The Guru in You: A Personalized Program for Rejuvenating Your Body and Soul
There was a turning point in author Cameron Alborzian’s life when he decided to change his role in the material world forever. His career in high fashion reached a point where it was no longer challenging or gratifying, and a beloved friend had passed away after setting a life example that Alborzian could neither forget nor ignore.
He decided to practice better living by delving into the deeper world of yoga, meditation, and Ayurvedic healing. After completing a reflexology course and yoga teacher training in the U.S., he immersed himself in spiritual experience in India. Some key points of this experience are brought out in The Guru in You.
A personal practice combining the paths of yoga and Ayurveda can help us discover a sacred sense of self, the inner guru (teacher). Alborzian states, “The fundamental concept of this book is very simple: the only way out of suffering is to set an intention to change and then practice that change every day.” One of his stated goals for the book is to provide specific tools for that practice.
Nonviolence is a key concept that informs the practice taught in The Guru in You. Nonviolence is described as an opportunity to practice kindness to oneself and others, knowing that every living being is a part of the natural order on earth. Alborzian discusses physical and mental nonviolence, providing everyday examples and explaining how nonviolence affects brain activity and bodily/emotional experience.
The foundation of Alborzian’s program also includes detachment and letting go of excess. Rather than constantly indulging the ego and our senses, we can release attachment to things or events that do (or don’t) happen, and gain a greater sense of freedom. The author continues with a frank discussion about letting go of excess and gives ten specific examples for releasing habits.
The process of finding one’s own sense of truth and discovering one’s basic purpose becomes one’s spiritual practice. Trying these practices and observing how one feels in response to them over time, then truly knowing what helps one find balance, is finding “the guru in you.”
Ayurveda is a precise, detailed system of observing what occurs in the body, defining the cause of one’s symptoms and treating the body with foods, herbs and lifestyle modifications to restore balance to the system as a whole. Three basic body constitutions (doshas) are based on groupings of natural elements: Pitta, Kapha and Vata. We can use Ayurveda as a tool to know ourselves better, and The Guru in You serves as a practical guide for using behavior, lifestyle, environment and ailments as indicators to determine which elements to bring into balance at any given time.
A 21-question dosha quiz helps assess one’s current condition. It is followed by a list of general measures anyone can take regardless of dosha imbalances, and some very simple ways to resolve issues specific to each dosha using diet, posture and breathing.
Unlike many exercises and sports where the same muscles are overused, in yoga every part of the body is opened, stimulating blood flow, circulating oxygen and resulting in greater cellular function and lower incidence of disease. In The Guru in You, Alborzian suggests certain postures to help focus the mind, observe the self, and facilitate a greater sense of ease. His 12-posture sequence is intended to open the front and back body, improve circulation, aid digestion, nurture the nervous system, warm the body, and promote restoration. Alborzian directs us to his website to view demonstrations of the yoga postures.
In the book, photos depicting the 12-posture sequence are presented in a pleasant, natural setting. Very brief instructions, comments, cautions and benefits are given for each posture; they are insufficient for guiding a beginner in the approach to the postures or transitioning from one posture to another. Registering on yogicameron.com is effortless and cost-free; however, there is no demonstration of the 12-posture sequence online. The site does include very simple, minute-long demonstrations of three breathing practices, and they are helpful because audio instructions are included.
The Guru in You also offers yoga healing practices for the three Ayurvedic body constitutions. The book provides only photos and captions. Online video demonstrations are given individually, without audio instructions or demonstrations of sequencing. All the visual demonstrations online are presented in natural settings like the photos in the book, and some of the postures are shown from different angles. The quality of the YouTube videos is acceptable. Each online demonstration is brief, lasting between ten seconds and two minutes.
The frequency, intensity and composition of posture practice are unique to each individual and help one find the inner guru through self-observation. For example, we can create an uplifting practice on a slow-paced day or a restorative practice on a hectic day. Similarly, we can find a breathing practice that is just right for us, whether we need to build heat, cool the body, cultivate energy or cleanse the system.
The Guru in You offers the reader enough bits of yogic and Ayurvedic practices to feel confident in taking the first step in creating a healthy and pleasant lifestyle in the context of one’s social and professional life. Alborzian provides suggestions for modifying Pitta, Kapha, and Vata routines, along with additional yoga practices to supplement the basics of posture, breathwork and nonviolence, all so we can know ourselves a little better every day. “Ultimately,” he says, “it becomes a practice of being guided by the guru in you.”