Teacher: John Immel
Drawing on years of research and clinical experience specializing in digestive disorders, John Immel directs the Joyful Belly School of Ayurvedic Diet & Digestion. He is the founder of Joyful Belly, an educational Ayurvedic health care 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 others could benefit. He sought a way to introduce Ayurveda to the broader American public and make it more culturally accessible. This was the genesis of Joyful Belly. Using ingredients familiar from his childhood, John created thousands of Ayurvedic recipes for the average American. Joyful Belly proves Ayurveda is a practical way to improve everyday health & wellness. His simple, direct and familiar approach has helped thousands on their journey to health. John recently published, "Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food" with co-author Natalie Immel.
Teacher: Mary Thompson
Mary Thompson is an experienced educator and a heart-centered mentor to Ayurvedic practitioners. Having taught Ayurveda for over twenty years, she continues to find joy in supporting her students and clients to explore new realizations and adopt self-care practices that result in greater satisfaction in day-to-day life.
Her interest in Ayurveda began as she sought to find answers to her own health challenges. Once she found Ayurveda, she wanted to introduce these principles to others in need of greater health and happiness. At the time she was working with school-aged children and recognized that so many of their challenges were created by their diets and lifestyles. As soon as she completed her studies, she dived into teaching others and bringing these ancient principles to her clients, friends, family, students, and community- really to anyone who would listen.
Never far from the classroom, she now collaborates with a number of schools and programs, preparing curriculum and teaching. Starting a new career as she approaches 60 is exciting to her and she finds fulfillment with her work and her life.
She lives in the Sierras with her husband and teenage son.
Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist, Ayurvedic Practitioner
Teacher: Sarajean Rudman
Sarajean Rudman is a New England-based Clinical Nutritionist, Yogini, Ayurvedic practitioner, Life Coach, Fitness Instructor and Outdoor Adventure guide. She has over a decade of experience across many diverse fields in health and wellness. In addition to certifications in multiple fitness modalities, Sarajean holds a B.S. in Health and Wellness and Sports Management, an M.S. in Clinical Nutrition and Integrative Health, and an M.A. in Health and Wellness Coaching. Sarajean is a doctoral student studying Health Sciences and Healthcare Education at University of Bridgeport, expected to graduate in spring of 2020. She leads teacher trainings, workshops and retreats in yoga, mindfulness, nutrition, wellness and Ayurveda. Sarajean is the founder of the East-West Functional Medicine Podcast which launched early 2018 on iTunes and of the Skin-to-Skin podcast launching summer of 2019 on iTunes.
Teacher: Susan Bass
Susan Bass is an Ayurvedic Practitioner and Ayurvedic Yoga Therapist who is the Founder and Director of the Sarasvati Mission and the Sarasvati Institute of Ayurvedic Yoga Therapy. She has been training people in the Vedic traditions for over 16 years. In addition to training teachers at her own school she is also Adjunct Faculty in the Master of Science in Ayurveda at the National University of Natural Medicine. Susan has taught Ayurveda at OHSU Medical School, University of Portland School of Nursing, Nike International and International Association of Yoga Therapy.
AP, E-RYT 500, Adjunct Faculty, NUNM
Teacher: Marek Sawicki
Marek Sawicki is a highly trained international educator and experienced clinician in the fields of Ayurvedic Medicine, Yoga Therapy and Medical/ Orthopedic Massage. He has over two decades of experience in his successful private healthcare practice Living Alchemy Ayurveda, in Asheville, NC and over 9000 contact hours of teaching college / private school level programs in the Southeast region and internationally.
Marek spent 9 years as the Director, Curriculum Creator, and Lead Faculty Instructor of the 2300 hr. Associate Degree of Therapeutic Massage Program at AB-TECH Community College from 2009-2017. Over two decades of college level / private school and workshop teaching contributes to his effective, comprehensive, passionate presentations inspiring students to love and value their education and choice of serving through the art of healthcare.
His comprehensive education includes being a graduate of The Ayurvedic Institute of Albuquerque, N.M. under the guidance of Dr. Vasant Lad with the most comprehensive Ayurvedic training available in the US. This training is reinforced with two years of clinical internship under Dr. Alakananda Devi of Alandi Ayurvedic Gurukula specializing in Internal Herbal Medicine, Clinical Pancha Karma, Digestive Disorders, Parasitology, Stress Management, Women / Men’s Health, Chronic Illness, Autoimmune Conditions and Chronic Pain Management.
Integrating these approaches under Ayurveda, Marek Sawicki attends to the needs of all levels of body, mind, and spirit with individualized herbal, dietary, lifestyle, detoxification, rejuvenation, manual and yoga therapy programs. He has been described by long term clients as "sensitive, respectful, compassionate and having the hands and heart of a true healer."
Teacher: Uma Sawicki
Uma Thompson is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner, Pancha Karma Clinician and Ayurvedic Postpartum Doula. She is also a Licensed Massage Therapist and Certified Yoga Instructor and Herbalist. She has been practicing holistic health care for almost two decades with deep passion to support wellness on an individual and planetary level. She and her husband Marek are Co-Directors of Living Alchemy, an integrative wellness practice dedicated to balanced health, through Ayurveda, herbal medicine, and bodywork. Additionally, Uma is currently a graduate student at Brenau University, in the Master of Occupation Therapy program, with plans to integrate holistic women's and children's health into the practice of Occupational Therapy. Uma is also a teacher in the Ayurvedic program at The Asheville School of Massage and Yoga, as well as a teacher at Yoga Veda Institute, an international, virtual Ayurvedic certification program.
Uma began her study in Ayurveda in 1998, when she completed a year long intensive at The Rocky Mountain Institute of Yoga and Ayurveda, in Boulder,CO. During the program Uma studied with many great teachers including Dr. John Douillard, Dr. Sarita Shrestha, Sarasvati Bhurman, Ysha Oakes, and Terra Rafael. During this study Uma specialized in women's health and became a certified Postpartum Ayurvedic Doula. In 2003, Uma spent a year abroad in India, studying Ayurveda at the source. Upon return, Uma graduated from The Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque, N.M in 2007. where she studied under Dr. Vasant Lad. Uma also completed a private internship with Dr. Alakananda Ma of Alandi School of Ayurveda, in Boulder, CO in 2008.
Uma has been a massage therapist and yoga instructor since 1996, when she graduated from The New Mexico Academy of Healing Arts and Rising Mountain Yoga in Santa, Fe, NM. In her bodywork practice Uma specializes in blending profound relaxation with deep tissue pain relief with Neuromuscular Therapy, Thai Massage, and Crainosacral therapy. Uma is also a skilled yoga therapist, offering personalized yoga therapy and yoga instruction, drawing from a rich background in Sivananda, Integral, Iyengar, Women's Yoga, and Ayuryoga.
Uma specialty is women's health. She helps women to naturally balance their hormones and honor their body rhythms for a smoother menstrual cycle. She also helps women to enhance their fertility for for a happy and healthy conception, pregnancy, and postpartum.
Uma believes that true health and wholeness comes from a connection with the natural world, she is also a wilderness guide, through Sacred Passage, in Crestone, CO. It is Uma's deeper intention to help reweave the web of planetary interconnection and wholeness with all of life.
Uma is married and lives in Weaverville, NC, just outside of Asheville, NC, she tends her garden and communes with the land. She is also the mother of two amazing, magical children.
Teacher: Kimberly Kubicke
Kimberly Kubicke is an Ayurvedic practitioner specializing in the gut microbiome and colon health. She is a writer and editor for the My Personal Body Book, and manages Joyful Belly's Balance Your Diet in a Week online e-Course. She also teaches in Joyful Belly's Mastering Ayurvedic Digestion & Nutrition: 500 Certification Course. Kimberly completed her Ayurvedic training with Dr. Vasant Lad. She also studied Ayurvedic Nutrition with Amadea Morningstar and hormonal health with Dr. Claudia Welch. She is a certified yoga teacher and student of Rod Stryker’s Parayoga.
Kimberly began her career in Ayurveda after using Ayurveda to heal herself from lifelong sinus and digestive issues. Prior to this, she spent years working in social services and mental health, gaining insight into how best support people in helping themselves. Kimberly graduated with honors from Rutgers University with a double major in Sociology and Human Ecology.
What her client’s are saying: "I initially met with Kimberly to receive dietary support during a very stressful time in my life. I was unsure at first what an Ayurvedic Consultant was and how she might help me, but within minutes of meeting with Kimberly I could feel her skill in understanding the many layers of what was happening in my life, combined with a profound lack of judgment, and I was instantly at ease. Over an 8-month period, Kimberly helped me to gradually and joyfully make some key dietary and lifestyle changes that greatly improved my health and well-being, changes which are still part of my life two years later! She has a knack for demystifying the ancient (yet still very applicable) science and art of Ayurveda, and taught me to make ghee (clarified butter) and kitchari (a nourishing dal), which have become weekly rituals that I very much enjoy. It is rare to meet someone with her combination of intuition, sensitivity, experience, and knowledge. I highly recommend working with Kimberly." -- Corva Rose, Former Client
Teacher: Natalie Immel
Natalie Immel received her 600 hour certification in Ayurveda at the Asheville School of Massage and Yoga, and received her 500 hour certification through the Master Ayurvedic Nutrition and Digestion Program at Joyful Belly Ayurveda. She specializes in cleansing and detoxification therapies, and is well versed in western nutrition. She earned her undergraduate degree in Religious Studies at Vassar College where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa with honors. Natalie used the principles of Ayurveda to heal from severe anorexia which at one time left her hospitalized. She now offers her insights to help other young women find freedom from eating disorders. Natalie is fluent in Swedish. She enjoys quilting, her prayer life, discovering new recipes and experimenting with health food.
Natalie's published works include Explore Your Hunger.