Panchakarma Program FAQs

The Panchakarma Experience

Approximately one week to ten days before you arrive, your panchakarma consultant will call you to instruct you on pre-PK procedures including diet and internal oleation. A pre-panchakarma schedule is included in materials mailed to you when you book your five-day PK.

Internal oleation consists of taking ghee or flax seed oil, in order to prepare the doshas and impurities to be removed from the tissues. This facilitates more effective cleansing during PK. Please do not begin internal oleation or take castor oil until you receive instructions from your panchakarma consultant.

Please check in with our staff when you come into the PK department.You will have an appointment with your panchakarma consultant to receive an Ayurvedic assessment, read your pulse, take your medical history and plan your panchakarma program.

Please be prompt to your appointments. Plan to arrive about ten minutes before each of your scheduled treatment times. If you arrive too late for your scheduled therapy time and there is not time to perform your treatment and allow time for the next client, you may have to forfeit that session.

You will receive Ayurvedic treatments based on your prakruti/vikruti. Typically, this includes abhyanga, a specialized Ayurvedic oil massage performed by two trained and licensed massage therapists; swedan, an herbalized steam bath; udhulana (dusting) herbal skin treatment with Ayurvedic powdered herbs, chickpea or vacha powder; and shirodhara, a very calming and balancing treatment consisting of a stream of warm oil poured over the forehead while you are lying down. Clients then shower after their treatment.

Daily, after each set of treatments, you will need to shower and thoroughly shampoo the oil from your hair to prevent soiling the yoga props and equipment, the classroom walls, chairs and floor, and the PK house furniture, carpet and bedding.

These treatments profoundly relax the body and mind, improve the flow of energy by opening the srotas (channels of circulation), and prepare the body to eliminate excess doshas (vata, pitta, kapha) or toxins (ama) on the physical, emotional and spiritual levels. After a few days of these treatments, the doshas have usually “ripened” in their sites of origin, and are ready to be flushed from the system. Depending on your doshic imbalance, you may be advised to do one of three things to facilitate this elimination of the accumulated toxins: 1) herbal enema — for which you will be given the herbs, equipment and directions to administer it yourself, 2) herbal purgation — for which you will be given the herbs and instructions, or 3) vamana, therapeutic vomiting — for which you will need to be guided by a staff member and be charged an additional fee (however this is rarely indicated).

You will check-in daily with your panchakarma consultant or his assistant to discuss how your program is going, answer any questions you might have, provide you with information about Ayurvedic diet, lifestyle and daily routine, and to plan with you how to implement these principles in your life when you complete the program.

Alternative treatments are typically recommended to our clients to support their specific needs during PK. In the first session with a practitioner, these treatments are suggested as an addition to the five-day PK program. These extra treatments, called “specialized basti treatments”, are an additional fee and are completely optional.

A basti treatment usually consists of a dough made with chickpea and whole wheat flour mixed with water and then placed at locations on the body to support specific organs, marma points or places that need extra attention. The dough is then adhered to the skin and special oil (or ghee) is poured into the circle. We also offer other subtle therapy treatments at an additional cost. Please refer to the PK Fee Schedule for pricing details

While panchakarma is a physical process, it affects the body, mind and spirit. When you begin your pre-PK preparation before you arrive here, you may begin to notice shifts in your self-awareness. During PK, your self-awareness may increase even further. It is not uncommon for unresolved issues to come up which can sometimes make one feel upset or uncomfortable, and sometimes de-toxifying can be physically uncomfortable. It is important that you tell the PK staff of these feelings so that we can assist you in this process.

Some of the emotions you may experience may be sadness, grief, anger, elation, joy or others. It is possible that you may become aware of issues in your life that had been buried or unresolved. Panchakarma may catalyze and also resolve and release these emotions. The more aware you are of unresolved issues in your life, the more effective PK can be. Meditation, yoga and pranayama can be effective ways to help release these issues from the mind and body.

Panchakarma is an ongoing process that continues even after you complete your program here at the Institute. Physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual effects may be experienced in the weeks and months following PK.

It is important to recognize that these effects are a positive cleansing and to process them consciously. If at any time following PK you experience anything unusual that concerns you, please call us.

Food

During your panchakarma, you will be provided with a special diet of kitchari (a soup of mung dal, spices and vegetables served alongside basmati rice) and special herbal teas. The kitchari mono-diet has a de-toxifying action and is nutritious and easy to digest. Kitchari is provided Sunday evening during orientation and 9:00 am to 6:00 pm Monday through Friday in the Panchakarma (PK) department. The food is delivered by a local Ayurvedic restaurant and kept hot in a steam table during the day. We provide condiments of cilantro, shredded coconut, freshly grated ginger, lime and ghee that you can add to your choosing. You are advised to come by the PK department before 5:30 pm and take enough kitchari for dinner that night and for breakfast the next morning.

Let us know of any dietary restrictions when making your PK reservation and further discuss any dietary needs during your pre-PK phone call. Please note there is an additional charge for any extra food ordered during your five-day PK.

All of the food and tea served is 100% organic.

Before and after your PK program, you will be responsible for providing your own food. We have recipes for kitchari and ghee in the materials mailed to you when you book your sessions. It is best to avoid cold drinks, cold food, dairy, meat, caffeine and refined sugar before, during and after PK. You are encouraged to stick to kitchari or kitchari-like foods that are warm, cooked and easily digestible.

If you are new to Ayurvedic eating and diet, it can be discouraging to realize that some of the food in your house and many of your favorite dishes are on the list of foods to avoid—the “No” side of the Food Guidelines. We find that moderation is a virtue when changing one’s diet. If you can stay on the recommended diet 60 to 70% of the time for a long time (months), this is much better than following the diet 100% for one week and never returning to it again.

Be easy with yourself. Observe what effects are produced by foods in the “avoid” category. Try keeping a food journal, listing the times you eat, what you eat and how you feel physically and emotionally before and after eating. This can be helpful in noticing your response to certain foods.

Panchakarma is contraindicated for women during their menses. Women, please take care to schedule panchakarma safely outside of your menstrual period. If menses unexpectedly takes place during panchakarma, the program will be adjusted accordingly.

An appointment for panchakarma does not necessarily indicate an appointment with Vasant Lad. If you do not see Vasant Lad, you will see his associate, Mr. Ed Danaher, the manager of the Panchakarma Department since 1988. At the time of scheduling, the person scheduling your PK program will let you know who your appointment is with.

If your appointment is with Vasant Lad in the morning, his advanced Gurukula student interns may be present during your consultation. (This is part of their education.) Each intern has signed a document honoring client confidentiality. A significant benefit of a morning appointment with the interns present is that Vasant Lad will lecture on your situation and you will hear more detailed information than is usually given in a private consultation.

Please note that during the months of January through mid July, scheduling allows for only three clients per week to be seen by Vasant Lad in the classroom setting. Please make sure you let our staff know your openness to having your consultations with Vasant Lad in the classroom setting when booking your Panchakarma program.

There are certain medical conditions for which PK is contraindicated (not advised). It is therefore important for you to complete all forms and return them as soon as possible. We need time to review the information to determine if PK is contraindicated for you before you make final travel plans to attend.

Upon your arrival, if we determine that you have a contraindicated condition—one that no one was aware of, or that has recently developed, such as pregnancy—it may be necessary to suspend PK treatment until such time as we feel PK is indicated, if at all during your visit. Alternative treatments may be indicated. These will be determined on a case-by-case basis by the Ayurvedic Consultant.

If the following conditions exist, panchakarma may not be advisable. Such conditions will be reviewed with a PK Consultant to determine if panchakarma should not be taken.

  • Pregnancy
  • Menses
  • Lactation
  • Lympho-Sarcoma
  • Cancer of the Lungs or Testicles
  • Melanoma
  • Angina Pectoris
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Emaciation
  • Extreme Obesity
  • Hypertension
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Any Active Infectious Disease

The Ayurvedic Institute is not a medical facility. Panchakarma clients are expected to be healthy enough to be able to take care of their own basic needs. If this could be an issue for you, please inform us and we can discuss possible options.

Men will have their abhyanga treatments with a male-female massage team. Women may have their abhyanga treatments with either two females or a male-female massage team. If you are female and have a preference, you must inform us of this when you schedule. Your massage team cannot be changed once your appointment is booked.

Travel and Housing

Please do not make non-refundable travel arrangements until your PK appointment has been confirmed.

When making travel arrangements for PK, it is ideal to arrive the day before your first PK session and to leave the day after your last
session. This gives you time to “decompress” from traveling when you arrive, and time to let the last session really sink in before
dealing with travel and the hectic atmosphere of daily living when you leave.

The Ayurvedic Institute is located at 11311 Menaul Blvd NE, just East of Juan Tabo Ave. These are major cross streets and are known to
all taxi and shuttle drivers. Our phone is (505) 291-9698. Our hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm.

You will be flying into the Albuquerque Sunport located at 2200 Sunport Blvd, Albuquerque, NM 87106. From the airport (if you aren’t renting a car), you can use one of the ride sharing services such as Uber or Lyft. (These are an app on your smartphone.) Taxis are available at the airport. Private car service information is available upon request.

If you are renting a car, obtain an Albuquerque city map from the car rental agency. The city map will get you to the intersection of Juan Tabo and Menaul. Once there, the map enclosed in the booklet mailed to you will help you find the Institute and the Panchakarma House.

When you arrive at the Ayurvedic Institute on the first day of your PK, please check in at the front desk of the Panchakarma department to let us know you’re here and to ensure that all paperwork is complete and understood.

On the northeast corner of Juan Tabo and Menaul is a Walmart Neighborhood Market. On Juan Tabo Ave., about 3 blocks north of Menaul Blvd., is an Albertson’s grocery at the SE corner of Juan Tabo and Candelaria.

A listing of good restaurants (including East Indian cuisine) is available upon your arrival.

We have limited accommodations available very close to the Institute, about a 1 minute walk. Reservations are handled at the time you book your panchakarma program. If your spouse or partner is coming with you but not participating in PK, they will need to plan to stay offsite.

A listing of hotels, motels and bed & breakfast inns is available upon request. Albuquerque is very “spread out” and our bus system is minimal. Some of the B & B’s will make arrangements to drive you back and forth to the Institute for an additional fee. Some of the hotels have a shuttle service available so you may or may not have to rent a car for your visit.

What to Bring

Panchakarma is best done in a reflective state of mind. We suggest bringing a journal and/or books to read that are conducive to healing. We do ask that you avoid TV, loud music, and reduce screen time on your laptop, or cell phones and other electronic devices. We recommend you bring comfortable clothes (please check with staff for weather info), a water bottle/to-go mug, and shower shoes (optional). Also, it is best to minimize tourist activity while doing PK. Generally, people find that they need to rest a great deal during PK and it is important to do so.

Typically, PK clients receive the shirodhara treatment, a constant stream of warm oil poured onto the forehead. It is a good idea to bring a scarf or a cap to wear (that you don’t mind getting oil on) to keep your head warm and to “contain” your hair.

Albuquerque’s climate is typical of a high altitude desert. It is very dry and often windy. We have four seasons; with snowstorms in the winter, the spring can be unpredictable, and very hot summer days contrast with cool summer nights. Dressing in layers is the best approach to our changeable weather. If you’re coming in the winter, be sure to pack a winter coat, gloves, hat and warm socks!

Dress is very casual in New Mexico. T-shirts and sweat suits are completely acceptable.

ALBUQUERQUE’S AVERAGE TEMPERATURES
MonthHi/Lo (F)Hi/Lo (C)
January47/228/-6
February53/2611/-3
March61/3216/0
April71/4021/5
May80/4926/10
June91/5833/15
July93/6534/18
August89/6332/17
September83/5528/13
October72/4322/6
November57/319/-6
December48/239/-6

Classes

On Sunday evenings there is a PK client orientation, which includes a tour of the facility, a brief talk on the basic philosophy of Ayurveda and what to expect during PK. We provide your first meal of kitchari during the orientation so please confirm with us that you plan to attend.

While you are a PK client, you may attend any or all of Vasant Lad’s Ayurvedic Studies Program lectures at no cost to you, when they are in session. They are held Monday through Thursday from 6 to 9 pm. The weekend seminars are not free. A listing of these seminars is available on request.

If Vasant Lad is not lecturing, the PK department will provide one or more evening lectures by Vasant Lad’s more advanced students on the basics of Ayurveda, daily routine and panchakarma.

It is customary to show respect for the teacher by removing your shoes at the door of the classroom, and by not presenting the soles of your feet to the altar, the lecturer or to other students. Please see handouts in the PK department for more detailed information regarding classroom etiquette.

Special PK Ayur*Yoga classes are offered for PK clients at no additional charge. A current schedule of classes will be available when you check in. Please advise the instructor about your yoga background and of any injuries or limitations.

Specific yoga postures may be recommended for your condition. You can also make an appointment with one of our yoga instructors to receive private instruction on the postures while you are here. Please refer to the PK Fee Schedule for pricing details.

The yoga instructor will go over all the recommended postures, ways to prepare to do the postures, specifics on technique, and give you written materials. If you are interested in scheduling an appointment with the yoga instructor, please let the PK Department know before you arrive, or immediately at the time of your arrival.

Education FAQs

Ayurvedic Studies Certificate Programs FAQs

Our students come from many different states, countries, and circumstances. They have practiced many professions: physicians, nurses, soldiers, yoga teachers, business executives, parents, artists, massage therapists, chefs, lawyers… and the list goes on! Students’ ages range from early 20s to mid-80s. The one thing the students of our diverse student body have in common is a desire to learn authentic Ayurveda.

The Ayurvedic Institute is the oldest school for studying Ayurveda in the United States and is one of the most widely respected schools for studying Ayurveda in the world. We are licensed by The New Mexico Department of Higher Education (Post-Secondary Institution License Number 108). We are certified by the US Department of Veteran Affairs and the US Government’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program. The Ayurvedic Institute is not accredited by the U.S. Department of Education.

Our curriculum meets the educational competencies established by the National Ayurvedic Medical Association, and graduates are eligible to sit for the Ayurvedic Health Counselor and Ayurvedic Practitioner certification exams of the NAMA Certification Board.

Absolutely. We welcome transfer students. A common question from applicants is how to know which level to apply for — ASP1 or ASP2. We have a placement test that is designed to determine which level would be most appropriate. Most frequently, people test into ASP1 because there is so much in our ASP1 program that they aren’t yet familiar with. Their previous training helps support them tremendously though and that’s consistent whether they place into ASP1 or ASP2

ASP1 and ASP2 run concurrently from mid-September to mid-June of each year. The academic year is divided into three 10-week trimesters, each followed by a break. This school year commences with a mandatory orientation that begins on September 8, 2020 for ASP1 and on September 9, 2020 for ASP2.

All applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent. We also find that a background in western anatomy and physiology and medical terminology help support people in their time here. So does some background in philosophy, yoga, self-reflective practices, and recent practice with memorization and creating strong study habits. This is an academically rigorous program that takes readiness and commitment. We are happy to recommend some exercises and reading assignments if you are excited to start preparing now.

Our Ayurvedic Studies Programs are intense and immersive. The number of hours students spend inside and outside the classroom far exceeds a traditional university load or even a full-time job. Learning here is a journey that simultaneously includes chanting, pujas, flash cards, study groups, memorization, clinical skills, and both written and oral examinations. Though the schedule can feel very full for many people, we encourage students to create social opportunities together and to apply what they learn in class to all aspects of their lives from their diets and daily routines to their relationships and interactions with others.

In addition to weekly class projects, journals, creative assignments and study groups, we have found that our most successful students are those who read and review material in the textbooks before and after class lectures. Many students also find it helpful to prepare for their final oral exam throughout the academic year by reviewing the study guide on a week-by-week basis. In addition, we expect people to be continuously practicing with the frameworks, daily routines, and new life insights to which they are exposed while here, making it a very full schedule!

We value diversity and welcome and respect students from every faith and background, and honor the many faces of the divine. We regularly have students who are a part of Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu communities and more, including students who do not identify with any particular faith or spiritual community. At The Ayurvedic Institute, we encourage you to bring your whole self, full identity, traditions, complex communities, questioning mind, compassion, faith practices, spiritual experience, personal connection to and understanding of truth. It may be helpful to know that The Ayurvedic Institute does not teach religion. The term spirituality can mean many things to people and encompasses infinite traditions and practices that support us along our path.

As it is said in the Rig Veda (book I, hymn CLXIV, verse 46), ekam sat viprāha bahudhā vadanti, that is, “truth is one, though the sages know it by many names”. That’s how we approach the learning we embark on here and encourage each to find their own authentic way to connect with the sacred. We do engage in chants or prayers and other practices that come from Vedic traditions. Students are welcome to participate in these or to contribute to and respect the space in other ways. We are happy to explore what that might look like for you specifically!

Our distinguished faculty members have decades of combined experience in Ayurveda. Many of them are alumni of The Ayurvedic Institute, and as such have significant time studying with Vasant Lad. In addition, they bring a wealth of personal experience and outside education and training. Please see our website’s faculty page to learn more about our instructors and clinicians. They’re fabulous!

The Ayurvedic Institute alumni go on to do amazing things! They provide Ayurvedic consultations including using yoga, nutrition, herbs, and lifestyle in their own clinics or in partnership with others. Some are published authors of books on Ayurveda and Ayurvedic nutrition. Others provide Ayurvedic coaching and training for corporations. Some provide Ayurvedic seminars to spiritual organizations. Others have founded very successful Ayurvedic product companies. Many graduates are massage therapists, herbalists, acupuncturists, chiropractors, MDs, and other healthcare practitioners who incorporate Ayurveda into their practices. The paths are as diverse as our students themselves. All of our alumni leave with invaluable tools of self-healing and a practice that enrich their lives and the lives of others.

  • One complimentary consultation per academic year.
  • One complimentary follow-up appointment with an ASP2 student or Senior Practitioner in our Ayurvedic Center for Healing, Health and Longevity based on availability.
  • Access to check out books in our comprehensive Ayurvedic library.
  • Access to check out audio recordings of Vasant Lad’s ASP class lectures.
  • A one-year Ayurvedic Institute membership, which includes a subscription to our quarterly journal, Ayurveda Today.
  • Other benefits include a 20% discount on:

  • Consultations in our Ayurvedic Center for Healing, Health and Longevity with senior practitioners.
  • Consultations with Ed Danaher in the Panchakarma Department.
  • Products in our school store.
  • Any weekend seminars and webinars during the academic year.
  • Any week-long summer intensives that immediately follow the academic year for which you are enrolled.
  • Audio recordings of Vasant Lad. A list is available in the Main Office.
  • Panchakarma treatments in the Panchakarma Department. Please note that this must be scheduled for before the school year starts or after the academic year has ended, given the attendance requirements of the ASP programs. Further details in Student Handbook. Any individual therapies offered on the campus (in the Ayurvedic Center for Healing, Health and Longevity or in the Panchakarma Department).

We are here to answer all your questions and welcome your communication! We can tailor a tour to your specific interests as well. Please call our Admissions Team at (505) 291-9698, ext. 130 or click on the link at left to email anytime to get the conversation started.

Education FAQs

Introductory Courses, Continuing Education and Professional Development FAQs

Our students come from many different states, countries, and circumstances. They have practiced many professions: physicians, nurses, soldiers, yoga teachers, business executives, parents, artists, massage therapists, chefs, lawyers… and the list goes on! Students’ ages range from early 20s to mid-80s. The one thing the students of our diverse student body have in common is a desire to learn authentic Ayurveda.

While we do offer continuing education courses in Ayurveda that people can do from a distance or with low residency (for example webinars or in-person weekend seminars) these are considered personal enrichment and professional enhancement courses. They are not designed for you to attend and then set up a professional practice around that topic. To become certified as an Ayurvedic professional, take a look at our Ayurvedic Studies Program, which takes place at The Ayurvedic Institute’s Albuquerque campus and includes a rich depth of classes, supervised clinical practice and a chance to become part of an amazing community. This full-time hands-on immersive program takes place for approximately nine months of each year. We do have students who return to their homes during the summer months and during breaks in the school year and come back again in the fall.

You can expect to learn from Vasant Lad and the Ayurvedic community in gleaning new insights into specific topics of Ayurveda. Many who participate for the first time are surprised to learn that Vasant Lad is himself teaching the entire weekend and all but a couple of sections of the weeklong intensives. It’s an amazing gift! Vasant Lad’s seminar and intensive topics change each year, so check our website often for updates and more information. You will receive a certificate of completion for your participation if you have attended 100% of the course

It’s easy! Pick your seminars from our website, register online or call our office to register at (505) 291-9698, ext. 0. Full payment is due at time of registration.

For most of our offerings there are no prerequisites, you can just sign up, but there may be some offerings that do require particular knowledge or experience or that build upon each other. Please check our website for information regarding a particular course’s prerequisites before you register or contact our Admissions Team at (505) 291-9698, Ext. 130 or click on the link at left to email.

Yes! In fact, becoming a member for just $35 or $60 for international addresses gets you a whole year of 10% discounts on all our seminars, webinars, and intensives PLUS discounts on products in our store and quarterly issues of Ayurveda Today!

Our Ayurvedic Studies Programs are NAMA recognized programs. We also offer NAMA PACE credits for our seminars, webinars and intensives. See each offering for specific PACE details. We also work with many credentialing and professional bodies and are happy to submit paperwork on your behalf. Please contact our Student Services Coordinator for more information: (505) 291-9698, Ext. 130 or click on the email link at left.