Svastha Āchārya Certified Course

Join the Svastha Āchārya Certified Course, Class of 2019.

This is an accelerated academic program for professional Āyurvedic training for a scientific Western audience.

The Svastha Āchārya Certified Course begins May 29, 2018. The program completes in early July 2019.

ABOUT THE COURSE

The Svastha Āchārya Certified Course is unique in the current world of professional Āyurvedic education. It provides a deep, thorough study of classical and scientific Āyurveda combined with practical application in both independent and collaborative clinical settings. Graduates are prepared to work as primary-level Āyurvedic healthcare providers in a capacity similar to a Nurse Practitioner. They also perform a key coordinator role in complex cases by collaborating with an Āyurveda Āchārya in holistic, sustainable healthcare.

WHAT IS A SVASTHA ĀCHĀRYA?

Svastha Āchārya (pronounced “swah-stha AH-CHAR-eya”) is a Sanskrit phrase that loosely means “teacher, guide or practitioner of generally healthy individuals.” The term svastha literally means to “be in one’s self, or natural state” and in the context of Āyurveda this natural state is taken as a general, naturally imperfect, constantly fluctuating state of health.

Āchārya refers to a person who is a teacher, guide, or highly-learned person in a particular field or subject. As an Āyurvedic healthcare professional, it indicates someone who has attained certain qualifications and bears the responsibility to guide and support others in various aspects of health maintenance and restoration. A Svastha Āchārya has completed the education and training that enables them to focus on supporting health maintenance. The four-year professional level of Āyurveda Āchārya is capable of managing and correcting complex imbalance.

WHO IS THIS COURSE DESIGNED FOR?

This course is specifically designed for students who want to learn Āyurveda in a holistic, scientific manner and then practice in a collaborative, team-based model. Students who excel in the Svastha Āchārya Certified Course are committed to dedicating time and energy to daily study, memorization, critical analysis and group activities. Prior experience in various medical disciplines, science, mathematics, languages and other logical subjects is often beneficial.

This course serves as the common foundation year for any students who want to further their professional Āyurvedic studies and career. Successful completion allows graduates to apply for the Paricharaka and Āyurveda Āchārya levels.

HOW WAS THE COURSE DEVELOPED?

The Svastha Āchārya Certified Course is firmly rooted in the classical and scientific principles of Āyurveda. It draws from the depth and breadth of authentic texts that have served as the standard Āyurvedic medical compendium for millennia. While some aspects of classical knowledge may always provide universal principles, others require adjustments for the current time period, geographical location and culture.

This course recognizes the need for research, development and advancement of the science and incorporates these fundamental practices into the learning process. This creates an optimal learning environment for students who intend to live, work and practice Ayurveda in America.

DIFFERENCES FROM ĀYURVEDIC HEALTH COUNSELOR (AHC) AND ĀYURVEDIC PRACTITIONER (AP)

The Svastha Āchārya Certified Course is distinct from general Ayurvedic education in America because of its:

  • Increased use of Sanskrit terminology for naming and understanding concepts
  • Avoidance of incorrect or incomplete translations
  • Explanation of concepts from multiple classical authors for a wider, standardized perspective of the science
  • Correlation of current research and evidence to support Ayurvedic principles
  • Avoidance of “opinion-based” approaches such as “what do you think this means in Āyurveda?”
  • Preference for authentic explanations
  • Differentiation of classical, universal laws of nature from textual scripture influenced by politics, religion and cultural influences

The course also provides advanced training including:

  • How to navigate and read the classics, form questions and find answers
  • How to practice successfully in new environments and cultures
  • How to collaborate with the Āyurveda Āchārya and Paricharaka in holistic, sustainable healthcare to offer multi-level healthcare support in complex cases

COURSE OBJECTIVES

This course strives to produce high-caliber professionals who intend to practice Āyurveda for a professional career in holistic, sustainable healthcare. This is achieved by:

  1. Educating students in a classical and authentic Āyurvedic format
  2. Training students to critically analyze the science of Āyurveda and separate fact from fiction
  3. Teaching students how to apply classical principles to new environments, time periods and cultures
  4. Preparing graduates to work independently and collaboratively
  5. Providing graduates with basic tools, educational materials and direct experience to start practicing in their local community

COURSE FORMAT

The Svastha Āchārya Certified Course takes place primarily online with one required in-person event. Google GSuite is the online platform for classes, meetings, homework and all communication. All classes are conducted live and also recorded for additional learning resources. Examinations consist of multiple choice questions and oral presentations.

The primary language of instruction is English (American). Sanskrit is used to refer to names of concepts and is liberally mixed into both verbal and written explanations of materials.

Classes are held over three semesters – Summer, Fall and Spring (see dates below), two or three times each week online.

ONE OR TWO-YEAR FORMAT

Students may complete this course in one of two ways:

  1. In a one-year, accelerated format
  2. In a two-year extended format

In the one-year format, students who are well-prepared will be able to complete the course in a strenuous part-time format. This requires at least 15-25 hours per week of regular, committed participation. For students who are returning to a rigorous academic environment after a long break, a full-time schedule of 40 hours per week is typically required to successfully complete the course at this accelerated pace.

The two-year format is best for those who have a combination of existing time commitments, absence from rigorous education, and lack of prior Āyurvedic training. Any candidate who believes they cannot regularly commit at least 20 hours per week to this course should definitely consider the two-year format. This path allows the student to fully participate in Summer and Fall Semesters in their first year, and then take a period of independent study and review during the spring. In the following academic year, the student restarts the course in Summer Semester and upon successful completion advances into Fall Semester, and further on to complete the course.

CLASS SIZE AND COMPOSITION

The class size generally includes around 15 students from a variety of backgrounds. Their talents, strengths and variety of skills create a healthy dynamic of peer-cooperation and collaboration.

TIME COMMITMENT

This course generally requires a consistent time commitment of 15 – 25 hours per week. In some cases, this may increase to over 30 hours per week, depending on the individual student, eagerness and capacity to learn.

Students who tend to succeed in this course usually have a combination of:

  • Previous studies in Āyurveda
  • Proficiency in Sanskrit vocabulary and transliteration
  • A background in medicine or healthcare
  • Previous success in rigorous academic programs
  • Strong, active memorization skills

Students who have been away from rigorous education for more than three years should plan for 25+ hours each week to succeed in this course.

SCHEDULE FOR 2018-2019

Summer Semester: May 29, 2018 – August 3, 2018

Fall Semester: August 28, 2018 – December 15, 2018

Spring Semester: January 8, 2019 – April 27, 2019

Clinical Internship: May 6, 2019 – July 10, 2019

Final certification examination: late July, 2019

SUMMER SEMESTER

Session I (May 29 – June 28, 2018)

Class # Day & Time Date Hours
1 Tues 5pm ET 5/29/2018 1.5
2 Wed 5pm ET 5/30/2018 3
3 Thurs 5pm ET 5/31/2018 1.5
4 Tues 5pm ET 6/5/2018 1.5
5 Wed 5pm ET 6/6/2018 3
6 Thurs 5pm ET 6/7/2018 1.5
7 Tues 5pm ET 6/12/2018 1.5
8 Wed 5pm ET 6/13/2018 3
9 Thurs 5pm ET 6/14/2018 1.5
10 Tues 5pm ET 6/19/2018 1.5
11 Wed 5pm ET 6/20/2018 3
12 Thurs 5pm ET 6/21/2018 1.5
13 Tues 5pm ET 6/26/2018 1.5
14 * Wed 5pm ET 6/27/2018 3
15 * Thurs 5pm ET 6/28/2018 1.5

Session II (July 2 – August 2, 2018)

Class # Day & Time Date Hours
1 M Mon 5pm ET 7/2/2018 1.5
2 Wed 5pm ET 7/4/2018 3
3 Thurs 5pm ET 7/5/2018 1.5
4 Tues 5pm ET 7/10/2018 1.5
5 Wed 5pm ET 7/11/2018 3
6 Thurs 5pm ET 7/12/2018 1.5
7 Tues 5pm ET 7/17/2018 1.5
8 Wed 5pm ET 7/18/2018 3
9 Thurs 5pm ET 7/19/2018 1.5
10 Tues 5pm ET 7/24/2018 1.5
11 Wed 5pm ET 7/25/2018 3
12 Thurs 5pm ET 7/26/2018 1.5
13 Tues 5pm ET 7/31/2018 1.5
14 * Wed 5pm ET 8/1/2018 3
15 * Thurs 5pm ET 8/2/2018 1.5
* Session final examinations
M Make-up class for an observed holiday

FALL SEMESTER

Session I (August 28 – October 20, 2018)

Class # Day & Time Date Hours
1 Tues 5pm ET 8/28/2018 2
2 Wed 5pm ET 8/29/2018 2
3 Thurs 5pm ET 8/30/2018 2
4 Tues 5pm ET 9/4/2018 2
5 Thurs 5pm ET 9/6/2018 2
6 Sat 11am ET 9/8/2018 8
7 Tues 5pm ET 9/11/2018 2
8 Wed 5pm ET 9/12/2018 2
9 Thurs 5pm ET 9/13/2018 2
10 Tues 5pm ET 9/18/2018 2
11 Thurs 5pm ET 9/20/2018 2
12 Sat 11am ET 9/22/2018 8
13 Tues 5pm ET 9/25/2018 2
14 Wed 5pm ET 9/26/2018 2
15 Thurs 5pm ET 9/27/2018 2
16 Tues 5pm ET 10/2/2018 2
17 Thurs 5pm ET 10/4/2018 2
18 Sat 11am ET 10/6/2018 8
19 Tues 5pm ET 10/9/2018 2
20 Wed 5pm ET 10/10/2018 2
Thurs 5pm ET 10/11/2018 STUDY
21 * Tues 5pm ET 10/16/2018 2
22 * Thurs 5pm ET 10/18/2018 2
23 * Sat 11am ET 10/20/2018 8

Session II (October 23 – December 15, 2018)

Class # Day & Time Date Hours
1 Tues 5pm ET 10/23/2018 2
2 Wed 5pm ET 10/24/2018 2
3 Thurs 5pm ET 10/25/2018 2
4 Tues 5pm ET 10/30/2018 2
5 Thurs 5pm ET 11/1/2018 2
6 Sat 11am ET 11/3/2018 8
7 Tues 5pm ET 11/6/2018 2
8 Wed 5pm ET 11/7/2018 2
9 Thurs 5pm ET 11/8/2018 2
10 Tues 5pm ET 11/13/2018 2
11 Thurs 5pm ET 11/15/2018 2
12 Sat 11am ET 11/17/2018 8
13 Tues 5pm ET 11/20/2018 2
Wed 5pm ET 11/21/2018 H
Thurs 5pm ET 11/22/2018 H
14 Tues 5pm ET 11/27/2018 2
15 Thurs 5pm ET 11/29/2018 2
16 Sat 11am ET 12/1/2018 8
17 Tues 5pm ET 12/4/2018 2
18 Wed 5pm ET 12/5/2018 1
Thurs 5pm ET 12/6/2018 STUDY
19 * Tues 5pm ET 12/11/2018 2
20 * Thurs 5pm ET 12/13/2018 2
21 * Sat 11am ET 12/15/2018 8
* Session final examinations STUDY Reserved study, no class
H Observed holiday, no class

SPRING SEMESTER

Session I (January 8 – March 2)

Class # Day & Time Date Hours
1 Tues 5pm ET 1/8/2019 2
2 Wed 5pm ET 1/9/2019 2
3 Thurs 5pm ET 1/10/2019 2
4 Tues 5pm ET 1/15/2019 2
5 Thurs 5pm ET 1/17/2019 2
6 Sat 11am ET 1/19/2019 8
7 Tues 5pm ET 1/22/2019 2
8 Wed 5pm ET 1/23/2019 2
9 Thurs 5pm ET 1/24/2019 2
10 Tues 5pm ET 1/29/2019 2
11 Thurs 5pm ET 1/31/2019 2
12 Sat 11am ET 2/2/2019 8
13 Tues 5pm ET 2/5/2019 2
14 Wed 5pm ET 2/6/2019 2
15 Thurs 5pm ET 2/7/2019 2
16 Tues 5pm ET 2/12/2019 2
17 Thurs 5pm ET 2/14/2019 2
18 Sat 11am ET 2/16/2019 8
19 Tues 5pm ET 2/19/2019 2
Wed 5pm ET 2/20/2019 STUDY
Thurs 5pm ET 2/21/2019 STUDY
20 * Tues 5pm ET 2/26/2019 2
21 * Thurs 5pm ET 2/28/2019 2
22 * Sat 11am ET 3/2/2019 8

Session II (March 5 – April 27)

Class # Day & Time Date Hours
1 Tues 5pm ET 3/5/2019 2
2 Wed 5pm ET 3/6/2019 2
3 Thurs 5pm ET 3/7/2019 2
4 Tues 5pm ET 3/12/2019 2
5 Thurs 5pm ET 3/14/2019 2
6 Sat 11am ET 3/16/2019 8
7 Tues 5pm ET 3/19/2019 2
8 Wed 5pm ET 3/20/2019 2
9 Thurs 5pm ET 3/21/2019 2
10 Tues 5pm ET 3/26/2019 2
11 Thurs 5pm ET 3/28/2019 2
12 Sat 11am ET 3/30/2019 8
13 Tues 5pm ET 4/2/2019 2
14 Wed 5pm ET 4/3/2019 2
15 Thurs 5pm ET 4/4/2019 2
16 Tues 5pm ET 4/9/2019 2
17 Thurs 5pm ET 4/11/2019 2
18 Sat 11am ET 4/13/2019 8
19 Tues 5pm ET 4/16/2019 1
Wed 5pm ET 4/17/2019 STUDY
Thurs 5pm ET 4/18/2019 STUDY
20 * Tues 5pm ET 4/23/2019 2
21 * Thurs 5pm ET 4/25/2019 2
22 * Sat 11am ET 4/27/2019 8
* Session final examinations STUDY Reserved study, no class
H Observed holiday, no class

CLINICAL INTERNSHIP

Session I (MAY 6 – MAY 10) – One week, mandatory, in-person training

Class # Day & Time Date Hours
1 Mon 10am ET 5/6/19 8
2 Tues 10am ET 5/7/19 8
3 Wed 10am ET 5/8/19 8
4 Thurs 10am ET 5/9/19 8
5 Fri 10am ET 5/10/19 8

SESSION II (MAY 13 – JUNE 7)

Class # Day & Time Date Hours
1 Mon 5pm ET 5/13/19 2
2 Thurs 5pm ET 5/16/19 2
3 Mon 5pm ET 5/20/19 2
4 Thurs 5pm ET 5/23/19 2
5 M Tues 5pm ET 5/28/19 2
6 Thurs 5pm ET 5/30/19 2
7 Mon 5pm ET 6/3/19 2
8 Thurs 5pm ET 6/6/19 2

Session III (JUNE 10 – JULY 10)

Class # Day & Time Date Hours
1 Mon 5pm ET 6/10/19 2
2 Thurs 5pm ET 6/13/19 2
3 Mon 5pm ET 6/17/19 2
4 Thurs 5pm ET 6/20/19 2
5 Mon 5pm ET 6/24/19 2
6 Thurs 5pm ET 6/27/19 2
7 Mon 5pm ET 7/1/19 2
8 M Mon 5pm ET 7/8/19 2
M Make-up class for an observed holiday

INSTRUCTORS

Jessica Vellela, BAMS is the primary instructor for the lecture classes of the Svastha Āchārya Certified Course in Fall and Spring Semesters. Summer semester is taught by adjunct faculty with appropriate specializations.

CURRICULUM

Summer Semester

  • AYU-101 (4 credits): Foundations for the study of professional Āyurveda

Fall Semester

  • AYU-110 (4 credits): Core principles of Āyurveda (Siddhānta)
  • AYU-111 (4 credits): Study of the human body in Āyurveda (Śārīra)
  • AYU-112 (4 credits): Principles of healthy living in Āyurveda (Svastha vṛtta)

Spring Semester

  • AYU-120 (4 credits): Foundations of therapeutic management in Āyurveda (Nidāna & Cikitsā I)
  • AYU-121 (4 credits): Classical study I
  • AYU-122 (4 credits): Clinical practice I

Clinical Internship

  • AYU-150 (6 credits): Internship I

COMPLETION REQUIREMENTS

To successfully complete the Svastha Āchārya Certified Course, students must:

  1. Maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA
  2. Regularly demonstrate active participation, engagement and consistent learning
  3. Complete 150 case encounters

Mid-terms are conducted half way through each semester. Students who are unable to maintain a 2.0 GPA will be required to complete the course over a two-year period.

INTERNSHIP

Mandatory in-person orientation: First week of May, 2019

During the internship orientation, students will attend daily, hands-on sessions for assessment and interaction skills. The remainder of the internship may be completed on-site or in the student’s local area.

CERTIFICATION

Final certification examination: July 27 – 30, 2019

The final certification exam includes a variety of written and oral components covering all aspects of the course and practice. It is a multi-day examination process overseen by an independent organization.

SCOPE OF PRACTICE AND COMPETENCY

Certified graduates will be prepared to work independently and in the team-based, collaborative model of sustainable health care. Independently, the Svastha Āchārya will be able to provide professional guidance, consultations and recommendations on a variety of advice that can influence health based on external and internal factors. In general, the Svastha Āchārya will be restricted to working independently with clients who are already generally healthy. These are individuals who show some signs and symptoms of imbalance which can be attributed mostly to seasonal influence, its corresponding doṣa prakopa and sāma conditions. The Svastha Āchārya will be able to provide services at the individual level and in group educational formats, utilizing a variety of standardized educational materials.

In complex, chronic or refractory cases, the Svastha Āchārya will be able to assess the approximate level of severity and make the determination to include an Āyurveda Āchārya for proper management. For the duration of the case, the Svastha Āchārya will be involved and maintain primary contact with the client. They are responsible for guiding the client, answering questions, and helping maintain conformity and adherence to the health management plan. They frequently interact with the Āyurveda Āchārya to keep things on track and assure correct progress. Wherever possible, the Svastha Āchārya also works with the Paricharaka to coordinate appropriate external treatments when facilities are available.

The Svastha Āchārya will have a practical, demonstrable familiarity with all required terminologies and technical terms, including treatment names, methods of Āyurvedic Medical management, formulation names and more. This knowledge will be applied to ensure proper communication with clients at this level of one year of training. To properly be able to manage complex cases, recommend appropriate classical formulations, and apply external treatments and therapies in a safe, efficacious, and complication-free way, additional training is required and can be completed at the levels of Paricharaka and Āyurveda Āchārya. Both of these courses have the Svastha Āchārya course as their pre-requisite.

PRE-REQUIREMENTS

The recommended pre-requirements include:

  • Previous study of Āyurveda, especially at an AHC or AP level
  • Previous study of a scientific medical discipline
  • Previous study of Sanskrit
  • Fluency or proficiency in multiple languages
  • Basic Western anatomy and physiology
  • Basic sciences, including biology, chemistry and physics

While these are not required, these recommendations have proven to aid students in completing the course more successfully.

ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS

The application deadline for the Class of 2018-2019 is May 25, 2018.

Applicants must:

  1. Be at least 19 years of age by the start of the course and provide proof with a government-issued photo ID.
  2. Have a minimum of a high school diploma, GED, or country-specific equivalent.
  3. Complete a one hour admission interview.

Photocopies showing proof of age and prior education must be submitted with the online application.

APPLICATION PROCESS

Enrollment opens in April 2018.

TUITION AND FEES

The total cost for the program is $8,400.

  • Registration fee (non-refundable) – $100
  • Summer semester – $1,300
  • Fall semester – $3,500
  • Spring semester – $3,500
  • Internship – included

Payment plans are available. Tuition for each semester is due in full at the start of the semester, or in two equal payments during the semester.

BOOKS AND MATERIALS

A combination of classical texts and course textbooks are used. The complete list of required textbooks is listed below, with their cost if purchased through AyurvedaFirst.

Semester Title Cost
Summer Essentials of professional Āyurveda $ 40
Summer Memmler’s Structure and Function of the Human Body, 10th Edition $ 15
Summer Modern and Global Ayurveda: Pluralism and Paradigms 1st Edition $ 40
Fall Core principles & the human body in Āyurveda (Siddhānta & Śārīra) $ 60
Fall Principles of healthy living in Āyurveda (Svastha vṛtta) $ 50
Spring Foundations of therapeutic management in Āyurveda (Nidāna & Cikitsā) $ 60
Spring Essentials of Clinical Practice for the American Āyurvedic Health Counselor (Svastha Āchārya) $40
ALL Caraka Saṃhitā (Translated by RK Sharma, Bhagawan Dash) $ 169
ALL Suśruta Saṃhitā (Translated by G.D. Singhal) $ 169
ALL Aṣṭāṅga Hṛdaya (Translated by Srikantha Murthy) $ 99
ALL Bhāva Prakāśa (Translated by Murthy, K.R. Srikantha) $ 129

OTHER EXPENSES

Any additional expenses that are incurred as part of this course are the full responsibility of each student. These may include computer hardware, software, internet access, study supplies, technology-related equipment and all travel-related expenses for attending the in-person events.

WHAT ARE STUDENTS AND PROFESSIONALS SAYING ABOUT THE SVASTHA ĀCHĀRYA CERTIFIED COURSE?

Here’s what students are saying:

I’ve studied Āyurveda at various levels over the past 17 years: self study, small, introductory programs and one Āyurveda Practitioner certification program. I’ve found the American Ayurvedic Academy’s SA program to fulfill my desire to be a student, to be positively challenged and take my learning deeper with exposure to the classical texts. So far, I’ve seen missing pieces of knowledge come together. I am gaining a fuller understanding and feeling more confident in my knowledge and ability to practice Āyurveda more completely. AND, to be honest, I am also seeing how much I still have to learn!

It’s been my experience that when you start with the basics and build a strong foundation, you can, indeed, build whatever you want out of that foundation. Learning the foundation of Āyurveda from the classics, understanding the thought process, having direct experience from the practice and digesting the information properly allows you to then live and practice your Āyurveda. That takes time, energy, dedication and self motivation. Yes, it’s intense. Yes, it’s a lot of reading and memorizing. Yes, you may have to give up other things. But if you find that exhilarating or at least deeply satisfying, then this program is for you. If you have a strong interest in Āyurveda and want to take it beyond the educator level then this Svastha Āchārya program is perfect. Jessica is wonderful at sharing her knowledge and experience as well as being open to discussion. She keeps us on track with creating a foundation of knowledge and regularly reminds us to come back to the basics. I have a deep respect and appreciation for Jessica, the knowledge she has and her ability to teach it to a Western mind.

Linda Rowe, BA, MA, RYT, AP


This program has given me the deeper insight and knowledge of Āyurveda I have been in search of for years.  After being a student and practitioner of Āyurveda in some capacity now for 13 years in the west, I’ve finally found a program that is in depth, challenging, and true to the classical roots of the medicine.  I highly recommend the Svastha Āchārya program to anyone who wishes to learn more about Āyurveda and the Āyurvedic classical texts.  The in-depth nature of the program’s curriculum is like no other in the US.  It is such a treat to read the classics, explore the Sanskrit language, contemplate and assess the medicine in this context with Jessica as a more than capable and clear guide.

Melissa Camacho LAc, DipOM, CAP


Jessica is an amazing teacher and translator of the ancient texts and shows us how we can apply the ancient slokas to our modern world and more specifically toward the climate one is living in.

Julie Wardwell, CAS, LMT


I was asked to be in the pilot course for this new Ayurveda school. It’s legit. It was much harder than Kerala Ayurveda Academy. This program is for sincere students who would like to practice authentic Ayurveda. You won’t find any new age bullshit, bias promotion of vegetarianism, or long stories that do nothing but entertain students.
Sanskrit terms are not avoided, and they must be memorized in proper transliterated form with diacritics. I believe students going on to the second year will be required to read and write Devanagari. The classics are always referenced. Exams are no joke.

Kevin Martin


Thank you, Vd. Jessica for the wonderful introduction to your program. I see how it clearly fills the need in the U.S. to provide quality Āyurvedic health counselors with the necessary education to keep healthy individuals healthy, and also enable them to be coached and counseled by qualified Vaidyas. This will enable them to help others with health challenges they are experiencing, especially chronic health conditions that are not well managed under our current health care system.

If I had not had the opportunity to work in a similar situation with Vaidya R. K. Mishra I would certainly be interested in enrolling in your program. I feel your approach will be a valued game changer in the field of Āyurvedic Education here in the U.S.

Best wishes in your endeavor,
Dr. Mark Vinick, DC, CAS, MRAS