KUSUM BHANDARI, CAP, CHC
Kusum’s journey through healing modalities has been extraordinarily comprehensive, and driven by a unwavering dedication to supporting others on their healing paths. As an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and an Ayurvedic Practitioner, Kusum also supports the education and evolution of Ayurveda as a faculty member and clinic supervisor at the Ayurvedic Institute.
Prior to her training in the healing practices of Ayurveda, Kusum received her Master’s in Clinical Psychology, and a Postmaster’s in Couple and Family Therapy from Drexel University. She offered healing to her community in another form — as a Psychology Associate and Crisis Counselor at Western Maryland Health System.
Her passion for empowering others carries through in everything she does, but truly shines brightest in her speciality areas of diet, nutrition, and cooking.
PRASHANTA DELMAR, CAP, RYT
After completing his Ayurvedic studies under Vasant Lad, Prashanta continued his education with Alakananda Ma, the former president of The National Ayurvedic Medical Association. Before coming to Ayurveda, Prashanta lived, taught, and studied at the Sivananda Ashram in New York, where he received training in classical hatha yoga, pranayama, and meditation.
Prashanta’s mission is to bridge these art forms and he often weaves elements of yoga into his Ayurvedic treatment plans to offer additional depth and dimension to those seeking healing.
VRINDA DEVANI, MD, CAP, RYT
Vrinda’s dedication to empowering women towards vibrant health and living shines through in her practice as a board-certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist, and as an Ayurvedic Practitioner. After studying under Vasant Lad, Vrinda followed this passion to Nepal, where she studied Ayurvedic women’s health with Dr. Sarita Shrestha.
Vrinda believes in unfolding the human body’s potential through a blend of complementary and allopathic medicine, and so her approach to healing is always extraordinarily well-rounded and compassionate.
If she’s not off speaking or writing for various prestigious audiences on the intricacies of women’s health, you might find her in the middle of a flow, as Vrinda is a also a lover (and certified instructor) of Ayuryoga.
AMBIKA FRANCO, CAP, RYT
Originally from South Florida, Ambika graduated from Florida International University in 2014, where she was a committed and active student athlete throughout her Bachelors program. From there, Ambika’s educational path turned towards yoga — specifically hatha yoga. Ambika is certified 500 hours in Sampoorna Hatha Yoga, has attained a Yoga Nidra certificate, and is a disciple of Shri Yogi Hari.
Ambika is passionate about understanding and appreciating the beauty of Mother Nature as she journeys through the outer world, while also continuously turning inward to diligently refine and purify the self.
RINA KANSAGARA, CAP, RYT
After graduating from New York University, Rina worked in the world of corporate finance for 11 years until a few health challenges inspired her to seek a balanced path that prioritized her wellness. Following this inspiration across the globe, Rina traveled to India and self-studied Ayurveda. There, she was fortunate enough to shadow an Ayurvedic doctor in Gujarat, India, and also complete a 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training program at Rishukul Yogshala in Rishikesh, India.
After seeing the direct impact of Ayurvedic therapies in India, and finding the balance she was so fervently seeking, Rina is now passionately committed to supporting others on their own paths towards balance.
SHANNON KELLY, CAP, RYT-200
Known and loved for her infallible sense of humor, Shannon is thrilled to be teaching several courses in our Ayurvedic Studies Programs. She herself graduated from the Ayurvedic Institute as an Ayurvedic Lifestyle Consultant and Ayurvedic Practitioner!
When she’s not serving as the Panchakarma Assistant at the Ayurvedic Institute, she’s often teaching the Gurukula Program in collaboration with the VIOA, supervising students at our campus clinic, or seeing clients in need of care.
Shannon’s superpower is her ability to make everyone she meets feel like a dear friend — she brings levity and compassion to her students, clients, and friends, both in and outside of the classroom and clinic.
PRANAV LAD, MD, ND
Pranav has been inspired to integrate modern medicine with the Eastern medical disciplines he had been surrounded by since birth. After first completing a Bachelor of Science in Biology, Pranav went on to receive degrees as a both a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) and a Doctor of Naturopathy (N.D.).
He spent several years as an Assistant Medical Director for a medical solutions company where he thrived training U.S. and international medical students, before going on to join a Naturopathic Medical School where he trained in acupuncture, homeopathy, allopathic medicine, mind-body medicine, and more modalities.
His deep love and appreciation for Sanskrit, which is transmitted through the knowledge he shares in the classroom, originates from his childhood — he learned Devanagri in school and Sanskrit chants from his father. Known for always having a smile on his face, you can expect any interaction with Pranav to contain palpable insight, compassion, and a great deal of levity!
AXELLE LATORTURE, CAP
Originally from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Axelle followed her passion for Ayurveda to New Mexico, where she graduated as an Ayurvedic Practitioner from the Ayurvedic Institute. Before this journey, though, Axelle had a remarkable 10-year run working with overseas governments to help them achieve their education system goals, which her Masters in Foreign Service helped her accomplish.
She had spent several years committed to her practice of Ashtanga yoga before beginning to incorporate Ayurveda as an area of study. When she did, she was inspired and delighted by the close connections between both healing modalities.
The driving force behind her work is the lifelong desire to be of service to her community — Axelle truly thrives in her connection-oriented spaces, whether she’s working one-one-one to help a client on their healing journey, or supporting the next generation of healers by supervising the student clinic.
LESLIE NINO, CAP
Hailing from the small island of Oahu, Leslie’s educational journey began with a dual Bachelor’s degree and has culminated at The Ayurvedic Institute. What brought her from academia here was Vasant Lad’s best-selling book Ayurveda: The Science of Self-Healing. What drew her in was how studying Ayurveda left her empowered with the tools she needed to be proactive in her own self-care.
Leslie believes that having the ability to heal yourself — body, mind, and spirit — is incredibly liberating. With the knowledge of Ayurveda, she hopes to encourage aspiring souls to become active participants in their own healing so that ultimately they, in turn, can heal others as well.
MITESH RAICHADA, CAP
Mitesh’s passion for Ayurveda was first cultivated while studying to become a certified practitioner under Vasant Lad. An enthusiastic and unyielding seeker of knowledge, Mitesh studied Indian philosophy at the Tattvajnana Vidhyapeeth in India, Jyotish with Hart deFouw, holds a Reiki Level 1 certification, and has undertaken intensive clinical immersion programs with Vasant Lad in India.
These days, Mitesh is busy being the Executive Vice President of the Ayurvedic Institute, but before that, he co-founded a highly successful real estate and hospitality company. His zeal for building powerful leaders and creating mindful business cultures overflows into the classrooms he leads with compassion and insight.
When not studying, teaching, or practicing, you can find Mitesh playing his bass guitar or enjoying the limitless beauty of nature.
SNEHA RAICHADA, MPT, CAP, E-RYT-200
Prior to becoming the Dean of Education at the Ayurvedic Institute, Sneha had a remarkable journey as an executive of a thriving hospitality business. Luckily for us, Sneha now focuses all her energy on developing the next generation of Ayurvedic Practitioners and providing thoughtful care for her clients.
While practicing as an Ayurvedic Practitioner, Sneha combines her early experience as a Physical Therapist with extensive classroom and clinical study under Vasant Lad in the US and India, Yoga Teacher Certification, and Reiki III Certification. At the core of Sneha’s work is a powerful dedication to food as a vehicle for healing, nurturing, and bringing people together.
When she has a free moment, Sneha is most often found experimenting with fresh ingredients, applying the deep wisdom of Ayurveda to all her delectable creations.
DIMPLE SETH, CAP
Her journey toward healing began after hearing an intense and irresistible call to Ayurveda during a silent meditation retreat in 2010. Following this calling, she graduated as an Ayurvedic Counselor from Kerala Ayurveda, and as an AyurDoula from Sacred Widow. While at the practice she sat up and ran in Southern California, AyurBalance, Dimple realized that she could better serve her clients if she had more in-depth knowledge and clinical experience — which brought her to The Ayurvedic Institute.
If you can’t find Dimple empowering, educating, and connecting effortlessly with her clients, then she’s probably off gardening, cooking, dancing, or meditating.
NISHITA SHAH, CAP, E-RYT 500, C-IAYT
Before being called to Ayurveda, Nishita received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology at the University of Alabama, and what fascinates her most is how her studies in human psychology overlap with the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda. She feels blessed to have the opportunity to continue her healing education in the latter subject at the Ayurvedic Institute.
Under the tutelage of Vasant Lad, Nishita became both an Ayurvedic Practitioner and an enthusiastic Ayuryoga instructor. Throughout her career, including during the time she spent in her own private practice prior to joining our team, Nishita’s work has been fueled by a devotion to healing through nutrition and yoga.
She also has a deep appreciation for Sanskrit as the mother tongue of all languages, and is both thrilled and honored to bring this love into the classroom.
DAVE YOSS, AP, E-RYT 500
Dave, a kind and highly knowledgeable Ayurvedic Practitioner and Ayurvedic Lifestyle Consultant, is best known for his love and appreciation for plants of all kinds. After graduating from the Ayurvedic Institute and the Gurukula program in Pune, India, Dave began teaching and has been at it for over 5 years. He’s taught an extensive range of topics, including herbology, herbal preparations, yoga, lifestyle practices, clinical practices, and more.
He also teaches yoga and meditation at Sani Yoga in the heart of Albuquerque, and co-leads their Yoga Teacher Training Program. As a master teacher at the Tantric Alchemy Institute in Costa Rica, Dave also co-led their 300-hour Yoga Teacher Training.
If it’s not already clear, Dave loves to teach! Through his teaching, Dave is able to share and transmit knowledge that leaves students empowered — all made possible by the humorous anecdotes and authentic, fun learning environment for which his classes are loved.