Asheville is often pegged as a yoga town, but yoga isn’t the only ancient Indian tradition that has gained popularity among local wellness enthusiasts — and Asheville has a new Ayurvedic wellness counseling program to prove it. The tagline for the program is, “Master your own health. Empower others to do the same.” Shala Worsley, director of the Asheville School of Massage & Yoga in West Asheville says she chose this motto because “Ayurveda offers people very simple, inexpensive, but deeply transformative methods — without side effects — to alleviate the most common health care complaints.” The program is currently enrolling students and will begin in September.
Ayurvedic medicine relies heavily on the use of food, herbs and spices, nutrition and digestion coaching, as well as yoga and breathing techniques in order to achieve optimum health. Upon completion of the 600-hour program, graduates will be certified to assist clients in implementing self-care regimens that are custom tailored to their constitutions, also known as doshas.
The program will take place in the same space as the existing massage school. Worsley says she was inspired to start the program in response to massage students who consistently asked for more Ayurvedic teachings within the massage curriculum. “Self care is an important theme in our massage curriculum. And since Ayurveda offers people simple, powerful, at-home self care lifestyle routines and remedies, it’s a natural fit for the mission of our school,” says Worsley. While some students may pursue certifications in both massage and Ayurvedic counseling, not everyone will choose to enroll in both programs, she adds.
A diverse group of local teachers and experts are on staff at the school, and weekend workshops will also be open to the public to take a la carte. Topics include Ayurvedic history, seasonal routines for wellness, cleansing and detoxification and Ayurvedic herbology, among many others. Classes are held one weekend per month for the duration of the year, with weekly conference calls.
“I see Ayurveda fitting in perfectly to the ever-growing wellness community here in Asheville — and nationally,” says Worsley. “Alternative health care is not alternative anymore. Yoga, massage, acupuncture, nutritional counseling, herbology — all these methods are grassroots health care. Ayurveda is grassroots health care as well. One of my teachers taught me that in ancient India, Ayurveda practitioners were paid only if everyone in the family was well. That concept turns the modern medicine model upside down.”
Visit http://ashevillemassageschool.org/ to learn more.
More local Ayurvedic resources:
• The Wise Earth School of Ayurveda in Candler was the first Ayurveda school in the US.
• Blue Lotus Ayurveda in Asheville is run by Vishnu Dass, who will be the lead instructor for the Ayurveda program at Asheville School of Massage & Yoga.
• Joyful Belly is a web-based business run by John Joseph Immel. Immel is also on the faculty at the new Ayurveda program.
• The Prama Institute offers Ayurveda-based detoxes and cleanses.