Ayurveda for Yoga Teachers: A Q&A with John Douillard

John Douillard, director of the LifeSpa Ayurvedic Health Center in Boulder, Colorado, is a faculty member for the Kripalu Schools. We asked John how Ayurveda can enhance yoga teaching—and life in general.

How can studying Ayurveda empower yoga teachers and enrich their lives?

Imagine being able to look at your students and immediately identify their individual Ayurvedic body types so that you can quickly access their needs. Some types are slower learners and will need more support, while others will need to push less and feel more. With practice, you will gain an instinctive sense of how to tailor your classes to deliver the experience that your students need the most.

Teaching yoga requires physical endurance, mental energy, and the stamina to give energetically to your students, who are looking to you for inspiration. Living the principles of Ayurveda will ensure that you stay inspired, and keep you balanced and vital. Ultimately, Ayurveda is a Vedic science, which means that it is dedicated to revealing your highest, most powerful, and most loving self. Practicing Ayurveda supports you in meeting your students in this way—paying the love forward gracefully and naturally.

What have been the most important gifts for you of practicing Ayurveda?

There’s an old Ayurvedic saying: “When you practice Ayurveda, it’s better for you than it is for your clients.” Ayurveda offers the gifts of living in a healthy body, freedom from emotional baggage, and learning how to have a still, calm mind.

What are some of the advantages of studying Ayurveda at Kripalu?

The best way to learn Ayurveda is from people who practice it. Having a cross-section of Ayurvedic experts teaching at Kripalu allows students to learn and own Ayurvedic knowledge and become independent thinkers about Ayurveda—which is the best way to develop the field’s future leaders.

What excites you about sharing Ayurveda with yoga teachers?

To speak to students who already love yoga and are interested in Ayurveda is a rare treat. I get to watch that interest grow into a lifelong passion for Ayurveda.

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