By Nicole Barley
Photography by Ari Michelson
Everybody’s living in a material world — at least, that’s the sentiment made omnipresent by Madonna and her infamous song from the ’80s. In many ways, that phrase resonates even more strongly today.
For those of us looking to find happiness elsewhere, Yogi Cameron Alborzian is sharing his message of finding peace and love through yoga. By turning away from our possessions and looking inward to focus on the important and intense connection between our mind, body, and spirit, therein lies real joy. “If you put happiness and contentedness at the top of your list, then no matter what happens in your life, you’ll always be aiming high for that rather than owning things,” he says.
Alborzian is a fashion model turned yogi and Ayurvedic teacher, and before stepping onto the path to enlightenment, Alborzian played the starring role in the Material Girl’s video for “Express Yourself” in 1989. (If you’ve not seen it, the video was directed by The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’s director, David Fincher, with leading lady/factory owner Madonna selecting Alborzian as her concubine for the evening. Racy!) He has also appeared on the cover of Vogue, was cast in ad campaigns for Levis, worked the runway for Chanel, Versace, and Valentino (among other fashion houses), and was awarded Best Male Model at The Fashion Industry Awards in 1993.
But, after traveling to Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1998 to participate in a fashion benefit for the Mandela Fund, Alborzian decided it was time to call it quits in the fashion industry. “I thought, ‘This work isn’t going to get any better,’ [in terms of] doing a bigger campaign or commercials.” He met Nelson Mandela, and was struck by the peacefulness of the man who had become president of the country that put him in jail. He realized, “Okay, I’ve been doing my yoga and mentored in spirituality. I think it’s time for me to move on and find my path.”
Now, his accolades stem from achievements in the world of health and wellness. He’s been hailed for his life-changing work by Extra co-host Maria Menounos, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show, is a contributing writer for The Huffington Post, and now, has a book aimed at helping us unlock the powers of health and healing within — The Guru in You: A Personalized Program for Rejuvenating Your Body and Soul. “The book is a guide for people who really want to change. It is not a book for you to pick up if you’ve got other spiritual books. It is a book for you if you really want to learn and if you want to apply because it’s an application book,” he says.
The application-focused aspects of this book go beyond what happens on your yoga mat. Alborzian acknowledges that the physical benefits that accompany yoga practice are many, however, he makes clear that it’s more than a physical practice. That is where his Ayurvedic expertise comes in. It’s a lifestyle and spiritual calling that combines
diet (including fasting and eating locally grown, seasonal foods), balancing doshas (three energies that determine your individual constitution and mental and physical disorders), and focusing on the mind-body-spirit connection.
Included in the pages are yoga postures, diet recommendations, Ayurvedic remedies, and a number of anecdotes from Alborzian’s past. “There are some of my stories, so it gives you some encouragement when I failed at certain things. There was never really a failure because I tried. In not trying, I failed. And it brings that sort of message home to people. [The book is] useful for the person that wants to take it and use it,” he says.
And of course, Alborzian’s message is aimed at helping us find contentment outside of our material possessions. If you’re looking to let go of possessions, Alborzian says it must be a natural process in order to be a lasting reality. “First of all, you have to ask yourself why do you want to do this. It’s not because I said so or the yoga path said so. You’ve got to have a reason. You need to know, Why am I giving these possessions away?” he says. “The reason you want to give them away is to live a lighter life.”
“Yoga is all about how you live, how you think, and ultimately, meditation. And the goal of this book is to bring this as a feasible thing for people to get involved with and incorporate into their lifestyle.”
:: For more information on Yogi Cameron Alborzian, visit yogicameron.com.