Master Ayurvedic Digestion & Nutrition 500 Hour Certification Program
Become a digestive health coach and a leader in integrative health care by enrolling in this 500 hour online course in Ayurvedic digestion and nutrition. This 11 month certification course in Ayurvedic digestive tract pathology starts Oct 4th, 2022.
Become a digestive health coach and a leader in integrative health care. Enhance your clinical skills in digestive health to the point of mastery through this Ayurveda certification program. Through this 500 hour online course you'll build confidence in your ability to improve gut health and wellness using food and herbs as medicine. This rigorous Ayurveda course uses a hands-on approach so that you experience the knowledge directly. The material you learn in this Ayurveda training program can be used to improve your career and clinical skills in digestive health.
Seasoned Ayurvedic practitioners, health professionals, and dedicated enthusiasts alike will enjoy the discoveries they will make through this specialized program in integrative Ayurvedic digestion & nutrition. Through this Ayurveda certification program you will:
Master the art of digestive health and wellness for over 30 major digestive tract pathologies.
Experience first-hand the subtleties of your body's unique relationship to food through a hands-on approach. With this awareness, you'll be able to utilize the Ayurvedic remedies you learn to help resolve digestive problems.
Develop your capacity and confidence to make expert food recommendations for optimal gut health to your clients, on a case by case basis.
Goal of the Program
By the end of the program:
You'll be able to experience your digestive process in each of the tissues in your digestive tract. You'll know what is happening to the food in your digestive tract every step of the way. You'll be able to correct imbalances in digestion through natural remedies.
You'll know food so well you will be able to go to a foreign country, eat a food you've never seen before, and after three days be able to tell its pharmacological effects, just through taste and your experience of digesting the food.
As a digestive health coach, you will be able to teach this body-centric approach to your clients, showing them how to make better food choices guided by actual digestive and nutritional experiences.
As part of this Ayurveda course, you will gain effective techniques to address a wide range of digestive concerns with clients as well as practical skills to effectively coach clients in achieving their health & wellness goals
Build Your Clinical Practice
Improve your ability to serve your clients with quality care and ensure successful outcomes with their digestive health.
Develop qualifications for clinical leadership in your field
Get inspired with new perspectives on your body & Ayurvedic nutrition. Rediscover your love of health & wellness.
Inspire your client's confidence in you, and the confidence of the medical community, through your ability to articulate the nuances of major digestive problems & disorders.
What You Get When You Enroll
Comprehensive weekly presentations covering all major digestive tract pathologies
Weekly live case studies gives you practical clinical recommendations.
Weekly Ayurvedic diet & body awareness exercises followed by discussion give you a direct experience of the medicinal effects of a wide variety of foods and herbs.
Access to qualified teachers and a professional student body to facilitate your discovery and troubleshoot challenges.
A comprehensive digestive consultation manual walking you through the entire digestive consultation process from A-Z, with a detailed list of questions for a myriad of client scenarios. This manual is provided at the cost of printing & shipping. Note: This manual is exclusively available to students of this Ayurvedic nutrition course, only.
North Carolina School License
The Joyful Belly School of Ayurveda has provided advanced clinical training for Ayurvedic professionals since 2008.
We are licensed to teach Ayurveda by the state of North Carolina, and accredited through the American Association of Drugless Practitioners (AADP).
We partner with the American Association of Biocharacteristics Clinicians (AABC) to support our graduates clinical success in Ayurveda
Joyful Belly is also recognized by the National Association of Ayurveda Schools and Colleges (NAASC),
and the Association of Ayurvedic Professionals of North America (AAPNA).
Our founder, John Immel, is the current president of NAASC.
Joyful Belly will issue you a 500 Hour Certificate of Completion as an Ayurvedic Nutrition & Digestive Health Coach. This certificate enables you to legally see clients as an Ayurvedic digestive health coach. Students are also eligible for certification through 1) AABC as a Ayurveda / Biocharacteristics Digestive Health Coach, 2) AADP as a health coach after passing their board level exam, and 3) AAPNA as an Ayurvedic Food & Nutrition Consultant (if you have an additional 500 hours of training in a health related field yoga, massage, nursing, etc.). You may be eligible for additional certifications depending on local laws.
* Laws vary by state and country. Ayurveda is an unlicensed profession in the United States, which means that Ayurveda is not regulated by any organization or agency. By the end of the program, you will be legally able to see clients in the United States. A certificate of completion is given to those graduates who successfully complete the program. This program does not give you a license to practice medicine. Please text John at 828-785-8213 if you have questions in this area.
Why focus on digestion & food?
Digestion is relevant to many, if not all, your clients' lives. Why? Digestion nourishes blood, the blood that feeds your body. You can't nourish your organs without healthy blood. You can't nourish blood without healthy digestion and a healthy diet. On the other hand, indigestion and poor food choices create fermentation & toxicity which weakens your entire body. Poor quality food choices lead to poor quality blood and organ health. That's why, for over 5,000 years, Ayurveda has believed that diet and digestion is the first step to health.
This Ayurvedic course offers answers to seemingly baffling digestive disorders, such as IBS. Unlike other medical traditions, IBS offers a favorable prognosis in Ayurveda. The key to IBS is identifying the underlying imbalance, a skill you build each day in the program. You will learn how to penetrate through to the root of digestive tract disorders, from simple disorders such as constipation, to more complex problems such as how to restore appetite after chemotherapy.
As we explained above, when there is a problem with your intestines, it creates a problem in your whole body. Fortunately, your intestines are modified skin and just like skin, your gut has the capacity to heal quickly. However, even though healing digestion is theoretically easy, the reality can be tricky. Ayurveda has a 5,000 year old approach to navigate the tricky situations that arise in restoring gut health.
Format of the 500 hour program
The program includes a powerful blend of presentations, discussions, interactions, and guided personal experiments. Each week will start with 1 to 2 pre-recorded presentations, about an hour long each, introducing you to new ways of thinking and understanding digestive health. Presentations will be accompanied by exercises, case studies and food experiments to facilitate your personal discovery process. Then you will attend 3 live hour long classes weekly including: 1) a question & answer session discussing the presentation, 2) an in depth review of a case study related to the disorder, and 3) sharing the results of food and body awareness exercises.
All live classes & discussions will be recorded for those who are unable to attend. You will also be invited to participate in an online Facebook discussion group, so that communication with the group and teachers is always at your fingertips.
Benefits of an Online Learning e-Course
Convenient distance learning format
Study in the comfort of your home or office
Deeply immerse yourself in the work on your own schedule
Learn from anywhere in the world, even while on vacation!
Miss a lecture? Download the recording for free
Build your skills and improve your career without having to relocate
Gain access to professionals located in remote regions
Find a community of support
Be part of a new movement in health and transformation years before similar programs are available locally
"I can soon say I am a survivor of an online course. I was very skeptical! But the content was excellent. The basic format of weekly lecture and study group meetings was brilliant. I wish I could have done both study groups. The time to discuss with fellow students was great." - Cynthia Cox (Massage Therapist, Arkansas)
In summary, expect to spend about 8-12 hours of class time and study each week throughout the course. Your Ayurvedic certificate will be awarded at the end of the program, contingent upon attendance and completion of assignments.
Digestive Tract Pathology (31 lectures total)
These lectures include a week-by-week walk through disorders of the digestive tract. This portion of the program will cover the Ayurvedic approach to all major digestive tract disorders from bad breath to hemorrhoids. A partial overview of topics includes
Mouth - Appetite, anorexia, bulimia, etc.
Stomach - Burping, acid reflux, ulcers, nausea, weight loss, etc.
Liver / Pancreas - Enzyme deficiencies, gallbladder, etc.
Small intestine - Leaky gut, allergies, celiac, intolerances, gas, etc.
Colon - Constipation, appendicitis, diverticulitis, etc.
Cleansing protocols including enema, purgation, and other detox regimes
Lecture content is based upon Ayurvedic literature, our personal clinical experience, and the testimony of our clients. We integrate innovations from other traditions wherever possible, including Chinese medicine, Western medicine, Western herbalism and other modalities such as massage therapy, yoga, and western psychology. At the end of each lecture you will not only understand the physical disorder but also the personality and emotional patterns associated with it. For each pathology, you will be presented a combination of:
The effects of metabolism, blood, & stress on digestion
Other miscellaneous topics related to Ayurvedic nutrition & digestion
We aim to take a complex topic and make it easy. In fact, we believe the ability to simplify without losing any rigor is an essential skill of any practitioner. Ayurvedic practitioners are, after all, teachers. So we aim to teach you how to teach your clients. We'll teach you how to talk about digestion in simple & easy terms your clients can understand. We'll also show you the secrets, tips, and practical advice from our clinical practice. And, give you great sound bites you can use to educate your clients & help them experience their body.
Expect to experience:
A comprehensive program to drive your knowledge and expertise in digestive health to the level of mastery.
Moments of discovery about your own body
Results-oriented insight into patterns of digestive disorders
Confidence as you sharpen your clinical skills and increase your value to your clients
Challenging & transformative ways to address digestive health disorders
Practical, simple techniques to alleviate suffering and strengthen digestion
Engaging and practical live discussions will enhance the material learned from pre-recorded lectures, improve your body awareness, and drive home the essential practice of food as medicine. You are encouraged to ask questions and share your experiences in these discussions. Group participation is one of the most powerful aspects of this program. It's not often that a group of dedicated professionals have a chance to meet together weekly. We learned something every session, and are sure you will too. Here is just a brief list of value added discoveries you will receive from other student professionals:
Insights about your body from fellow students
Perspectives on the body from various healing modalities
Body awareness insights you might not have noticed on your own
Caring & kindness from others who are dedicated to quality of life issues
Insights into clinical approach & working with clients
Expect to be challenged, heard, valued, encouraged and supported throughout your development in the course, not only by teachers and staff, but also by other students. Through the course of the year, a tight knit group forms as we learn from one another. Each of us, teachers included, will experience powerful & transforming growth.
Exercises included with each lecture
Recommended food and body awareness exercises will greatly facilitate your awareness of your own digestion, a key component to your mastery of this subject. Assignments and tests are graded pass/fail and are given in a supportive, non-competitive spirit of learning.
Demographics of the student body
Half of all students who enroll are Ayurvedic practitioners. Others are nutritionists, nurses, yoga teachers and other professionals. Some students will be herbalists, Chinese medicine practitioners, and medical doctors. We welcome anyone from a healthcare related profession who wants to improve their practice by mastering integrative digestive health & wellness. Under certain conditions, we also accept individuals who do not have a professional healthcare related practice. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions in this area.
Student discounts are provided to encourage your learning & discovery from the moment you register.
Half Price consultations with John Immel
15% discounts on most products from the Joyful Belly Store
Membership to our Alumni Facebook group.
"This was a great feat to turn strangers into friends over the internet. This has been an amazing group of people to listen and learn from. The course has made me dig deep. John your ability to keep me on task and make me laugh is amazing. Gratitude to all." - Sheryl Edsall (Yoga Studio Owner, New Jersey)
About John Immel
Drawing on years of research and clinical experience specializing in digestive disorders, John Immel directs the Joyful Belly's Mastering Ayurvedic Digestion and Nutrition 500 hour program as well as the Fundamentals of Natural Healing Ayurveda Health Counselor 750 hour program. He is the founder of Joyful Belly, an educational Ayurvedic healthcare website, and oversees the Joyful Belly Clinic.
John studied Ayurveda under Dr. Vasant Lad and is specialized in the advanced treatment of digestive tract pathology. He holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University. He first discovered Ayurveda while working on a public health project in Bangladesh. John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel.
After witnessing Ayurveda's compelling efficiency and practical ease in treatment of his own digestive disorder, John was convinced he could help others. He sought a way introduce Ayurveda to his Appalachian mountain home and the broader American public. This was the genesis of Joyful Belly. Using ingredients familiar from his childhood, John created Joyful Belly to recast Ayurveda in the context of our American food traditions. Joyful Belly proves Ayurveda is accessible and necessary for everyday health & wellness. His simple, practical and familiar approach has helped thousands on their journey to health.
John's love of life, his commitment to the health & dignity of the person, and his humanitarian pursuit of inexpensive health care comes from his Catholic roots and identity. His creativity in the kitchen, and absolute dedication to the epicurean delight of eating come from his Italian heritage. He is fluent in Bengali and French, and enjoys studying Sanskrit & Arabic. In addition to his passion for Ayurveda, John enjoys spending time with his family and studying scripture, two activities which he believes are essential to any health and wellness counselor.
John's Teaching Style
As a teacher, I strive not only to communicate the basic principles of Ayurveda, but to bring Ayurveda to life by sharing my personal healing journey, and the healing journeys I have witnessed as a practitioner. When I am at my best, you will find that my presentations are rich with anecdotes. Despite the seriousness of the topic, you will find I maintain a sense of humor as we discuss the blood and guts of health. This humor often comes at my own expense, which I hope you will enjoy!
Teaching has been a vocation for me since a very young age, and I have taught at various institutions from Harvard University to my home town. As a student of six languages, I am heavily invested in developing my communication and presentation skills, a core skill of any good teacher. Despite my ability to speak as an authority on the topic of Ayurveda & digestion, I approach the student teacher relationship as a colleague and facilitator, equal to my students, without any illusions of personal grandeur. My approach is not didactic, but inspirational and engaging. I enjoy asking questions as much as giving answers, and recognize that leadership often means giving you the space and freedom you need to draw your own conclusions, with guidance. As much as I love narrating a good story to an audience, I also strive learn from my students, and await full of suspense to hear your insights about Ayurveda!
On a more emotional level, I place a great deal of emphasis on empathy in every interaction I have with my students and my clients. The fundamental skill of empathy is the ability to walk in another's shoes. As a empathetic person, I always strive to appreciate and learn from your perspective and vantage point. I want to know you, and what makes you the person that you are.
Yet, the most important quality and teaching skill I possess is neither language nor empathy. Instead, it is my enthusiasm for Ayurveda, and for you. I am eager to give myself fully and passionately to the learning process. This enthusiasm is the true source of my confidence. Why am I so enthusiastic? Where does the boundless energy I offer for teaching come from? The bottomless well of energy I bring to our discussions springs from my great faith in each and every individual's capacity to learn and grow. Teaching is therefore a true celebration for me. This great hope I've invested in teaching is something I will never give up on, which means I will never give up on you!
What people are saying..
Meet Our Graduates
"These were so helpful. Even as a practitioner this was not something that I had a lot of experience coming into the class and the things I discovered during these exercises were amazing." - Marilyn Parker (Ayurvedic Practitioner, Florida)
"I loved the course, especially the development of felt senses, practical experiences offered, and herbal remedies. I was amazed by my experiences. John, you have a fabulous way of getting folks like me to think differently and I am deeply grateful for what I have learned from you." - Susan Buck (Student, Connecticut)
"I have gotten so much out of this. I feel a bit emotional about it coming to an end! I'd love to stay in touch and keep learning from all the wise folk here" - Bel Steer (Yoga Instructor, Australia)
"I have really loved my experience in this program and have learned so much that I can take with me anywhere. I feel honored to have been a part of this program and there are so many amazing practitioners and aspiring practitioners here. I'm really excited for more learning! John, you have really brought heart and meaning to ayurveda in this program. It shows that you really love it and care." - Kate Empey (Student, Utah)
"Thank you! All!I feel that the wealth of knowledge I have seen here is huge and feel that this is more of a beginning than a parting. I feel that this is a forum and platform for collaboration and much more shared knowledge." - Andrea Karahalios (Yoga Instructor, Florida)
I'm grateful for the experience and feel that I am coming away with a deeper understanding of Ayurveda. I hope to continue with this path. - Ashley David (Herbalist, West Virginia)
Commonly Asked Questions
What if I have no prior experience in complementary medicine?
Our approach to learning is very practical and experiential. Many of our students have no prior experience with Ayurveda and are successful in the program. The supplemental lectures each week lay the foundation for grasping Ayurveda's main concepts and the main lecture introduces a specific pathology. The program weaves Western science, TCM and Ayurveda together in a unique way - creating a picture of understanding that no one has seen before. The weekly exercises allow you to experience what this complimentary form of medicine feels like - what it actually does in your body - so that your understanding of the subject matter grows intuitively as well.
Is this the program too advanced for me?
Prospective students often wonder if this course will be too advanced for them. That is rarely the case. In our clinical approach, simplicity is the most valuable accomplishment of any practitioner. Ayurveda always reaches into the heart of the end user, offering clear concise communication without the jargon of other healing modalities. That's why the greatest Ayurvedic practitioners are also the best communicators, who know how to present the material in simple, direct way that both inspires the client and is easy to understand. We hope you will find the material readily accessible, feel inspired by our simple approach, and use it to connect with your clients on a foundational level.
What do people do after they graduate?
Our graduates use the program to advance in their current careers as well as into a new and a diverse array of professional settings. Here are just some examples:
Marilyn Parker: Working with clients in one on one consultations
Susan Bass: Teaches digestive health at a local university
Sheryl Edsall: Offers cleanse retreats integrating digestive health with yoga
Michaela Downing: Cooks for celebrities as a yacht chef
Shweta Parmar: Advocates for policy change at hospitals
Kim Koopman: Integrates Ayurveda into quality of life care as a nurse
Erin Yamamoto: Applies Ayurveda to mental health work via the gut/brain connection
Should I get my beginner's level Ayurveda training before the Master's Program?
Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned professional, all those who wish to specialize in diet, nutrition and digestion will find this course rich in new perspectives and engaging content. Since we present the content in language even your clients can understand, a background in Ayurveda is not required to enroll. Many health professionals take our program instead of basic Ayurvedic training because they want to master digestion & nutrition, instead of studying to be a generalist.
Will I be a practitioner after graduating?
You will be certified as an Ayurvedic nutrition and digestion health coach through Joyful Belly. You may also be eligible for additional certifications through AAPNA.
Ayurveda is still an unlicensed field in most U.S. states. Even those of who have practitioner status are still only educators in the eyes of the law. Only a qualified, licensed medical doctor can diagnose, prescribe or treat disease. Legally, you will be able listen to people's health concerns and educate them on the Ayurvedic perspective and approach to those concerns including diet, lifestyle and herbs. Please seek legal advice if you have questions about your scope of practice after graduating.
What is the scope of practice?
Your certification through AAPNA as a 'food consultant' allows you to recommend food to balance vital energy in the digestive system, and use Ayurvedic principles to correct imbalanced doshas and gunas in the digestive tract. Ayurveda is an unregulated and unlicensed profession in the state of North Carolina.
You will be bound by any existing licenses you have. For example, massage practitioners will not be able to offer Ayurvedic wellness tips during a massage session as this will violate their massage license. Instead, your client will have to sign up for a separate, Ayurvedic session. Please check with your certifying body and state on limitations of using your certification in your existing practice.
What is the basis of the research? What is the source of the course material and how do you verify accuracy of material learned?
The lectures have been developed from primary and secondary sources - pubmed studies, wikipedia, the classic texts of Ayurveda, and the opinions of Ayurvedic experts. Individual teachers frequently innovate based upon their clinical and personal experience, as well as the individual needs of the client. Ayurveda, like Chinese medicine, is not a research based science but an ancient tradition. Although there have been more studies conducted in recent years, many perspectives you will learn in the course have not been researched or approved by the FDA. Instead, your clients will have to assess any Ayurvedic recommendations you give them to determine their suitability and appropriateness for personal use. Client's individual constitutions and needs do not always conform to statistical norms, even in a western medical context. Ayurveda's highly individual approach offers flexibility that science cannot when it comes to working with and assessing the unique imbalances of the client.
I have been trained in the western medical system, will this course be accessible to me?
One of the things that makes our program unique and accessible to all is that we teach Ayurveda from an experiential point of view, instead of a mystical one, only. Ayurveda does have an energetic understanding of the body, but it's different from energy medicine. What you learn in the program are concepts that you can experience in your body. You learn the foundation of Ayurveda's ancient wisdom and then experience it directly creating cause and effect connections akin to the scientific method as well as intuitive understanding. Our students from Western medical backgrounds find this creates a more robust understanding of health and healing for them.
Will the course include herbs?
Yes, you will learn many of the most effective herbs in supporting digestive health. Part of each week's homework assignment will entail creating an herb formula and you will have access to a reference sheet on how to do that.
Can I go at my own pace?
There is a certain amount of work that must be completed by the end of each week in order to earn your certification and keep up with the program. However, within the week you can do the work on your own schedule. We understand that life events may prevent you, from time to time, completing assignments on time and have a policy to accommodate you. Extensions are generally granted if requested at least two weeks in advance. You are also given a certain number of unexcused absences and late homeworks for unexpected schedule changes.
What if I have a busy job, a rambunctious 2 year old? Can I still take the program if I have to take a leave of absence for several weeks?
Yes. This course is designed for the busy professional, is family friendly, and quality of life focused. Granted there are assignments that must be submitted each week, but you design your own schedule. Breaks will give you ample holiday and vacation time with family. Our liberal extension policy gives you the freedom you need to enjoy life while you develop your professional skills.
Will there enough mentoring / support?
Your homework will be graded with comments each week to help steer you in the right direction. The 3 live weekly lectures and Facebook group also provide an opportunity to voice questions and concerns. We will walk you through the steps of your thesis writing - providing feedback and guidance on everything from developing your topic, to drafting your outline and each phase of paper writing. Weekly office hours are available to address any concerns or questions you might have.
Does this course include writing a thesis?
Yes. The mere mention of writing a thesis strikes fear into the hearts of many students. We're aware that you may not have written an essay since high school, or that, for international students, English may not be your first language. Fear not! We will guide you through every step of the process. Most students are very proud of their thesis by the end of the course and surprised to discover the value of their accomplishment far exceeded their expectation.
The thesis writing process is broken down into 5 phases so that your paper evolves step by step throughout the course. Initially you choose a topic, then you develop an outline, then you follow through by submitting your paper in stages. Each stage is a bite size chunk of the whole project so that your thesis develops organically - allbeit with hard work and focus.
While writing a thesis may sound daunting, but it's really an exercise of delving into what excites you most. It's an opportunity to personalize the course as well. You will be able to choose a topic relevant to your personal health, the health of a loved one, or your family. Writing a thesis helps you specialize in some aspect of digestive health, which makes your skills more marketable.
Do you offer scholarships or other payment options?
Rather than offering scholarships to a select few, we have opted for a competitively priced program accessible to all. Although we cannot offer scholarships, we do offer payment plans. Please contact email@example.com for details.
What if I can't take the course next year, will you offer it again?
We offer the course beginning every October. Space is limited, so it's best to register early.
Still have questions?
Click the maybe button below for instructions on how to setup an inquiry appointment.
How to Register and Participate
Once you register with your deposit, you'll receive participation instructions over email. Throughout the program, you'll receive weekly instructions to guide you through each step. You'll also have an opportunity to ask questions during group discussions each week.
Requirements for Admission
Our student body is one of the greatest assets of this program. Primarily, we accept students who are determined to succeed and make a good name for Ayurveda. We screen for students who are self-motivated, disciplined, and excited to participate. That's why we created a demanding program - gear up for excellence!
Some professional experience in a health and wellness related field is required. Your field could be massage therapy, yoga, herbalism, a medical degree, or perhaps you are an Ayurveda practitioner. If you do not have professional experience, you may still be accepted if you can demonstrate your commitment to earnest self study prior to enrollment. Although we welcome students who have demonstrated academic excellence, we also value body awareness, emotional intelligence, and sharp instincts along with book knowledge.
Currently, we are still accepting applications for this year's program. There is no deadline for application, however we expect the program will be filled to capacity, and applications are considered on a first come, first served basis.
Tuition & Payment Plan
The tuition fee for the entire program is $4,499. When you sign up, you will be enrolled in a monthly payment plan to spread out your payments. We follow the North Carolina policy for refunds, detailed in our course catalog. You will receive a full refund if for any reason your application is denied. You can save an additional $250 by paying tuition in full before the first day of class.
Please text John at 828-785-8213 or e-mail us any questions/concerns by clicking the MAYBE button below.