Master Faculty & Instructors for the College of Ayurveda
College of Āyurveda Master Teachers
For the College of Āyurveda, faculty members typically have the BAMS (Bachelor of Āyurvedic Medicine and Surgery) degree, the degree held by professors of Āyurveda 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. All College of Āyurveda faculty have had a minimum of five years of teaching experience, and many have had 20-30 years of teaching experience.
Shekhar V. Annambhotla, BAMS, MD in Āyurveda (India), YICC, RYT, Founder and Director of The Ojas Āyurveda Yoga Wellness Center (Allentown, PA); Board of Directors, National Āyurvedic Medical Association; Faculty Member, Kripalu School of Āyurveda; Adjunct Faculty Member, Āyurvedic Academic (Seattle, WA); Founding Faculty Member, Association of Āyurvedic 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 Āyurvedic Institute of America, author of the Ayurvedic cookbook You Are What You Eat” and of many articles on Ayurveda, and founder of the Āyurvedic food line “ĀyurFoods.”
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 UC Berkeley with a BA in the Sanskṛit language before earning her Master’s degree in physical therapy. She has been continuing her Sanskṛit 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 Sanskṛit in the late 90s and has been continuing his studies with world-renowned Sanskṛit teacher and writer, Professor Ram Karan Sharma. Since 2010, when he and his wife, Indira, started the East West Sanskṛit Institute, Shanta has been the primary entry-level teacher at the Institute.
Cynthia Ambika Copple, BA, CMP (MA - Āyurveda (hon), is a founding Board Member and Past President of the National Āyurvedic Medical Association; Director, Lotus Holistic Health Institute, Santa Cruz, CA. 1985-present; Āyurvedic Consultant in Santa Cruz l985-present; San Jose (1998 – present); President and Founder, Lotus Herbs, 1983-present; Director, Lotus Holistic Health Institute Pancha Karma Clinic,1990-present; Twin Lakes School of the Healing Arts, staff teacher, Āyurvedic Massage, 1990-2005; Lotus Holistic Health Institute, Āyurvedic Massage Intensive Trainings, 1990-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 Āyurvedic 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, Āyurveda, Vastu and Sanskṛit. 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 (ACVA) and is currently a certified teacher and tutor for ACVA. Steven is a graduate of the Āyurvedic Institute of New Mexico where he spent four years studying classical Āyurveda under the direction of Dr. Vasant Lad. Steven teaches internationally and maintains a busy private practice in San Rafael, CA.
Rucha Kelkar, BAMS, MPT, is the director of “Ayurbliss” Āyurveda 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 Āyurvedic 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 Āyurvedic Physician, Naturopath and Yoga instructor has been teaching Āyurveda around the world for over 20 years. She is a regular faculty member in Sanskṛit and Panchakarma.
Suhas G. Kshirsagar, BAMS, MD (Ayu. India). Graduate of Pune Āyurvedic University, is an esteemed clinician who has treated over 15,000 clients. He is a Research Consultant for Āyurvedic nutraceutical companies, and also is one of the few Āyurvedic 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 Āyurvedic Institute in Albuquerque and author of Āyurveda, The Science of Self-Healing, Āyurvedic Cooking for Self-Healing (with Usha Lad), The Yoga of Herbs (with David Frawley), Secrets of the Pulse: An Āyurvedic Art of Diagnosis, and The Complete Book of Āyurvedic 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 Āyurveda. She teaches Sanskṛit, Pancha Karma, Lifestyle management and other Āyurvedic subjects.
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 Āyurveda from Mt. Madonna Institute in Northern California, where she now serves as a director of the MMI Āyurvedic Research Center. Shraddha is passionate about bringing awareness to health and healing by integrating her knowledge of Biological and Āyurvedic sciences.
Dr. Vivek Shanbhag, ND, MD (Āyurved), BAMS, CYEd,is a renowned Āyurvedic physician, professor, researcher and author. He integrates Āyurvedic 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 Āyurveda & 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 Āyurvedic Medicine Department at Bastyr University, Seattle.
Sarita Shrestha, MD Āyurveda, 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 Āyurvedic physician and specialist, is Founder/Director of Devi Ma Ayurveda Rural Hospital, and teaches throughout the U.S. She is also well known for her unique herbal formulations.
Professor Ram Harsh Singh, PhD, senior Professor Emeritus and past Chief Consultant Physician, Department of Internal Medicine, and Dean, Faculty of Āyurveda, at Banaras Hindu University. Supervised over 75 MD’s and 25 PhD’s and published 12 books and over 100 research papers, receiving many awards and distinctions including The Best Teacher’s Award, the Jiwak Award in Asian Medicine, and most recently, the prestigious PADMA SHRI Civil Award by the Gov't of India.
Our Instructors, who are Āyurvedic 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 MA-Ay, Educator, is immersed in her love for Ayurveda and the well being of humanity. She holds a private practice, manages the MMI Āyurveda 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 MA, NAMA Certified Āyurvedic Practitioner, from the Mount Madonna Institute where she is the Instructor for the Āyurvedic 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 Āyurveda 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, MA, 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 Āyurveda 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 Āyurvedic 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, BA, NAMA Certified Āyurvedic Practitioner and Yoga Therapist, is coordinator of the Yoga Teacher Training - 300 Hour Level (YTT 300) program and is a senior teacher in the āsana 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 Āyurveda Practitioner.