wholeliving

15 Questions for Judy Collins

The legend known as Sweet Judy Blue Eyes has entertained audiences worldwide for 50 years. Along the way, she's become a yoga addict and a passionate advocate for social change. Here, Collins shares her practice, how she finds peace, and the song that changed her forever.

When I was 16, I thought...
The world seemed open. I remember before my senior year of high school I had this moment of exuberant freedom. I knew right then that I could do anything I wanted to.

My favorite time of the day is... Morning. I'm an early riser now, unlike in the old days when I missed so many because I was hungover and exhausted. I love to be with my cats, newspaper, and journal, trying to dig out what my dreams were about.

Proudest career moment...
The concert at Yankee Stadium for Nelson Mandela, where I sang "Amazing Grace." Two years later, I saw Nelson Mandela in New York and he opened his arms wide, and said, "Hi Judy." I almost fell on the floor.

The song that changed my life...
"The Gypsy Rover" in the movie The Black Knight in 1954. It dazzled me and everything turned upside down. I thought, "I've got to get a guitar, I have to do this."

Guiltiest pleasure...
Reading until three o'clock in the morning -- it's programmed into my DNA now. I have to have at least a night or two a week when I do that. I'm addicted to books.

My favorite item of clothing...
My long black- and-white silk dresses that flare at the bottom and look like they're right out of a movie from the '40s. They make me feel sexy. I believe as a performer you should look like you dressed for the party.

I still get nervous when...
I'm doing a big show or concert and haven't gotten a song integrated into my body and soul, and don't know the words well. Very little else makes me nervous.

Daily practice...
Self-realization fellowship yoga, founded by yogi Paramahansa Yogananda in the early 20th century. I've been doing it for 28 years.

Words I live by...
"Thy will be done" is a good one. "Work like you don't need the money" is another.

What makes me truly happy...
Exercise. I do something -- run, stretch, swim, walk -- for about an hour every day. I've struggled with depression almost all my life and moving daily lifts me up.

The lesson I keep learning...
Let go.

Coffee or tea?
Depends on where I am. In England, I drink tea at breakfast. But I also have a coffee pot in my bathroom in Manhattan.

you can never have too many...
Friends. Good friends. The ones you can spill your guts to, who know the whole story.

Favorite city...
New York. At 17, I went to Radio City Music Hall and thought, My God, the energy in this city! It's alive, intense, dramatic, and humane. It's always going, all the time.

Whole living means...
Taking care of body, mind, and spirit. Supporting natural products, saying no to junk living, and keeping respect for yourself, others, and the planet uppermost in your mind.

And the Beat Goes on
It's a big year for the beloved folk singer: She has an evocative new memoir out, Sweet Judy Blue Eyes, on her life in music, the tumultuous '60s, and her battle with alcoholism. She's also just released a new album, Bohemian, and a children's book, When You Wish Upon a Star.

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