About Susan

Susan Bernhardt founded Essence Ayurveda for her holistic healing work.

Susan began practicing yoga when she wandered into a yoga class at her gym one day, out of curiosity and as a break from her standard cardio machine / weight-lifting workout. One yoga class led to another, and another. Before long, yoga asana classes entirely replaced her gym workouts. Yet Susan found that she could still keep up with others hiking up Colorado 14ers, her muscle tone and strength improved along with flexibility, and her SI joint, which had been a problem since she was five, became more stable while her scoliosis (for which she wore a back brace throughout high school) decreased.

The yoga classes, while providing great benefit, seemed to hint that there is much more to yoga than asana. Wanting to learn more but without intending to become a yoga teacher or give up her career as a lawyer, Susan enrolled as a student in Axis Yoga Teacher Trainings. The program is strongly grounded in classical yoga and introduced Susan to Ayurveda. From there, Susan and her husband began working with an Ayurveda practitioner on their own concerns, and experienced remarkable results from some very simple Ayurvedic practices. 

Feeling increasingly drawn to yoga and Ayurveda, Susan enrolled in the yoga therapy and Ayurveda program at the Rocky Mountain Institute of Yoga and Ayurveda (RMIYA). What began as a break from a standard gym workout has now become an unexpected but highly rewarding career change, from practicing law to holistic healing through Ayurveda, yoga, Tibetan Cranial, Reiki, and Thai Yoga Massage.

As a graduate of RMIYA's 1500-hour program, Susan holds certifications from RMIYA to practice Ayurveda, yoga therapy, and pancha karma. She holds a 500-hour yoga teacher certification from Axis Teacher Trainings. Susan also is a Tibetan Cranial Practitioner. She is a graduate of the Denver Integrative Massage School 600-hour program specializing in Thai Yoga Massage and is a Colorado Licensed Massage Therapist. Susan has been certified as a Reiki Master Teacher in the Raku Kei Reiki lineage, which has roots in Tibetan, Indian, and other forms of healing through pranic energy, and has received an additional Reiki Master Teacher certification from a Master Teacher trained through the teachings of William Rand. 

Susan served as President of the Tibetan Cranial Association, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit entity dedicated to the ancient healing art of Tibetan Cranial, from 2015 through 2017, and she continues to serve as the organization's Treasurer.
She is an Affiliate Faculty member at Metropolitan State University of Denver, where she teaches an upper-level Ayurveda course within the Integrative Therapeutic Practices major. She also teaches in Axis Yoga Trainings' yoga teacher training programs, and has been a guest lecturer at the Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine and the Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine. She previously served on the Board of the Colorado Ayurvedic Medical Association (COLORAMA). Susan teaches Yoga Therapy for Ayurveda Practitioners at Ayurved Sadhana Vidyalaya, an Ayurvedic teaching institute. 

Susan is Board-Certified as an Ayurvedic Practitioner by the National Ayurvedic Medical Association (NAMA), with a scope of practice that includes pathology and disease management as well as preventive healthcare and health promotion using diet and lifestyle. She is a C-IAYT Certified Yoga Therapist with the International Association of Yoga Therapists, and holds an RYT-500 designation from Yoga Alliance. 

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Denver, Colorado (Cherry Creek North)

NAMA Board Certified Ayurveda Practitioner