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What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda, a Sanskrit word, is derived from two roots; "Ayus" meaning all aspects of life and "vid" meaning knowledge, hence, "the knowledge of life".  This ancient system illuminates the basic laws and principles governing life on earth.  An appreciation of nature is therefore considered the beginning of an understanding of Ayurveda

Emerging from the Indus Valley culture, Ayurveda is considered the oldest complete health system in existence today.  It has been practiced continuously for over five thousand years.  its recorded origins reach back to the Vedic civilization some 3,500 to 4,000 years ago.  The system of Ayurveda encompasses a combination of science and philosophy, dealing equally with the physical, mental, psychological and spiritual aspects of health.  Mythology, philosophy, spirituality and daily lifestyle are interrelated.

At the heart of Ayurveda is the awareness that the universe (macrocosm) and the human (microcosm) are in direct and dynamic relationship at all times.  The macrocosm and microcosm are reflections of and present in each other, not separate from one another.  "This sameness between nature and the self is the foundation upon which all the principles of Ayurveda are built"  (B. Heyn, Ayurvedic Medicine, 1987, Indus).  Every human being is understood as a creation of the cosmos.

It is likely that Ayurveda possesses the longest clinical experience of any medical system known.  There is a history of hospitals and colleges dating back more than 3,000 years.  Traditionally, Ayurveda consisted of eight branches:  Surgery, Internal Medicine, Gynecology and Pediatrics, Toxicology, Otorhinolaryngology (ears, nose and throat), Psychiatry, Rejuvenation (Geriatrics), and Virilification Therapy (Sexology).  Today, Ayurveda spans the full spectrum of physical, psychological and spiritual health.  Therapies include a vast pharmacopoeia of medicinal substances, dietetics, lifestyle protocols, body work, surgery, counseling, cleansing and rejuvenation therapy, yoga, meditation, and prayer.

Ayurveda Programs and Services

Ayurveda Constitutional Assessment and Lifestyle Counseling are offered by appointment throughout the year. Contact Kay Brownfield at 831.402.7577.

Programs offered by Dr. Sarita Shrestha:  (see below for biography)

See SaritaShrestha.org for full calendar and more info.

Dr Shrestha also offers programs at Mount Madonna Center, contact Programs at 408-847-0406 or email Programs@MountMadonna.org.

This program offers an extraordinary opportunity to study the ancient medicine of India and Nepal with a gifted, classically trained master.

Clinical Internship in Nepal with Dr. Shrestha at The Devi Ma Ayurvedic Hospital

Dr. Shrestha and her medical colleagues will supervise and facilitate an 8-week intensive internship program for a small group of Western Ayurvedic practitioners and advanced students who have completed the equivalent of 2 years of study with recognized Ayurvedic teachers/physicians and /or attendance in a school of Ayurveda.  (Programs with Dr.Shrestha and other Ayurvedic faculty at Mount Madonna center will be recognized and contribute towards the above prerequisite.)  The Devi Ma Hospital and clinic is located in the village of Sidapole, approximately 18 km outside of Kathmandu, Nepal.  This special program will offer Western students a unique opportunity to study and practice in a traditional clinical setting alongside experienced Ayurvedic physicians and clinicians.  Applications will be available in Spring, 2004.  For further information, contact Kay Brownfield or David Howard at The Growing Edge; 831-667-2366.

Prerequisite for attendance of internship:

Participants must have a working knowledge of Ayurvedic philosophy, theory and terminology; including Pancha Mahabhuta, Trigunas, Tridosha Theory, Prakriti/Vikruti, Dhatus, Prana/Tejas/Ojas, and Dietetics. A basic knowledge  of Ayurvedic herbology will be useful.  Students must include a general overview of previous personal experience/study with their application/reservation form.

Ayurvedic Assessments with Dr. Shrestha are available at Mount Madonna Center.

Dr. Shrestha draws on extensive clinical experience using traditional Ayurvedic assessment tools to help you understand your unique constitutional nature and current health condition.  By discovering underlying causes which may lead to psycho-physical imbalances and compromised well being, you can be empowered with a personalized protective and restorative lifestyle program. This program will provide you with important healing tools such as dietary recommendations, individualized exercise, yoga and breathing practices, herbal support, daily and seasonal lifestyle routines and sattvic lifestyle practices.  For more information or for an appointment, please call 408-847-0406, ext. 213 (Ayurvedic Voice Mail).


Dr. Sarita Shrestha, M.D. Ayurveda, Gynecology & Obstetrics.  B.H.U., B.A.M.S., Jeevaji Univ., Gwalior, India; Diploma Yoga Therapy, Vivekananda Kendra, Banglore, India; and Diploma Acupuncture, Alternative Medicine Center, Colombo.  Dr. Shrestha has taught and consulted for 15 years in government institutes, hospitals, and national and international clinics.  She has presented papers to international conferences and has conducted many yoga and Ayurvedic awareness camps.  Dr. Shrestha has received national and international awards honoring her presentations as well as her volunteer service, and special recognition as the first Nepal woman Ayurveda specialist and first Nepal Ob-Gyn in Ayurveda.

For more information regarding Dr. Shrestha's schedule in California, contact Kay Brownfield through The Growing Edge.

The Growing Edge
for Sustainable Peace &Healing 
445 Summit Road
Watsonville, CA 95076
(831) 402-7577


Photographs 1999-2000 David Howard
and The Growing Edge