04 Oct Yogini Jaima
Photo: Courtesy of Yogini Jaima
From Hollywood’s hills to the deepest valleys of India, it takes great courage for one to initiate change. Yogini Jaima took the leap a few years ago and never looked back. A moment of greatness shared with a beautiful soul.
By Victoria Adelaide | OCT 23. 2017
Victoria Adelaide: Yogini Jaima, can you describe your journey into yoga. Why did you decide to devote your life to this practice?
Yogini Jaima: Ten years ago I went to India for my first time to study Ayurveda, India’s ancient natural medicine system. I had some long-term ailments which had me taking a handful of prescription medications, none of which were working. I heard that Ayurveda gets to the root of disease within the body and doesn’t just treat the symptoms, and that concept rang true to me, so I went to explore and study it directly from the source. My daily curriculum there started with morning yoga. I learned that yoga was a sister science to Ayurveda and that they were actually practiced together. I was not a yoga practitioner at the time, I had taken some yoga classes but was only familiar with the physical aspect, the postures. So there I was in India, doing yoga every day for the first time. What I didn’t know was that Master Yogis were teaching me and that the practices that I was doing went far beyond the physical aspect and were starting to activate and manipulate energy within my body. As the weeks went by, I would be given another practice and then another one. And before I knew it, all of my ailments were gone. I had this mental clarity that I had never experienced before, I felt so grounded and peaceful. By the time my course was finished, I was a completely different person than when I arrived. I had changed so drastically for the better in such a short period of time that it forced me to examine the cause, Yoga. But not the yoga that most of us know in the West. It was at this moment that my life’s focus shifted. I immersed myself in the study of Ayurveda and Yoga with a Guru. The more knowledge and experience I gained, the more dedicated I was to following this way of life until finally taking my diksha (vow) as a Yogini and being initiated into the Saraswati lineage of teachers.
VA: How did following the yogi path change the relationship you have with yourself (body & soul), as well as with others?
YJ: Yoga is a path of awareness. It began with my body, to connect to it, listen to it, and learn how to heal it, then it continued to my mind, observing my thought patterns, reactions, choices and their consequences, and seeing how I had the power to change all of them and create the life I wanted for myself. Once connected to body and mind, I became aware of the world outside of me, Mother Nature, animals, my fellow human beings. Life became so intimate and beautiful and it continues to be as my awareness keeps expanding.
VA: What have been the benefits so far?
YJ: They range from the profound to the tangible, which is good health, a strong mind, will power, mental clarity, balanced emotions, a positive attitude, focus, contentment, relaxation, creativity, daily peace, and of course love.
VA: What would you advise to men or women who would like to start yoga, but do not have a compliant body (overweight or not flexible), or are old? Is there an age limitation to start yoga?
YJ: Anyone can begin the practice of yoga regardless of age or body condition. There is an entire series of asana known as Pawanmuktanasana, the subtle exercises of yoga, which remains unexplored in the West and literally anyone can do them. They clear blockages in the subtle channels in the body and provide great health benefits. I practice them with my Grandmother who is 91 years old, and she is a testament that yoga has no limitations.
Photos: Courtesy of Yogini Jaima
VA: Living the yogi path commands a lot of rigor. Is it difficult sometimes, and what were/are the main challenges?
YJ: I just read a passage from one of the talks of my Guru the other day which said, ‘There will be times when you are enthusiastic about practice…and then there are the other times’. Yogi Cameron and I had a good laugh over the truth, which is that daily practice is in fact monotonous, but monotony and attaining mastery go hand in hand. The difference however with what we do is that the positive effects are endless and long-term.
VA: You spend half of the year between India and your home in California. What has been your most memorable experience in India and what has India taught you that the western world never did?
YJ: India has been my greatest teacher and the lessons and growth that come from my time there are innumerable. It is why we call her the Motherland as she nurtures, guides, and disciplines just like a Mother would. There is one moment however that stands out from the rest, when Yogi Cameron and I visited the village we now call home for the first time. I was within the ancient temple of the Goddess sitting and reading after my morning practice when I heard horns, drums, and bells loudly coming towards me. The heavy crowds began to part and there appeared The Goddess carried by her court of holy men dressed in vibrant jewel tones. Swarms of people fell to the floor in prostration at the sight of her. The atmosphere was filled with this immense beauty, grace, an enormity of power and strength combined with compassion and love. This was the first time I came in contact with the Divine Shakti, the power of the Feminine, and I fell deeply in love immediately. She awakened the dormant Feminine potential within me, and I have since devoted my life to serving the Feminine in all aspects and guiding women to reconnect to this divine source of power within.
VA: When you go to India and recharge in positivity and spiritual energy, how do you manage to channel this energy once at home in the western world and lifestyle?
YJ: The energy is channeled by selfless giving, teaching, and loving and is continuously recharged by these actions.
VA: In your aim to make this world a better place, you are very active in charitable activities. Can you tell us more about your involvement with the Cambodian Children’s Fund in Phnom Penh?
YJ: Children are our future and many of them are suffering to extremes that are unimaginable. CCF is a non-profit that has given thousands of children, victimized by working in the trash slums of Phnom Penh, an opportunity for a future by providing them with shelter, an education, and medical care. I’ve worked with the foundation for the past decade and remarkably, some of the little ones I first met are now at university. I teach a variety of yogic practices for body and mind which helps them to focus, set goals and reach them, all of which brings them confidence. But my time there is not work, it is an enormous exchange of love and gratitude and I feel quite blessed to have this opportunity.
VA: You work often in tandem with Yogi Cameron, who was your mentor, but is also your husband in life. How does that make it special?
YJ: To walk this path with my soul mate is my biggest blessing. Not only do we share in our passion for higher knowledge and truth but in our devotion to serving the Divine. Our life together is something sacred.
VA: How has your Japanese heritage impacted the woman that you are, and how involved are you with Japanese culture?
YJ: The Japanese women in my family are the embodiment of Shakti with their wisdom, poise and delicate beauty. They were my role models and my guides and I am a result of the example that they set. The Eightfold Path of Buddhism and the Eight-Limbed Path of Yoga mirror one another in their practices of awareness, conduct, and discipline, so this way of life is a part of my spiritual DNA. I was raised by my Japanese Grandmother so I used to feel more Japanese than anything, although now I feel like a mix of Japanese and South Indian. The cultures complement one another very much.
...The energy is channeled by selfless giving, teaching, and loving and is continuously recharged by these actions'``