ruby’s tuesday | how daisy jewellery founder james boyd used yoga to beat colitis
posted: December 9, 2013
Daisy Jewellery founder James Boyd
At age 26, James Boyd was told he’d be on drugs for the rest of his life—15 capsules a day. The Daisy Jewellery founder had been diagnosed with lymphocytic colitis, a condition most prevalent in women aged 60 to 80.
A city trader in London at the time, he believes the chronic condition had been brought on by the intense pressures of his job and the work-hard-play-hard nature of the industry.
Only when a friend suggested taking up yoga did Boyd’s priorities—and wellbeing—undergo a radical overhaul. By maintaining a daily practice, he’s been able to come off the drugs his doctors prescribed and keep his colitis under control. Five years into his practice he still battles with the illness, “not on a daily basis, but at times when I’ve been working too long and too hard, I can feel it flare up. That’s when I’ll just put my computer down and go to a yoga class, no matter what time of day,” he says.
It was during a yoga class that he came up with the idea of the now iconic Chakra Bracelets that his company has become famous for globally. Boyd describes them as “definitely a bi-product of my experience of using energy to heal myself. I wanted to share that spiritual journey with as many people as possible.”
We asked him about his yoga journey.
What led you to try yoga as a way of alleviating your symptoms?
“My friend George Barker, a yogi and spiritual teacher, suggested yoga as a way to harmonize my system. He actually said to me; ‘James, I’ve known you for eight years, and you work too hard and you party too hard. You’ve got to connect your body with your mind. At the moment they barely even know each other.’”
So did you find a class right away?
“At first I thought no way, I just don’t have the time. Finding an hour to practice felt like another form of pressure. But then I found myself with a lot of spare time on a 10-day work trip to LA. I kept seeing signs for Juice Bar this and Yoga that… and I one day I just walked in off the street. They sold me a 10-day pass and I actually went to class every day until I left America. Then when I got back to the UK I immediately started practicing at the Jivamukti school in North-West London.”
You must have felt an immediate benefit. Can you describe how yoga helped you?
“On an immediate level, it eased the physical pain. Where my condition and the drugs I was taking had hugely depleted my energy levels, it also created a heightened state of consciousness and awareness of my body. I felt alive and fully charged when I left class. I felt I was able to come off the drugs almost right away.”
Palolem Friendship Bracelet and Base Chakra Bracelet. Imagine these on your wrist when you have a (faux) tan. Just sayin’
How have you managed to maintain a daily practice since then?
“I do go through fits and starts with it. For a period of three or four months at a time I’ll be very disciplined and do the 7am class every morning. I get up, have a shower to wake me up, and head straight to class. That way I’m done by 8.30, before most people have even got into the office.”
Have you thought about devising your own sequence to practice at home?
“That would save a lot of time, yes! But I’ve found it very difficult. It requires huge focus and discipline, and I also like the group energy of practising in a class.”
You travel a lot with work, what happens then?
“Finding a yoga school is the first thing I do. Until then, I don’t feel I’ve arrived, so usually within eight hours I will have done a class. It makes me feel like I’m connected and grounded and like I’m ready to go about whatever it is I’ve got to do in whatever city I’m in. It also means I’ve got a base, an outlet, somewhere I can go if the stress of what I’m there to do is getting to me.”
(Editor’s note: Download the om finder app to find yoga studios when you travel!)
In what other ways has your practise had a positive impact on your life?
“I feel mentally stronger, more resilient, but at the same time more malleable and open to new ways of thinking. And I’m definitely less of a capitalist in business. Sure I’m going to give it my all, but I’m not going to set myself these crazy goals where I’ll only feel miserable if I don’t meet them. I think that’s really key—the continued quest for happiness based on achieving more and more becomes a self-perpetuating problem. Through yoga, I’ve learned that you need to be happy with nothing.”
Whether it’s interviewing Lady Gaga, unveiling the latest trends in fashion, or getting under the skin of our most neurotic social trends, Ruby Warrington is at the forefront of it all. She’s a British lifestyle writer and the celebrated creator of the blog The Numinous, but best of all is that Ruby is also a feature writer for the lululemon blog.