For the College of Ayurveda, faculty members typically have the B.A.M.S. (Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery) degree, the degree held by professors of Ayurveda in India, the home country of this field, from which we draw the most highly qualified faculty assembled anywhere to teach the Institute’s courses. The B.A.M.S. degree is conferred only upon successful completion of 5 ½ years of study and internship, and qualifies the recipient to teach in all Ayurveda specialty areas. Some of the Ayurveda faculty also hold the B.A.M.S. (M.D. Ayurveda) degree, which includes an additional 3 years of study and internship. All College of Ayurveda faculty have had a minimum of 5 years of teaching experience, and many have had 20-30 years of teaching experience.
According to the Central Council on Indian Medicine (ccim.india.org), those receiving the B.A.M.S. degree have demonstrated “profound scholarship having deep basis of Ayurveda with scientific knowledge in accordance with Ayurvedic fundamentals with extensive practical training who would be able and efficient teachers, research workers and Physicians and Surgeons.”
Those having the B.A.M.S. (M.D. Ayurveda) degree have obtained “specialties and super-specialties of Ayurveda and so that they are experts and specialists who can be competent and efficient teachers, physicians, surgeons, obstetricians and gynecologists, pharmaceutical experts, researchers and profound scholars in various fields of specialization of Ayurveda.”
The Ayurvedic Schools that our faculty members have graduated from all are certified by the Government of India for graduating Ayurvedic Physicians and Surgeons. The degree of B.A.M.S. is equivalent to an M.D. in the US, and the B.A.M.S. (M.D. Ayurveda) is equivalent to an M.D. with Board Specialties, both degrees well above the Masters level.
The Mount Madonna Institute confirms the following Statement of Policy on Faculty Responsibility: Mount Madonna Institute recognizes the faculty body as responsible for the Academic Governance role at the Institute. Faculty are held accountable for participation in the development of curricula, academic planning, and the enforcement of academic quality. Board of Directors for the Institute also stipulate and confirm that faculty shall have jurisdiction over matters of educational policy, including requirements for admission of students, for the continuance of students in academic programs, over matters of academic dishonesty and for the award of earned degrees, under such policies and procedures.
The faculty has authority and responsibility to set, supervise, and enforce the standards of academic quality that are both necessary and sufficient to maintain the integrity of a degree awarded under the auspices of the Institute. The faculty and the administration shall have collective responsibility for academic planning and for carrying out the mission of the institution, for maintaining the focus of the institutional purpose, and for the accomplishment of institutional academic standards. This role of responsibility is addressed through Faculty Governance roles in Committee Structures such as the Curriculum Committee, which is responsible for program development, review and assessment; and in an advisory capacity to the Board of Directors standing Academic Affairs Committee.
Shekhar V. Annambhotla, B.A.M.S., M.D. in Ayurveda (India), Y.I.C.C., R.Y.T., Founder and Director of The Ojas Ayurveda Yoga Wellness Center (Allentown, PA); Board of Directors, National Ayurvedic Medical Association; Faculty Member, Kripalu School of Ayurveda; Adjunct Faculty Member, Ayurvedic Academic (Seattle, WA); Founding Faculty Member, Association of Ayurvedic Professionals of North America.
Jay Apte, B.A.M.S. (University of Poona, India), M.S. (Biomedical Sciences, Pharmacology, University of North Texas) (1991), founder and President of the Ayurvedic Institute of America, author of the Ayurvedic cookbook You Are What You Eat” and of many articles on Ayurveda, and founder of the Ayurvedic food line “AyurFoods.”
Indira (Ann) Bulkin met her teacher, Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati, then known as Dr. Mishra, in the summer of 1971. The following spring she became a full time resident at the newly established Yoga Society of San Francisco where she studied intensively for five years. In 1973 Dr. Mishra asked Indira to start teaching Sanskrit and in the early 1980s he named her as the head of the Sanskrit Department at the Yoga Society. In 1993 Indira graduated from U.C. Berkeley with a B.A. in the Sanskrit language before earning her Master’s degree in physical therapy. She has been continuing her Sanskrit studies with Dr. Ram Karan Sharma since 1999. In 2010 she and her husband, Shanta, started the East West Sanskrit Institute.
Shanta Bulkin met Dr. Rammurti S. Mishra ( later known as Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati ) in the summer of 1972 at Ananda Ashram in New York State. Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati referred to Sanskrit as the “washing machine of the mind” and Shanta felt this effect change his life. Shanta started teaching Sanskrit in the late 90s and has been continuing his studies with world-renowned Sanskrit teacher and writer, Professor Ram Karan Sharma. Since 2010, when he and his wife, Indira, started the East West Sanskrit Institute, Shanta has been the primary entry-level teacher at the Institute.
Cynthia Ambika Copple, B.A., C.M.P (M.A. – Ayurveda (hon), is a founding Board Member and Past President of the National Ayurvedic Medical Association; Director, Lotus Holistic Health Institute, Santa Cruz, CA. l985-present; Ayurvedic Consultant in Santa Cruz l985-present; San Jose (l998 – present); President and Founder, Lotus Herbs, l983-present; Director, Lotus Holistic Health Institute Pancha Karma Clinic, l990-present; Twin Lakes School of the Healing Arts, staff teacher, Ayurvedic Massage, l990-2005; Lotus Holistic Health Institute, Ayurvedic Massage Intensive Trainings, l990-present.
Dr. John Douillard, DC has written and produced numerous health and fitness books, CDs, and DVDs. He has been teaching and lecturing internationally for 25 years and publishes a free wellness video-newsletter filled with the latest studies and research. He was the Director of Player Development for the New Jersey Nets in the NBA and currently directs the LifeSpa- Ayurvedic Retreat Center in Boulder, CO, where he lives with his wife and six children.
Steven Highburger has been deeply immersed in Vedic Studies since the 90’s and is a teacher of Vedic Astrology, Ayurveda, Vastu and Sanskrit. Steven studied intensively with the world renowned master of Vedic Traditions, Hart deFouw, and also received the highest level of certification from the American College of Vedic Astrology (A.C.V.A.) and is currently a certified teacher and tutor for A.C.V.A. Steven is a graduate of the Ayurvedic Institute of New Mexico where he spent 4 years studying classical Ayurveda under the direction of Dr. Vasant Lad. Steven teaches internationally and maintains a busy private practice in San Rafael, CA.
Paul L. Hoffman, M.D., is a Board Certified allopathic physician who has been practicing medicine for 35 years and Ayurveda for 15 years. He is Medical Director of Mount Madonna Institute’s College of Ayurveda. He trained in Ayurveda with Dr. Vasant Lad, and has spoken on Ayurveda at Stanford University, San Francisco State, the National Ayurvedic Medical Association, and other institutions.
Rucha Kelkar, BAMS, MPT, is the director of “Ayurbliss” Ayurveda Wellness for Mind, Body and Spiritual Health. She received her graduate degree from University of Pune, India and secured a top rank in all three academic years of her Ayurvedic education. She is also a licenced physical therapist and has a master’s degree in physical therapy.
Manisha Kshirsagar, BAMS, LMT, DY&A (India), an accomplished Ayurvedic Physician, Naturopath and Yoga instructor has been teaching Ayurveda around the world for over 20 years. She is a regular faculty member in Sanskrit and Panchakarma.
Suhas G. Kshirsagar, BAMS, MD (Ayu. India). Graduate of Pune Ayurvedic University, is an esteemed clinician who has treated over 15,000 clients. He is a Research Consultant for Ayurvedic nutraceutical companies, and also is one of the few Ayurvedic Practitioners in the U.S. who practices Medical Astrology.
Vasant D. Lad, B.A.M.S., MASc., Medical Director of the Ayurvedic Hospital in Poona, India, for 3 years, Professor of Clinical Medicine at Poona University School of Ayurvedic Medicine for 13 years. For the past 27 years he has taught in the U.S. He is Director of the Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque and author of Ayurveda, The Science of Self-Healing, Ayurvedic Cooking for Self-Healing (with Usha Lad), The Yoga of Herbs (with David Frawley), Secrets of the Pulse: An Ayurvedic Art of Diagnosis, and The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies.
Yashashree (Yash) Mannur, BAMS, BA Sanskrit, is a graduate of Poona University in India in 1996. She has practiced Ayurveda for 13 years in the U.S. and is President of Shubham Ayurveda. She teaches Sanskrit, Pancha Karma, Lifestyle management and other Ayurvedic subjects.
Hari Pallatheri Neelakandhan, B.A.M.S., is a graduate of the Ayurveda College in Coimbatore, which is associated with Bharathiar University. He is Trustee & Deputy Director of Arsha Yoga Vidya Peetam Trust, an education unit of The Arya Vaidya Pharmacy Coimbatore Ltd. He has been engaged in clinical, administration and teaching International students since 1993.
Archana Rao, B.A.M.S., M.D. in Ayurveda (India). A fully qualified Doctor of Ayurvedic Medicine (India) with practicing experience in India, Europe and the USA. She completed her academic studies in 1996 at Gujarat University, in India, where she received her B.A.M.S (Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery) degree.
Shraddha Ravani, NAMA Certified Practitioner, has been involved in fundamental research in biological sciences, focused on breast cancer at a National Laboratory for the last two decades. Currently, she is working as a scientific program manager, providing programmatic management for large-scale federally funded research grants to aid in the development and implementation of strategic plans and regulatory oversight. Shraddha did her undergraduate work in Microbiology and post graduate work in Medical technology in India. She also has a Master’s Degree in Ayurveda from Mt. Madonna Institute in Northern California, where she now serves as a director of the MMI Ayurvedic Research Center. Shraddha is passionate about bringing awareness to health and healing by integrating her knowledge of Biological and Ayurvedic sciences.
Dr. Vivek Shanbhag, N.D., M.D. (Ayurved), B.A.M.S., CYEd.,is a renowned Ayurvedic physician, professor, researcher and author. He integrates Ayurvedic and Naturopathic medicine in his clinical practice. He guides individuals and families in the process of healing themselves to achieve optimal body-mind-wellness through individualized nutrition, healing herbs and vitamins, gentle detoxification, appropriate exercise, stress management, special daily & seasonal routines. He is the Founder and Director of GAYA-THRI (Goa Ayurveda & Yoga Academy and Total Health Resort, India). He is a faculty member of Bastyr University in Seattle and Mount Madonna College of Ayurveda. His clinical, teaching and research experience spans over 28 years. During 1989 thru 2006, for 17 years, he was the Founder & Director of the AYU Ayurvedic Wellness Center—Academy, Clinic & Spa in Seattle. During 1991-96, he was the Chairman of the Ayurvedic Medicine Department at Bastyr University, Seattle.
Sarita Shrestha, M.D. Ayurveda, OB/GYN, BHU, BAMS, has taught and consulted for over 25 years in international institutions, hospitals and clinics, received numerous international awards honoring her presentations and services with special recognition as the first Nepali woman Ayurvedic physician and specialist, is Founder/Director of Devi Ma Ayurveda Rural Hospital, and teaches throughout the US. She is also well known for her unique herbal formulations.
Professor Ram Harsh Singh, Ph.D., senior Professor Emeritus and past Chief Consultant Physician, Department of Internal Medicine, and Dean, Faculty of Ayurveda, at Banaras Hindu University. Supervised over 75 M.D.’s and 25 Ph.D.’s and published 12 books and over 100 research papers, receiving many awards and distinctions including The Best Teacher’s Award and the Jiwak Award in Asian Medicine.
Our Instructors, who are Ayurvedic Practitioners with years of clinical or teaching experience, teach every weekend and are the glue that ties together the wisdom of the master faculty. They lead the “family” of students who live together, eat together and study together each weekend.
Kate Bentley, NAMA Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner, Educator, is immersed in her love for Ayurveda and the well being of humanity. She holds a private practice, manages the MMI Ayurveda Clinic and regularly writes articles for a local health magazine. In addition, she has an extensive background in education and enjoys teaching workshops and leading group-supported cleanses and classes. She is currently working on her thesis in women’s health.
Elizabeth Cunningham Bossart M.A., NAMA Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner, from the Mount Madonna Institute where she is the Instructor for the Ayurvedic Health Counselor and Practitioner Programs. Elizabeth has completed a 500-hour Yoga Teacher Training from the Healing Yoga Foundation based in the tradition of T. Krishnamacharya. Elizabeth also has a Masters in Education, has over a decade of teaching experience and loves teaching Ayurveda at Mount Madonna, other Yoga Therapy programs and private workshops around the country. She sees clients wanting more balance and health in their lives in her private practice, Sukha Wellness, in San Francisco and Mill Valley, California.
Della Davis, M.A., NAMA Certified Practitioner, Certified Nutritionist, is a founding Member of Mount Madonna Institute and serves on Mount Madonna Curriculum and Administrative Policy Committees. She has been an Instructor for Mount Madonna Diploma, Certificate – Ayurvedic Practitioner Program, and Masters of Arts in Ayurveda since inception in 2007. She is the Director of Integrated Health Solutions, in Palo Alto and Capitola where she sees clients looking to rebuild their body and mind. A graduate of Ayurvedic Institute of America, she studied with Dr. Shrestha OB/Gyn, Ambika Copple, and Pashupati Revol of Ayurveda World Herbology. Published in Light on Ayruveda.
Ginger Kamalesh Hooven, B.A., NAMA Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner and Yoga Therapist, is coordinator of the Yoga Teacher Training -- 300 Hour Level (YTT 300) program and is a senior teacher in the asana portions of both YTT 200 and YTT 300. She has been teaching in the Mount Madonna Center Yoga Teacher Trainings since 2005. In addition to her studies at Mount Madonna, she completed a 700-hour Yoga Teacher Training with the Yoga Research and Education Center (2001-2002) led by Georg Feurstein. Ginger has two years of graduate studies in Philosophy at Memphis State University. She has taught Spanish at Mount Madonna Middle and High School, has been an assistant instructor at Cabrillo College Anatomy and Physiology and is a Certified Ayurveda Practitioner.