As Ayurveda grows in popularity, there are many career paths open to people with Ayurveda training and an interest in holistic health.
Ayurveda, or the “science of life,” is an ancient Indian healing practice that takes a holistic approach to wellness. It’s been practiced for thousands of years and focuses on the prevention of illness by finding and maintaining balance in the body and mind through various whole-body treatments.
The National Ayurvedic Medical Association (NAMA) http://www.ayurvedanama.org/?page=MemberSchools provides a list of schools and programs that meet its educational standards. A Google search also will turn up other colleges and integrative institutes with Ayurvedic training and workshop options. It’s wise to do your research and invest in a reputable school, degree or certification program, as well as join a professional group, to establish credibility in your chosen specialty. The time and cost of training varies depending the school and program you choose. Ayurvedic health care promotes a healthy diet and lifestyle, gives guidelines on daily and seasonal routines, works to correct body imbalances and recognizes the connection between environment, body, mind and spirit as it relates to physical, mental and emotional well-being.
Ayurveda practitioner: Widely studied as a traditional form of medicine in India, there are a growing number of reputable degree and certification programs for Ayurvedic practitioners available in the United States. There are currently no licensing requirements in America to regulate Ayurvedic medicine, but formal training is recommended. It is considered a complementary or alternative medicine and practitioners can be self-employed or work in a practice, wellness center or hospital. Practitioners assess a patient’s dosha, or energy mind-body type, to recommend a proper diet, exercise, herbs, essential oils, breathing exercises, stress reduction and other lifestyle changes to prevent illness and restore balance of mind-body-spirit. Many students begin with a program that meets the 500-hour practitioner requirement to become an Ayurvedic Health Educator. The next step is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner (CAP) certification program, which involves an additional year of training and includes an internship. Certificate programs at an Ayurveda college take about one to two years to complete, ranging from 500 to 1,500 hours. CAPs usually go on to pursue a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degree in alternative medicine and surgery. A pre-med bachelor’s program that incorporates Ayurvedic training requires about four years of study.
Massage therapist: Becoming a massage therapist may take up to 500 hours of general training with additional training in Ayurveda principles and massage techniques. Panchakarma is a subset of this and involves a natural, holistic, health-giving series of therapeutic treatments that cleanse the body’s deep tissues of toxins, open energy channels, and increase vitality, inner peace and well-being. Therapists support wellness through various massage, spa, skin and detoxification treatments and can work as independent practitioners or at spa treatment centers, chiropractic and alternative health clinics, fitness clubs, wellness centers, salons and massage offices. Most states currently regulate massage and require licensing, a minimum number of hours of training, passing an exam, and continuing education to practice. Training includes learning about human anatomy, muscles, injuries and general massage techniques. Certification by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork is recommended, along with joining a professional association.
Yoga instructor: Yoga and Ayurveda are integrally related as a way to heal mind-body-spirit. Yoga is considered the sister of Ayurveda and often the preferred form of exercise for people who follow an Ayurveda lifestyle. A certification program in Ayurvedic yoga integrates the two sciences, revealing how to utilize yoga in the healing process to promote weight loss, improve breathing techniques, reduce stress, correct imbalances in the body and restore health. Yoga teachers can specialize in a particular type of yoga and work in a yoga studio, fitness center or a variety of settings – schools, churches, community outreach, senior centers or hold classes on the beach. There are a myriad of yoga teacher training options so investigate cost, coursework and credentials. Perhaps you’ll get a trip to the Bahamas or Bali out of it!