The science and practice of Āyurveda spans millennia across many cultures and communities around the globe. It may be one of the longest, continuously practiced healthcare systems in the world. Born in the Indian subcontinent, Āyurveda has gone mostly unnoticed in the West but has recently begun to gain popularity. To understand the need for creating the American Ayurvedic Academy, one must look a little more closely at the history of Ayurveda in the West.
In 1980, Robert Svoboda became the first Westerner to complete the Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (BAMS) degree and become an Āyurveda Āchārya, a recognized Ayurvedic Doctor in India. Since then, only a few Westerners have attempted to gain admission to the program and even fewer have overcome the myriad obstacles to graduate. The conspicuous lack of Western Āyurveda Āchāryas in the profession presents a clear hindrance to communicating the authentic science on a global level. The results can be seen today in Āyurveda’s stunted growth and the proliferation of abridged, inauthentic practices.
Between 2005 and 2015 there was a noticeable increase in demand for classical Āyurvedic education in India and a surge of medical professionals from several countries in South America, Europe and Asia arrived for introductory courses. Global professionals looked to India for expertise in the field. During this time a handful of Westerners successfully completed the BAMS degree, including Jessica Vellela.
While interest in Āyurveda may be increasing, many of the practices gaining popularity are limited to spa treatments, home therapies, kitchen cures and miracle herbs. This was never the sole intention of classical Āyurveda. The science, its core principles, logical therapeutic interventions and scientific practices have yet to be recognized by the public. Authentic standards, scopes of practice, research, development and evidence must be established and skillfully implemented to allow the full depth and breadth of the science to be realized.
The American Ayurvedic Academy is just one seed being planted for the future of a healthy Āyurveda. The Academy recognizes the needs to raise the bar for teaching the authentic science and conveying its complex principles and knowledge effectively.
While some have been of the opinion that the classical science of Āyurveda may be too difficult for the Western mind, we see things differently. We believe that only through complete, transparent and ethical education will the Western audience truly be able to understand and apply Āyurveda in its most effective ways. The difficult part is not in understanding the concepts but rather in conveying them accurately where languages struggle to meet.
To provide authentic education and training in Āyurveda, we went back to the drawing board and started from scratch. We looked at the way Āyurveda has developed in India over the last 100 years, and its global impacts. Starting there, we recognized a clear need to restructure and revamp the models of education and practice to create an updated version appropriate for today’s time, place and variety of people.
Drawing upon classical knowledge and practical application, we created a framework for collaborative professional practice with three levels of professionals. These include the American Āyurvedic Health Counselor (Svastha Āchārya), the American Āyurvedic Clinical Technician (Paricharaka) and the American Āyurvedic Health Practitioner (Āyurveda Āchārya).
The American Ayurvedic Academy currently offers the American Āyurvedic Health Counselor (Svastha Āchārya) Training Program for the Class of 2018-2019 and plans to offer the two additional advanced levels in the near future.
We believe that the proof is in the pudding. When we are capable of demonstrating that Āyurveda, its core principles and clinical practices are scientific, predictable and repeatable, we prove it through practice. Establishing reliable evidence will promote the science, provide opportunities to advance it and hopefully prioritize it for generations to come.
At the American Ayurvedic Academy, our goal is to provide a high quality, rigorous academic environment and produce professionals who are competent and confident to practice within their scope. We strive to achieve this through:
- Presenting classical Āyurvedic knowledge in a manner conducive to the Western train of thought while maintaining the authenticity of the material
- Introducing students to non-linear thought processes of Āyurvedic science with a thorough introduction in general knowledge and an initial presentation of core principles in a linear fashion
- Transforming linear into non-linear thought patterns through critical thinking, logic, methodical repetition and integration of new concepts on an existing foundation of knowledge and understanding
Using these and additional tools, frameworks and methods, we bring the Āyurvedic science to life so that students can understand it broadly and deeply. Even though the science may be thousands of years old, it certainly is not ancient or outdated. Rather than dismissing that which cannot be understood easily, we provide students with the tools to understand the complex principles and push them to bring these concepts into action for themselves.
The American Ayurvedic Academy stands as a unique institution in the development of Āyurveda in the 21st century and intends to see the science advance and progress on the strong foundations of high-quality, rigorous academics.
Āyurveda is currently not accredited by a recognized United States regulatory body. It is an unregulated, unlicensed practice in all 50 states.
The American Ayurvedic Academy is approved and regulated by the Texas Workforce Commission, Career Schools and Colleges, Austin, Texas.
The American Ayurvedic Academy currently offers on-campus and distance education formats for the American Āyurvedic Health Counselor (Svastha Āchārya) Training Program. The program allows a maximum of twenty (20) students in total, with a maximum of seven (7) for on-campus instruction. All students are expected to participate in the program in the same way, including class attendance, discussion and examinations.
The Academy’s facilities in Plano, Texas provide a special opportunity for a small group of no more than seven (7) on-campus students to receive in-person training in advanced Āyurvedic science and practice. This educational format is ideal for students who are committed to exceling in a challenging, rigorous academic environment and seek to demonstrate exceptional competency in professional practice.
The Academy provides students with a 600-sqare foot space including a dedicated, technology-enabled classroom to facilitate and enhance the learning process. This classroom allows both on-campus and distance education students to participate in live, instructor-led classes in real-time. On-campus students are welcome to bring their personal laptop to the classroom to use during class time for educational purposes only.
An additional clinical practice area allows students and interns to participate in group and independent case study. A small yet robust library of Āyurvedic books and materials is available for students to use on-campus. It includes classical textbooks, translations, and studies on current research from India today.
Prospective candidates for on-campus instruction are invited to visit the American Ayurvedic Academy and tour the facilities before enrolling. Interested candidates should contact the school directly to schedule a tour at 972-379-7024 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
 Benchmarks for Training in Ayurveda (pp. 1-6). (2010). Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization.