Course Descriptions

Download Course Descriptions (PDF)


Agada Tantra: Principles of Toxicology, Environmental and Occupational Health with Alakananda Ma – 3 credits
Spring semester- 15 weeks, Wednesday 2:15 PM – 5:00 PM

Description: Working with the ancient texts of Ayurveda and the latest research on occupational and environmental hazards, we will learn about vital topics such as food borne transmission of disease, zoonotic disease (transmitted from animals), poisonous plants and mushrooms, insect bites and stings, fossils fuels and health, nuclear fuels and health, global climate change, synthetic organic chemicals and toxic metals. Class includes lectures, discussions, group projects and case studies.
Assignments/Assessment: Readings, quizzes, case research


Ashtavidha Pariksha (Diagnostic Skills) with Alakananda Ma – 3 credits
Spring semester-15 weeks, Wednesday 10 - 1 pm

Description: This course develops skills in ashtavidha pariksha, the eightfold examination. Students will learn to take a history and to assess prakruti and vikruti. They will examine the tongue, nails, eyes, lymph nodes, dhatus and srotansi: including abdominal and neurological examination as well as the delicate art of taking a sexual history. Each class is preceded by a meditation class designed to cultivate the mindfulness and compassion necessary for diagnosis and is followed by practice time.
Required Book: Lad, Vasant. The Textbook of Ayurveda: A Complete Guide to Clinical Assessment, Volume Two
Assignments/Assessment: Quizzes, practical exam


Ayurvedic Diet, Nutrition and Culinary Arts with Alakananda Ma - 1 credit per semester
Fall & Spring Semester: Every Wednesday and Friday 1 - 2:15 pm

Description: In our unique culinary, dietetic and nutritional program, students experience and discuss 120 different Ayurvedic menus, receiving a recipe manual with a rich collection of dishes. Menus and dietary learning are tailored to each srotas in turn and the course is integrated with case-based studies in its sequence of topics. This class takes place during lunch and is a required course. Gluten free and dairy free options routinely offered.
Materials Cost: $300 per semester (includes lunch and recipe manual)
* Repeat of this course is optional but recommended for years 3 & 4


Case Based Studies in Family Practice with Alakananda Ma – 6 credits per year

Description: In line with the new medical curriculum, this is a problem based, student directed approach designed to provide participants with the tools needed to garner and evaluate knowledge and information. Working with real life cases, students, with Alakananda Ma's guidance, will research and study Ayurvedic approaches to the diagnosis and management of gynecological, pediatric, psychiatric and geriatric patients, thus equipping themselves for Ayurvedic family practice. Targeted lectures and tutorials help illumine the topic.
Assignments/Assessment: Weekly research projects, comprehensive open book quiz at end of each semester.


Classical Pathology with Alakananda Ma – 6 credits
Fall and Spring Semester, 30 weeks Fridays 10-1

Description: Through textual study of Madhav Nidhan and its commentaries, students will understand and be able to apply classical Ayurvedic differential diagnosis and be able to compare with current Western differential diagnoses for similar symptom pictures. This class will enable students to root their differential diagnosis in classical Ayurveda.
Assignments/Assessment: Quizzes


Clinical Internship with Alakananda Ma – 32 credits per year
Offered annually during both semesters, Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:00 am - 5:30 pm

Description: Students enter their clinical clerkship (internship) from the outset of the program, gradually developing their abilities in diagnostic skills, clinical interview and diet and lifestyle counseling. Students see the patients before Ma does, taking vital signs and filling out a prakruti questionnaire. They also take the opportunity to practice their diagnostic skills. From the second semester, students begin conducting supervised diet and lifestyle counseling sessions. First year and second year students are paired in the clinical clerkship to allow for peer mentoring. Students are gradually prepared to conduct the entire diagnostic interview themselves, receiving supervision from Alakananda Ma and managing their own patients under her guidance.
Required Item: Sphygmomanometer and pen light.
Recommended Books: Dorland's Pocket Medical Dictionary by Dorland, The Merck Manual of Medical Information, Second Edition: The World's Most Widely Used Medical Reference - Now In Everyday Language by Mark H. Beers
Assignments/Assessment: Clinical Encounter Worksheets


Fundamentals of Ayurveda Audio Course with Alakananda Ma –2 Credits
Fall semester, Year 1 students only, Friday 2:15 pm - 5:00 pm

Description: This is a survey course that will give a foundation in Ayurvedic studies for the practitioner, covering doshas, upadoshas, dhatus, ojas, tejas, and prana.
Required Book: Lad, Vasant, The Textbook of Ayurveda: Fundamental Principles, Volume One
Assignments/Assessment: Weekly quizzes.


History of Ayurveda with Alakananda Ma – 3 Credits
Fall semester- 15 weeks, Friday 10 am - 1 pm

Description: History of Ayurveda covering the beginnings of Ayurved in the pre-Vedic era, Vedic culture and the development of early Ayurvedic philosophy, contributions of Charak, Shushruta, and Vaghbhat, Medieval period, Ayurveda under the Moghul Empire and the British Raj and Ayurveda in modern times.
Assignments/Assessment: Academic paper


Homeroom – 1 credit per semester
Wednesdays 9-9:50 1 credit per semester

Description: Students gather to study in a self-directed manner. Students may choose to read the classic texts together, conduct research, discuss cases not covered in Round Table, or work on special projects.


Marma Points with Annalise Ozols – 1 credit workshop
Spring Semester

Description: An introduction to the vital energy points used in Ayurvedic diagnosis and treatment.
Recommended Book: Marma Points of Ayurveda by Vasant Lad and Anisha Durve


Materia Medica with Alakananda Ma – 3 credits
Fall semester-15 weeks, Wednesday 10 am – 1pm

Description: This class begins with the principles of dravyaguna as laid out in Charak Samhita and Sharngadhara Samhita and then proceeds to in-depth study of individual herbs according to karma or mode of action.
Required Book: Herbology Manual purchased from Alandi
Assignments/Assessment: Herb monograph, quizzes


Medical Tests with Alakananda Ma – 3 credits
Spring semester- 15 weeks, Friday 10 am – 1 pm

Description: Students will learn how to understand and make use of laboratory tests, pathology reports and medical imaging.
Recommended Book: Mosby's Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests
Assignments/Assessment: Readings and quizzes


Meditation: Insight and Self-inquiry with Sadananda – 2-5credits (depending upon practice time by the student)
Fall & Spring semester - 30 weeks, Wednesday 9 - 9:50 am.

Description: This course introduces specific practices designed to enhance pulse-reading skills and teaches the Four Foundations of Mindfulness and the art of self-enquiry.
Assignments/Assessments: Meditation Journal and personal practice.


Meditation: Loving-kindness and Non-violent Communication with Alakananda Ma – 2 credits
Fall & Spring semester- 30 weeks, Wednesday 9 - 9:50 am

Description: The focus of meditation class this year is to develop the four qualities Charak describes as essential for the Ayurvedic healer: loving-kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity. After our meditation practice time, we learn compassionate communication and empathy skills as taught in NVC (non-violent communication)
Required Book: Loving-Kindness: The revolutionary Art of Happiness by Sharon Salzberg
Assignments/Assessment: Meditation practice


Nadi Pariksha (Pulse Diagnosis and Therapeutics) with Alakananda Ma – 6 credits
Fall and Spring semester- 30 weeks, Wednesday 10 am - 1 pm

Description: This in depth course develops skills in the ancient Ayurvedic art of pulse diagnosis, following the methodology developed by Dr Vasant Lad. Teachings on therapeutic approaches for the various pulse findings serve to make this class uniquely useful. Each class is preceded by a meditation class designed to cultivate the mindfulness and compassion necessary for pulse diagnosis and also includes practice time. During practice time students will have ample opportunity to develop their pulse reading skills with Ma's supervision.
Required Books: Lad, Vasant. Secrets of the Pulse (The Ayurvedic Press), Pulse Manual (in-house)
Assignments/Assessments: Pulse exam at end of course, monthly quizzes, assigned reading.


Nighantu, Pharmacology and Phytochemistry with Alakananda Ma—6 credits
Wednesdays Fall and Spring semester-30 weeks, Wednesday 10 - 1 pm

Description: This class is designed to create expertise in classical Ayurvedic herbology. Going beyond the textbooks, we will become familiar with the Ayurvedic herbal texts known as nighantu, understand how herbs are classified in the ancient texts, and appreciate the pharmacology and phytochemistry that underlie the actions of herbs.
Required Book: Herbology Manual (in house)
Assignments/Assessment: Academic paper


Pancha Karma Theory and Rasayana with Alakananda Ma –3 credits
Spring semester- 15 weeks, Friday 10 am – 1 pm

Description: Panchkarma plays an important role in treating various diseases and restoring the body to balance. This class describes in depth the panchkarma program based on how it is prescribed in the West and at Alandi Ayurveda, including selection of herbs, oils, indication, contraindication etc. Following panchakarma, Rasayana or rejuvenation is given. This class will also consider methods of rasayana.
Assignments/Assessment: Quizzes


Prasuti Tantra Fertility, Pregnancy, and Postpartum with Alakananda Ma –3 credits
Fall Semester, 15 weeks, Fridays 10-1

Description: This course will familiarize students with the processes of fertility, pregnancy, and postpartum, and how Ayurveda may support these natural processes. We present problems that may be commonly encountered in an Ayurveda practice, with suggested protocols.
Assignments/Assessment: Quizzes


Roundtable with Alakananda Ma – 3 credits per semester
Friday 2:15 - 5:00 pm (every Friday afternoon after your first semester)

Description: During a weekly meeting, Ma and senior students will discuss the clients seen that week and consider their treatment plans. Second, third and fourth year apprentices participate together, creating a rich and diverse learning environment. First year students learn how about clinical work from observation and participation in this course prior to beginning student clinic.
Assignments/Assessment: Worksheets and other presentation materials


Satsang with Alakananda Ma – 2 credits
Fall & Spring semesters-30 weeks, Friday 9 - 9:50 am

Description: Satsang with Ma is a unique opportunity to sit at the feet of a spiritual teacher and delve into the philosophy of the Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita, as well as to learn Ayurvedic ethics through the yamas, niyamas and paramitas. Twenty first century spirituality introduces Ma's unique teachings for our current times.
Required Books: The Upanishads Penguin Classics tr. Valerie Roebuck, Seven Systems of Philosophy - Ramanujan Tigunait, Bhagavad Gita tr. Eknath Easwaran


Shalya and Shalakya Tantra: Principles of Surgery and ENT – 3 credits
Fall semester, 15 weeks, Fridays 10-pm

Description: We survey the field of shalya tantra (Ayurvedic surgery) and its relationship to modern surgery, learning useful treatments for conditions such as wounds, ulcers and fractures. We gain understanding of tumors and cancers and learn about Ayurvedic first aid. We then move on to learn the Ayurvedic diagnosis and treatment of conditions of the eyes, ears, nose and throat, many of which are commonly seen in clinical practice.
Assignments/Assessment: Quizzes, anatomy coloring


Srotansi: Case-based Studies with Alakananda Ma – 6 credits
Fall and Spring semesters- 30 weeks, Wednesday 2:15 - 5:00 pm

Descriptions: In line with the new medical curriculum, this is a problem based, student directed approach designed to provide participants with the tools needed to garner and evaluate knowledge and information. Working with real life cases, students will research and study the features of anatomy, Ayurvedic physiology, classical pathology, Western pathophysiology, herbology, nutrition, recipes and therapeutics appropriate for the cases. Targeted lectures and tutorials help provide direction and conceptual framework for student-directed learning. Students at various levels of knowledge participate in the course together, enhancing opportunities for peer mentoring. The course is designed based on the sixteen major srotansi, with one module for each srotas.
Assignments/Assessments: Weekly research projects, comprehensive open book quiz at end of each semester.


Weekend or Intensive Workshops


Medicine Making with Heidi Nordlund, Home PK Director and Kourtney Nelson-- 3 credits

Fall semester, weekend class for first year students only (Not offered for continuing education)

Description: This practical class is rooted in the Sharngadhara Samhita. Students will learn how to prepare and use herbs within the traditional pancha vidha kashaya–the five methods of processing herbs— including swarasa (fresh juices), kwatha (decoctions), ushna kashaya (hot infusions), hima kashaya (cold infusions), kalka (pastes/pulps), as well as churna (powders), avaleha (confections), medicated and ghee and oils, and herbal wine. They will also learn some traditional preparations—Gandharva Haritaki, Shatavari Kalpa and Ashwagandha Rasayana. After taking this course, students will gain in-depth experience by working in our educational pharmacy.
Materials fee: $40
Assignments/Assessment: Medicine making test, sample ghee and oil, 30 hours of medicine making (completed by end of first year).


Self-Care with Alakananda Ma - 1 credit
Fall semester, weekend class for first year students only

Description: This course presents the Alandi approach to self-care; a perspective with makes ancient classical techniques of self-nurturance accessible and relevant to contemporary American issues and lifestyles. Includes: Simple methods of self-assessment, overcoming obstacles to a healthy lifestyle, caring for our digestive fire, daily and seasonal routines, self-care for subtle energy, how to design a personal self-care plan and working with addictions.
Assignments/Assessment: Create personal self-care plan, keep self-care journal


Lifestyle Counseling with Alakanada Ma - 4 credits
Fall semester, weekend class for first year students only

Description: This class introduces the Alandi stepwise process of lifestyle counseling, including assessing the ladder of wellbeing and providing guidance in diet, exercise, habits, and spiritual resilience. Counseling skills are introduced including empathy, dealing with transference and overcoming objections. Practical sessions on skills make this class fun as well as challenging.
Assignments/Assessment: Complete and submit 25 lifestyle-counseling plans for approval (to be completed by the end of the third semester).


Overview of Jyotish and Vastu with Alakananda Ma and Renay Oshop - 2 credits
Spring semester, weekend class for first and second year students

Description: We will survey the field of Ayurveda's sister sciences jyotish and vastu shastra to gain an understanding of when to refer patients for these services.
Assignments/Assessment: Quiz


Home Pancha Karma – 2 credits
To be completed prior to graduating the practitioner program.

Description: A personal experience of pancha karma is essential in order to utilize this healing methodology, including the preparatory and follow up phases. Each student sets aside a week dedicated to home pancha karma, typically during Spring Break or after the end of the semester. A month prior to their scheduled PK, each student makes a clinic appointment with Ma to determine their preparatory practices and PK plan. Following their home PK they have another clinic appointment for their rejuvenation plan.


Pancha Karma Treatments, Basic and Advanced with Annalise Ozols – 4 credits
Two, one weeklong intensives arranged on ad hoc basis. Additional tuition and material fees apply.

Description: This two- week course is focused on diving deep into specialized techniques traditionally used in the purification process of pancha karma. First we will learn the fundamental treatments used in a pancha karma program, including: snehan/abhyangha (oil massage), swedan (full body steam therapy), nasya (nasal treatment), shirodhara (pouring oil/milk/yoghurt to third eye region) and Netra Basti. After these treatments have been absorbed we will move on to learn more specialized treatments not commonly taught in the West such as nadi swedana (localized steam), patra/churna/shastika shali pinda swedana (hot bolus massage), sarvangadhara (warm oil bath), kadhi/griva basti (lower back/neck treatment and udvartana (dry powder massage).Through gaining knowledge of these treatments, one will be able offer the patient a complete pancha karma experience.
All students are required to take the first intensive (week 1, covering snehan, svedan, shirodhara, nasya and netra basti) to gain basic knowledge of the treatments and the experience of receiving them.
Week two is optional.

There is a separate charge for the PK intensive only.