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1200 Hour Ayurveda Yoga Therapy Training
500 Hour Yoga Teacher Training
500 Hour Yoga Therapy Training
325 Hour Yoga Therapy Training
250 Hour Pancha Karma Technician Training
225 Hour Postpartum Training
200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training
100 hour Ayurveda and Family Health

certification programs >> 1200 Hour Ayurveda Yoga Therapy Training

Program in Yoga Therapy and Ayurveda: List and description of courses needed to complete the program. This program is NAMA approved

Rocky Mountain Institute of Yoga and Ayurveda,
P.O. Box 1091
Boulder, Co 80306 USA
303 499-2910,

RMIYA 1200-hr Practitioner’s Certification Program in Ayurvedic Medicine and Yoga Therapy

This two-year practitioners’ training program was first approved by the National Ayurvedic Medical Association in 2003, and has been continually upgraded since that time in anticipation of NAMA’s development of additional program standards.  as additional faculty members have been added to our school, and our training requirements for graduation have been increased.  An additional 200 hours of training have been added to this program since that time, bringing the current total to 1050 hours.


Competencies and Description of the Training:


 While it is not intended that students graduating from this program act as primary care practitioners, they nevertheless must demonstrate competencies

consistent with giving health care advice and treatments according to Yogic and Ayurvedic precepts and practices to 1) patients wanting to improve or maintain their general health and wellness (preventative health care), and 2) patients who have received medical diagnoses and are under a physician’s care for a common disease or health condition and who are seeking a complementary medicine approach to treatment.  They must be able to interface competently with western medicine practitioners in providing patient care.


To this end, this program provides a broad and comprehensive training grounded in classical Yogic and Ayurvedic teachings. These teachings are  supplemented through an understanding of western biology and pathology in order to  enhance the understanding of the disease process, to make use of information derived from western diagnostic techniques, and for enabling the graduates of our program to function competently and comfortably in a western medical culture and milieu.


The training therefore provides:


1)      A philosophical background in Vedic origins of Indian medicine, Samkhya philosophy, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the Bhavagad-Gita, and Classical Texts of Ayurvedic Medicine and Hatha Yoga


2)      Understanding of tridosha theory and Ayurvedic and Yogic classical anatomy, physiology, psychology, and pathology as a comprehensive model for understanding disease, health, and the pathway to healing.


3)      A basic understanding of western biology, body systems and pathology, and the training to use western diagnostic categories of disease as a basis for treatment through Yogic and Ayurvedic methods.


4)      A clear understanding of symptoms which may indicate serious illness;  when and how to make medical referrals and request medical tests


5)      Familiarity and competence with basic Ayurvedic diagnostic procedures such as questioning the patient and taking a medical history, examination of tongue, pulse, physical appearance, manner of communication; external observation relevant to symptomology; assessment of physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.  Accurate assessment of prakrti and vikrti.  Familiarity and comfort with postural and structural analyses of the musculoskeletal system used in modern Yoga therapy.


·         Understanding the elements of a healthy lifestyle: daily and seasonal regimens, diet, nutrition,  and spiritual practices, which can enhance wellness,

reduce the risk of serious illnesses, and slow the process of aging


·         Ayurvedic herbology, including the medicinal use of foods, specific plants and their properties, contraindications, and potential herb-drug interactions. How to prepare individual formulas for each patient.


·         Cleansing therapies, such as Ayurvedic purva karma, pancha karma, Yogic shat kriya practices, including oil and nasya preparations for individual patients, and rejuvenation therapies,


·          Classical Yoga therapy interventions often specific to dosha such as asana, pranayama, meditation, mantra, and ritual; and modern Yoga therapies such as  deep relaxation methods,  Yoga nidra, and yoga asana,  musculo-skeletal alignment and adjustment work.


·         Designing an integrated treatment approach for each individual patient, including diet, lifestyle changes, individualised herbal formula, Yoga therapies, and, where desired, an individually designed purva karma/ pancha karma/shat karma program.


·         Disease management in individual patients, including a nine- month supervised internship where each student takes 3 new patients per month for seven months, and follows up with each case 



Format of the training


Training in the Yoga Therapy and Ayurvedic Medicine Practitioners’ Certification Program is conducted on a semester basis, and new students must enroll in the program at the either at beginning of fall semester or the beginning of spring semester.   Most classes are offered on weekends. Classes may be arranged either non-residentially (Sat and Sunday 12:30-6:30, or Fri-Sun 12:30-6:30, or Sat-Mon 12:30-6:30, or 10:00-6:30 for more hands-on preparations classes) or in the format of a residential intensive (Fri eve-Sunday evening).  In addition to this, students in their internship year are required to meet as a group for the presentation of their cases one Sunday afternoon per month 12:30-6:30 pm.


The Yoga Therapy and Ayurvedic Medicine Certification training program also includes two extended programs offered by RMIYA during the summer, and one program offered during the spring.  The 300-hour Yoga Therapy Professional Certification Training program is offered in 2  16-day segments, in June  and in August, and its internship is usually completed by the following December.  The Ayurvedic Family Health Intensive is offered14 consecutive days during July.  It is strongly recommended that all students complete the Yoga Therapy training during the first summer of their training; the family medicine program no later than the second summer of their training.


The Ayurvedic Panchakarma/Shat Karma Therapists certification training is offered in the spring semester every year and should be completed during the first year of training. It requires attendance at an evening class one weekday evening per week for six weeks.


Finally, two of the courses required for this program are offered during the Yoga Teacher Training-500 program in October (Students in the Yoga Therapy and Ayurvedic Medicine program are not required to complete the entire YTT-500-hr YTT program)   


The internship program in Ayurvedic Medicine, and the more advanced courses in the program, are undertaken during the second year of the training. The internship requires that students undertake diagnosis and treatment of a minimum of 21 patients, with two follow-ups per patient, during the nine-month period of the internship. Each case is discussed with the internship director before treatment is implemented.  In addition, interns meet as a group with the internship director for one six-hour session per month to present their cases.


Pre-requisites to the Training


A university degree is strongly recommended for entry to this program. As a minimum, all students must have taken, or must complete during the first year of their training, a two-semester credit course in general college biology, plus one additional semester in a relevant biological sciences course.  The introductory course must include introductory principles of molecular and cellular biology, introduction to botany, basic taxonomy, general mammalian anatomy and physiology, and genetics.


In addition, it is expected that entrants already have, or will acquire during their first year, basic expertise in Yoga practices at the level of a newly certified 200-hr Yoga teacher, that is, approximately 100 hrs of instruction in techniques of asana, pranayama, and meditation. Students who are not already certified 200-hr Yoga teachers when they enter this program often choose to fulfill this requirement through taking RMIYA’s 200-hr Yoga Teacher Training Program offered in Spring semester every year.


Evaluation and Certification


Each individual course is evaluated separately, and a grade for each course is entered into the student’s transcript.  Evaluation may be based on oral, in-class examination, written examination, or project.  For every 15 hours of training time, 3 hours, may, at the discretion of the instructor, be assigned as evaluated project hours. Successful completion of this program requires that all of the following criteria be met: 

6)      Completion of all course work with a passing grade, 

2) Successful completion of all internship requirements, 

3) Passing of the Comprehensive Examination.

Certificate will be awarded upon payment of all fees and completion, with a satisfactory grade, of all requirements.


Core Faculty for this Program:

Sarasvati Buhrman, Ph.D.

Bharat Vaidya, B.A.M.S., M.D.

Sarita Shrestha, B.A.M.S., M.D.


Associate Faculty:

Shar Lee

Alakananda Devi, M.B.B.S.

Gary Tremaine

Terra Raphael

Jennifer Workman, M.S., R.D.

Annapama Vaidya, M.S.

Kate Fotopolous


Guest Faculty:

Indira Gupta



Yoga Therapy Faculty:

Sarasvati Buhrman, Ph.D.

Mangala Warner, M.S.

Felicia Tomasko, R.N.

Jnani Chapman, R.N.

Deborah Quilter

Patricia Hansen, M.S.

Swami Dharmavati (Deb Shapiro)

Swami Brahmananda (Ed Shapiro)



List of Required Program Courses and their Descriptions


I. Courses in Ayurvedic Medicine


Ayur Medicine I: Overview of Ayurveda (45 hrs/3 cr)

An introduction to the basic concepts, including Samkhya philosophy, which explain the world view and the workings of Ayurvedic medicine; a beginning overview of the field including definitions of health, Ayurvedic anatomy and physiology; causes and symptoms of imbalances, and the development of disease. Instruction in practical skills of assessment of prakriti and vikrti, including pulse and tongue diagnosis. A beginning understanding of the basic healing modalities of the Ayurvedic medicine toolkit: lifestyle, diet, therapeutic Yoga, panchakarma, including properties and uses of approximately 60 herbs.


A Journey of Significance: The History of Ayurveda (45 hrs/3 cr)

Ayurveda is the world’s oldest still-in -practice health care system, and this course is designed to enable students to place in proper context the discoveries and developments which span over four thousand years of history. Course includes ethnobotany of  pre-Vedic India; Vedic culture and the development of  early Ayurvedic  principles; first medical texts: contributions, additions, and disparities in thinking between the three main founders and their students;

early CE to Madhava Nidana;  Medieval Period; Ayurveda under the Moghul Empire and the British Raj;  Ayurveda in Modern Times. Prerequisite: Ayurvedic Medicine I.


Dhatus, Srotansi, Immunity, and Assessment  Tools  (30  hrs/ 2cr) 

The anatomy and theory of Ayurvedic assessment and preventative health of body channels and tissues. This course will cover  Ayurvedic methods for  detection of imbalances in the body tissues (dhatus) and srotansi  (channels), malas (waste products), and ojas, tejas, prana.  Practical skills will also include Ayurvedic diagnosis of face, tongue, nails, and palpation (lymph nodes, organs), and pulse as well as assessment of agni, dhatu, mala, and srotas. Herbs to promote healing of specific  dhatus and srotansi.  prerequisite: Ayurvedic Medicine I


Ayurvedic Nutrition: Cooking and Eating for Health I  (15 hrs/ 1 cr)

 How to cook delicious, simple, and healthy dishes according to Ayurvedic specifications to meet nutritional, constitutional, and special dietary needs.  This course combines Ayurvedic and Western Nutritional concepts and includes some hands-on preparation as well as a nutritional tour through a health food store to acquaint participants with foods for special diets.  Lecture material will introduce the following concepts:  healing effects of various foods and spices, how to prepare foods so as to change or modify their doshic effects, different diets for genetically diverse populations, different age groups, and different physical activity levels.  Prerequisite: Ayurvedic medicine I.


Ayurvedic Wellness: Cooking and Eating for Health II (15 hrs/ 1cr)

Classical Principles of Ayurvedic Nutrition, local eating rules, and the uses and preparation of specific foods for certain diseases.  Prerequisite: Cooking and Eating for Health I.


Ayurvedic Bodywork I: Marma Cikitsa   (30  hours/  2cr)

An exploration of the major pranic gateway points (marmani) of the body, their relationship to organs and channels of the body, and method for basic treatment through utilisation of pressure  to selected points in the physical body to activate healing and restore balance. Prerequisite: Ayurvedic medicine I.


Special Foods for Seasonal Therapies and Pancha Karma  (15 hrs/1 cr)

Students will learn the theory of seasonal and panchakarma diets, and learn to cook several traditional dishes which are helpful to patients undergoing panchakarma therapy.


Ayurvedic Bodywork II: Garshan, Abhyanga, Shirodhara, and Udvartina  (Kate Fotopolous) 30  hours/  2cr  Instruction in the application of garshan and three major methods of Ayurvedic oleation.  Students wishing to receive the pancha karma therapist certification much complete an additional 15 hours of internship, to be arranged individually with the instructor.  Students will receive valuable information on incorporating Ayurvedic practices into into both clinical and spa settings. Prerequisite: Ayurvedic medicine I.


Ayurvedic Pancha Karma and Yogic Shat Karma (Kriya). 75 hours/ 5 cr

Participants will go through the purva karma and pancha karma  experience themselves, based on the North Indian system of Ayurvedic Panchakarma, which mandates a special timing for the body’s removal of toxins.  They will learn the indications and contraindications of each pancha karma or shat karma practice,  and how to administer them  to others. They will also learn how to prepare medicated oils specific to each patient, methods of swedana (sweating) and will be required to prepare their own massage oils, vastis, and nasyas, for the class. Prerequisite: Ayurvedic Medicine I.


Rasayana: the Art of Rejuvenation (30 hrs/2 cr)

Rasayana, or Ayurvedic rejuvenation practices, are done after panchakarma seasonal cleansings, after treatment of disease, after injury, in cases of debility, and to combat aging and foster a long, healthy, productive life. Rejuvenation can be as simple as taking certain life-extending plants or minerals; or it can include regimens of special diets, seclusion, and mantra, meditation, and other yoga practices.  The course will explore anti-aging and immuno-stimulant plants and their effects, types of rasayana preprations and important rasayan formulas, lifestyle and diet supportive of rejuvenation, kayakalpa and other seclusion practices. prerequisite: Ayurvedic Medicine I


Ayurvedic Medicine II: Assessment and Treatment of Common Disorders (45 hrs/3 cr.) Introduction to Ayurvedic patient assessment and dietary and herbal interventions for patients who have simple ailments such as many respiratory and digestive disorders or already diagnosed common medical conditions, such as common chronic degenerative disorders, auto-immune disorders, etc. Introduces use of combined medicines and minerals. prerequisite: Ayurvedic Medicine I


Ayurveda for Infants and Children (15 hrs/1cr) Herbs, medicines, and other Ayurvedic treatments considered appropriate for infants, children, and adolescents for various illnesses, and suitable ways to administer medicines will be considered in depth.  Basic nutrition and health measures, which promote resistance to many childhood diseases will also be discussed. prerequisite: Ayurvedic Medicine I


Women's Health Care I: The Cycles of Women’s Lives (15 hrs/1 cr)

The health of women throughout the cycles of their lives from menarche to elder years.  Ayurvedic approaches to health issues such as PMS, regularizing the menstrual cycle and alleviating cramps, yeast infections, ovarian cysts, peri- and menopausal problems, and maintaining health in elder years. prerequisite: Ayurvedic Medicine I


Women's Health Care II: Fertility, Conception, and Pregnancy (15 hrs/1 cr) What steps should a couple take in order to insure a healthy child, and what measures are available in Ayurvedic medicine for those who have difficulty conceiving?  Overview of  Ayurvedic approaches to problems occurring during pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum. prerequisite: Ayurvedic Medicine I, Women’s Health Care I.


Women's Health Care III: Yoga Asanas for Women’s Health (15 hrs/1 cr)

Day 1 of this two-day seminar will explore the role of Yoga asana in maintaining women’s health and poses which may be used to address specific female complaints.  Day two will focus on instruction in prenatal and postpartum Yoga.

Open to all 200-hr Yoga teachers, all Postpartum Care Certification students, and

students who have taken Women’s Health Care I and II. 


Special Topics in Women’s Health

Topics vary from year to year, and are offered during Dr. Shrestha’s yearly visits to Colorado.  Topics in recent years have included the following:

·      Infectious Illnesses in Women

·       Cancers in Women

·         Postpartum Herbs and Asanas for Women

·         Bleeding Disorders in Women

·       Addressing Problems Which Arise During Pregnancy

prerequisite: Women's Health Care I and II.


Ayurveda and Mens’ Health (15 hrs/ 1cr)

Specific topics relating to men’s emotional make-up and reproductive health will be discussed in detail in this seminar, including maintaining ojas and health of shukra dhatu , sexual debility, male fertility, enlarged prostate and prostate cancer, and other diseases of the male reproductive tract. Prerequisite: Ayurvedic Medicine I.


Gerontology (30hrs/2cr)

The processes of aging, as understood by Ayurveda and Western Medicine, the general uses of rasayana to maintain health, and treatments for specific rare and common diseases of aging. Prerequisite: Ayurvedic Medicine I.


Ayurveda for Infectious Illnesses 15 hrs/ 1 cr  

In the west, Ayurveda is known mostly for its effectiveness in treating chronic illnesses.  However, our herbs and medicines can often be used to effectively treat or assist in the treatment of non-emergency common and chronic infectious illnesses such as colds, pneumonia, intestinal parasites, fungal infections, etc. prerequisite: Ayurvedic Medicine I


Ayurvedic Psychiatry (15 hrs/ 1cr) 

A survey of major herbs and other Ayurvedic therapies used in the treatment of

Mental and emotional disorders, and such treatments may be applied according to the diagnostic categories of Ayurveda and western psychology. Prerequisites: Yoga  Psychology, Applied Yoga Psychology, Ayurvedic Medicine I


Bhagavad Gita and Karma Yoga: the Yoga of Action and Service 30 hrs/ 2cr

 An exploration of the path to liberation through selfless service, based on  reading and discussion of the Bhagavad-gita  , a  major text in  Yoga and Hinduism,  in the context of  Mahabharata   war during which it is presented.  How to practice yoga in the midst of the difficulties of our personal lives.  Ethics, discussion of service and what it means to help others.  Participants will learn to chant Sanskrit prayers for world peace and personal peace.


Sanskrit 15 hrs/ 1cr   each

Intended to assist RMIYA students to feel at ease in their pronunciation of the sounds and words of Sanskrit  for Yoga and Ayurveda and begin to read the



II. Yoga Therapy Courses (300 hrs)


(Course descriptions are listed below. Click here for information on the entire 300-hr Yoga Therapy Professional Certification Program description, including hours and credits for courses, and details of the internship)


The History and Scope of Practice of Yoga Therapy 

A review of the history of Yoga as a therapeutic intervention from Vedic times to modern times.   Samkhya philosophy as the philosophical underlay of both Ayurveda and Patanjali’s Yoga.  The historical influence of Ayurveda  with particular attention to its influence on the development of Hatha Yoga.  Modern Yoga and Modern Yoga Therapy. Yama and Niyama as the ethical basis for the Yoga therapist.


Ayurveda for Yoga Therapists

Basic Ayurvedic  concepts of anatomy and physiology, as well as assessment of prakrti and vikrti  are necessary  for understanding the way which the originators of the Hatha Yoga system developed and used Hatha Yoga practices for healing.  Asana and pranayama as practiced for health according to the Hatha Yoga texts.

(Except for the asana and pranayama practice sessions, this course is waived for students who have already completed Ayurvedic Medicine I)


Shat Kriya  morning practice session

Vaman  and vastra dhautis: jal neti,  sutra neti and vyutkrama, nauli and tratak  (waived for students who have completed the Pancha Karma and Shat Karma training program)


Reading and Adjusting the Body in Yoga Asana Therapy 

Based on  principles of Structural Yoga,  this seminar teaches participants how to assess the musculo-skeletal system   of the client,  using anatomy of muscles and bones and  criteriafor assessment of posture,   strong  and weak muscular patterns, and  range of motion of  joints.  Participants will be given an  opportunity to “see”  others, to investigate patterns of body  compensations for misalignments, and to explore asanas and adjustments which facilitate restoration of wholeness.  Movements which help in chronic musculo-skeletal disorders such as arithritis,  sciatica,  scoliosis, etc.  will be emphasised                    


Yoga Psychology 

The causes of human pain, the workings of the human mind, and the ways to freedom according to books I and II of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. These basic concepts form thebasis of yoga therapy for mental and emotional conditions and include major topics covered in the sutras such as kleshas,  vrittis, samskaras, symptoms of distraction , andYoga practices for resolving these.


Healing Dynamics of Breath 

Understanding the anatomy and physiology of the process of breathing  from a western perspective informs more deeply the Ayurvedic and Hatha Yoga perspectives on which types of breathing patterns and pranayama should be used in correcting which types of  imbalances and illnesses.


Restorative Yoga 

The technique of restorative asana, or passive poses supported by blankets and bolsters, was pioneered by Judith Lasater and is particularly useful in asana therapy for people with injuries, chronic illnesses and flexibility difficulties,  vata imbalances, and in elder years.


The Stress Response and Yoga

An exploration of the physiological dimensions of the stress response: chronic stress, insomnia, obesity. and other related diseases. Yoga therapy as stress management, using information from brainwave research and autonomic nervous system  physiology, and how to differentially structure guided relaxations for specific problems.


Yoga Nidra 

This class builds upon the techniques of deep relaxation, by adding the uniquely powerful healing techniques of Yoga Nidra developed by Swami Satyananda of the Bihar school of Yoga, based on the traditional techniques of nyasa and vital points in the physical and subtle bodies. Although Yoga nidra heals on all levels, it is viewed by many as a Yogic counterpart to Western psychotherapy because of its ability to heal deep psychological samskaras.


Body Systems and Pathology


AUG 2-5  (Tues-Fri) : Body Systems and Pathology (Felicia Tomasko, R.N.)
AUG 6-7  (Sat-Sun) : Metabolic Syndrome, Obesity, and Diabetes (Sarasvati Buhrman Ph.D.)


AUG 8 (Mon-Tues) : Yoga Therapies for Asthma and Allergies (Sarasvati Buhrman, Ph.D.)


AUG 9 (Tues) : Varisaur Dhauti: Shat Kriya morning practice session (Sarasvati Buhrman, Ph.D.)


 Yoga Therapy for Repetitive Strain Injuries (Deborah Quilter, M.A.)
Yoga Therapy for Frail Elders (Deborah Quilter)

Yoga Therapy for Accidents and Injuries (Patricia Hansen, M.A.)
Yoga Therapy for Cancer Patients (Jnani Chapman, R.N.)


Applied Yoga Psychology: Depression, Anxiety, and Other Mental and  


1200-hour Program in Yoga The

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