ĀYURVEDA IN THE U.S.
I've been thinking about what I’m learning at AYU Academy and its comparison to the other systems I’ve gone through here in the USA.
The most recent example that I can share and which makes everything easier to understand, is a conversation I had with my friend Laura who called me and wanted to catch up.
She said she is proud of what I am doing with my current studies and wanted to know more about it. She continued to add that a former student of mine, Andrea, has her own yoga studio and completed a 500-hour Ayurvedic Lifestyle Counselor certification, through a former teacher of mine and is now taking classes with Dr. Lad when she can and brings it back to her yoga studio to offer to her clients/students.
I told her, first, that just doing that at Dr. Lad’s institute isn’t enough considering the depth of what he offers and that taking a quick certificate week course with him helps but is still diluted and that most of what he teaches isn’t really classical Ayurveda but a compilation of what he has studied and integrated in his way.
I told Laura that the program I’m in is sharing so much of the basics of the science of Ayurveda which includes extensive Sanskrit, which doesn’t seem to exist in this way in those places. I told her that with the direction I am heading, that although I will not be at the exact level of a BAMS or Ayurvedic Nurse when I go to India, I will be similar.
I explained that part of this has to do with legality and standardization that exists in India but doesn’t exist here. It’s like becoming an MD (western medical doctor in India) but when someone comes from India to the USA, they still have to take the appropriate exams to be granted licensure here in the USA.
We don’t have that translation with Ayurveda from here to India. But, with this program of AYU Academy, we can have a certain level of recognition that the quality of education is very similar, though unlicensed, and better respected than someone saying they are a “practitioner” of Ayurveda.
I told her that in India, you are either a BAMS, Ayurvedic Nurse, or Pañcakarma technician. There’s no such thing as counselor or consultant or practitioner of Ayurveda. In fact, even saying that to someone in India causes them to look down on you or at least not consider you as an equal.
I told Laura that the studies are more in depth and more intense. Rightfully so, even if I don’t like it. I told her that there is a bit of frustration, in ways, that I was part of this system but not given the fuller picture as I’m getting now.
I also told her that there has been a lot of harm done to Traditional Āyurveda with how this is all being presented to all of us and that there is an actual science I just started to scratch the surface of that’s going to help pull together and ground more of what I’ve learned in a much intelligent way. I did add that I’ll be able to blow the others out of the water, as I laughed.