Master the art of clinical Ayurveda through this 2 year online Ayurveda course. Your certification course includes everything you need to start meeting with clients. 2 year online program starts Tuesday, Aug 27th, 2024.
Master clinical Ayurveda medicine through this 2 year online training program. Ayurveda has been used for thousands of years to improve health and happiness. This course gives you all the Ayurvedic training necessary to practice and start seeing clients legally in the United States.*
In phase 1 of the course you will delve deeply into Ayurveda's natural understanding of the body and health. In phase 2 you will master the skills needed for holistic assessment of the client and use of diagnostic tools such as face, pulse, and tongue. In phase 2 Joyful Belly will provide you with an online clinic and you will begin seeing clients under a mentor. In every phase you will learn diet, lifestlye, and herbal remedies to provide insightful healing to your community.
Joyful Belly is unique among Ayurveda schools for its experiential learning, depth of education, and practical clinical training. Our students enjoy the sensory exploration and vibrancy they receive as a result of Joyful Belly's highly specialized Ayurvedic knowledge of food. In addition to teaching, we are a research institution and publish over 80 research studies in food and digestion a year.
We explain Ayurveda's traditional methods simply and thoroughly - demystifying them for practical use in community health and wellness, or at home. Our teachers are trained in active learning techniques for medical learning - so you have a dynamic and engaging learning experience. The Joyful Belly school emphasizes accessibility and integration with other healing modalities, ensuring that your future clinical practice will have broad appeal in your local community.
The Joyful Belly school is the right program for students who want to have a vibrant clinical practice offering Ayurveda to the public. The hands-on, convenient format shows you Ayurveda's natural, clinical approach step by step. Weekly live class discussions will enhance your learning of the material. Exercises will supplement presentations, ensuring you have a firm grasp of Ayurveda's methods. Personal mentoring sessions will fine-tune your assessment & recommendation skills. Graduates receive business training and a completely functional online clinic hosted on Joyful Belly - giving you the credibility of our brand while you build your practice.
This 2 year program is entirely online, and does not require any travel. You will meet locally with clients for part of your clinical training (25 of the 95 encounters). Students should expect to spend 12 hours a week in study, on average.
Tuition & Financial AidTotal tuition & application fees for this 2 year Ayurvedic course if you register now will be $6,999.
Click here to apply for a partial scholarship. Financial aid is offered based on income. Scholarships may not be combined with other discounts.
For complete tuition & fee information, please see our course catalog. Application / registration fees are non-refundable unless your application is denied.
Learning Outcomes of the 2 Year Program
You will learn the skills, knowledge and confidence to apply the principles of Ayurveda in a clinical setting. By the end of this program you will be able to:
Goal of the Program
You will use your 5 senses, Ayurveda's step by step method, and insights from the course to see how the body functions as a whole.
By the end of the program you will be able to:
What You Get When You Enroll
North Carolina School License
The Joyful Belly School of Ayurveda has provided advanced clinical training for Ayurvedic professionals since 2008. We are licensed to teach Ayurveda by the state of North Carolina, and accredited through the American Association of Drugless Practitioners (AADP). We partner with the American Association of Biocharacteristics Clinicians (AABC) to support our graduates' clinical success in Ayurveda (Why AABC?). We are a member school of the American Herbalists Guild (AHG). Joyful Belly is also recognized by the National Association of Ayurveda Schools and Colleges (NAASC), and the Association of Ayurvedic Professionals of North America (AAPNA). Our founder, John Immel, is the current president of NAASC.
You will receive a 750 Hour Certificate as an Ayurvedic Health Counselor upon completion. This certificate enables you to legally see clients. Students in good standing and who complete all course materials are eligible for certification as an Ayurveda Health Counselor through AABC and AAPNA, as a Biocharacteristics Clinician through AABC, and as a health coach through AADP after passing their board level exam.
Membership in or certification by associations such as AADP and AAPNA is not required to practice Ayurveda or see clients in the United States, and does not add any legal basis for practice*. Similarly, Ayurveda is an unlicensed profession in Canada.
* This program does not give you a license to practice medicine. Laws regarding scope of practice for health & wellness professionals vary by state. Please text John at 828-785-8213 if you have questions in this area.
Ayurveda is an advanced, holistic approach to health based on the biocharacteristics theory of medicine. Its approach is highly individualized yet greatly simplifies health and well-being for the average client.
What makes Ayurveda so powerful and unique is puts your signs and symptoms in perspective, into a framework that includes your whole body, mind, & spiritual life. What does this mean? Usually people make a list of problems they want to address and then try to fix them one by one. Ayurveda takes a step back, analyzes the list as a whole, and looks at how your symptoms are interrelated.
Ayurveda takes a categorical approach, grouping your health problems into meaningful patterns. This has the advantage that, instead of having 20 answers to 20 health problems, Ayurveda finds 2-3 elegant solutions that restore vitality and address ailments across the board. Clients who use Ayurveda to heal their body feel less overwhelmed, and more in tune with their body and the rhythms of nature.
Another unique feature of Ayurveda is that it studies your body's reaction to foods. Not the biochemical reaction, which is Western medicine's approach, but your experience of food. In other words, Ayurveda studies how food makes you feel and offers clinical interventions on this basis. Most Ayurveda practitioners can talk at length about how your experience of watermelon, for example, might differ from cantaloupe. Ayurveda has a rich vocabulary to help you become aware of how your body reacts to food, so you can select foods that make you feel better.
Altogether, Ayurveda's profound approach makes healing your body simple, natural and graceful - once you know how.
Format of the 2 Year Program
The program includes a powerful blend of presentations, educational materials, discussions, interactions with teachers, and guided personal experiments. Each week will include 1 to 3 recorded presentations, introducing you to new ways of thinking and understanding health. Presentations will be accompanied by exercises to facilitate your personal discovery process. The program will include 3 live class discussions per week. The scheduling of these calls will include options convenient for all time zones globally.
Your clinical training includes 95 clinical encounters, including 1) consultations with other students in the program, 2) consultations with clients, 3) teacher led consultations, and 4) Observing other students. You will be asked to present your clinical findings to a clinical supervisor, and in our live clinical sessions.
You will also be invited to participate in an online discussion group, so that communication with the group and teachers is always at your fingertips for the entire duration of the course. Before you start the program, you will have an opportunity to talk with our staff in an orientation so that any questions you have can be answered.
Benefits of an Online Learning e-Course
"I can soon say I am a survivor of an online course. I was very skeptical! But the content was excellent. The basic format of weekly lecture and study group meetings was brilliant. The time to discuss with fellow students was great." - Cynthia Cox (Massage Therapist, Arkansas)
Presentations include rigorous training in all Ayurvedic fundamentals. Lecture content is based upon Ayurvedic literature, our personal clinical experience, and the testimony of our clients. We integrate innovations from other traditions wherever possible, including Chinese medicine, Western medicine, Western herbalism and other modalities such as massage therapy, and Western psychology. At the end of each lecture you will not only understand the concept but also the mental and emotional patterns associated with it.
Excerpt from the ancient texts showing anatomy and sanskrit. Sanskrit was the original language of Ayurveda.
Foundations of AyurvedaYou will start your journey with an in-depth presentation of the principles of Ayurveda, exploring Ayurveda's ideas to help yourself and others. In this section you will learn Ayurveda's approach to the body and mind, plus vocabulary and concepts.
Ayurvedic Bodily SystemsYou will explore the structure of the body, body systems, and anatomy from the Ayurvedic perspective. This section includes nature/quality (guna), doshas, tastes, elements, tissues (dhatus), systems (srotamsi), metabolic fire & digestion (agni), waste products (mala), and vital energies (ojas, tejas, prana) & many more...
Disease DevelopmentExplore causes of imbalance (nidana) and development of disease (samprapti) throughout the program. Fine tune disease assessment with thorough, comprehenisve, specific knowledge of disease process in each of the bodily tissues and systems.
Ayurvedic Diet & LifestyleDiscover Ayurveda's paradigm to restore balance to the mind and body through diet, lifestyle, and exercise. Develop personal habits to improve health, sleep, stress management, relationships and mental well-being through daily & seasonal routines. Learn how to counsel clients in proper diet & lifestyle choices.
Ayurvedic Nutrition and CookingLearn how to use food, spices and oils for therapeutic cooking, food energetics (rasa, virya, vipak), eating habits, food combining, and Ayurvedic models of nutrition.
Ayurvedic PsychologyApply Ayurveda's psychological assessment techniques, & understanding of body and mind to restore mental well-being.
Use of Herbs & PreparationsDiscover how to build herbal preparations and formulas. Learn clinical application and use of herbs, spices, and classical Ayurvedic formulas such as chyvanprash, triphala, hingvastak churna, etc. Experience the phytochemistry of herbs directly through food experiments & at home assignments.
Client interactions and health & wellness proceduresThe culmination of the course is your preparation to work with clients. All aspects of meeting with a client including paperwork, intake forms, legal concerns, note taking, structuring a session, following up and keeping records will be covered in phase 1. Students will learn how to take blood pressure & read the pulse and how to use this information clinically.
In phase 2, you will meet with or observe at least 95 clinical encounters to apply all of the concepts learned in the program in a real life clinical setting. For 25 of these encounters, you will meet with clients locally. Supervision will be entirely online.
Ayurvedic Clinical AssessmentLearn how to assess constitution (dosha prakruti), imbalances (vikruti), and development (samprapti) to pinpoint root causes of imbalance in vital energies. Students will develop keen observation skills and acumen using Ayurvedic methods of examination (trividha, ashtavidha, and dashavidha pariksha). A partial list of assessment competencies willl include diagnosis of these:
Ayurvedic Management of ImbalancesRestore balance through Ayurveda's step by step approach through specific techniques to reduce toxins (ama), build vitality (agni), address dosha, disease, and cause, and restore strength. Learn when to apply:
Integrative Practice & Complementary ModalitiesLearn how to integrate your practice. Innovations from Traditional Chinese Medicine, Western medicine, herbalism, psychology, massage therapy and others will be used to add insight to managing imbalances.
We aim to take a complex topic and make it easy. In fact, we believe the ability to simplify without losing any rigor is an essential skill of any health counselor. Ayurvedic health counselors are, after all, teachers. So we aim to teach you how to teach your clients. We'll instruct you on how to talk about Ayurveda in simple and easy terms your clients can understand. We'll also share the secrets, tips, and practical advice from our clinical practice and give you great sound bites you can use to educate your clients and help them experience their body.
Expect to experience:
Expect to be challenged, heard, valued, encouraged and supported throughout your development in the course, not only by teachers and staff, but also by other students. Each student will experience powerful and transforming growth.
Homework exercises will greatly facilitate your integration of course material by allowing you practical application of concepts, a key component to your full comprehension of this subject. Assignments and tests are graded pass/fail and are given in a supportive, non-competitive spirit of learning.
Your certificate will be awarded at the end of the program, contingent upon attendance and completion of assignments. You must complete the entire program within 3 years. For an additional fee, students can lengthen the program to four years.
Demographics of the student body
Students who enroll are nutritionists, nurses, yoga teachers and enthusiastic individuals who have been inspired by Ayurveda. Some students will be herbalists, Chinese medicine practitioners, and medical doctors. We aim to select, among applicants, those students who have the discipline and motivation to excel in the field of Ayurveda. To be accepted for admission, students will submit their application within two weeks after registering.
Student discounts are provided to encourage your learning & discovery from the moment you register. A limited number of work study positions are available to qualified students to reduce tuition.
About John Immel
John studied Ayurveda under Dr. Vasant Lad and is specialized in the advanced treatment of digestive tract pathology. He holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University. He first discovered Ayurveda while working on a public health project in Bangladesh. John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel.
After witnessing Ayurveda's compelling efficiency and practical ease in treatment of his own digestive disorder, John was convinced he could help others. He sought a way introduce Ayurveda to his Appalachian mountain home and the broader American public. This was the genesis of Joyful Belly. Using ingredients familiar from his childhood, John created Joyful Belly to recast Ayurveda in the context of our American food traditions. Joyful Belly proves Ayurveda is accessible and necessary for everyday health & wellness. His simple, practical and familiar approach has helped thousands on their journey to health.
John's love of life, his commitment to the health & dignity of the person, and his humanitarian pursuit of inexpensive health care comes from his Catholic roots and identity. His creativity in the kitchen, and absolute dedication to the epicurean delight of eating come from his Italian heritage. He is fluent in Bengali and French, and enjoys studying Sanskrit & Arabic. In addition to his passion for Ayurveda, John enjoys spending time with his family and studying scripture, two activities which he believes are essential to any health and wellness counselor.
John's Teaching StyleAs a teacher, I strive not only to communicate the basic principles of Ayurveda, but to bring Ayurveda to life by sharing my personal healing journey, and the healing journeys I have witnessed as a practitioner. When I am at my best, you will find that my presentations are rich with anecdotes. Despite the seriousness of the topic, you will find I maintain a sense of humor as we discuss the blood and guts of health. This humor often comes at my own expense, which I hope you will enjoy!
Teaching has been a vocation for me since a very young age, and I have taught at various institutions from Harvard University to my home town. As a student of six languages, I am heavily invested in developing my communication and presentation skills, a core skill of any good teacher. Despite my ability to speak as an authority on the topic of Ayurveda & digestion, I approach the student teacher relationship as a colleague and facilitator, equal to my students, without any illusions of personal grandeur. My approach is not didactic, but inspirational and engaging. I enjoy asking questions as much as giving answers, and recognize that leadership often means giving you the space and freedom you need to draw your own conclusions, with guidance. As much as I love narrating a good story to an audience, I also strive learn from my students, and await full of suspense to hear your insights about Ayurveda!
On a more emotional level, I place a great deal of emphasis on empathy in every interaction I have with my students and my clients. The fundamental skill of empathy is the ability to walk in another's shoes. As a empathetic person, I always strive to appreciate and learn from your perspective and vantage point. I want to know you, and what makes you the person that you are.
Yet, the most important quality and teaching skill I possess is neither language nor empathy. Instead, it is my enthusiasm for Ayurveda, and for you. I am eager to give myself fully and passionately to the learning process. This enthusiasm is the true source of my confidence. Why am I so enthusiastic? Where does the boundless energy I offer for teaching come from? The bottomless well of energy I bring to our discussions springs from my great faith in each and every individual's capacity to learn and grow. Teaching is therefore a true celebration for me. This great hope I've invested in teaching is something I will never give up on, which means I will never give up on you!
What people are saying..
Comments from students in our 500 Hour certificate program
"Observing the teachers in the in-class client consult was highly effective for me.
This allowed me to hear, see and learn about remedies that I had not been taught before or come across before.
I think their years of practice with real clients and seeing what has or hasnít worked is what is so interesting to see in these in class consults."
Ayurvedic Healer - Los angeles, CA
"Iím really enjoying the setup of the herbal experiments. The reading assignment, experiment and review of last week's herb. It has a nice flow."
Ayurvedic Healer - Sydney, NS
"First I'd like to send a huge THANK YOU to you, John and the whole team who keeps Joyful Belly running. I can only imagine the efforts, organization and commitment that's required from all of you to run the AHC program. "
Yoga Instructor - Mont kiara, KUALA LUMPUR
"I really just wanted to let you all know that I learned SOOOO much the last 3 years (AHC and MID included). My client consult reviews are showing/proving that I _have_ learned A LOT. Thank you for everything! I'm loving doing my 25 client consults and cannot wait to build my business and continue my Ayurveda work as a Health Counselor! I cannot thank you enough for both of Joyful Belly's certification programs!!!"
Yoga Instructor - Bellevue, NE
"I have become more aware through Ayurveda and now I eat with my digestion in mind, rather than calories."
Yoga Studio Owner - Saint cloud, FL
"Since starting this course I have significantly changed my eating habits and choice of foods."
Yoga Studio Owner - Saint cloud, FL
"I approached the Joyful Belly Ayurveda Health Counselor Course because I wanted a solid curriculm and foundation in natural holistic medicine. Joyfulbelly has helped me reach this goal. I use this ancient knowledge not only for myself but for others."
"The course is going great! All of the information is so interesting and projected in a great way. My close friends and family have been loving to learn through me. They're always curious to know what I am learning about that day. It makes me really happy to spread this knowledge & help people become the balanced and healthy versions of themselves!"
Marstons mills, MA
I would like to thank you for an amazing program. it was challenging for me because of my personal situation but I really enjoyed it.
I officially finished all the assignment yesterday night and I am very happy. Part of me wanted it to last forever, but everything has to have an end.
If by any chance, you are passing by Virginia, you have an open invitation for you and your family to stay with us.
Have a wonderful day,"
Bland , VA
"I have found that taking this course has helped me to become very in-tune with my body."
Other Health / Wellness Professional - Apache junction, AZ
"I just want you all to know how grateful I am for this opportunity. My life has improved tenfold over the last year and this program has been a huge part of that. I am so grateful for ALL of this information and how much time and detail are put into the lectures, the quizzes, the grading/feedback."
Pleasant prairie, AL
"I just wanted to share gratitude with you all and with our teachers at Joyful Belly. I'm so grateful for the deepened awareness of self and of nature that tuning into my body and my consciousness through Ayurveda. Thank you all for investing in yourselves and helping shine a little more wonder into your body, your heart & your communities "
Other Health / Wellness Professional - Puerto vallarta, NC
"Your experience shines so brightly in this class and I so appreciate it/you!"
"It's like my intuition is being reexplained in depth. It's overwhelming in a good way because I'm so interested in what we're learning! I'm so inspired by the daily routines and rituals that Ayurveda practices. "
Marstons mills, MA
"All the instructors are sooo responsive and helpful in this program. They really listen to the students suggestions and very graciously and thoughtfully always find a way to achieve the needs of the students. Thanks so much!"
Other Health / Wellness Professional - Lakeville , PA
Commonly Asked Questions
Will I be a practitioner after graduating?Upon graduating, Joyful Belly will award you a Certificate of Completion at the Ayurvedic Health Counselor level*. Ayurveda is still an unlicensed field in most U.S. states. Even those of who have counselor status are still only educators in the eyes of the law. Only a qualified, licensed medical doctor can diagnose, prescribe or treat disease. Legally, you will be able listen to people's health concerns and educate them on the Ayurvedic perspective and approach to those concerns including diet, lifestyle and herbs. Please seek legal advice if you have questions about your scope of practice after graduating.
What is the scope of practice?Here is your scope of practice for Ayurvedic Health Coaches after completing the course: They will be competent in health promotion and disease prevention. They utilize the principles of Ayurvedic medicine to create diet and lifestyle recommendations according to their assessment of the patient's Ayurvedic constitution and imbalances. After the completion of academic study they have Ayurvedic clinical experience (supervised clinical practice) including a minimum of 50 patient encounters. They educate, motivate and counsel patients in order to support them to be successful in implementing the principles of Ayurveda into their lives. Ayurvedic Counselors refer patients whose disease stage (samprapti) is beyond the third stage to Ayurvedic Practitioners or Doctors of Ayurveda for diagnosis and treatment of disease.
What do people do after they graduate?Our graduates use the program to advance in their current careers as well as into a new and a diverse array of professional settings. Here are just some examples:
What is the basis of the research? What is the source of the course material and how do you verify accuracy of material learned?The lectures have been developed from primary and secondary sources - pubmed studies, wikipedia, the classic texts of Ayurveda, and the opinions of Ayurvedic experts. Individual teachers frequently innovate based upon their clinical and personal experience, as well as the individual needs of the client. Ayurveda, like Chinese medicine, is not a research based science but an ancient tradition. Although there have been more studies conducted in recent years, many perspectives you will learn in the course have not been researched or approved by the FDA. Instead, your clients will have to assess any Ayurvedic recommendations you give them to determine their suitability and appropriateness for personal use. Client's individual constitutions and needs do not always conform to statistical norms, even in a Western medical context. Ayurveda's highly individual approach offers flexibility that science cannot when it comes to working with and assessing the unique imbalances of the client.
Alternative medicine frequently includes alternative spirituality. Will these be a part of this course?Contrary to world health organization and India government guidelines, we have seen everything from vedic astrology, to religious devotions, to energy medicine falsely lumped under the umbrella of Ayurveda. Some of these spiritual beliefs are even endorsed by privately held Ayurvedic trade associations in the United States, to further individual agendas. However, Ayurveda's methods do not belong to any religion or spiritual worldview, and are not religious in nature.
Active religious life is scientifically proven to increase happiness, and health. Weekly participation in religious community increases life expectancy by as much as 10 years. This medical fact can seem to justify adding any spiritual belief under the umbrella of Ayurveda. The well intentioned merging of different medical and spiritual theories into Ayurveda can lead to confusion about Ayurveda's methods. It can make Ayurveda appear exclusive, associated with one spirituality or culture only, instead of natural and universal to human design. This confusion can alienate individuals who don't share these cultural roots. It can make Ayurveda feel exotic, unfamiliar and inaccessible.
Instead, Ayurveda is for everyone. At Joyful Belly, we aim to provide an authentic Ayurvedic education focused on the medical application of Ayurveda. We strive to avoid the above confusion about Ayurveda's methods, and to ensure Ayurveda's accessibility and appeal to a broad audience.
Our students come from diverse spiritual and religious backgrounds. To respect both Ayurveda and these students, we do not chant in class or engage in group ritual of any kind.
I have been trained in the Western medical system, will this course be accessible to me?One of the things that makes our program unique and accessible to all is that we teach Ayurveda from an experiential point of view, explaining concepts in simple, rational terms that make sense. Where other schools teach Ayurveda from a mystical perspective, we focus on clinical application, and testable methods based on Ayurveda's biocharacteristic theory of medicine. What you learn in the program are concepts that you can experience in your body. You learn the foundation of Ayurveda's ancient wisdom and then experience it directly creating cause and effect connections akin to the scientific method as well as intuitive understanding. Our students from Western medical backgrounds find this creates a more robust understanding of health and Ayurveda's paradigm for them.
Will the course include herbs?Yes, you will learn many of the most effective herbs in supporting health.
Can I study on my own schedule? What are minimum attendance requirements?Each week, you will complete all presentations on your own schedule. Class will meet 3 times each week, including convenient options for every time zone. Coaching calls will be recorded for students who cannot attend. If you plan to seek certification by a 3rd party, you may have to attend a minimum of 40 coaching calls and 25 consultation reviews live (65 live classes total).
We understand that life events may prevent you, time to time, from completing assignments on time. We have a policy to accommodate you. Extensions are granted on a case by case basis.
See the course catalog for more information.
What if I have a busy job, a rambunctious 2 year old? Can I still take the program if I have to take a leave of absence for several weeks?This course is designed for the busy professional, is family friendly, and quality of life focused, with the flexibility to complete the course in 3 or even 4 years if needed. Our school and coaching call schedule includes breaks for all major holidays, as well as winter, spring and summer break.
Will there be enough mentoring / support?Coaching calls will supplement your self-paced learning during phase 1. Additionally, exercises will be graded and include feedback when needed to improve acumen and student competency. During phase 2, live clinical encounters with clients will ensure all students meet our high academic and clinical standards. The Facebook group also provides an opportunity to voice questions and concerns. Teachers are also available by appointment to address any concerns or questions you might have.
Do you offer scholarships or other payment options?Rather than offering scholarships to a select few, we have opted for a competitively priced program accessible to all. Although we cannot offer scholarships, we do offer payment plans and a limited number of work study positions for qualified individuals. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Still have questions?Click the maybe button below for instructions on how to setup an inquiry appointment.
Requirements for AdmissionOur student body is one of the greatest assets of this program. Primarily, we accept students who are determined to succeed and make a good name for Ayurveda. We screen for students who are self-motivated, disciplined, and excited to participate. That's why we created a demanding program - gear up for excellence!
Students from all professional and cultural backgrounds are encouraged to apply.
Equipment Requirement: Students must have a laptop or a desktop computer, a webcam, a headset, and, a reliable internet access with internet speeds upto 3.1 Mbps - 6 Mbps to participate in the distant learning online course. This will help the student keep up with class communications and access to research and study resources. In addition, students must have basic computer skills including word processing. Students do not need to buy or download any software. However, students may be required to download a FREE APP to login to live classes via their computer, smartphone or tablet.
How to RegisterThere is no deadline for registration, however we expect the program will be filled to capacity, and applications are considered on a first come, first served basis. We follow the North Carolina policy for refunds, detailed in our course catalog. You will receive a full refund if for any reason your application is denied.
See details below for registration options. Once you register, you'll receive participation instructions over email. Throughout the program, you'll receive notices to guide you through each step. You'll also have an opportunity to ask questions via the Facebook group.
Please text John at 828-785-8213 or e-mail us any questions/concerns by clicking the MAYBE button below.