Feeling stressed out today? It might not be your job or even your thoughts. According to Llama Nyima, who has been teaching the yogic sciences with her husband for 15 years, 80 percent of our emotions come from what's happening in our bodies: primarily and whether we have an infection.
Kali Nyima Khandro-Pawo, or Llama Nyima, is a clinical Ayurvedic practitioner, Buddhist teacher, and founder and director of the Yogic Medicine Institute in downtown Campbell, which relocated from San Diego last June.
YMI offers Tibetan Buddhism classes, yoga therapy training, detoxification and massages, muscle testing, and natural supplements from overseas. Nyima says the most liberating thing for a human being is understanding his or her own body.
“That's the ultimate freedom," she says. "If you have it, then you're empowered to change your life.”
Panchakarma, a cleansing method that rids the body of years of toxins and, according to Nyima, is difficult to find outside of India, often feels more like a spa rather than a medical treatment.
“Once the toxins are pulled out of their bodies, they're just totally different people,” Nyima says. The technique utilizes herbs, muds and oils. “People find it super luxurious.”
As for diet fads and misconceptions, there isn't much room for sensationalist health articles at the YMI.
“We always hear, oh, well this herb is good for depression and this drink is good for high blood pressure," she says. "But if it doesn't work for you, who cares what it's supposed to be good for?”
This is where muscle testing comes in—that is, a reflex test that pinpoints exactly what supplements your body requires.
Although Eastern culture is often seen as trendy in certain circles (i.e. tattoos), Nyima says she is happy, not resentful, when people embrace the mindset—even if they don't understand it fully.
“To me, it's not Eastern wisdom, it's human wisdom... Western culture is so oriented around , [while] the East is focused on being fulfilled and sane and happy," she says. "I think the two together represent what it is to be a whole human being.”
The YMI specializes in Yogic Buddhism, which is non-monastic.
“People in our lineage didn't live in a cave. They were in the world: married people, families, ,” Nyima says. “So all the practices are about how to have a sane relationship to your busy life, and children, and intense emotions and deep desire and anger and all the practical concerns that come up for ordinary people.”
The institute also offers free yoga and meditation classes on Monday evenings, as well as free education courses on Sundays.
YMI is reportedly the first building in Campbell using all ecological materials. Instead of regular insulation, which Nyima says can be toxic, YMI has used recycled denim.
“All the materials we use are eco-friendly and green,” she says. “That was really inspiring to be the first people in Campbell to do that!”
Nyima says when she and YMI yoga therapist Aruna Ross were driving around the South Bay looking for a location, just felt right.
“It gives you that small community feeling, but it's so lively and there are so many activities," she says. "We just knew it was exactly where we wanted to be.”
The YMI also has residential meditation centers in Berkeley and the Santa Cruz Mountains, the latter near where Nyima and her husband, Derrick Pawo, a QRA (Quantum Reflex Analysis; i.e., muscle testing) and Panchakarma specialist, live.
“I'm really passionate about giving people real, natural tools that can make a difference in their lives,” says Pawo. “It's hard not to just with it.”
Harlem Logan, a yoga instructor at YMI, says he enjoys helping other people learn about what yoga can do. “The reason I continue to be here is because of how much benefit I've gotten from this lifestyle,” he says. “So I like to help others.”
“People don't realize that they can live a fulfilled and satisfied life," says Nyima. "That's the main message behind yoga and Buddhism. Not when you have a better job or a different body,” she says. “It just takes some cultivation. Our mind and body is a garden. We need to pull the weeds and water some seeds to bring out the natural joy and wisdom and sanity.”
She recalls how several clients who entered YMI's doors with serious conditions such as depression, deep injuries, and intense abdominal pains were completely cured—to the amazement of their doctors.
“Our dream was to offer a place where people could come for an hour and have their whole life changed—to create something right in the middle of people's lives: an oasis where they can disappear from their stress,” says Nyima. “An Oasis of care and empowerment.”
“We want to let Campbell know we're here as a resource for them,” she says. “There's a whole world of healing and inspiration and deep relaxation and life that is waiting for them here.”