If your day job involved spending endless hours in studios, traveling constantly and having to always perform at your best, where would you go in your down time? Julia Stone escapes to India.
Quite a few months ago I had a chat with Julia as she made her way across Europe previewing her latest album By The Horns. Our conversation covered everything from recording her solo music, falling in love (of course), Justine and most intriguing to me, her time spent in India. Julia will openly talk about her love for the country – the inspiration, the beautiful people and her first visit there when she was just 19. She had briefly told me about her experience visiting a Doctor in Hariharapura, a small village in Karnataka state, earlier in the year. It seemed fitting then that we spent the last part of the call discussing this mysterious land and her experience with Ayurveda – an ancient system of Indian medicine which translates to the ‘knowledge for long life’. Julia explains…
24 minutes into the conversation…
Tell me about the time you spent living in an Ayurvedic ashram.
Well, Dr. A* is so different to my first experiences in India. When I first went to India I stayed in an ashram up in Patna in Bihar, which is a northern state of India and I went to the Bihar School of Yoga. I went there to kind of learn yoga and I was 19 I guess at the time and I spent three months there and then went on this amazing adventure with this Indian girl I met at the ashram. It was the beginning of forming the tenure of the relationship with India; feeling comfortable there and feeling like I was welcomed there. I guess after Mitch got sick and he went to India and, you know, that was my ex boyfriend, he loved it so much that I felt like, ah I wanna go check this out. He looked so amazing after his pancha karma, after his Ayurvedic cleanse. I guess life traveling… Life on the road is so easy and fun in so many ways but just the nature of being on aeroplanes, being in airports, moving, it’s really destructive on the body and I felt like after a few years of doing that I needed something to just balance me out and so I found the cleanses and then went over there and had this great experience with it and just decided that whenever I got a month off between tours it was what I was going to do, you know, I was going to spend my time with an Ayurvedic doctor and cleanse. So I dunno, I keep going back. I’ve gone from one doctor in Kerela to anthother doctor in Hariharapura, who I’ve been to twice and he’s so amazing. He’s definitely the best doctor I’ve been to so far. He’s just very intuitive and very sweet. So yeah… It’s been pretty amazing and I love it.
And what do you find yourself doing when you stay at a place like this?
It’s… pretty much… not a lot (laughs). The whole thing is, um, not a lot. You go there to do nothing and be good at nothing… which is doing something. I guess life is so busy for everybody in the West and that you kind of go there to teach your body just to slow down so that it can accept the treatments and be present for the treatments. The treatments involve all kinds of different things and I guess pancha karma means “five treatments” as it translates, I’m pretty sure that’s what “pancha” is, “five”, and then the treatments go from anything, depending on your specific constitution… It’s purgation, which is like a taking of the ghee, and the ghee absorbs into the body and then all the toxins are pulled back into the digestive system through a series of medicines, again, everything is catered to your specific constitution and your specific ailments or things that you need to prevent because of your constitution so, I dunno, how much do you know about Ayurveda?
Not a lot, so I’m glad to hear about someone’s personal experience.
Yeah, it’s a very complex science but it’s also very simple. In Ayurveda you’re basically a constitution and you’re made up of a mixture water, fire and earth and you have to have that in balance in relation to the way that you were born, so you’re born with a certain constitution and then over years of doing different things, whether it be staying up really late when you shouldn’t be staying up really late, or drinking too much milk when you should be drinking hot water, or whatever it is, I mean everyone’s constitution is so different but you do these things over life and they cause imbalances in your body which they believe then turns into emotional imbalances and you know, mental imbalances and things like that. It’s constantly trying to navigate and balance that out in the physical body which eventually has the repercussions to balance your emotional and your mental state so that your life isn’t as complicated as maybe it is at the moment. You know, you can find peace in your body.
That does sound like an amazing experience…
Yeah, it’s going to be amazing, I’m so excited for you, I’m also a little bit jealous as well, like, oh god, I want to go!
Thanks for sharing, Julia.
Oh of course, I mean, anyone who wants to know about getting well and Ayurveda… I’m such an advocate because I know how… I mean, I just sent my mum over there, I’m trying to get my dad to go, I want my sister to go, Angus went over there and did it for the first time. It’s like, it’s just, I see how much it benefits people and I know how much it benefited my life that if I can encourage anybody to go and do it, it’s really, it’s such a good thing. It’s a good thing for everybody.