Trends of Ayurveda in West
There is a lot of work being done in Ayurveda by scholars, doctors and researchers all over the world, especially in the West. The doctors from mainstream medical fields are associating with Ayurveda and expanding their outlook towards health, life and science of life. Here’s a glimpse of a few such eminent professionals.
Dr. Deepak Chopra is an Indian-American author, holistic health/New Age guru, and alternative medicine practitioner.
He began a mainstream medical career in hospitals and universities in the Northeastern United States, becoming Chief of Staff at the New England Memorial Hospital (NEMH).
In 1985, He left his position at the NEMH and became the founding president of the American Association of Ayurvedic Medicine, and was later named medical director of the Maharishi Ayurveda Health Center.
In 1996, Dr. Chopra and neurologist Dr. David Simon founded the Chopra Center for Wellbeing,
Dr. Chopra completed his primary education at St. Columba’s School in New Delhi and graduated from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in 1968. He spent his first months as a doctor working in rural India.
Dr. Chopra has been described as “America’s most prominent spokesman for Ayurveda” He mixes ideas associated with quantum mechanics with ayurvedic medicine in what he calls “quantum healing”.
Dr. David Simon (1951-2012)
After finishing his medical degree, Dr. David Simon completed several residencies at the University of San Diego and the University of Colorado. He began his influential career in private practice in neurology, and then served as chief of staff and medical director of the Neurological Rehabilitation Center and Clinical Neurophysiology Laboratory at Sharp Cabrillo Hospital.
As a young physician and board-certified neurologist, he continued to explore a wide variety of healing traditions, searching for alternatives to the prevailing medical model that he had found extremely disappointing and limiting since his earliest days in medical school. He later wrote, “At times I was deeply demoralized that the notion of human beings as fully conscious, spiritually aware creations had been totally lost from the medical model of life and health.”
Dr. David Simon along with Dr. Deepak Chopra expanded people’s understanding of the true meaning of health, helping thousands of people throughout the world experience the healing benefits of Ayurveda and yoga. He had an expanded vision of health and healing.
He studied the ancient wisdom traditions of India, Tibet, and China and was encouraged by the way in which they combined the concept of body, mind, and spirit into a definition of a health as something more than just the absence of disease, but as a state of well-being and vitality.
His first exposure to an Ayurvedic physician was to have a profound impact on his personal life and career. In his book The Wisdom of Healing, He describes meeting this gentle Ayurvedic doctor, whose kind-hearted, open nature seemed to inspire the trust of his patients, who were then able to share their deepest concerns and get the most benefit from their visit. Dr. Simon was deeply struck by how the doctor’s own presence seemed to be the most powerful aspect of his therapy. “More than an expert on health, he seemed to be a living representative of a healthy person, balanced in body, mind, and spirit. In this man, I saw the possibility that a physician could be more than a technical master of pathology – a doctor could guide his patients to health through his actions, words, and being,” he said.
Deeply drawn to the wisdom of Ayurveda, he ultimately became a recognized expert in this 5,000-year-old healing system, including its sister science, yoga. Throughout his medical career, he focused on integrating the theory and practice of these ancient healing sciences with the newer developments of modern Western medicine. He forged a model of health that integrates the multiple dimensions of a human being – environmental, physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual.
Dr. Robert Edwin Svoboda, born in 1953 in Texas, United States is an American author and ayurvedic doctor who gives lectures and courses around the world, related to the subjects of ayurveda. He also maintains a private consulting practice with clients in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and India.
He is the first Westerner to graduate from a college of ayurveda (in 1980) and is licensed to practice ayurveda in India.
He graduated from Pune University with a Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (BAMS). Between 1975 and 1980 he won all but one of the University of Pune awards for academic excellence in Ayurveda.
Dr. Svoboda received both the National Merit Scholarship and University of Oklahoma Merit Scholarship in 1970; the U.S. Office of Education Scholarship in 1973; National Endowment for the Humanities1975; and the Marsden Foundation Grant in 1978.
Since 1985, Dr. Svoboda travels the world lecturing, consulting, teaching and writing.
He serves as adjunct faculty at the Ayurvedic Institute, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Dincharya Institute, New York, New York and Bastyr University, Kenmore, Washington.
He authored the new entry on Ayurveda for Encyclopedia Britannica, 2000.
He sits as an advisor for the National Ayurvedic Medical Association as well as the California Association of Ayurvedic Medicine.
Dr. John Douillard is an Ayurvedic physician, writer, professor and chiropractor specializing in sports medicine.
He has been teaching Ayurvedic medicine for over 22 years,has written many books on the subject and is considered a leading expert in the United States.
He completed graduate studies at the World Center of Ayurveda in New Delhi, India.
He co-directed Deepak Chopra’s Ayurvedic Center for eight years before founding and directing the LifeSpa Ayurvedic Retreat Center in Boulder, Colorado.
From 2002-2005 Douillard sat as a board member with the National Ayurvedic Medical Association and since 2001 sits as an advisor for the California Association of Ayurvedic Medicine.
He also sits on the faculty of the Mount Madonna Institute College of Ayurveda in Watsonville, California, the Kripalu College of Ayurveda, Lenox, Massachusetts and The Rocky Mountain Institute of Yoga and Ayurveda.
Dr. Douillard is the former Director of Player Development for the New Jersey Nets in the NBA. The foreword of Douillard’s book ‘Body, Mind and Sport’ was written by former professional tennis stars Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova.
Dr. David Frawley, born 1950, is an American Hindu teacher and author, who has written more than thirty books on topics such as the Vedas, Yoga, Ayurveda and Vedic astrology, published both in India and in the United States.
He is the founder and director of the American Institute of Vedic Studies in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which offers educational information on Yoga philosophy, Ayurveda, and Vedic astrology.
He is a Vedic teacher and an Ayurvedic doctor.
Dr. Frawley has studied, written and taught extensively in the field of Ayurveda.
He works with multiple Ayurvedic institutions including: The Chopra Center University of Dr. Deepak Chopra (where he is a Master Educator); Kerala Ayurveda Academy (where he is a primary advisor and teacher) The California College of Ayurveda (which he advised Marc Halpern during its formation); The Kripalu school of Yoga and Ayurveda; The National Ayurvedic Medical Association, (where he has been one of the four main advisors since its inception in 2000); and the Association of Ayurveda Professionals of North America (AAPNA, where he is an advisor).
In his book American Veda: How Indian Spirituality Changed the West, in the section “Passions for India,” Philip Goldberg mentions David Frawley as among three important teachers of the Vedic tradition in the West today, along with Georg Feuerstein and Andrew Harvey.
In the magazine ‘Yoga Journal’, the “Meet the Innovators” section, speaks of Dr. David Frawley as “one of the first Americans to bring Ayurvedic Medicine and Vedic Astrology to the West.”
Dr. Frawley is referred to as “the father of Yoga in the West.”
Alakananda Ma is a spiritual teacher of the highest order. She holds a medical degree and is also trained in Ayurvedic medicine.
She is a co-founder of Alandi Ashram.
She is also an accomplished writer with many published articles.
She is highly respected and well known in Ayurveda community, internationally
Alakananda is a member of the board of directors of NAMA ( National Ayurvedic Medical Association) and Vice President of Colorama (Colorado Ayurvedic Medical Association).
She has been a keynote presenter and popular speaker at NAMA conferences and at the Swasti International Ayurvedic conference in London.
She is recognized by her teachers as a Spiritual Mother and embodiment of the all-embracing love and compassion of the divine feminine.
Here’s an excerpt from Alaknanda Ma delivered on the occasion of the 2004 Gurukula Graduation. I find this message truly inspirational so I have brought this up here everyone to read it.
“Ayurveda is the fifth Veda, the Veda that deals with Ayush—life. As such, it is the art of understanding what it is to live—fully, richly, joyously. For to live is much, much more than to survive. Survival speaks of a grim-faced, fist-clenched struggle to keep body and soul together. It is an arduous duty and a grave burden. Living, on the other hand, is a celebration, a receiving of daily blessings, a continuous act of gratitude and appreciation. The world of modern medicine speaks of survival rates; we in Ayurveda speak of svasthi, wellbeing.
To make a genuine transition from surviving to living, we must come to understand both Ayush and Veda. The Vedas are the hymns and proclamations of living a truly human life, a life in which we are part and parcel of the web, a life in which Sun dwells in our eyes, Wind in our nostrils, Water in our blood, Fire in our bellies, Space in the marrow of our bones; a life that comes from joy—ananda—lives in joy and unto joy returns.
The language of survival haunts our daily life. “Hello, how are you doing?” “Oh… surviving” we reply. It’s a shocking answer. Why is it that in the lap of peace and plenty, we feel so much stress, so much self-concern, that we frame our existence in the language of survival?
The key to understanding this paradox lies in the Vedas. Surviving is the experience of separation, fragmentation and disconnection. If I am separate, then it’s me against the world. To live is to trust, to trust our mother, the wide-flung Earth, adorned with four directions, to trust the cycles of time, the seasons of growth and decay marked for us by the sun and moon, to trust the flow of life from which we come and into which we shall return. This sitting lightly to life enables us to relax and live rather than cling and survive.
Bring yourself back each day, each moment to this sitting lightly, this resting. Remember, this is about svasthi, not survival, about living, not clinging. Without radical conversion to the essence of the Vedas, Ayurveda will be a mere technology. I’m counting on you to offer this ancient teaching as truly the science of life. Thank you and my blessings always to each one of you.” These are the blessings from Alaknanda Maa.
Yogi Cameron Alborzian (born 26 February, 1967) is an Iranian yoga and Ayurveda therapist and former fashion model. After a successful career as male model in the fashion industry as the face of labels such as Guess, Levi’s and Versace as well as a starring role in Madonna’s “Express Yourself” video, he shifted his focus to work with people as an Ayurveda and yoga therapist.
‘The Guru in You’, his first book published in America, was released by Harper Collins in January 2011.
Yogi Cameron is an ayurvedic healer and yoga master. Cameron takes on a clients challenged by health issues. Using Ayurveda, he gets to the root of their problem and brings them on the road to wellness.
Alborzian’s work as a practitioner has been featured in various media outlets, including The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Today Show, Dr. Oz Show. He has been written up in The New York Times, Times of London, Men’s Journal, Vogue, Elle, and GQ.