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at Mount Madonna, California

College of Ayurveda

Faculty & Staff

For the Mount Madonna College of Ayurveda, faculty members typically have the BAMS degree (Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery), the degree held by professors of Ayurveda in India, the home country of this field, from which we draw the most highly qualified faculty assembled anywhere to teach the Institute’s courses. All College of Ayurveda faculty have had a minimum of five years of teaching experience, and many have had 20-30 years of teaching experience.

bharathi venkatachalpathy bams

Bharathi Venkatachalapathy

Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (B.A.M.S.), Bangalore University, India; Fellow, Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine (AIHM), San Diego; Certified Massage Therapist; Certified Yoga Teacher from Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (S-VYASA)

Bharathi is a passionate Ayurveda practitioner, speaker, researcher and educator with over 23 years of clinical experience. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in Ayurveda Medicine and Surgery (BAMS) from Bangalore University, India. Bharathi is a Fellow of Integrative Medicine from the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine. She is also a certified Vyasa Yoga instructor. Bharathi has been practicing in Orange County, California and is teaching faculty at Southern California University of Health Sciences and Mount Madonna Institute. She is also a visiting instructor at Keck School of Medicine of USC. She presents workshops and lectures at various integrative medicine platforms and has co-authored multiple publications on complementary and alternative Medicine including the book Hepatitis C Choices.

B.A., M.A.

Cynthia Ambika Copple

M.A. (Ayurveda)

Cynthia Copple is an Ayurvedic Doctor (NAMA Board Certified) in Santa Cruz, California and author of Know Your Blueprint: The Ayurvedic Secret to Restoring Your Vitality in 30 Days. She has been Director of Lotus Holistic Health Institute and President of Lotus Herbs since 1982, over 40 years. She is Co-Founder and Past President of the National Ayurvedic Medical Association and Co-Founder and Past Dean of Mount Madonna Institute College of Ayurveda. She is the longest continually practicing American-trained Ayurvedic Practitioner and Doctor in the U.S. Some call her the “Mother of Ayurveda in America.”

She has been trained in Ayurvedic pulse diagnosis and the use of Ayurvedic healing herbs by Ayurvedic master Dr. R. P. Trivedi of Hathras, India, who has encouraged and inspired her to teach and transmit the knowledge of this 5,000 year old system of wellness and rejuvenation from India. Her esteemed teachers include Ayurvedic Physicians and Doctors Vasant Lad, Pankaj and Smita Naram,and Sunil and Shalmali Joshi.


Dhaval Dhru

M.D., Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner, Ayurvedic Institute

Dr. Dhru is an Ayurvedic practitioner, educator, and yoga teacher in Federal Way, Washington. He is Board Certified through the American Board of Otolaryngology, the Canadian Fellowship (F.R.C.S.) in Otolaryngolog. He had a private practice as an ear, nose, and throat surgeon in Washington since 1977. He is a former Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Ayurvedic Science, Bastyr University, Kenmore WA.

heather crzych

Heather Grzych

M.A. (Ayurveda), Mount Madonna Institute, Ayurvedic Practitioner

Heather is the author of The Ayurvedic Guide to Fertility, host of the Wisdom of the Body podcast, and offers Ayurveda courses and programs. She credits Ayurveda with healing her own fertility issues, helping her conceive naturally and have a child the year she turned 40. A board-certified Ayurvedic Practitioner with a Master’s Degree in Ayurveda, Heather also serves on the Board of Directors for the National Ayurvedic Medical Association (NAMA). She has a background in product development, strategic planning and consulting roles with healthcare companies, HR departments, and state government healthcare programs.


Indira Ann Bulkin

M.S. (Physical Therapy), Samuel Merritt College, Oakland, CA 1996.
B.A. (South Asian Languages – Sanskrit), University of California, Berkeley 1993

Indira and husband Shanta Bulkin have studied and taught Sanskrit for over 42 years. They are co-founders of the East West Sanskrit Institute in San Francisco, CA.

jackie christensen

Jackie Christensen

Ph.D. (Natural Medicine) from the Global College of Natural Medicine; Masters (Ayurveda), Mount Madonna Institute; Certified Master Herbalist

Jackie is an internationally recognized educator in natural health, herbology, and Ayurveda. She serves as a faculty member for many prestigious colleges. Her achievements include graduating on the Dean’s Honor List for the Doctoral degree in Naturopathy and receiving a Master of Ayurveda. She is also a certified Nutritional Consultant, Master Herbalist, and National Ayurveda Medical Association (NAMA) member. Jackie has hosted international study abroad programs as well as local workshops, online classes, and conferences. She has a private practice in Santa Cruz, CA.

B.A.M.S., M.A.O.M.

JayaGopal Parla

M.D. (Ayurveda), Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, Karnataka, Bengaluru, India; Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (B.A.M.S.), Mangalore University, Mangaluru, Karmataka, India; Masters in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (M.A.O.M.), Southern California University of Health Science, Whittier, CA., C-IAYT

Dr. Parla is founder and director of the Athreya Ayurvedic Integrative Health Center. He currently works in the Department of Ayurveda, American University of Complementary Medicine. He is Vice President, Athreya Corp. Duarte, CA, Visiting Professor, Japan Ayurveda School, Tokyo, Japan, and Faculty, Southern California University of Health Sciences, Whittier, CA.

jen rand
M.A., RYT 500

Jen Rand

M.A. (Ayurveda), Mount Madonna Institute; RYT 500

Jen completed her 200 and 300 hour trainings in classical Ashtanga Yoga with Mount Madonna Institute. She is experienced in teaching students of all ages both in-person and online and works with students in Ayurveda and Yoga at Mount Madonna. Her yoga practice is deeply influenced by her studies of Ayurveda, which allow her to offer options and modifications to help students tailor their practice to what they need. She is currently pursuing her studies in Ayurvedic Yoga Therapy.

M.A., E-RYT 500

Kamalesh Ginger Hooven

M.A. (Ayurveda), Mount Madonna Institute, Ayurvedic Yoga Therapist, C-IAYT, E-RYT 500, YTT 700, Yoga Research & Education Center

Kamalesh served as a Program Coordinator in the AHC (2011-2012) and the AP/MA programs (2013 -2022). She taught the yoga portion of the AP/MA program 2009-2022.  She now serves as Chair, School of Yoga and Program Director, Ayurvedic Yoga Therapy. She has been leading and teaching in Mount Madonna Yoga Teacher Trainings since 2004. She loves teaching Samkhya Philosophy, Asana Biomechanics, Hatha Yoga, Subtle Body, pranayama and meditation. She lives in Guatemala and Watsonville, CA.


Kate Bentley

M.A. (Ayurveda), Mount Madonna Institute; YTT 200, Mount Madonna Institute

Kate is drawn to the classical teachings of Ayurveda and Yoga through her teacher Baba Hari Dass and has studied the indigenous healing practices of Peruvian Shamanism as well as Tantric Buddhism through the Vajrayana lineage. She is a clinical practitioner at Kaya Kalpa, Mount Madonna’s wellness center. Kate has written articles for local health magazines and also teaches Ayurveda in the School of Yoga.

M.D., M.S., M.A.

Krista Farey

M.D., University of California San Francisco; M.S., Health and Medical Sciences, University of California, Berkeley; M.A. (Ayurveda), Mount Madonna Institute

Krista is board certified in both Family Medicine and Integrative Medicine. She is Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, has practiced, consulted and taught in the public sector for over 3 decades and teaches internationally with the non-profit Health in Harmony. Other clinical interests include women’s health, group care, and cross cultural medicine. She has written extensively on health care policy reform and is the co-author of a textbook on physiological medicine.

lizzy gamberdella
M.A., RYT 500

Lizzy Gamberdella

M.A., Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner, E-RYT 200, RYT 500

With a teaching career that spans over two decades, a lifetime of yoga practice and formal training in Yoga (RYT 500) and Ayurveda (Practitioner), Reiki Master Level training and an immeasurable passion for healing, Lizzy combines her unique experiences to bring a holistic approach to health. These experiences form the foundation from which she aims to guide others toward personal healing.

manas kshirsagar

Manas Kshirsagar

M.S. (Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine), Maharishi International University, Fairfield, Iowa; NAMA Board Certified Ayurvedic Doctor

Manas comes from a Rig Vedic Brahmin tradition with an extensive Ayurvedic background. He is a wellness consultant, who has worked as an Ayurvedic Consultant at MAPI and the Raj Panchakarma Center in Fairfield, IA. Manas has extensive training in many different healing modalities including certifications in Yoga, Meditation, and Reiki.

manisha kshirsagar

Manisha Kshirsagar

Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (B.A.M.S.), Pune University, Pune Ayurvedic University, Pune, India

Manisha is trained at the Indian College of Naturopathy and qualified as a Yoga Instructor from the Kaivalyadham University in India. Dr. Manisha has been teaching Ayurveda and Yoga for more than 15 years. She specializes in women and infant health, skin care and natural beauty treatments. She offers regular workshops on Ayurvedic nutrition and cooking, panchakarma and herbology.

B.A.M.S., RYT 200

Monika Manohar

Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (B.A.M.S.), Sri Sairam Ayurveda Medical College & Research Centre, Tamil Nadu, India; RYT 200

Monika is the founder and owner of Advaitha Ayurved Yoga, a platform that offers personalized and group programs based on Mind- Body Healing with Ayurveda and Yoga principles. She is a NAMA certified professional with a background in health coaching, meditation, and holistic nutrition. With over seven years of experience in Ayurveda Yoga consulting and teaching, Monika supports clients to achieve optimal health and wellness through natural and holistic methods. Her main focus areas are gut health, women’s well-being, pain management, and stress management. Her mission is to integrate Ayurveda into mainstream practice and educate people about the benefits of the ancient science of life.

nick fortino

Nick Fortino

Ph.D. (East West Psychology), California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, CA

Dr. Fortino is a psychologist and yoga teacher inspired by yoga’s influence on psychological development and transformation. He studies Western psychology and Eastern traditions, especially interested in the ways they align and enrich or challenge and contradict each other. He also has experience conducting research about natural biological treatments for mental disorders. Among his primary purposes is to foster humanity’s evolution through teaching and learning.

renee rossi

Renée Rossi

M.D., MFA, M.A., (Ayurveda)

Dr. Rossi is a NAMA certified Ayurvedic Practitioner and board certified in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. She practiced Otolaryngology for over 30 years and served as Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical School and Instructor in Otolaryngology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Rossi co-founded the Texas division of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition and had a special interest in women’s health and the effects of trauma on health. She is a member of the Clinical Faculty and is Ayurveda Clinical Supervisor for the CAP/Masters and AHC programs at Mount Madonna Institute.

Rucha Kelkar
D.P.T., B.A.M.S.

Rucha Kelkar

Doctor of Physical Therapy, The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN. Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (BAMS), University of Pune, India 1999

Dr. Kelkar, Chair of the College of Ayurveda at Mount Madonna Institute, offers over 23 years of experience as a clinician, educator, and writer. She is the founder of Ayurbliss, a San Mateo-based integrative wellness center. Rucha, BAMS, is a Board member of the National Ayurvedic Medical Association (NAMA). She holds a Doctoral degree in Physical Therapy and is NAMA certified as an Ayurvedic Yoga Therapist. She introduced Ayurveda to the University of California Santa Cruz and mentored students at Stanford University School of Medicine. An award-winning presenter and author, Rucha is an eminent ambassador of Ayurveda, teaching, practicing, supporting and promoting Ayurveda worldwide.

Shanta Bulkin

Shanta Bulkin met Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati and Dr. Mishra at the Ananda Ashram in 1972. Dr. Mishra said, “if you want to stay here you must study Sanskrit.” Shanta took him at this word and felt the healing effect of this study begin to change his life. He started teaching Sanskrit in the late 1990s. He continued his studies with world-renowned Sanskrit teacher and writer, Professor Ram Karan Sharma. Some 50 years later, it has become his passion to help promote the Sanskrit language as a tool for meditation and to support the concept of paramparā (succession of knowledge). Together with his wife Indira, he founded the East West Sanskrit Institute. He teaches at the College of Ayurveda at the Mount Madonna Institute and at other yoga centers around the Bay Area.

shraddha ravani

Shraddha Ravani

M.A. (Ayurveda), Mount Madonna Institute; B.S. (Microbiology), Sardar Patel University, Gujarat, India; Post Graduate Diploma in Medical Technology, CAM Hospital and Medical Research Center, Gujarat, India; Ph.D. Candidate, Maharishi International University, Fairfield, Iowa

Shraddha is a NAMA Certified Practitioner and has been involved in fundamental research in biological sciences, focused on breast cancer at a national laboratory for the last two decades. Currently, she is providing programmatic management for large-scale federally funded research grants to aid in the development and implementation of strategic plans and regulatory oversight. She serves as Mount Madonna Institute’s director of the Ayurvedic Research Center and coordinator of the Research Symposium.


Steven Highburger

B.A. (Philosophy), University of Texas, Austin

Steven received a B.A. (equivalent) in Vedic Astrology from American College of Vedic Astrology, completing both Level I and Level II certifications – the highest level available in the west for Vedic astrology. He completed four years of Ayurvedic education with Dr. Vasant Lad at The Ayurvedic Institute, and 14 years of training in Vedic traditions with the world renowned Jyotish master, Hart de Fouw. Steven is a certified instructor and private tutor for the American College of Vedic Astrology. He was also an instructor at Vedic Vidya Institute in San Rafael, CA where he taught Jyotish, Hasta Samudrika (palmistry), Ayurveda and Sanskrit. Steven has a private practice in San Rafael, CA.

suhas kshirsagar

Suhas Kshirsagar

M.D. (Ayurveda), Pune Ayurvedic University, Pune, India

Dr. Suhas Kshirsagar is a classically trained Ayurvedic physician and medical astrologer from a family of traditional Vedic healers in India. He holds a B.A. in Ayurvedic medicine and completed a three-year residency as an M.D. (doctorate in Ayurvedic internal medicine) at the prestigious Pune University in India. He is a compassionate healer and expert clinician and is the director of Ayurvedic Healing Inc. in Santa Cruz, CA. As a sought-after speaker and lecturer, he also travels throughout the world teaching courses in Ayurveda, training doctors, and providing Ayurvedic consultations for thousands of patients. He has published many books on Ayurveda, his two most recent, The Hot Belly Diet and Change Your Schedule, Change Your Life.

A.D., L.M.T.

Vishnu Dass

Ayurvedic Institute, Albuquerque, NM; The New Mexico School of Natural Therapeutics, Albuquerque, NM.

Vishnu Dass is an Ayurvedic Doctor (NAMA), clinical herbalist, massage therapist, Vedic astrologer, author, educator and mentor with over two decades of full-time clinical and teaching experience. He studied and trained under the guidance of Vasant Lad, BAM&S, MASc and graduated the ASP & Gurukula clinical program the Ayurvedic Institute in 2000. He established Blue Lotus Ayurveda in Asheville, North Carolina in 2001, and has served the local community through his family practice and Panchakarma clinic for over two decades. For six years, he held the position lead instructor and Dean of Education for the Ayurveda Wellness Program at the Asheville school of Massage and Yoga. His years of hands-on

clinical experience and knowledge of traditional and Western herbal medicine, combined with nutrition, massage, fitness, yoga and meditation are woven together in his practical and inspired teaching style. He is the author of Ayurvedic Herbology East & West. He has been a student of Sri Baba Hari Dass since 1992.

Yoga and meditation continue to inform his life and practice deeply.

N.D., M.D., B.A.M.S.

Vivek Shanbhag

Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine, Bastyr University, Seattle, WA.; M.D.-Ayurveda, Poona University, Pune, India; Bachelors in Ayurvedic Medicine & Surgery (B.A.M.S.), Karnataka University, Dharwad, Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine, Bastyr University, Seattle, WA.; M.D.-Ayurveda, Poona University, Pune, India; Bachelors in Ayurvedic Medicine & Surgery (B.A.M.S.), Karnataka University, Dharwad, India, and Certified Yoga Educator, Karnataka University, Dharwad, India.

Dr. Shanbhag is on the faculty of MMI Ayurveda College, Bastyr University, Kerala Ayurveda Academy and Vedika Global. Dr. Shanbhag is Founder and Director, – Natural Medicine Clinic, Academy & Wellness Spa in San Jose, California. He is the best-seller author of Beginner’s Intro to Ayurveda by Keats Publishing. He received the prestigious I.I.M. Gold Medal for his MD-Ayurveda research thesis. He won international awards for excellence in Ayurvedic teaching and practice. He is also a sought-after keynote speaker at national and international conferences in the fields of Ayurveda, naturopathic medicine, yoga, wellness and nutrition. Dr. Shanbhag specializes in integrating Ayurveda, naturopathic medicine and yoga to treat acute and chronic diseases.

yashashree mannur

Yashashree Mannur

Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (B.A.M.S.), University of Pune; Pune, India. B.A. (Sanskrit), Tilak Maaharashtra Vidyapeeth, Pune, India.

Dr. Yash has two decades of experience in clinical practice and teaching. She is the director of Shubham Ayurveda in Fremont, CA, and is a dedicated and classically trained Ayurvedic practitioner, educator, and lecturer. She received her B.A.M.S. from the prestigious University of Pune, India. With a bachelor’s degree in Sanskrit, she offers private lessons on Sanskrit, essential for learning Ayurveda. She has more than a decade of experience in the field of panchakarma, diet-lifestyle consultations, and herbs. Dr. Yash conducts workshops on Ayurveda in India and the United States.

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