My belief is that we are all seekers. We may not always be aware of the path, but I believe it is so. In the process of my own seeking I came across the yoga videos first, and then the yoga/ayurvedic website of Yogi Cameron. Here I found a wealth of mental, emotional, medical and spiritual material that I have not seen in many free access websites. How newly acquired information can assist the autism awareness community is a main focus for me, so as I was reading one of Yogi Cameron’s blog entries, I was suddenly intrigued to understand the way yogi’s, and ayurvedic practitioners, view the treatment of autism and autistic-like symptoms. My request was submitted for a set of interviews with the Yogi and was graciously accepted, for which I am truly grateful.To give a bit of background for Yogi Cameron, I present a portion of his bio from the Huffington Post where he posted the blog entry The 'New You' in the New Year in January, 2009.
Kathleen: Yogi Cameron thank you so much for bringing your wisdom and insight to the urgent concern of autism in the world and its statistically significant rise during the past few years. This is of course a topic that has touched and concerns many, and I appreciate your bringing clarity to those areas possible.
Yogi Cameron: I do not bring my opinion to people but just follow the Ayurvedic and Yogic teachings of the Gurus and Sages as these were learned and aware beings far more advanced than I. One does not need to reinvent the wheel only learn to use it. Nature has already been created and we just need to learn how to follow its perfect laws and make good use of it. Also Yoga and Ayurveda work on the physical, mental and spiritual levels, so autism or any other issues which western medicine may call abnormal are just viewed as an individual functioning from another energetic level. From the spiritual point of view what the western culture views as a problem to fix, we see this not as abnormal but normal to the individual. In our society we tend to compartmentalize everything and everyone so our intellect can understand things. We can not understand autism intellectually, emotionally or rationally. We need to observe.
Kathleen: Understood. Yogi Cameron, within the autism awareness community there are many viewpoints regarding causes of autism and autistic-like symptoms. If you would like to discuss causes, please do so, but my focus is rather on curing and/or easing the syndrome and the symptoms. Please correct me if I am mistaken, but my understanding is that Ayurveda views the body as an energy grid, and that basically disease of the body occurs when any part of this grid experiences a disruption of energetic flow. Be that the case, how might this apply to a small child with the diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder?
Ayurveda and Yoga view the body as one large energy field that needs to flow each moment otherwise it will encounter blockages that need to be cleared. We all as children come into the world through parents that are creating and generating certain energy and this energy helps to create the fetus. Because of the western view of autism much of the time the mother or both parents feel responsible for doing something wrong and feel it is their fault the child is ‘abnormal.’ As we all come into the world through certain parents to live an individual existence and carry our own Karma, there are certain things we can change and things we can’t. But the things which we can’t change are not viewed as negative but for us to learn from. Here we grow spiritually no matter what energy we came into the world with. As we do not view autism as an abnormality (as Ayurveda defines normal as an individual trait and not a collective one) we see the child as having different energy and not abnormal or strange disease. It is a flaw in your system called society that we have built a word ‘normal’ and try to fit everyone into it.
That is why now we have a child who loses focus so we diagnose them with ADD and try to medicate them instead of calm them down with the correct diet, sleeping times, exercise and attention. As modern science only diagnoses with the eyes, the flow of energy or the lack of it is missed on the invisible level. This energy is seen and felt by the other senses and our intuition. As there are 72,000 channels in the body and 108 more prominent ones, the energy has to be flowing continuously to avoid health issues. Depending on the development and health of these channels an individual will operate with different energy.
Kathleen: At your website, I found a very interesting quote regarding children that I would like to share now. “CHILDREN. They are said to be the future but are forgotten at the present. We must bring them into the world, watch over them and give them all that they need without placing on them our insecurities and fears, otherwise the future will continue to be as it is now- full of pain and broken hearts, disease and unhappiness. First we should work on our fears and to rid ourselves of limitations and the insecurities that were passed on to us by our parents, then we can help to bring into the world loving human beings- not visa versa.”Without implying blame or guilt, because never would we insinuate that parents have brought an autism spectrum disorder upon their children, how do you feel the environment adds to or takes away from the severity of autism symptoms in the home and school environment. Energetically how do the thought processes and emotions of the environment interact with the already existing condition. More pointedly, what is within the supervising educator or parent’s sphere of influence on an energetic level. Your opinion on this I value greatly, along with the yogic teachings and ayurveda.
Yogi Cameron: Absolutely children are no different, they are also human. Each person comes into the world with a certain amount of different elements (doshas) and this makes them susceptible to being out of balance from the opposite doshas. The health of the body is a subtle balance of these elements which are disturbed and become in or out of balance depending on what we eat, what we talk about, how we think etc. We are a product of our habits, lifestyle, the food we eat and the thoughts we have This dictates our behavior. A child with more or less of one or two elements will need to be balanced in the third dosha. Here diet plays a big role.
Kathleen: In general, Yogi Cameron, What do you feel to be the most critical practice and/or observances for parents and educators to remember, in order to facilitate the optimum functioning of the children in their care.
Yogi Cameron: To remember that the child feels ‘normal’ until we make it feel any different. Then to observe them and how they relate to the world. If the main objective of the parent changes from being a parent to trying to make their child ‘normal’ then this places a lot of pressure on the family as a whole. After observing the actions and reactions of the child there should be some interaction on their level, which is what they relate to most and to introduce other levels of interaction and practices like Yoga, Ayurvedic treatments and dietary changes from processed, canned, left over and packaged foods to natural nutrition.
I know there are many different ways that autistic children receive classes and education which are great, we should also remember not to over load a small being with too many distractions where they become compartmentalized or ‘rehabilitated’ for hours a day. This alone can make a child feel very different.Then for the child to also spend time with others of the same mental age and others of different mental capacity to get the same equal amount of experiences.
Unfortunately we do not view each other as humans but personalities on the surface, otherwise when we encounter others who are different we would enjoy them and not try to ‘fix’ them. In many villages I have been to in countries like India these children are left alone to experience the life and Karma they came in to this life to live, which is true of all of us.
Kathleen: Yogi Cameron, thank you so much. Please tell us a bit about your private practice and what you have to offer the community. In particular, please elaborate as to whether consultation with you, either in person or via email or skype, might benefit a family seeking additional assistance with the over all program of their child on the autism spectrum. Also, whether you would consider doing a consultation for groups of families in a specific area in order to somewhat diffuse the cost, as many families already operate on an extremely tight budget for many, many reasons.
Yogi Cameron: I generally work by coming to a person’s home and consulting with them as this environment is where an individual or family feels more comfortable. I can also get a sense of how they relate to their personal environment. If I am not in the same city I do consultations over the phone as well as have the person fill out an Ayurvedic questionnaire which gives me details of their habits and lifestyle. I am always open to suggestions and opportunities to work with different people as people usually pick me as I do not advertise my services. Here is where energy is at work.
Kathleen: Thank you again for your time, attention and thoughtful answers. Adding the age old ayurvedic wisdom to the ongoing autism conversation, will be a benefit to many. I look forward to future exchanges dealing with health, wellness and spirituality.
For further information regarding Yoga and Ayurvedic principles, please visit the site of Yogi Cameron at: www.YogiCameron.com
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Stigma hinders efforts to combat leprosy in India
9 Mar 2014 | 5:46 am
TAHIRPUR, India (AP) — At first, Ashok Yadav ignored the patches of pink skin on his arm. But when pale sores erupted on his body and he lost sensation in his fingertips, a doctor issued the devastating diagnosis: Yadav had leprosy.
New law drives Uganda's embattled gays deeper into shadows
9 Mar 2014 | 5:27 am
By Drazen Jorgic and Philippa Croome KAMPALA (Reuters) - With a World Bank scholarship and top grades in the first year of her masters degree in agriculture, 27-year-old Cleo Kambugu should be well on the road to her goal of an academic career in Uganda. Instead, she's working out how to leave after the passing of a law that toughens prison sentences for homosexuality and a tabloid campaign to "out" gays. "There is totally no hope right now," said Kambugu, still legally a man despite a sex change in the last year that is not recognized by Uganda, a nation that now has some of the toughest anti-gay laws on a continent where 37 states ban homosexuality. The bill, signed into law by President Yoweri Museveni on February 24, has forced embattled gays deeper into the shadows, by threatening life in jail for "aggravated homosexuality" and a seven-year term for "aiding and abetting homosexuality".
College party turns violent, 43 arrested in Massachusetts
8 Mar 2014 | 10:25 pm
A pre-St. Patrick's Day party on Saturday in Massachusetts called "Blarney Blowout" turned violent with college students blocking traffic and destroying property as police in riot gear arrested 43 people, authorities said. The gathering, traditionally held the last Saturday before spring break at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, brought thousands of students from campus onto surrounding streets by 10 a.m. EST, Amherst police said a blog post. Officers in riot gear, some struck by flying debris, tried to disperse the crowd, which police said got out of control. Amherst officers were assisted by university and Massachusetts State Police.
LSD-laced steak sickened Florida family: medical examiner
8 Mar 2014 | 3:56 pm
A blue balloon announcing "Baby Boy" fluttered on Saturday outside the home where the family has since returned after Jessica Rosado, who was nine months pregnant when she arrived at the hospital near her home in Tampa, gave birth after having labor induced. Rosado, her partner Ronnie Morales and her two young daughters fell ill on Monday evening after eating some bottom round steak bought from a local Wal-Mart, according to the Tampa Police Department.
$1.2 million bail set for Florida mom who drove kids into ocean
8 Mar 2014 | 12:02 pm
By Barbara Liston ORLANDO (Reuters) - A judge set bail at $1.2 million on Saturday for a pregnant woman facing attempted murder charges for driving a minivan carrying her three young children into the surf off a Florida beach, according to jail records. Ebony Wilkerson, 32, has been charged with three counts of first-degree attempted murder and three counts of child abuse in the incident, which occurred on Tuesday at Daytona Beach. Wilkerson had come to Florida three days before the episode to escape an abusive marriage, according to the arrest affidavit. The children told investigators their mother had been acting "crazy" since they arrived in Florida, and Wilkerson's sister tried twice to get mental health treatment for her the day before she drove the van into the water, the affidavit said.
Ranbaxy recalls some batches of generic Lipitor in latest quality blow
8 Mar 2014 | 4:37 am
By Zeba Siddiqui and Kanika Sikka MUMBAI (Reuters) - Indian drugmaker Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd, reeling under a flurry of regulatory rebukes due to manufacturing quality concerns, has recalled more than 64,000 bottles of the generic version of a cholesterol-lowering drug in the United States after doseage mix-up was detected. Ranbaxy recalled tablets of atorvastatin calcium, the generic version of Pfizer Inc's cholesterol fighter Lipitor, after a pharmacist found a 20-milligram tablet in a sealed bottle marked for 10-milligram tablets, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said on its website. Ranbaxy, India's biggest drugmaker by revenue and majority owned by Japan's Daiichi Sankyo Co Ltd, confirmed the recall of select batches of the drug, but said the company had not received any product complaints. "Ranbaxy is proactively recalling the lots out of an abundance of caution, keeping the safety of its patients in mind and with the full knowledge of the U.S. FDA," the company said in a statement issued to Reuters on Saturday.
Republicans gain momentum in close fight for U.S. Senate
8 Mar 2014 | 12:26 am
By John Whitesides WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Eight months before the November 4 elections, Republicans have expanded the number of competitive races for U.S. Senate seats and have a growing chance of gaining control of that chamber and stalling Democratic President Barack Obama's second-term agenda. Public dissatisfaction with the president, concerns about his healthcare overhaul and a sluggish economy, and a series of retirements by key Democratic senators in conservative states have made a rugged year for Democrats even more so, analysts and strategists in both parties say. Republicans, who are widely expected to retain control of the U.S. House of Representatives, need a net gain of six seats to take back the 100-member Senate. Although the primary season is just starting and the candidates in many races are not set, polls suggest Republicans have boosted their odds of gaining additional Senate seats by becoming competitive in politically divided states such as Michigan and Colorado, where a year ago they were given little chance of winning.
Republicans press Medicare attack in congressional elections
8 Mar 2014 | 12:06 am
By David Morgan WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republicans, looking for ways to turn November's congressional elections into a referendum on President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law, are trying to portray Obamacare as a danger to Medicare. The aim is to court one of the biggest and most reliable voting blocs in midterm elections, senior citizens and people near retirement, by depicting Republicans as defenders of the federal healthcare program for 42 million seniors. It's an attempt to turn the tables on Democrats, who in the 2012 presidential election attacked Republican Mitt Romney over Republican proposals to overhaul Medicare. "You'd have to be a blind man in a dark room not to see the political implications of Obamacare in general and now specifically with respect to Medicare," said Brock McCleary, former polling director for the Republican National Committee.
California bill seeks to curb sexually explicit Internet bullying by teens
7 Mar 2014 | 9:02 pm
By Laila Kearney SARATOGA, California (Reuters) - Teenagers who share sexually explicit images of others on the Internet to harass them could soon face tougher punishment under California legislation proposed on Friday, spurred by the suicide of a teen after images of her sexual assault were circulated to other students. The new bill, dubbed Audrie's Law after 15-year-old Audrie Pott, who killed herself in Los Altos in September 2012, is the latest effort by lawmakers in California and other states to curb online cruelty that has been blamed for a number of teen suicides. The law would make it a crime for juveniles, those under age 18, to take or distribute images of a sexual nature of a minor with the intent to harass, shame or intimidate the person, said Santa Clara District Attorney Jeff Rosen, who helped draft the legislation. The proposed law would also allow juveniles to be tried as adults if they are accused of sexually assaulting an intoxicated, developmentally disabled or otherwise incapacitated person.
Ohio couple found guilty of enslaving woman and child
7 Mar 2014 | 7:47 pm
By Kim Palmer CLEVELAND (Reuters) - An Ohio couple was convicted on Friday of holding captive a cognitively disabled woman and her young child, who were forced to eat dog food and threatened with a large snake, federal prosecutors said. A jury found Jordie Callahan, 27 and Jessica Hunt, 32, guilty of engaging in labor trafficking, conspiracy and forced labor after a three-week trial in a Youngstown federal court. Prosecutors told jurors during the trial that Callahan threatened to kill the adult victim if she did not engage in sex acts with him, clean the apartment, go to the store and care for the couple's numerous dogs and reptiles. Prosecutors also said the victims were beaten, threatened with pit bulls and a 130-lb (60-kg) Burmese python, fed dog food and made to crawl on the floor while wearing a dog collar as they were being held captive in a room in the couple's Ashland apartment, some 85 miles northeast of Columbus.
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