Ayurveda School Faculty

  • Shala Worsley, BA, LMBT, e-RYT 500

    Director

    Shala opened the Asheville School of Massage & Yoga in 2005. She splits her time between directing and teaching at the massage school and leading weekly yoga classes and training yoga instructors at her other “home,” the Asheville Yoga Center. She studied Ayurveda with the well-renowned Drs. Suhas and Manisha Kshirsagar. Shala holds a BA with Honors in Anthropology from Wesleyan University and is passionate about sharing the ancient Indian healing modality of Ayurveda with her students.

  • Vishnu Dass, NTS, LMBT, A.D.

    Dean of Education and Lead Instructor

    Vishnu Dass started studying Ayurveda in 1992 under the guidance of Dr. Vasant Lad, world renowned Ayurvedic physician and teacher, and graduated from the Advanced Studies and Clinical Program at the Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque, NM. He worked for the Panchakarma Department of the Institute while finishing his studies, and also graduated from the New Mexico School of Natural Therapeutics. He is a former Board Member of the National Ayurvedic Medical Association and is the owner of Blue Lotus Ayurveda in Asheville, NC.

  • Ryan Strong

    Instructor

    Ryan Strong is an Ayurveda practitioner, and Director & Owner of Sun Canyon Ayurveda in Sacramento CA. Ryan has studied Ayurveda extensively under Dr. Marc Halpern, & with pulse master Dr. Mary Jo Cravatta. He is an Ayurvedic Clinical Specialist graduate from the California College of Ayurveda. Ryan taught Ayurvedic diagnostics level 1 & level 2 for CCA, and was an on-site and off-site internship supervisors for CCA for three years. Ryan teaches Kriya Yoga, and is a minister for the Center for Spiritual Awareness, ordained by Roy Eugene Davis, a direct disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda.

  • Indu Arora, MD (AM), ND, BMHS, IYT

    Instructor

    Indu Arora is an Ayurveda-Yoga Therapist and Master Teacher. She is the author of “Yoga-Ancient Heritage Tomorrows Vision” and “Mudra-The Sacred Secret.” Recipient of the “Ayurveda Yoga Gem,” “Ray of Hope,” “Jewel of India,” “Jewel of Yoga,” and “Sage” awards for her contribution to Yoga and Ayurveda, Indu’s philosophy is “Nothing has the greatest power to heal, but Self”.

  • Marek Sawicki, CAyu, LMBT, RYT 500

    Instructor

    Marek is currently co–director with his wife Uma of Living Alchemy Ayurveda and the Director of the AB-TECH Therapeutic Massage Program in Asheville, NC. He is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner by the Ayurvedic Institue under Dr. Vasant Lad., and has completed a two year clinical internship in Pancha karma and internal medicine under Dr. Alekananda Devi. Marek’s combined yoga therapy, bodywork, and Ayurvedic medical experience invoke deeply transformational workshops that touch the true heart of healing and inspire students to carry on the living art of ayurveda in their daily lives.

  • Amy Uma Thompson, CAyu, LMBT

    Instructor

    Uma is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner, Licensed Massage Therapist, Clinical Western Herbalist, Yoga Instructor, and Certified Ayurvedic Postpartum Doula, studying and practicing Ayurvedic medicine since 1999. She has studied at three leading schools of Ayurveda in the US, including The Ayurvedic Institute with Dr. Vasant Lad. Uma is an integrative, holistic practitioner specializing in women’s health, menstrual health, fertility, pregnancy and postpartum. She also has expertise in nutrition, digestive issues, cleansing and renewal protocols. In her bodywork practice, Uma has treated acute and chronic pain conditions, as well as traumatic injuries with a specialty in Neuromuscular Massage, and Crainosacral Therapy. She also offers Thai Massage and Yoga Therapy.

  • John Joseph Immel

    Instructor

    John started his career with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Harvard University. He first discovered Ayurveda while working on public health and service projects in South Asia and the Middle East. He is the founder of leading Ayurvedic dieting website JoyfulBelly.com and is the director of the Joyful Belly Diet and Digestion Clinic in Asheville, NC. He studied Ayurveda under Dr. Vasant Lad and in India.

  • Ryan Kurczak

    Instructor

    Ryan graduated from Fairmont State University in 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and minor in Philosophy. After college he completed training with the American Institute of Vedic Studies and the European Institute of Vedic Studies in the subjects of Ayurveda and Jyotish. Ryan has studied Vedic Astrology with Dr. Frawely, director of the American Institute of Vedic Studies, Richard Fish, founder of the Center for Vedic Astrological Studies and Ernst Wilhelm. Ryan was ordained in 2005 by a direct disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda to teach Kriya Yoga and currently works with clients and students in North America and Europe through Asheville Vedic Astrology.

  • Jennifer Rioux, PhD, C-AP, C-IAYT

    Instructor

    Jennifer Rioux holds a PhD in medical and cultural Anthropology. She teaches and conducts research on Ayurveda, Yoga and Integrative Medicine. Dr. Rioux provides patient care and practitioner mentorship in-person and via Skype.  She has practiced Ayurveda and yoga therapy since 2000.  Dr. Rioux has received a National Institutes of Health (NIH) fellowship and worked with Dr. Weil’s Center for Integrative medicine at the University of Arizona Medical School. She is certified in Ayurveda and yoga therapy at the highest levels and serves on the Board of the National Ayurvedic Medical Association and the Advisory Board of the International Association of Yoga Therapists.

  • Sue Wilson, MS

    Dean of Students and Registrar

    Sue received her BS in Business and MS in HR, Training & Development from National Louis University. Sue is a nationally certified massage therapist and enjoys her role assisting students at the Asheville School of Massage & Yoga.