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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