Ayurvedic practitioner in Nevada City, California with Rachel Merrill

The California College of Ayurveda is pleased to introduce the Ayurvedic Health Practitioner Interns 2014. Interns have completed their academic studies and work under the supervision of experienced clinical instructors. This semester’s talented group of interns comes from throughout the United States, Canada and United Kingdom.

Ayurvedic Health Practitioner (AHP) interns work on supporting patients to adopt a healthy lifestyle that is in harmony with their constitution. Patients learn about their constitution as well as the nature of any imbalances. They will also receive support to adjust their diet and lifestyle accordingly and to normalize your digestion and elimination. As part of the Ayurvedic program, an intern can include ayurvedic herbs, aromatherapy, color therapy, sound and mantra, and Ayurvedic Yoga Therapy. This is is the best of preventative health care! For those who have a specific condition and are looking for clinical management through Ayurvedic Medicine, they should consider having a consultation with an Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist intern or graduate. 

Interview with Rachel from California

1)  What inspired you to study Ayurvedic Medicine?

I was introduced to Ayurveda in 2008 while attending university in New York City.  I was studying Anthropology at the time and was deeply inspired by ancient peoples and their way of looking to the natural world for the materials and the knowledge that they needed.  I was particularly drawn to the use of foods and plants as medicine.  I read “Perfect Health” by Deepok Chopra and was introduced to “Ayurveda.”  After college I focused my energies on gardening and living closely with nature in Big Sur, California.  It is there that I began my studies with CCA as a distance-learning student.

2)    What do you think makes Ayurveda attractive to the public?

Ayurveda is extremely user-friendly.  It gives each person the power and the tools to create balance and wellbeing in their life. It makes sense to the average person, without needing a complex understanding of anatomy and biology, but instead using opposing qualities to antidote negative effects in the body that our diets and lifestyle may have created. With simple guidelines around food and eating, daily routines and activities, and spiritual practices, Ayurveda brings about powerful healing and transformation in every individual who desires it.

3)    What do you think about the future of Ayurveda in the United States?

The future looks bright! It seems more and more people are seeking alternatives to westernized healthcare.  Ayurveda is a “do-it-yourself” and “at-home” kind of systems that truly empowers individuals to maintain health in their lives.  With proper guidance, and understanding, Ayurveda can be a valuable contribution to people’s health in this country.

4)    What is your favorite therapy in this traditional system of medicine from India?

      I have enjoyed all of the Ayurvedic body therapies I’ve received, each administered at there own appropriate times.  Shirodhara is deeply nourishing and calming to the mind, Svedanan dilates the channels and makes one feel warm and refreshed, and bastis effectively pacify vata dosha.  However, abhyangha has been the one that I have been able to best incorporate into my life.  Traditionally it is done with two massage therapist applying a heavy layer of oil to the entire body of another.  A modified version can be done on yourself, with specifically chosen oil applied liberally to the body, followed by a warm shower or bath. This has noticeably improved the health of my skin and subsequent dhatus (tissues).

5) What does your path to Ayurveda look like?

I grew up in the Salinas Valley, inland of the central coast of California.  My family has been in the commercial farming business there for the last four generations.  I suppose my interest in food and farming started there.  I became particularly interested in health and cooking in high school when I decided to observe a vegan diet. During college I lived in a dorm in the city, and ate from a cafeteria, and realized the ill effects that a poor diet and lifestyle can have on the body.  I sought a healthier alternative, and lived for the next four years in a beautiful resort setting on the coast of Big Sur, California. There I realized my passion for gardening, food, and herbs. I studied Ayurveda and began to realize my dharma lies somewhere in the field of medicine cultivation and preparation.  Becoming an Ayurvedic health practitioner will hone my skills as an herbalist and allow me to create individual formulas for my patients, hopefully one day from my own garden.

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