The Living Ayurveda Internship (LAI) is an immersive program committed to inspiring the holistic stewardship of both our health and the environment through nature-based farming and Ayurveda training. LAI is an Ayurvedic and organic farming internship where interns explore key concepts of Ayurveda while gaining hands-on experience with medicinal herb and vegetable cultivation.
LAI is a 7-week intensive program at Banyan Farm in Williams, Oregon, blending together Ayurveda and herbalism in a field-based setting. Our interns walk away from LAI with a better understanding of Ayurveda, a deeper relationship with nature and their own personal health, and the skills to practice bioregional Ayurveda in their own home environments.
This program is rigorous: interns need to be prepared physically and mentally to immerse themselves in the program and in community, working, learning, and living alongside other like-minded individuals.
Program Sessions and Dates
We offer two 7-week internships per year.
May 18th–July 4th
August 24th–October 10th
Tending the Farm
Interns spend Monday through Thursday working alongside the Banyan Farm team, at an average of 25 hours each week. There is occasional Saturday work at local farmers’ markets. Each day is dynamic, with many opportunities to learn.
While incredibly rewarding, this work is demanding. Interns must be in good physical condition and prepared to work in all weather conditions, rain or shine.
Farm tasks include: seeding, weeding, harvesting, compost making, washing plant material, working at farmers’ markets, CSA gathering, apothecary and dry room maintenance, and general grounds keeping.
In the Classroom
Classes are offered on weekday evenings and weekends throughout the internship, averaging 10–18 hours of learning time each week.
Offerings include: basic Ayurveda training that covers Ayurvedic philosophy, history, and practice; cultivation of Ayurvedic medicinals; wildcrafting; botany; plant meditations; herbal medicine making; nutrition and cooking; yoga; practitioner skills; body systems; Sanskrit; Vedic astrology; Agnihotra; and much more. This curriculum honors indigenous traditions and builds awareness of movements for the decolonization of Ayurveda and Yoga, as well as the universal needs for social, economic, racial, and food justice. Take a look at our sample calendar.
“This internship is life changing. It’s something one needs to experience to understand, and everyone will walk (skip, dance, frolic) away with something really special that colors and informs the rest of their existence. If I could do it all over again, and again, I would in a heartbeat. Everyone who feels called to the LAI program will need to know that it’s not easy. You’ll be called to step up and be your best self in every situation and interaction.”
About Our Teachers
LAI teachers include Ayurvedic practitioners, farmers, herbalists, astrologers, yoga teachers, and regional experts. Collectively, they weave their passions and skills into this comprehensive offering.
Meet the Faculty
Ali comes from a varied background ranging from farming, gardening, and herbalism, to yoga and martial arts, to social justice, community organizing and facilitation that spans over 25 years and several continents. She has a passion for the interconnection of people and plants and the wellbeing of both.
Ali grew up in Ohio and earned her Bachelor of Philosophy in Interdisciplinary Studies from the Western College Program at Miami University, where she worked on her first organic farm. She went on to organize around social justice in Cincinnati while working with youth in urban gardens and helping to open a hip hop youth arts center. After suffering from activism burnout, Ali moved to California where she deepened her yoga, martial arts, and natural healing studies. Her herbalism background includes Ayurvedic as well as Traditional Chinese and Western herbalism, studying with the East West School of Planetary Herbology.
She is very grateful to now be at Banyan Farm which encompasses so many of her interests and passions. Ali is also grateful and excited to have the opportunity to witness to the inevitable growth of the LAI interns and BAI students alongside the continued growth of Banyan Farm.
Alicia Lynn Diaz
Alicia Lynn Diaz lives a life dedicated to sharing the beauty of Ayurveda with open-hearted seekers of natural healing and authentic living. A certified Ayurvedic Health Practitioner and Clinical Physiologist, she currently focuses her professional practice on Ayurvedic Psychology, trauma healing, and resolving chronic illnesses rooted in emotional disturbance.
She takes a warm, inviting approach to teaching and counseling that many experience as uplifting, empowering, and transformational in many areas of life. She is grateful and deeply indebted to her mentors of Ayurveda, Vaidyas Pankaj Naram, Vasant Lad and Nuva Yeetah, Dr. Claudia Welch, her spiritual teachers, her family, and her family’s native lands of Puerto Rico and the Philippines.
Anja is a Clinical Herbalist, Nutritionist, Ayurvedic Health Counselor, Integrative Women’s Health Practitioner, INNATE Postpartum Care Provider, Apprentice Midwife, and founder of Mana Medicinals, a wellness company focused around all things Women’s health.
Anja is passionate about community-based herbalism and empowerment through education. She believes in food as medicine, the healing power of plants, and creating sustainable lifestyle practices that support thriving life. Her teachings and private practice weave together traditional western herbalism, holistic nutrition, functional medicine, and the wisdom of Ayurveda. She lives half of the year in Southern Oregon, and the other half on the Oaxacan Coast in Mazunte Mexico, offering her services in both places.
Anja has studied with Jon Carlson, Sajah Popham, DeAnna Batdorff, Matthew Wood, Rachelle Garcia Seliga, Dr. Aviva Romm, and Todd Caldecott, as well as many others. She is eternally grateful for their teachings, wisdom and guidance throughout the years.
Balarama Chandra roots his professional practice in the light of Ayurvedic Psychology and emphasizes habit reformation through emphasizing positive expression. He utilizes the simple therapeutic means of yoga, breath, and diet. He loves facilitating the conversation of self transformation and dharma via personal counseling, educational trainings, and experiential immersions. Balarama is a true pleasure to study with as he has the dynamic ability to make the seemingly complicated - practical, humorous and exciting. Balarama currently lives in Southern Oregon on a simple farm growing food, and tending to cows while making lots of long phone calls on and off the bicycle.
Beverly graduated from The Ayurvedic Institute in 2016 as an Ayurvedic Practitioner and 500- hour Ayurvedic Yoga Instructor. She is a professional member of the National Ayurvedic Medical Association (NAMA) and worked in the Herb Department at The Ayurvedic Institute compounding Dr. Vasant Lad’s herbal formulas. Beverly offers Ayurvedic consultations and treatments with Siskiyou Ayurveda in downtown Ashland, Oregon to support Southern Oregon’s local community. She also practices Ayurveda through her personal practice, Shine Ayurveda, to the greater community.
Beverly has over 10 years of experience with herbal medicine, including compounding traditional Ayurvedic herbal medicine and jams, managing an Apothecary for a local Naturopathic cancer clinic, and running an organic herb farm in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. She holds a B.A. in Religious Studies from the College of Charleston, SC with a focus on sacred text, including those held in the lineage of Ayurveda. Inspired by her mother’s personal healing experience with Ayurveda, she was led to Albuquerque, NM to study with Dr. Lad.
With a passion for exploring the outdoors, Beverly is inspired by her surrounding environment and incorporates her observations of nature into her work. She can be found caring for her land, studying Ayurveda, or hiking around Southern Oregon. Her time organic farming complements her take on nutrition and diet and supports her in sharing that knowledge with others.
Cassandra Black has a deep appreciation for those that count their days in acres, not hours. She is a lover of plants, farmers, wildcrafters, herb nerds and wild untamed natural spaces. Cassandra has been a herb buyer now for the last decade, immersing herself in the world of medicinal herb sourcing from around the world. Her passion falls in supporting the organic cultivation of more medicinal species with growers here in the US. Some of her greatest teachers have been the farmers and wildcrafters with whom she's met along her professional herbal journey. As a buyer, she believes that every herb has its own sourcing story. As do the people who work hard farming and collecting them. In honoring this, she's come to learn that the plants themselves are really our greatest teachers of all.
Cassandra currently serves as the Domestic Sourcing and Purchasing Manager for Banyan Botanicals. She has been with Banyan since late 2020 and oversees the procurement of all of Banyan's domestically sourced ingredients. She previously helped organize the Breitenbush Herbal Conference for eight years, one of the longest running herbal conferences in North America. While organizing the Breitenbush Conference, she had the good fortune of learning from a diverse group of herbalists from different disciplines such as Cascade Anderson Geller, Rosemary Gladstar, Jane Bothwell, Michael Tierra, Christopher Hobbs, Ryan Drum, Rosita Arvigo, and many others.
Although born in the Midwest, Cassandra has found her home among the Klamath mountains, Siskiyou forests and serpentine soils of Southern Oregon. She's a decade long resident of Williams, where she currently resides with her husband, stepson, and beloved cat friends.
Cassidy Acacia, E-RYT 200, RYT 500, YACEP, has been on the yogic path for 20 years and teaching since 2004. Her dynamic approach to yoga is a synthesis of her in-depth studies of: Iyengar and Prajna Yoga, Ayurveda, Insight Meditation, and Poetry.
Cassidy's classes focus on healthy alignment of the physical body and sensitive attunement to the subtle body. She brings a sense of humor, earthiness, and clarity to her teachings as well as deep reverence for the practice. She weaves mantra, philosophy, and elemental theory into her classes, teacher training, and private yoga sessions.
She served as core faculty at the Hawthorn Institute from 2014–2019.
Jeff is the Lead Formulator and lab guru for new product development at Banyan Botanicals. He is a naturalist, botanist, and alchemical seeker. He has worked and been trained under the guidance of Sajah Popham and completed the herbal field studies program at The Hawthorn Institute in 2019.
He has been on the pursuit of botanical and fungal studies for almost the last 2 decades. He has been exploring the myriad of ways to work and interact with the natural world professionally and as a lifestyle. His breadth of wisdom and experience range from a Bachelor’s degree in Botany, entheogenic spiritual studies, western herbalism, yoga, Ayurveda, natural foods and produce, gardening, permaculture, landscaping, developing a food business and most recently pursuing the alchemical arts and medicine crafting.
Jeff is fascinated about the creation, transformation and preservation of plant and fungal medicine and continues to learn about modern extraction technology while remembering sacred traditions.
Kelsi is a community herbalist and medicinal herb farmer.
She integrates her knowledge of Ayurveda and Western herbalism by working with local plants through an Ayurvedic lens. She is passionate about empowering people to take their health into their own hands and hopes to inspire those around her to reconnect with wild spaces and their own inner ecology.
Kelsi has studied at Hawthorn Institute and The dhyana Center and is currently working toward her Ayurvedic Health Counselor certification.
Keshari Das is a Brooklyn-based Ayurvedic Practitioner, offering traditional bodywork and educational workshops. She comes from a family of satyagrahis – nonviolent freedom fighters in India’s independence movement – and her early exposure to Gandhian principles inspired her exploration along paths of mindful practice. She has devoted herself to lifelong study of Ayurveda and is committed to sharing the teachings of this empowering wisdom tradition in an inclusive, antiracist, accessible, and sustainable manner.
Keshari has immersed in studies with Vasant Lad, MASc, and faculty, Dr. Claudia Welch, Dr. Robert Svoboda, Karen Rose, Tyler Wauters, and the inaugural cohort of the Living Ayurveda Internship, amongst many beloved others. Now she is grateful to serve with Ali Mramor as LAI Co-Coordinator.
Otherwise, Keshari can often be found wandering the east coast, accompanying her partner in the practice of kirtan. In between, she dabbles in design and illustration, and dotes on her dog.
Rayne Zaughsome has been “wanderin’ off” and “goofin’ around” for roughly four decades. Most content when in the out-of-doors, his kinesthetic curiosities have bade him belly down through the dirt, fleet-footing along logjams, and to general jungle gym-ery wherever he can find it.
He draws from facilitation experiences in wild and semi-wild settings that range from deep nature immersion, restoration and service learning, to backyard micro-ventures.
Rayne has been a long time student of biological mechanics, natural structures, and dynamic relationships. He is a graduate of the Wilderness Awareness School’s Immersion and Nature Instructor Training Programs. He is a certified instructor in Shaolin kung fu and Silver Sneakers fitness programs. He holds an AAS in Sustainable Construction and Design. And he loves dancing, funk, disco, and hip-hop.
Sarah Dunfee is a NAMA Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner. She graduated from the Ayurvedic Practitioners Program at The Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a few years after completing the Ayurvedic Counselors Program at the Ayurvedic College for Wellbeing in Rincon, Puerto Rico. Sarah apprenticed in Panchakarma at the Ayurvedic College for Wellbeing while completing her studies and participated in Ayurvedic Therapies Training at Vaidyagrama Healing Village in Coimbatore, India.
In addition to Ayurveda, Sarah holds two 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training Certificates: one in Ashtanga Vinyasa Primary Series from Ashtanga Yoga Mysore in Mysore, India and one in Yoga Inbound from the Yoga Inbound school in Vrindavan, India.
Sarah works as an Instructor and Student Advisor of Ayurveda for the Chopra Health Programs and writes articles for the company editorial. She currently gives Ayurvedic consultations and treatments at Siskiyou Ayurveda in Ashland, Oregon.
Tesia Love is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner (NAMACB) from Charlotte, NC where she practices as a Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist, Clinical Herbalist, 500-hour Yoga Teacher, and Licensed Massage & Bodywork Therapist. She has studied Ayurveda for nearly 20 years, and spent the past seven years professionally helping her clients transform their health through this ancient science.
Tesia is a graduate of the California College of Ayurveda, Duke Integrative Medicine’s Integrative Health Coach training, and numerous other training and mentorship programs with top teachers of Ayurveda and herbalism.
Tesia spent two years working as Membership Manager for the National Ayurvedic Medical Association, and served as Chair of the Membership Committee and Continuing Education Sub-committee. She currently serves as Chair of NAMA's Diversity & Inclusion Committee.
Tommy Redding is a dirt worshipper, naturalist, educator, and farmer.
Tommy has been growing food and medicine in the Williams area for the past 10 years, and for the past 7 years has worked closely with new farmers to train the next generation of homesteaders and food producers. He is passionate about strengthening local food systems, building soil, and the connections between the plants of the farm and the wild plants of our surrounding bioregion. Tommy finds daily inspiration in the personal transformation that he has seen take place in the garden and seeks to support others in creating a deeper connection with their bodies and the source of their sustenance.
Tyler is the Plant Education Director at Banyan Botanicals, a place-based herbalist, Ayurvedic practitioner, and founder of Hawthorn Institute.
Tyler has devoted his life to the practice of bioregional Ayurveda and community herbalism. He brings his passion and knowledge of nature into everything he shares. Tyler’s intention is to ignite deeper connections to place, people, and plants.
Tyler has studied with Vasant Lad, MASc, Dr. Claudia Welch, Sonia Masocco, Isla Burgess, 7song, and Frank Cook. He thanks all of his mentors for sharing life’s wisdom.
Valerie currently works as the administrator for Banyan Farm and before that spent two years in the field as a farm tender alongside the intern groups. She loves being able to help students and interns find what excites them about healing and the natural world. She is originally from Wisconsin and spent much of her life moving along the West Coast before settling down in Southern Oregon. She has now been in the Applegate Valley for 7 years.
Valerie has an Environmental Sciences B.S. degree from U.C. Santa Barbara. She continued on to study Western Herbalism at the California School of Herbal Studies and also received her certification for Clinical Herbalism from Hawthorn Institute. Valerie also spent several years co-operating Rogue Herbalism, a local non-profit pop-up herbal clinic. She has spent much of her adult life studying plant medicines and working on farms from California to Alaska.
Valerie is inspired to help make herbalism accessible to everyone and enjoys helping people find ways to bring more plant medicines into their kitchens and homes. She loves having a good laugh, sharing stories with friends, and learning from the world around her—including all of you lovely people who travel from far and wide to visit us at the farm! The intern program is very special and Valerie is honored to share in the journey with you.
Dormitory-style housing is provided in a large environmentally-friendly straw-bale home located on Banyan Farm. A monthly fee of $150 goes toward a communal food fund. Interns are responsible for their own transportation. We strongly recommend interns have health insurance or set aside an emergency medical fund for the duration of the program.
How to Apply
Enrollment for 2024 is open! To apply, fill out and submit an application to email@example.com. Applications for both sessions are due December 3, 2023.
Download the Application
“LAI could be one the most impactful experiences of your life. With the way that Ayurveda, herbalism, farming, and community are so intentionally woven together, this program provides such a beautiful and strong foundation for carrying forth and sharing the ideals of whole-istic well-being. I have been blessed by this program and I'm so excited to see where this newly attained knowledge will take me!”
About Banyan Farm
Banyan Farm is a 20-acre certified organic farm in Williams, Oregon. Partners of Banyan Botanicals, they practice sustainable and regenerative agricultural practices and support overall biodiversity. All vegetables and herbs grown by our partners at Banyan Farm are ethically grown, harvested, and filled with the vitality of the land and the people who nurture them.
Learn more about the farm, including the history, the region, and all that they offer.
“Over 10 short weeks we learned how to become responsible steward of our lands and to reflect more deeply through the lens in which we view each other and world. This program is a link that weaves ancient practices into our daily lives while advocating for the nurturing of mother earth in a way that is sustainable and fosters real change. This program encouraged each of us to take a step back, breathe, and reconnect with nature and our origins.”
Frequently Asked Questions
- Who is this internship designed for?
- What qualifications do I need?
- Why is the program 7 weeks?
- What can I expect living communally for 7 weeks?
- Can I attend both sessions in a year?
- What is the difference between the two sessions?
- Can I have other commitments during this internship?
- Are there volunteer or job opportunities on the Banyan Farm after I complete the internship?
- Do I need a vehicle?
- What internet or phone access will I have while at the farm?
1. Who is this internship designed for?
This is a great opportunity for those who are interested in an immersive program and want to connect with nature as they experience organic farming, learn Ayurveda, receive some herbalist training, build their yoga practice with a focus on Ayurveda yoga, learn wildcrafting, and much more.
2. What qualifications do I need?
Because of the intensity of this program, you need to be mentally and physically fit and ready for rigorous immersion on the farm, in the class, and in communal housing.
In addition, we look for individuals who are sincerely interested in and enthusiastic about Ayurveda and herbs, and have some experience in working outdoors.
3. Why is the program 7 weeks?
This length of time allows interns to experience a full immersion, learn a substantial amount of information, and endure the intensity of the program. It also allows those outside the US to participate under a tourist visa.
4. What can I expect living communally for 7 weeks?
Dormitory-style living arrangements are provided for all interns in a beautiful eco-friendly home located on Banyan Farm. While not all meals will be shared communally, most dinners will be.
Interns will have some weekends off to take care of themselves, explore the region, study, and rest.
5. Can I attend both sessions in a year?
No, it is only possible to attend one session.
6. What is the difference between the two sessions?
The curriculum is largely the same for the spring and summer internships. The farm work changes with the seasons and the plants.
It is important for interns to be prepared for our Oregon seasons—spring and fall can be cold and wet, while summer can be very hot and dry.
7. Can I have other commitments during this internship?
Considering this program is a full-time commitment for 7 weeks, it is not possible to participate in other programs.
8. Are there volunteer or job opportunities on Banyan Farm after I complete the internship?
While possible, additional opportunities on the farm are rare.
9. Do I need a vehicle?
You don’t, although you will be living rurally and would need to depend on others if you want to responsibly explore beyond Williams.
10. What internet or phone access will I have while at the farm?
Cell service is sporadic and unreliable at the Farm; internet will be available.