Foundations of Āyurveda Part I – Complete Course

About this course

In this multi-media course, Dr. Robert E. Svoboda and Dr. Claudia Welch present an in-depth exploration of the language and foundational principles and concepts of Āyurveda.

If you are able to fully understand and digest this course, together with Foundations of Āyurveda Part II, they are comparable to a semester of Āyurvedic in-person training and prepare students to incorporate Āyurveda concepts and practices into a yoga practice, an established medical practice, or to go on to pursue clinical study in Āyurveda.

While a couple decades ago, it was hard to find any information on Āyurveda in the West at all, today we face a different challenge. There are so many  Āyurvedic educational resources that it can be daunting to find ones we trust to be accurate, authentic, and well-organized. It took years for Drs. Svoboda and Welch to obtain, assimilate, practice, and organize this knowledge in a manner that the Western mind may readily grasp. The potency of this course lies in its enlivened, organized, concise delivery of in-depth, authentic information and knowledge, based in rich experience.

Dr. Claudia Welch and Dr. Robert Svoboda combined have more than half a century of practicing and teaching Āyurveda. They have taught introductory, advanced, and clinical material. They have taught students with no prior knowledge of Āyurveda as well as advanced students and practitioners. They have taught students with no prior medical training and have taught MDs. In this course, they present material that is essential for anyone who chooses to pursue more advanced Āyurvedic studies. And you can learn at home, in your pajamas if you like, on your own schedule, without the disruptive physical, emotional and financial costs of traveling elsewhere to study.

If you would like to use our Foundations of Ayurveda courses as part of your education towards NAMA or other certification, the option available is to take our Foundations courses and then go on to complete your other requirements through an institution we’ve partnered with that will accept our credits as transfer credits. If you would like a list of these partner institutions, kindly contact us. We’ve listed more information on licensing and certification possibilities here.

You can begin this course any time you wish, take it on your own schedule, and take up to a year to complete it. (For options for longer access see, “How long will it take me to do the whole course & how long will I have access to it?” in the FAQs below). You will have indefinite access to live Q&As with Drs. Welch & Svoboda. You can complete the course on its own, or combined with our private or group tutoring. To get the most out of it you will need to take your time.

If you have already studied Āyurveda and would just like to review certain subjects, consider taking just the parts of this course that you would like to review. All sections are available as stand-alone lessons. (Just please note that each of those stand-alone lessons is taken out of the context of the entire course, so may contain references to material presented earlier or later in the course).

Sample Video

For a little taste of what to expect before you sign up, here is a little introduction to Dr. Welch & Dr. Svoboda, recorded at the taping of this course.


This course may be a good option for you if:

  •  you are new to Āyurveda and looking to begin an in-depth study of it. Possibly you are considering eventually working with patients or adding Āyurveda to your already existing health-care practice. This is an intensive course.
  • you want to take Foundations of Āyurveda Part II. Foundations of Āyurveda Part I, or comparable education, is a prerequisite for the Foundations of Āyurveda Part II course, also taught by Dr. Welch and Dr. Svoboda.
  • you are already familiar with the learning outcomes for this course but are interested to gain new perspectives and insights on or review topics with which you are not completely comfortable. You can do this by either taking the full course, or individual lessons. We have had students who had graduated from some very fine two-year, in-person institutes and schools of Āyurveda and still reported benefit and deepening of knowledge from taking this entire course and its sequel, “Foundations of Āyurveda Part II.” Dr. Svoboda and Dr. Welch explore traditional and unique ways of approaching this material that even some seasoned practitioners find useful. The below quotes include some from students who took both this course, and Part II after attending various, reputable 2-year schools and institutes of Āyurveda:

I loved this course! I wondered if it would be challenging to engage with an online course that offers information so counter to perspectives I encounter in everyday life but I found the course very easy to dive into and that I had a very embodied learning. I found the lessons very thorough and they often had me laughing out loud. I can’t say enough good things. Both teachers perspectives have deeply influenced my relationship with life and I am certain will continue to do so as I move forward. – Ocea

I [graduated from a reputable 2-year-long school of Āyurveda]…and it was overwhelming. I thought I got it but then when I [took Foundations of Āyurveda Part I] and we learned everything we were taught [in that course], it started to click into place for me. And this time [taking Foundations of Āyurveda Part II]… doing the srotāṃsi —I didn’t quite get it [before]—I didn’t take that into my practice because I was afraid I didn’t really grasp it, but its coming into place now, and its so amazing! There’s so much more detail and its really helping me grasp it…I’m getting it now, which is so fabulous! -Student of Foundations of Āyurveda I & II

I [graduated from a reputable 2-year school of Āyurveda] with a sense of things but I didn’t necessarily have them integrated into myself. [Foundations of Āyurveda I & II] are really helping me to take it more into the intuition of my body and my mind than just strictly rote learning. It’s a really good thing to reintegrate the information. -Student of Foundations of Āyurveda I & II

This course was inspirational and I enjoyed every minute. The knowledge was presented in a very coherent manner with context and anecdotal stories that made it come alive. Above all it taught me how to work with the knowledge logically in a way that I could understand the interconnectedness of everything and be in a better position to work things out for myself. It made me think rather than simply fact learn. The rapport between Dr Svoboda and Dr Welch was wonderful and their combined senses of humours made the course truly enjoyable. When time permits I will be joining again for Foundations II. Thank you. Flora (UK)

What a joy and pleasure this course was during the 2020 pandemic crisis! I started the course in Late April and it soon became a nourishing and grounding part of my days – something to savor and enjoy, not to mention, being intellectually stimulating, too. Drs Welch and Svoboda are excellent lecturers, with a clear passion for Ayurveda, an abiding depth of true wisdom, and a gentle, lighthearted approach to sharing their knowledge. By the time I finished and took my final in mid-September, it almost felt like I’d been there in the live workshop with the other students – the filming and lectures felt fresh and spontaneous. I’m inspired to continue my studies in Ayurveda, and look forward to beginning Foundations II. –Michelle Ryan

It was truly engaging and far surpassed what I envisioned. –Ty

I found the subject was explored in great detail and case study examples highlighted the many variables and possibilities. I enjoyed both Dr Svoboda and Dr Welch’s points of view which increased my own understanding.- James McGill (graduate of a previous diploma course in an Institute)

I found this course very helpful and enjoyable. It helped organize concepts I had previously been introduced to in Ayurveda and deepened my understanding of many principles so I feel very comfortable with them and more intuitively grasp them. The course was engaging even though I took it online and I really appreciated how Drs. Welch and Svoboda spoke to the online students. I feel more connected to the natural world since studying the gunas and feel empowered in caring for my body in different times of day, year, and life. -Cindy

I really enjoyed the course, how it’s structured, the content is impressive and at times was challenging but in a good way! Dr Welch & Dr Svoboda teaching style is great, I appreciate that as a student I am encouraged to think logically & see the connections. I also appreciate that their teaching style made me laugh, quite loudly sometimes. –Natascha

I am near completion of the Foundations of Ayurveda coursework. I took my time with it as I have a full schedule as a massage therapist and yoga instructor. First off, I want to say I absolutely loved it. I have been studying Ayurveda loosely for years. I went to India in 2004 for an Ayurveda course ran by an Indian organization called …. But this course with Dr. Svoboda and Dr. Claudia Welch really helped organize the material in my brain better. –Mandy

LOVED it!! I found myself very engaged with the course material, and I got quite attached to both of the instructors 🙂 Really enjoyed both of their unique senses of humor, and really enjoyed watching them play off of each other. A great team, with vast knowledge and a very relatable way of sharing that knowledge. -Heather Smith, Oregon, USA

While the general material covered was the same as AHC [“Ayurveda Health Counselor” in an in-person, reputable Ayurveda program], there was so much more information given in this course that really expanded my knowledge from AHC. It is proving really beneficial as I am in my clinical externships right now. The course was engaging, funny, and really helped me digest all of the knowledge from AHC crossed with this course. I also learned a lot about myself… -Barbara, CA, USA

So many things to say, wonderfully engaging, smart, nuanced, framed in the larger perspective, funny (loved the stories, esp. Dharma the Dog), true to the teachings, and applicable to everyday life. Also useful in advancing understanding of Ayurveda in working towards certification. Patrick Hodge

If you are more interested in improving your own personal health and daily practices than in studying Āyurveda more extensively, Dr. Welch’s online Women’s Health & Hormones Part I, Hormonal Balance & Stagnation course might be a better starting point – whether you are a man or a woman.


This 51.5 hour course includes:

  • 11 lessons, each containing one or more videos of Dr. Welch and Dr. Svoboda teaching
  • accompanying handouts
  • end of lesson quizzes
  • a final exam
  • a certificate of completion
  • live Q&A sessions
  • You will have access to this course for one year from registration, with (paid) options to extend your access. You will have access to the Q&A sessions indefinitely.

Lesson 1 – Introduction & How Daily Routine Facilitates Learning (1.6 hrs)

Learning Objectives:

1. Know and understand the definition of Āyurveda.

2. Know the definition of dinacaryā

3. Know and have an introductory understanding of how exercise, falling in love, focus, rest, and eating well can all be used to support learning new information.

Lesson 2 – Philosophy of Āyurveda: 4 Aims & Stages of Life, & Sāṃkhya Philosophy (5 hrs)

Learning Objectives:

1. Have an introductory understanding of the philosophical foundation of Āyurveda, including the 4 Aims and Stages of Life (dharma, artha, kāmamokṣa/brahmacaryā, gṛhastha, vanavāsa or vānaprasthasaṃnyāsa

2. List and have an introductory understanding of the main elements of sāṃkhya philosophy: (avyaktipuruṣaprakṛtimahadbuddhiahaṃkārasattva: 5 sense faculties + 5 faculties of action + mind; rajas; tamas: 5 tanmātras—sound/śabda, touch/sparśa, form/rūpa, taste/rasa, odor/gandha associated with the 5 elements/mahābhūtas—space/ākāśa, air/vāyu, fire/agni, water/āpas and earth/pṛthvī).

Lesson 3 – The 5 Elements & 20 Guṇas (2.9 hrs)

Learning Objectives:

1. List and have an introductory understanding of the 5 elements/mahābhūtas—space/ākāśa, air/vāyu, fire/agni, water/āpas and earth/pṛthvī).

2. List the 10 pairs of guṇas, in English and Sanskrit.

Lesson 4 – Tridoṣic Theory (2.8 hrs)

Learning Objectives:

1. Be familiar with tridoṣic theory: Have an introductory understanding of the relationship between microcosmic and macrocosmic relationship between the triadic octaves of reality: anila, sūrya, soma vs. prāṇa, tejas, ojas, vs. vāta, pitta, kapha–tridoṣic theory.

2. List the times of day and age associated with each doṣa.

3. List the elements associated with each doṣa and each of the 6 tastes.

Lesson 5 – Vāta: The Mobile Force, Corresponding Sites & Subtypes (8.8 hrs)

Learning Objectives:

1. List the guṇas (qualities) of vāta.

2. Know the main sites of vāta accumulation in the body.

3. List the main functions of vāta.

4. Know the general causes of vāta imbalance.

5. Know the 5 subtypes of vāta and their main sites, functions and directions of their movements (for vāta).

6. Know the main therapeutic site for vāta.

7. Be familiar with doṣa sāmya vaiṣamya (normal vs abnormal signs of doṣas), as pertains to vāta.

8. Be familiar with: doṣa vṛddhi = quantitative increase in doṣa accumulated, doṣa kṣaya = decreased quantity, and sama doṣa = balanced and normal, as pertains to vāta.

Lesson 6 – Pitta: The Transformational Force, Corresponding Sites & Subtypes (4.8 hrs)

Learning Objectives:

1. List the guṇas (qualities) of pitta.

2. Know the main sites of pitta accumulation in the body.

3. List the main functions of pitta.

4. Know the general causes of pitta imbalance.

5. Know the 5 subtypes of pitta and their main sites, and functions.

6. Know the main therapeutic site for pitta.

7. Be familiar with doṣa sāmya vaiṣamya (normal vs abnormal signs of doṣas), as pertains to pitta.

8. Be familiar with: doṣa vṛddhi = quantitative increase in doṣa accumulated, doṣa kṣaya = decreased quantity, and sama doṣa = balanced and normal, as pertains to pitta.

Lesson 7 – Kapha: The Stabilizing Force, Corresponding Sites & Subtypes (5.6 hrs)

Learning Objectives:

1. List the guṇas (qualities) of kapha.

2. Know the main sites of kapha accumulation in the body.

3. List the main functions of kapha.

4. Know the general causes of kapha imbalance.

5. Know the 5 subtypes of kapha and their main sites, and functions.

6. Know the main therapeutic site for kapha.

7. Be familiar with doṣa sāmya vaiṣamya (normal vs abnormal signs of doṣas), as pertains to kapha.

8. Be familiar with: doṣa vṛddhi = quantitative increase in doṣa accumulated, doṣa kṣaya = decreased quantity, and sama doṣa = balanced and normal, as pertains to kapha.

Lesson 8 – Prakṛti: Your Ayurvedic Constitution (4.7 hrs)

Learning Objectives:

1. Know and understand the meaning of prakṛti and the 7 main categories of prakṛti.

2. Be able to determine probable physical prakṛti.

3. Be able to list etiological factors that affect prakṛti.

Lesson 9 – Vikṛti: Current Condition (2.3 hrs)

Learning Objectives:

1. Be able to define vikṛti.

2. Be able to determine probable vikṛti.

3. Be able to list etiological factors that affect vikṛti.

Lesson 10 – Agni & Āma (2.8 hrs)

Learning Objectives:

1. Define agni.

2. List the qualities and functions of agni.

3. List at least 10 signs of healthy agni.

4. List at least 10 indications that agni is impaired.

5. Name the 4 clinical classifications of agni and understand their probable physiological effects.

6. Define āma and understand how it is formed.

7. List possible causes of āma formation, symptoms associated with the presence of āma and possible remedies.

Lesson 11 – A Look at How Doṣas can Aggravate Each Other; Gentle Pacification Techniques; Dinacaryā (6.8 hrs)

Learning Objectives:

1. Understand how the doṣas “push” or provoke each other.

2. Define śamana.

3. List and describe the sapta (7) śamana (doṣa-palliative) techniques: (thirst, wind bath, sun bath, dīpana, pācana, hunger, exercise).

4. Be familiar with the basic components of dinacaryā.


By the end of this course, if you have kept up with the memorization and study needed to assimilate what is taught, you will be familiar with the following principles:

  • The salient points of the philosophies that pervade Āyurveda, including the four aims and stages of life and sāṃkhya philosophy.
  • The five tattvas or mahābhūtas (elements)
  • The twenty guṇas (qualities)
  • The three doṣas
  • The fifteen subdoṣas
  • Causes of disorder in the doṣas and subdoṣas
  • Possible options to resolve the disorders
  • Understanding and determining prakṛti (your Āyurvedic constitution)
  • Understanding, determining, and resolving vikṛti (your current condition)
  • Agni—the digestive fire
  • Āma—morbid material in the body: how it arises and can be resolved
  • Śamana: Gentle ways to restore balance to health
  • Dinacaryā: Healthy daily routines
  • Khavaiguṇya – Defective spaces in the body

When can I begin this course?

Anytime. Now. Tomorrow. The next day. Anytime that is convenient for you.

How long will it take me to do the whole course & how long will I have access to it?

45 actual hours; 50.1  university hours; 45 NAMA (TIA) hours (while 45 NAMA hours are listed on your certificate because that’s how many the hours would be according to NAMA calculations, NAMA never gives more than 28 credit hours for a course, because that is the maximum # of hours allowed per cycle)

The students that took this course live, completed it over the course of two fairly intensive weeks. We estimate that it will take 51.5 hours to go through the entire course and material once, but we highly recommend you take your time with the material, and review it as much as you need to feel very comfortable with it, before moving on to Foundations of Āyurveda Part II. Students who have taken this course report benefiting from listening to the lessons and reviewing the material multiple times. This may mean carving out about 10-20 hours a month to devote to the lessons.

You will have access to the course for one year from the time you register. Most students find this quite sufficient. However, at the end of the year, you will be given an option to  extend your access either for another year for 50% off the original price, or for $50 per extra month of access. If you feel you might need significantly more time to complete and assimilate the course, there is also an option to take up to 11 years to complete it by–instead of registering for this full course– taking the 11 lessons, successively, from the, “A la carte topics” choice in the menu when you hover over, “Foundations of Ayurveda I” in the, “Online Courses” drop-down menu of this website. That way you would have one year access for each of the 11 lessons of this full course.

Please see, “Course Structure” above, for the length of the individual lessons.

How long will I have access to the course?

For one year. You can extend access to it for another year for 50% off the original price or 50 USD per month extension. If it has been longer than six months since your course expired, you may retake it for 50% off the original price and have one year’s renewed access from the time of that payment.

What if I have questions on course content? Will I have live access to Drs. Welch & Svoboda?

If you have questions about course content as you go along and would like support, there are a few options:

  • Q&A: We plan to offer two live Q&A calls per year with Drs. Welch and Svoboda, exclusively for alumni of our online courses co-taught by both doctors: “Foundations of Ayurveda Part I“, “Part II”, “The Planets” and, “Pratyāhāra: Turning Awareness Within, and post them on our Q&A page.Once you are a registered student of one of these courses, you will receive emails letting you know when live calls are scheduled, how to join them, and be invited to submit questions on course content. If you are not an alumnus of any of those courses, you are still welcome to listen to or share these sessions, but you may find them a bit confusing, as they relate to material covered in those courses.
  • Student discussion forum: you can try posting your questions on the course discussion forum, where you can discuss your learning with fellow students. The link to the discussion forum for each course appears in the right hand column on the course page and all the lessons for that course.
  • Tutoring: you can sign up for a tutoring option with one of our tutors.

What if I need technical support?

Once you are a registered student, we let you know who to contact if you need technical support with the website or course.

Can I download the lessons?

No. This is a streamable video course.

Are there any required textbooks?

No. You can go through this course without any outside textbook, but we do recommend having Dr. Vasant Lad’s Textbook of Ayurveda, Volume 1: Fundamental Principles of Ayurveda for a reference and supplement. Throughout our lessons we suggest recommended readings from this book. The purposes of these readings are both to increase understanding of the subject matter, and to provide additional perspectives on and approaches to the material. By reading various texts and authors, we can become clearer on what material is so standard that everybody agrees on it and perceives it roughly the same way, and what material is subject to varied interpretations or lends itself to varied approaches. It is helpful to keep in mind that models of disease and health are not reality. They are simply sincere attempts at describing reality. Therefore some models, approaches, or perspectives are more elegant representations of reality than others for each possible situation, condition or disease.

Are there quizzes?

Yes. There is a quiz at the end of each of the 11 lessons. After quiz #11, there is a final exam. They are not tricky questions. In fact, they are decidedly un-tricky. All quiz questions cover the stated objectives listed for each section. There is a final exam for those who successfully complete all the lessons. All passing grades are 80%.

Can I have a certificate of completion?

Yes. Once you have successfully completed the course, quizzes and exams, you will have the option to print out a certificate that will include your name, the name of the course and the number of course hours. (If you purchase and complete an individual lesson, you will also have the option to print out a certificate for that lesson). Please download, save and print out your certificate before your access to the course expires. Even if you don’t want it now, you might want it later. If you don’t download your certificate before your access to the course expires, you can request it in the future but we may no longer have access to it and, if we do, it takes some fiddling and time to get one for and to you, so there will be a $50 administration fee for this service.

Could I just take one lesson without taking the entire course?

Yes. You can take any lesson from Foundations of Ayurveda Parts I or II as a stand-alone course. You can click on the, “Course Structure” menu bar to see what is covered in each lesson and then register for any single lesson a la carte. You would have access to the lesson for one year.

However we invite you to consider that even Āyurvedic Health Counselors and Āyurvedic Practitioners who have graduated from reputable 2-year, full-time programs and have been in active practices, report learning a lot from taking this entire course. It can be helpful to hear things more than once (or twice or multiple times) in order to absorb and assimilate the foundational principles of Ayurveda more deeply, and to hear more than one perspective on them.

Where can I find answers to questions about the legality of practicing Ayurveda, about certification, or NAMA issues?

This course is worth 45 NAMA (TIA) hours but, while 45 NAMA hours are listed on your certificate because that’s how many the hours would be according to NAMA calculations, NAMA never gives more than 28 credit hours for a course, because that is the maximum # of hours allowed per cycle. For more information on NAMA, legal requirements and our courses, kindly see

Does this course fulfill the requirements for CEUs for licensed health care practitioners that are not Ayurvedic professionals?

At this time we are not pre-approved CEU providers for health care professions other than the field of Āyurveda. However, you will have your certificate of completion, which will provide the title of the course, your name, and course hours. This may or may not be sufficient for the organization requiring your CEUs. We encourage you to contact your organization to determine what we could do to support you getting CEU credits for Dr. Welch’s programs. If there is additional documentation that you need, we’d be happy to support you with this for a nominal fee. What that nominal fee would be, depends on the documentation you would need. Please contact our office if you have any questions about this.

What is your refund policy?

We do not offer refunds for online courses. We have tried to provide clear descriptions of our courses; please review this information before purchasing.

Is there an option for financing?

US residents can use the PayPal finance option to pay, when purchasing the course. The PayPal finance option has 0 payments and 0 interest if you pay within 6 months (subject to PayPal credit approval). Beyond 6 months, there would be a 19.99 % interest rate. To choose this option, when you go through the checkout line you will reach the PayPal page where you can choose to pay via your own credit card, via your PayPal account, or via PayPal Credit. Choose PayPal credit. If you haven’t done this before, PayPal will ask some questions to check your credit before approving. Once approved, your transaction will go through and you will have access to the course without needing to pay anything for 6 months. However, to get the zero-interest rate, please remember to pay what you can at the end of the 6 months.

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