Pioneer of Ayurveda in the West
President and Founder of the California College of Ayurveda
Dr. Marc Halpern, D.C., AyD. (Ayurvedacharya) has played an important role in the development of Ayurvedic medicine in the West. He is considered to be a preeminent practitioner and teacher of Ayurveda in the United States and continues to develop the programs at the College.
He is one of the few Westerners ever recognized in both the United States and in India as an authority on the subject of Ayurveda, and was awarded the All India Award for Best Ayurvedic Physician. A pillar in the development of the profession in the United States, he is the co-founder of the National Ayurvedic Medical Association for which he served as Chairman of the National Committee on Ayurvedic Education. He is also a co-founder of the California Association of Ayurvedic Medicine and the National Council on Ayurvedic Education.
Dr. Marc Halpern started his career as a Doctor of Chiropractic in 1987 when he graduated from Palmer West Chiropractic College. His journey to understand the cause of suffering and to heal himself led him to the field of Ayurvedic Medicine in 1991 when he completed a post-graduate certification program in holistic medicine through New York Chiropractic College. This program introduced him to Ayurveda. At that time, there were only a handful of individuals in the United States knowledgeable in Ayurveda.
Dr. Halpern sought out Dr. David Frawley as a teacher and that began a journey deeper into the Vedic sciences. Dr. Frawley introduced him to several teachers from India , most notably Dr. Subhash Ranade. Dr. Halpern sponsored Dr. Ranade to come to the US and to stay at his home. During his visits, Dr. Halpern was given copies of the classical texts. Studying these texts and observing his teacher treating patients helped shape how Dr. Halpern would eventually train other practitioners. Realizing that there needed to be a formal profession for Ayurvedic Medicine in the United States, Dr. Halpern dedicated himself to building this profession, and has been following this mission for more than 20 years. View Dr. Halpern’s C.V.
Dr. Halpern is the author of two important textbooks in the field of Ayurvedic Medicine as well as the popular book, Healing Your Life: Lessons on the Path of Ayurveda and the audio recording, Yoga Nidra and Self Healing. He has published articles in almost every major journal and magazine of Yoga or Ayurveda, and in 2005 was interviewed by Mike Wallace on CBS’s 60 Minutes. Dr. Halpern’s own remarkable story of personal healing was featured in the national magazine Spirituality and Health. He has been quoted in many major newspapers, including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and The Miami Herald.
In addition to his work with the California College of Ayurveda, Dr. Halpern is a certified yoga instructor and a regular teacher of Ayurveda at International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers worldwide.
A Brief Interview with Dr. Halpern
What do you think about the future of Ayurveda in America?
The profession of Ayurveda is growing very fast. More and more people are looking toward holistic alternatives. Ayurveda is the most complete form of holistic medicine practiced in the world today. I think the future is very bright.
What do you think makes Ayurveda so attractive to the public?
Ayurveda holds the promise of optimal health and peace of mind for those who live according to its principles. When people come to realize that there is a discipline that addresses the whole person physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and uses natural medicines – they are immediately attracted.
What makes Ayurvedic education at the California College of Ayurveda unique?
If I had to say one thing, I think it is how well we train our students to be successful practitioners. The strong clinical and herbal focus, culminating in our unique internship programs sets us apart from other schools. Our high standards, cohesive curriculum, supportive and nurturing faculty, and clinical focus ensure that each student receives the highest level of professional training.
What makes the internship program special?
During our internship program, students work with real patients, not just with other students or friends. They practice as qualified practitioners working with the general public under the supervision of a well-trained practitioner. Residents are researching cases, making medicines for their patients, and doing all of the things they will do in their own practices.
What do you think are the most important qualities in a future practitioner of Ayurveda?
The most important qualities are humility and compassion. Knowledge can be easily learned by anyone. Humility is the restraint of the ego. Humility leads to non-judgment. Non judgment leads to compassion. These traits allow knowledge to grow into wisdom and are the foundation of a true healer and teacher.
See Dr. Halpern’s interview on The Yoga Hour with Rev. Ellen Grace O’Brian