About Susan

Susan Bernhardt founded Essence Ayurveda for her holistic healing work in 2012. 

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 four, 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 in 2009. 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) and graduated from that program in 2012 with certifications to practice Ayurveda, Yoga Therapy, and Panchakarma. Upon graduation, she founded Essence Ayurveda for her her holistic healing work and began studying additional healing arts as well. What began as a break from a standard gym workout became an unexpected but highly rewarding career change, from practicing law to holistic healing.

Susan began her Tibetan Cranial therapy training in 2012, has been a Practitioner since 2014, and now is a Tibetan Cranial Teacher as well. In 2013, she graduated from the Denver Integrative Massage School's 600-hour program specializing in Thai Yoga Massage. She is a Licensed Massage Therapist in Colorado and in St. Paul and New Brighton, Minnesota. In 2015, Susan was 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 in 2016 received an additional Reiki Master Teacher certification from a Master Teacher trained through the teachings of William Rand. Continuing her Ayurveda studies, Susan received certification as an Advanced Ayurvedic Practitioner from Ayurved Sadhana Vidyalaya in 2019. 

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

Susan teaches in Ayurved Sadhana Vidyala's Ayurvedic Practitioner programs. She also has been an Affiliate Faculty member at Metropolitan State University of Denver, where she taught an upper-level Ayurveda course in the Integrative Therapeutic Practices program until she moved to Minnesota. She also taught in Axis Yoga Trainings' yoga teacher training programs, and has been a guest lecturer at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical School, Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine, the Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and other forums. 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 as a Director from 2014 to 2019 . She previously served on the Board of the Colorado Ayurvedic Medical Association (COLORAMA) as well as its Advisory Board.  

You can read an interview of Susan in the online Voyage Denver magazine here.

Call or email for more information or to schedule an appointment, or make an appointment online at Schedule an Appointment.


NAMA Board Certified Ayurveda Practitioner

Photo: Arabian Sea, Palghar, Maharashtra, India, by Susan Bernhardt, 3/2017