CCA Logo A World Leader In Ayurvedic Education
Call us at 530-478-9100

Ayurvedic Faculty

Dr. Marc Halpern

 HalpernDr. Marc Halpern, D.C., C.A.S., P.K.S. (Ayurvedacharya), Dr. Marc Halpern is the founder and President of the California College of Ayurveda and the author of the popular book, Healing Your Life; Lessons on the Path of Ayurveda. A leader in the profession, he is the co-founder of the National Ayurvedic Medical Association (USA) and the California Association of Ayurvedic Medicine.  He also sits on the advisory boards of Light on Ayurveda Journal in the United States and the Journal of Research and Education in Indian Medicine in India.  Dr. Halpern’s contributions to the field have earned him the highest level of awards in both countries.  He has published hundreds of articles in popular journals and magazines of Ayurveda and Yoga and is a regular speaker at Ayurvedic and Yoga conferences.  A Doctor of Chiropractic, a Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist, A certified Yoga Teacher in the Sivananda tradition, a Specialist in Holistic Medicine, an author and teacher, Dr. Marc Halpern gives 100% to his passion for healing and removing the causes of suffering.

 

Faculty

 

 Mary Thompson, C.A.S., P.K.S., (Ayurvedacharya), is a graduate of the California College of Ayurveda and senior teacher with certifications as a Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist and Pancha Karma Specialist. Mary is a graduate of the first graduating class of the College in 1997. In 2008 she received the Charaka Award for Excellence in Ayurvedic Teaching and was given the title "Ayurvedacharya" (respected teacher of Ayurveda) by Dr. Halpern. She has been an invited speaker at several Ayurvedic conferences and is a founding member and former Secretary of the California Association of Ayurvedic Medicine. She is also the founder of the non-profit organization, Everyday Ayurveda. Mary is in private practice in Grass Valley, California.

 

 

 

 

 Sri Devi (Marisa Laursen), B.S., C.A.S., P.K.S., A.Y.T., C.M.T, is a graduate of the California College of Ayurveda with certifications as a Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist, Pancha Karma Specialist and Ayurvedic Yoga Therapist. She has an active clinical practice in Chino, California and is a member of the National Ayurvedic Medical Association. Sri Devi has a Bachelor’s degree in Human Services, is a Certified Massage Therapist and has completed post-graduate Ayurvedic training in India as well as through the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta organization. Sri Devi received her spiritual name from Swami Swaroopananda of the Sivananda Yoga Retreat and considers herself a life-long student of Ayurveda, Yoga and Vedanta.

 

 

 

 

 

 Brenda Igler, C.A.S., P.K.S., (Director of Herbalism): Brenda is a graduate of the California College of Ayurveda with certifications as a Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist and a Pancha Karma Specialist. Brenda has continued her education with studies in India, focusing on herbalism and complementary treatments of cancer. As part of the teaching faculty at the College, she is involved in teaching all levels of the curriculum. As the Director of Herbalism, Brenda runs the Advanced Ayurvedic Herbal Apprenticeship course. Brenda conducts her clinical practice at the College's healtyh care center utilizing her compassion and inspiration to guide her patients in a creative way through their healing journey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Gary Jacobsson, C.A.S., is a 2002 graduate of the California College of Ayurveda with certification as a Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist. Gary has been in private practice and has also integrated his love of cooking with Ayurveda by serving as professional chef at Ayurvedic, Yoga and holistic health retreats. Gary is now in practice at the College’s health care center and serves as an Internship Supervisor. In addition to his Ayurvedic training, Gary as been trained in mind/body somatic therapies, Cellular Memory and Family Consultation Work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Ram Rao, PhD, CAS, RYT, comes from a family of Ayurvedic practitioners and Vedic teachers in India tracing back to the illustrious Vedic-acharya Rishi Kaundinya. A graduate of the California College of Ayurveda with certification as Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist, Ram is also a dedicated yoga practitioner and certified teacher. He has published several articles in major Yoga and Ayurveda journals and has been a featured speaker in several meetings and symposia. Ram holds a doctorate degree in Neurosciences and works as a Research Associate Professor at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, Novato, CA, on various aspects of age associated neurodegenerative diseases.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Mary-Alice Quinn, C.A.S., graduated from the California College of Ayurveda with certification as a Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist. She is a practitioner member of the National Ayurvedic Medical Association and the California Association of Ayurvedic Medicine. She has completed a variety of advanced post-graduate Ayurvedic studies in the US and India and has been a practitioner of Yoga for more than fifteen years. Mary-Alice writes articles for popular yoga and Ayurveda publications, conducts public workshops and has an active private practice in Sacramento where she focuses on both preventative medicine and disease management.

 

 

 

 

 Ragaia Belovarac, M.A., C.A.S., P.K.S., C.M.T., is a graduate of the California College of Ayurveda with certifications as Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist and Pancha Karma Specialist.   Ragaia is the past co-director of the College's Pancha Karma Center, where he worked closely with Dr. Halpern. This experience deepened his understanding of creating and holding sacred space in a way that facilitates the patient's healing journey. Ragaia teaches several of the body therapy courses at the College including the Pancha Karma Specialist trainings. He is also the director of Blue Sage Sanctuary in Nevada City, California, where he practices Ayurveda and Pancha Karma.

 

 

 

 

Master Teachers

Jeremy Anderson, C.A.S., P.K.S., is a Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist and Pancha Karma Specialist who graduated valedictorian from the California College of Ayurveda in 2005. She also received certification from the American Institute of Vedic Studies in Ayurvedic Health Sciences and became a Certified Massage Therapist through the Phillips School of Massage. Jeremy is a Master Teacher for the Distance Learning Program at CCA. To bring the light of this profound science to her local community, Jeremy also maintains her own practice, Annapurna Ayurveda, in North Lake Tahoe, CA.

 

 

 

Nima Berenji, C.A.S., has a background in human nutrition, food sciences, biochemistry and Ayurveda. She received a Masters Degree in Nutritional Sciences from Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences in Iran and completed PhD studies on autoimmune diseases. She studied Ayurveda at the CCA, earning a Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist certification. Her motivation comes from a deep appreciation for the complexity, delicate balance and interconnectedness of nature manifested magnificently in the science of Ayurveda.

 

 

 

 

Jessica Ferrol, C.A.S., P.K.S., graduated from the California College of Ayurveda with certifications as a Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist and a Pancha Karma Specialist. She is also a Registered Yoga Therapist and an Herbalist having completed Kathy Keville’s Herbal Apprenticeship program. Jessica holds a BA in Psychology and is currently working toward a Masters of Holistic Counseling degree. A member of the CCA faculty as a Master Teacher in its distance learning program, Jessica is also in private practice in Rhode Island where she gives Ayurvedic consultations, homemade herbal formulations and workshops. Jessica is a professional member of the National Ayurvedic Medical Association and Yoga Alliance.

  

 

Sandhiya Ramaswamy, C.A.S., is an Ayurveda practitioner, educator, and chef. Her practice, Green Lotus Wellness, is in Dana Point, California. Born and having lived in India, she has had a lifelong and intimate connection with Ayurveda. It is through Ayurveda that Sandhiya found relief for her chronic asthma. Wanting to go deeper into the study of Ayurveda, she enrolled at the California College of Ayurveda. Prior to embracing the healing arts and sciences as a full-time vocation, Sandhiya spent many years in the corporate world. This experience has provided her with a unique perspective and understanding of the daily work-life-family stressors that most people face.

 

 

 

 

 

Mrunalini Rameshchandra, C.A.S., is a certified Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist and Naturopathic Medical Doctor. She has attended workshops in therapeutic yoga and pranayama in India and follows Integral Yoga, frequenting the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry, India. Mrunalini has a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Chemistry. Mrunalini is a member of the editorial board for the Journal of Homeopathy and Ayurvedic Medicine, Director for Healing Your Life Program and Distance Learning Master Teacher at CCA. She consults patients wherever she travels.

 

  

 

Ryan Phillip Strong, C.A.S., is a graduate of the California College of Ayurveda with certification as a Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist. He is also a practitioner and teacher of Kriya Yoga.  Ryan was ordained by his guru, Roy Eugene Davis (a direct disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda), to teach Kriya Yoga, and is a minister for the Center for Spiritual Awareness.  Ryan has spent 15 years studying yogic philosophy, including Ayurveda and Vedic Astrology (Jyotish).  Ryan Strong is a professional member of the National Ayurvedic Medical Association.  He runs an Ayurvedic Natural Healing Center in Sacramento where he lives with his wife and two children.

 

 

 

 

Eleni Tsikrikas, C.A.S., P.K.S., is a graduate of the California College of Ayurveda with certification as Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist and Pancha Karma Specialist. A member of the faculty at the California College of Ayurveda, Eleni is also a yoga teacher in the lineage of T. Krishnamacharya. The focus of her practice is based on the classical text, “Yoga Sutras of Patanjali”. Eleni runs a private ayurvedic practice in Los Angeles, California, and teaches workshops and seminars in Ayurveda and Yoga Therapy.

 

 

 

 

Vidya Venkatesh, C.A.S., P.K.S. graduated from the California College of Ayurveda with certification as a Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist. She also trained in Pancha Karma in India and New Mexico. Vidya has also studied yoga and pranayama at Patanjali Yoga Peet in Haridwar, India, and has been a long-time student of Advaita Vedanta. Vidya is a holistic wellness practitioner and lifestyle coach. She has been running her Irvine-based private practice, Niroga Ayurveda, since January 2009. A faculty member at the California College of Ayurveda in its distance learning program, Vidya also serves as the resident Ayurvedic practitioner at Mother Tree Sanctuary. She is a member of the National Ayurvedic Medical Association.

 

 

 

 

 

Michelle Warner, C.A.S., graduated from the California College of Ayurveda in 2007 with certification as a Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist.  She continued her studies with a clinical internship in India.  Michelle teaches for the distance learning program at C.C.A., and works at an integrative medical clinic in Walnut Creek, California doing Ayurvedic diet and lifestyle consultations and body therapies.