This is your tenth visit to Russia already and you are quite familiar to local audience. Does the Russian audience differ from that in other countries? Do you adjust your set list according to the country where you perform?
Every country has its own flavor, maybe more at the beginning of the evening cause at the end we are all one, because we’ve been bathing in the mantras and singing together and become one. We all feel the silence and we all are ready to be in it. And at the beginning in some countries people are more quiet and little shy. Even in the same country the audience can be different depending on the city. As I feel, the Russian audience is very deep and open. It is also more quiet first, like “let’s feel this first”. And then the opening is very strong and beautiful, we are all ready to celebrate. I love the Russian audience. I don’t see the audience – all I see is lights. But we have videos, and I can see all these people sitting there and it’s so beautiful. There is a documentary coming out that is called “Mantra” and it’s goingto be shown here in Moscow in Crocus City Hall. You can see so many beautiful meditative beings. It’s so touching to see and we are so happy to be here.
You’ve been into the Indian culture and atmosphere since your childhood. How did yoga and meditation studies influence you as an artist?
I don’t really see myself as an artist. I feel that I can’t separate these two because I’ve been on this path since I was a kid really. There is no ‘before’ and ‘after’. I didn’t have another life before and I can’t say that I have changed greatly. This is just the way I am all the way. This was like water that has been poured onto me like on the flower. It’s been always meditation, Eastern spirituality, so it’s very natural and normal for me. What Miten and I do is sharing of what we love, of what we experienced in our ashram times in India, the feeling that we’ve had during entering the meditation through music and singing. We experienced it as something helpful for us. This is a very joyful, effortless and easy way to meditation. We wanted to share this feeling. Miten is really a musician and an artist. And as for me, I don’t try to give a name for what I am anymore, but I feel like I am very blessed that I could live this life, to sing and experience it with people like you. We don’t know each other, but we can sing together. What we know is that we are in the same feeling of love, of being ready to experience silence and peace and then let this change our lives. I’ve just met somebody in the hotel from the staff. We invited her last year to the concert and she came. She said that she started meditating and since then she started to feel much more peaceful. It makes me so happy. It’s not just one evening, it’s a flame that gets sparked and it changes the whole quality of life.
Singing mantras can be compared to meditation. But still, any live performance is a quite an intensive process demanding so much energy and commitment. Do you use any energetic practices for maintaining your inner balance?
I feel that I’m receiving, it’s giving and receiving together. It gives me energy and joy when someone comes to sing with me so it’s a practice itself. I feel pretty happy with whatever I do, different aspects of this life which include travelling, packing, e-mailing, instagramming or whatever. It feels like it’s all one thing. It’s all part of it and I love every aspect of it. Of course sometimes we are tired but it’s so beautiful to live such a life and definitely it gives me energy itself.
As for yoga, on the road it’s difficult. Now we are touring for one month, and I hardly find any time for that. I’m not disciplined enough to get up early in the morning so if it is not gonna happen I just don’t do it. But we don’t travel like this all year long. We have two times in the year like a month or six weeks when we have that intense schedule. The rest of the time we are in Australia, Greece or Costa Rica, where we stay longer and I can enjoy it in the morning. I love shaking a lot, first of all I shake the body for fifteen minutes to get the energy moving in a very joyful and subtle way. When you shake for ten or even five minutes you feel so different inside. Then I do a mix of yoga, pilates, different exercises. I am not a very strict yogini. I just have a mix of exercises and asanas which I felt comfortable with over the years.
You studied massages and different kinds of therapy in India. Did you stop doing them, now being into music completely, or do you combine both?
Miten benefits a lot from my studies, I massage him a lot. In our longer retreat holiday programs in Corfu, Greece and in Costa Rica every March we start every morning with exercises. Similar techniques were used last year in Crocus on the second night. And beautiful exercises from ancient Chinese medicine which open the breath and meridians - we share that in the longer programs.
How do you deal with tiredness? Do you have any healing procedures? Which are your favorite ones?
I just try to get more sleep when I’m tired. My whole life is a healing technique. I don’t have a specific “oh, I need to do this to get my energy back”, I don’t have a practice like that. I don’t do any long programs or regular things.
Do you happen to be emotionally drained? Are you familiar with creative blocks? How do you deal with them?
I’m pretty balanced, sometimes I’m getting pre-menstrual and a little grumpy for a moment but it doesn’t last so long. As for creative blocks, the thing is that I don’t write music anyway, I only sing, so there is nothing to be blocked. Inspiration comes to me in a moment, it’s a pretty easy flow. I have Miten who is my love and nourishment. We’ve been travelling and living together for 28 years. We are always together, usually even in one room. It’s love that gives me fuel. This love is him and meeting people like you, our audience friends. We travel a lot and that is why we have so many friends along the way. In every place we meet different friends that we’ve made over the years, and also people from ashram who are our 30-years long friends. I love that feeling of community, that’s really important to me, that gives me energy. There is a lot of joy, humor, laughter, and they are my medicines.