement of the body-how muscles move the joints.
Kinesiology is used by health professions like Osteopathy, in sports medicine, by orthopedic surgeons, and Physical therapists amongst others.
Mostly these health professions use a structural knowledge of Kinesiology, rather than functional. This means that they are more interested in what can be seen. They are interested in posture, planes of the body, axes of rotation, the muscles, joints, and, apply methods like surgery to help correct dysfunctions. For example, reconstruction of ACL (Anterior cruciate ligament), post injury to restore function. For osteopathic medicine, study of posture is crucial. For example, an osteopathic medicine may examine how someone sleeps-with their mouth open, or, closed, the symmetry of the two sides of the body, body measurement etc to diagnose postural dysfunctions.
Study of Kinesiology does not necessarily prepare one for clinical professions.
AKA (American Kinesiology Association) describes Kinesiology as the academic discipline which involves the study of physical activity and its impact on health, society and quality of life. There are two schools of kinesiology-structural and functional. Clinical applications focus on structure.
Ayurveda Yoga Therapy School
However, Yoga therapy as well as Ayurveda Yoga Therapy focuses on function, and will customize the practice of yoga to the roga and rogi, the person and their dysfunction. Ayurveda Yoga therapy school should prepare the student with full knowledge of Ayurveda Counselor, and, the science of biomechanics, integrated with modified asana practice, and use of one, two or many props to create a customized asana plans for different doshas, age groups etc.
Ayurveda Yoga Therapy standards prepared by NAMA (National Ayurvedic Medical Association) are stipulating that an Ayurveda Yoga Therapist already posess equal knowledge to that of an Ayurveda Counselor, be a yoga teacher to begin with, as a pre requisite.
That's a tall order.
Ayurveda Yoga Therapy
For an Ayurveda Yoga Therapist, study of Kinesiology, anatomy, physiology and musculoskeletel dysfunction in the three body types- Vata, Pitta and Kapha, the seven dhatus, and, all the srotas, issues with mala, and nidan is crucial.
Ayurveda Yoga therapy may support clients to reduce stress, pain, stiffness when suffering with Ghrdasi, Amavata, or Sandhigata, when integrated with Ayurvedic bodywork and practices.
In Alternative medicine, or methods like chiropractice they may use applied kinesiology, which is a controversial method. They may use muscle testing to identify imbalances in the body's structural, chemical, emotional or other energy, to establish the body's priority healing needs.
Assessment techniques for a Yoga therapist will also involve body measurement, biofeedback from nadi, jihva, and the use of dashavidha pariksha- the ten fold assessment.
The dashavidha pariksha includes, but is not limited to:
1 Prakrti (natural constitution)
2 Vikrti(deviation and imbalance of prakrti)
3 Sara (dhatu)
4 Samhanana (build)
5 Pramana (body measurement)
6 Sattva (mind)
7 Satmya (ability to adapt)
8 Ahara sakti (digestive ability)
9 Vyayama sakti (physical strength and fitness)
10 Vaya (Ayu, Age)
Kinesiology for manual therapy, Dail Nancy
American Kinesiology Association
Lecture by Aparna Dandekar, D.O, Narayana Ayurveda & Yoga Academy
Solving the mystery of Gods of Hinduism
By Aparna Dandekar, D.O, AP
There is much confusion about so many gods in Hinduism and Vedic Culture. Lets try to demystify it a little.
Lets begin with who Devatas are. Devatas are demigods, or, angels in Hinduism and are also called Adityas. Aditya means "son of Aditi". Aditi is the mother of the Sun and the other devas, while her sister Diti was the mother of the asuras, or the demons. Diti's sons are also called Daityas.
The other clarification I wanted to make through this blog was about the Hindu Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh (Shiva).
There is a general confusion for many people about the terms Brahma versus Brahmin versus Brahman. And this is but natural because they are spelled so similarly!
Brahma is the creator of the material universe, he is born of Vishnu, and operates as per Vishnu's command. He is often depicted as an elderly bearded man with three heads, sitting on a lotus flower whose long stalk emerges from Vishnu's navel, almost like an umbilical cord. There is deep symbology behind all of this, beyond the scope of this discussion. This Brahma, the creator, occupies a post or "office", and his job is to create. He is not worshipped as the Ultimate Truth or The One; he is considered a "demi-god".
Vishnu and Shiva are the ones who get to enjoy the title of "God" spelled with a capital "G", while other deities are "gods". These gods could be considered angels or divine officers, or divine beings who are highly evolved and have much power, yet they are not God.
The title of God goes to Vishnu, Shiva and Shakti. Of course, staunch worshippers Vishnu (Vaishnavas) may disagree, and say that only Vishnu get the big "G". Shaivites (those who worship Shiva) may argue that only Shiva is God and Vishnu is a demigod. Those who exclusively worship the Divine Mother Shakti (Shaktas) will say, nope; there's only one God and She is Kali/Durga/Laxmi. But for most people in India, God means Vishnu/Shiva/Shakti when God takes on a PERSONAL (saguna) form.
When God is IMPERSONAL (nirguna), He/She/It is incomprehensible, limitless, formless, genderless, ageless, beginingless, endless, boundless energy. Lord Krishna (God) talks about this in the Bhagavad Gita, particularly in chapters 10 and 11. He also states that those who worship the ancestors, the demigods, and other "lower" celestial beings will enjoy the planes of these divine beings and return to earth when their karma is exhausted, but those who worship GOD (Krishna) will attain Him alone and never have to re-enter the cycle of birth and death. Lord Krishna also says that whomever you choose to worship, your prayers ultimately reach Krishna.
The demi-gods are personifications of the planets, the elements, rivers, mountains, forces of nature, etc. They are revered as very highly evolved beings far superior to man. They hold boons and blessings and they have the power to influence human destiny. They have their own stories, their own glories, their own mantras, special days of the week, rituals of worship, magnificent temples, magical vehicles, weapons, and other divine opulences. They are worshipped as manifestations of the endless wondrous powers of God. However, there is a clear understanding in the mind of each Hindu that God is One, Many are the Manifestations. This is a central tenet of the religion.
I imagine that this is similar to the concept of Patron Saints in Catholicism. These are powerful and revered beings to whom prayers are made, but ultimately God is One. In fact, doubting His singularity in Christianity would be blasphemy. Similarly, Hinduism is very much a monotheistic philosophy; but seemingly polytheistic, with millions of deities who preside over the forces of nature, like stationed officers, under the command of The One.
You could also look at them as expansions of God. In the beginning there was One. In the Vedas, the sentence "Eko'ham, bahu syam", when translated means, "I am one; let Me be many". Thus God became everything and everyone--all of creation. This is why we look upon everyone as divine; as carrying a spark of God, which is the soul or atman. When God resides in us, how can we be doomed sinners?
When God/Atman resides in all other creatures around us, how can we kill and eat them? This is why vegetarianism is such a cultural concept in all Dharma religions. This is why cows and other animals are "worshipped" in India, much to the amusement and laughter of the rest of the world, who is exposed to such practices on documentaries which do not explain this cultural context. Without understanding this backstory, India is misunderstood as a backward country, and Hinduism as a religion of simpletons.
Now, lets move on to Brahmin and Brahman.
Brahmin is simply a man or woman whose occupation is scholarly or priestly.
Brahman is synonymous the The One, or the Supreme, or God.
Brahma, Brahmin and Brahman are the usual romanized spellings of these three words. But if I were to write them out in IAST format with diacritical marks, they would look like this : (1) ब्रह्मा brahmā ,the creator god (2) ब्राह्मण brāhmaṇa , the priest, and , (3) ब्रह्मन् brahman, The Supreme. The diacritical marks help us with the proper pronunciation.
Student-Blog by Block 1 Track B Student
Ayurveda is becoming more recognized in the United States, but it will not experience the same mainstream popularity that Yoga has experienced.
1. Yoga is big business.
Yoga has experienced mainstream success thanks to the commercialization of it. From busy city corners to quiet main streets, Yoga studios have popped up all over. Yoga mats can be found from stores like Whole Foods to TJMaxx. Yoga clothing maintained popularity with the fashion trend, Athleisure. Yoga is lucrative. A hashtag search on Instagram shows #Yoga with 23,865,442 tags. #Ayurveda has 244,359 tags.
In order for Ayurveda to experience mainstream success, it needs to be incorporated into business models that are both profitable and scalable.
2. Ayurveda is complex.
Without a trusted practitioner or expert of Ayurveda guiding the way, navigating Ayurveda as a novice is confusing.
Information online is copious. It is difficult to wade through the sea of website documentation, while verifying authenticity and understanding enough of the subject matter in order to confidently apply it to one’s own medical condition. Medical-related inquires and online search do not yield helpful results.
On Twitter, Comedian Bill Murray said it best.
Me: “My elbow hurts.”
Doctor website: “Elbow cancer.”
Ayurvedic herbs or beauty rituals may experience short term popularity because they are easy to understand and to apply to one’s lifestyle, but the importance of Ayurveda as a holistic health modality is much more multifaceted.
3. Western Medicine vs. Ayurveda
If western medicine were to challenge Ayurveda to a boxing match, western medicine would deliver a knockout punch in the first round. The public trusts western medicine’s ability to deliver immediate results. Side effects of “get-healed- fast” are downplayed or prescribed with additional pills. Deepak Chopra and others have taken great steps in communicating the health benefits of Ayurveda in the US, but only the tip of this iceberg is showing.
There is a seismic shift toward whole body health with more focus on traditional ways of healing in the US. NAMA (The National Ayurvedic Medical Association) is focused on enforcing stricter regulations for those who wish to practice Ayurveda, with board examinations and license examination beginning December 1st, 2016.
While Ayurveda will not experience the same mainstream popularity that Yoga has experienced, I believe Ayurveda will enjoy a slow and thoughtful growth, where the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda is respected, learned, shared, and practiced in today’s modern world.
Instagram Hashtag Search, 08/08/16
In the last decade, especially with studies on casein, and, many people developing sensitivity to Lactose, a sugar found within milk, or, problems digesting milk proteins; milk has developed a bad reputation in United States.
I get asked constantly in my Herb class, if Almond milk, or, soymilk is okay to substitute for dairy when using as an anupana for delivery of herb. The answer is NO. It is not the Ayurvedic way.
When I am talking about using milk as an anupana (a vehicle that increases the efficacy of the herb, and, delivers it deeper into the dhatus, increases kapha, decreases vata and pitta) then only actual dairy will do. This usually means cows milk.
First the amount of milk we are using for delivery of herb is 24 ml, or less than an oz. Perhaps 2 oz. If someone cannot digest dairy, then we suggest ghee instead. (All milk solids which include casein and lactose have been removed!)
By the way, how can a nut milk be milk? By definition, a milk is produced from a mammary gland? And, if god didn't attend humans to drink milk then he/she wouldn't have provided those to the feminine gender, I think!
Ayurvedic texts like Bhavaprakasha mention benefits of milk not just from cows, but, also from sheep, camel, buffalo and goat to name a few.
Another question I get constantly asked is do we like milk raw or boiled?
Answer is boiled. Pasteurized. But--how??? Ayurveda is all natural? How can it not advocate raw milk. Because, my dear, raw milk can give rise to diseases. It can carry DANGEROUS bacteria.
Ayurveda does not like bacteria and krimi. Our ancient seers talked about boiling milk when everyone had a cow in their backyard, everyday and once a day.
In ancient times, we got rid of bacteria, and, all kinds of krimi by constantly boiling our water, milk, and, all fluids.
I grew up in our household boiling our milk every single day, sometimes twice a day (If it was too hot, as we didnt have refrigeration).
First lets understand what is the difference between different types of pasteurizing and boiling?
Batch pasteurization-Milk is heated to 155 degrees Fahrenheit for half an hour. (Stirring constantly is a must. We grew up getting up early in the morning to get to the cowshed and getting milk directly from the cow dairy in Delhi. Then, we would come home and we would boil the milk,and, as soon as it reached boiling point, we would turn the flame down and boil it further for another 10-15 minutes. I had to stir it, and, stir it, and, stir it. Okay in Ayurveda, in my opinion.)
Flash pasteurization- High temperature 162 Fahrenheit for 15 seconds. Okay in Ayurveda, in my humble opinion.
UHT (Ultra Heat) -Milk is heated to 280 degrees-and every good thing about it is pretty much destroyed along with the bacteria
Boiling the milk for some seconds is advised in Ayurveda. Just not ultra pasteurized.
We boil herbs like Ashwagandha in milk. We add turmeric or poppy seeds, or nutmeg to this boiled milk. We add saffron.
We drink it with herbs.
We even boil water that is already sterile in Ayurveda. Boiling water causes the agni, or, fire element to be present and changes the energetics of the water to a lighter and easily digestible.
Local, Grass fed organic milk pasteurized milk is the best I found in California, and, now in Austin.
What Ayurveda doesn't like is when the chemical structure of the milk is changed by homogenizing it. Homogenezing involves playing with the chemical molecular structure of fat particles in milk that rise up. (We called it cream growing up!)
And, these fat particles are broken up so they mix with the rest of the milk - so no cream would be formed.
Ultra pasteurized means it is first pasteruized, then pasteurized again to make it ultra sterile and that kills off the nutrients. Then, Vitamin D (Read Fish oil) are added.
This is why we use this milk from California that is lightly pasteurized, you see the cream floating on the top and it has not been altered by changing chemical structure.
Next, I shall write about goat milk
One of the questions we get asked a lot, is how can Ayurveda colleges offer Ayurvedic Medicine certifications online, or, via distant learning? Does this mean our Ayurvedic Studies will not be interactive?
How shall we learn under a qualified Ayurvedic Practitioner online? How will we learn nadi pariksha? How do we achieve this?
If you want direct information about our courses, scroll down, or, CLICK HERE FOR COURSE INFORMATION
First of all, not all our courses are 100% online. For example, our NAMA (National Ayurvedic Medical Association) reviewed Ayurvedic Counselor Program is not 100% online. It is offered as a hybrid training delivery. Courses are offered both online, via interactive REAL TIME classes, Onsite classes, and, through interactive forum discussions, and pre recorded lectures. So, the program has the following aspects:
a) Online Webex sessions-
Live lectures that students can attend from their mobile android, or apple device. Or, through their computer. These sessions may be recorded, and, are available to watch on a computer for one week. Screenshot attached.
b) Interactive Forum Discussion-
After a lecture, teachers will usually ask the students to start a forum discussion on certain topics on our online learning system we call WORKSPACE.
Students login and post forum discussions, read discussions from other students. Forum posts follow certain rules--and are on specific topics. This is all done at an OFFLINE time at the workspace.
Screenshot of a forum discussion shown here.
c) Onsite Workshops- Every few months there are workshops in Austin Tx than can be four hours in length to four days in length. Shorter study programs, lectures may be offerred at San Diego, CA, Oakland, CA, Houston TX, Dallas, TX and Tampa, FL provided we have at least four students confirmed.
Many onsite workshops have dedicated time, where, students learn directly under Ayurvedic Practitioner. This includes Ayurvedic Cooking Demonstrations, learning how to prepare Ayurvedic Herb mixes, and, learning nadi or pulse pariksha.
Here is a video of an onsite workshop:
d) Online Workspace-
A message board, workspace, learning management system, forum and discussion center-our online workspace offers all that and more. Students will be able to take their final tests online. (Computer Adaptive Method, and, Summative Method in order to prepare them from national testing for Ayurveda Counselors beginning from December 1st. Our current students will be able to start taking some online tests from September onwards)
e)Distant learning or home learning- All the student readings, student homework pertaining to research, memorizing, and, learning is considered home learning or distant learning. All the time spent on workspace downloading, going through material is also distant learning.
Our Ayurveda college curriculum has been designed by professional instructional designer with focus on all three learners:
1. Visual Learners- Visuals, DVD, Archived Youtube videos, Charts, Powerpoint Presentations online and Study Aids used for Visual Learners online, and, sent to the student while pursuing their Ayurvedic Studies.
2. Auditory Learners- Those who like to listen, you will hear, and, get a chance to ask questions at our live virtual classes. Many Pre recorded lectures available on youtube and at our workspace.
3. Hands on learners- Come to the workshop onsite and you will get plenty of Hands on experience.
Ayurvedic Nutrition is easy and simple, yet, quite complicated.
Unless you are well, and, quite healty, it is not possible to just read a book and start using recipes indicated for your dosha-Vata, Pitta or Kapha.
For those who are unwell, suffering from vitiated agni (digestive fire), or other dosha related imbalances, it is advised you visit an Ayurvedic Practitioner.
Ayurvedic Nutrition considers the following items:
Rasa-There are six tastes. Ones food and diet must have all the six tastes when one is well. When unwell, it is suggested to focus on the rasas, or, tastes suggested for your dosha. For example, for pitta and high heat sweet (naturally), bitter and astringent (green beans, plantain) are suggested.
Virya-Heating or Cooling Potency
Protein Source<-Animal based, Plant Based (always preferred)
Sattva, Tamas, or Rajas-Affect on the mind.
Prana- Local, organic and full of Prana
Ojas- If the food item supports ojas or bodys natural immunity.
Image: Michael Puma, Ayurvedic Counselor Student
San Diego College of Ayurveda offers online courses in Ayurvedic Nutrition, Ayurveda Counselor and Yoga Teacher Training.
Ayurveda is a 5000-year-old science and throughout the course of time there has been little or no change in the practiced form.
While it can be said the overall principles of Ayurveda is timeless; the reality is that today’s society demands modern treatments which combine both science and technology to not only assess and understand the body, but to treat diseases as well. As scientists continue to discover and analyze diseases, modern technology allows them to determine the root cause down to the DNA level.
In turn, this allows the research and development of modern drugs to also be done at the molecular level. This allows for a very comprehensive and dynamic understanding of cause and effect of pharmaceuticals on the body as well as the disease. Unfortunately, while this may be beneficial in the treatment and cure of some diseases, from an Ayurvedic perspective, it does not take into consideration the concept of the fundamental principles.
If the fundamental principles were proactively considered as function for optimal health and maintaining the balance and harmony of the tridoshas, disease may be prevented altogether. While technology does offer some benefits, it is not without its faults.
Just as technology creates opportunity for cures, it also fabricates new disorders. A primary example would be diseases resulting from GMOs. Food that has been genetically altered at the gene level is not compatible with the body at the genetic and cellular level thus resulting in new disorders.
It can then be argued that Ayurveda, while “old-fashioned” in nature is based on clean, organic foods that the body can naturally metabolize as intended via the fundamental principles.
Without dramatic lifestyle changes, a few Ayurvedic best practices -example DAILY ROUTINE PRACTICES can help improve overall health. In fact, while at the root of Ayurvedia, many of these are well known best practices that are suggested time and time again.
These are some of the DAILY ROUTINE RULES:
Eat your largest meal midday. This is when Agni is at its peak.
Choose whole foods and make sure your meals have a rainbow of colors. This variety of colors will help ensure you use the six tastes in every meal and lead to overall satisfaction.
Don’t eat while overly emotional. This can lead to poor diet choices as well as poor digestion.
Take the time to enjoy your meal. As you chew, digestive enzymes are produced by your salivary glands that assist in breaking down your food
Practice mindful meditation. This includes anything from breath awareness to yoga as it helps to reduce cortisol levels which relates to a reduction in stress and weight gain both which if not kept at bay results in illness. A little you time never hurt anyone.
Get enough sleep. This is when the body repairs and heals itself and the mind and emotions become balanced.
Simple practices that yield a lifetime of benefits.
Allyson St Amand
(Track B Student Submissions)
Despite the 5000+ year roots of Ayurveda in ancient religious traditions of India, the interest in this holistic medicine did not expand in the United States until the 1970’s. Adoption of Ayurveda in the United States has been slow going due to the differences in holistic versus allopathic medicine approaches. As a result, traditional western medicine has contrasted with Ayurvedic beliefs linked to treating the being at multiple levels, not solely the physical body. In the United States, the mind and spirit are missing from approach to treating illness and disease.
Over the past 40 years, adoption of Ayurveda in the United States has been faced with challenges. The present challenges of Ayurveda include globalization and industrialization of drugs, and the quality assurance in the use of drugs. Traces of lead, mercury and arsenic have been found in over-the-counter medicine manufactured in South Asia (Ref: National Institute for Ayurvedic Medicine.) In addition, it is believed further research, testing and validation is needed to expand upon the Pramana Vijnan Ayurvedic principles and philosophies.
The World Health Organization has studied the uses of Ayurveda and herbal medicine in India. Due to regulatory challenges, the WHO has suggested a plan for countries to standardize national traditional medicine polies and programs.
Although Ayurveda is faced with some challenges, there is billions of American’s spending money on alternative medical treatments. The emphasis on holistic medicine is increasing as side effects and outcomes of allopathic medicine become understood. A shift away from treating the disease to preventative and pre-symptoms are now being taken into account. Spirituality, beliefs, values, diet and lifestyle are all very important components of health and well-being. Best practices of Ayurvedic medicines include sophisticated therapeutic formulations and detailed guidance about food/nutrition/diet (EPMA, 2014).
In addition, the Ayurvedic physician offers personalized medicine to maximize the therapeutic efficacy and safety of persons with their disorder, specified condition according to their constitution, and properties of materials (EPMA, 2014). Ayurveda is non-invasive and
Although the present challenges to adoption of Ayurveda has impacted the speed of adoption, I believe the growing need for Ayurveda as a healthcare approach which incorporates religious and spiritual demands, will force scientists and healthcare professionals to study and practice Ayurveda. Patients are becoming more informed about the medical approaches available to them. As a result, this will only continue to reinforce the best practices and benefits of Ayurveda.
I am choosing to discuss challenges and best practices in Ayurveda in the US. I have to admit that i am very much a student of the discipline and am not sure if best practices have been defined. I know in western medicine, the term best practice is often used rather loosely as their can be differing opinions on what "best practice" actually is. Sometimes, there are evidence based or consensus based recommendations from experts in that niche area.
This gives us something to work with but even these become outdated rapidly and will sometimes conflict with other guidelines/recommendations. I am not aware that there are any specialty groups within Ayurveda than can offer these evidence based or consensus based guidelines or "best practices" at this point. (Here is where i am fine with being corrected as we will all learn from this if there is something i don't know out here...)
I think that one of the greatest challenges is that Ayurveda it does not benefit any special interest groups or organizations. Because of this, there will always be limited funds to conduct intense scientific based research which is often needed to be recognized in this country. As we all know, there is research funded by the government and public organizations but much of the research being done is still funded by the pharmaceutical industry.
Of course, if Ayurveda can prove that integrating its use can decrease morbidity and cost insurance companies less money, there is a chance it may be recognized and paid for. These may be recognized by Accountable Care Organizations as well if Ayurveda can prove that integrating this practice into the lives of the population cared for can decrease hospitalizations and overall costs.
With a focus on true wellness, this may be a possibility but we have to recognize that many will not be open to this discipline anytime soon so we will need to focus on improving the outcomes of those who are. Until this is recognized by Medicare, Medicaid, and private payers, Ayurveda will need to focus on those willing to go outside of their insurance company.