Finnish Ayurveda Association was founded in 2013. Our mission is to spread knowledge on Ayurveda in Finland. Finnish Ayurveda Institute has provided professional Ayurveda education since 2015. The next annual meeting will be held in Spring 2017. Invitations in Finnish will be sent via email, association’s Facebook and website. Email address: ayurvedayhdistys(at)gmail.com

Finnish Ayurveda Association and its history

Finnish Ayurveda Association was founded with the mission to promote the knowledge and practice of Ayurveda in Finland for example by training. The founding members were Tarja Aalto, Anitta Korpela, Lana Lavanina, Heidi Nyström, Tony Riikonen, Bhawna Sharma and Ossi Viljakainen. They all have background of international Ayurveda education and have been working with Ayurveda and treating people.

The spearhead project of the association was to establish an educational institute, providing quality occupational education in Ayurveda. This resulted in the founding of the Finnish Ayurveda Institute, which is the first school in Finland and one of the first in Scandinavia providing theoretical Ayurveda education.

A three-year Ayurveda training was conceived, where anybody can start Ayurvedic studies without prior requirements. Each module lasts half an year, and after the student has completed the 1st level,the basic principles of Ayurveda, the student can continue to the 2nd level, which prepares the student with the required skills to work as a health coach giving preventative health counseling. After completing this level, a student can deepen their knowledge on the Level 3 studies, where one graduates as an Ayurvedic consultant, with skills to diagnose and treat diseases through Ayurveda within the scope of finnish regulations and legislation. For instance, one limiting factor is the restricted availability of Ayurvedic medicines and products in Finland.

The core group, Tarja Aalto, Lana Lavanina, Heidi Nyström and Ossi Viljakainen developed a demanding curriculum mainly on volunteer basis. In spring 2015 the first batch of 24 students started the 1st semester of the course. The marketing and administration of the training was done mainly on volunteer labor. The teacher’s salaries, rental expenses of the teaching facilities, course materials were covered by course income. The teachers have also been investing working hours without getting any compensation.

In a similar way, more Level 1 courses have been carried out in autumn 2015 and autumn 2016. Additionally in spring 2016 the 1st Level 2 course, “Ayurveda lifestyle coach” was carried out. Some of the students are already utilizing the knowledge and skills they received as part of their work or entrepreneurship.

Another batch of Level 1 students will start in January 2017, followed by the 2nd batch of Level 2 course. The institute has learned and gained experience regarding course content, as well as their marketing and administration, and therefore the overall quality of the training activities has improved. These courses have had so far about 60 students in total. The Institute has granted a scholarship to a few of them, giving the learning opportunity also for those in financial distress.

Tarja Aalto, Atso Akkanen, Justine Cederberg, Lana Lavanina, Heidi Nyström, Bhawna Sharma and Ossi Viljakainen have worked as teachers. Dr. Akhilesh Sharma has worked as a visiting faculty.

In the spring 2016 the association applied and was granted a full pay subsidy for hiring one person for duration of one year for administrative and marketing tasks. The hired person has been working from home, as the association does not have office space. During this time the association has received over thousand new followers in Facebook, and has successfully published a new website, twitter-account and an email newsletter. The association has also participated the Helsinki Yoga Festival & Zen Expo -fair.

The salary subsidy from the government ends in March 2017. In the association we are currently thinking how to secure smooth continuity of the activities in the future. Besides of marketing and course administration, managing the finances too require skilled staff.

During the present year 2016 the association has participated to a HYVE-forum, a cooperative body of practitioners, therapists, educators, schools and associations of the complementary and alternative medicine field, whose goal is to get an uniform, influential coalition, which would make it possible to begin a true dialogue about the role of complementary therapies in our Finnish society severely burdened by lifestyle disorders and aging population.