INSPIRATIONAL WOMEN • INTERVIEW SERIES
With this series I am sharing my absolute admiration and honor of beautiful empowering women whom I feel deeply inspired by. Each is unique but they all share one important quality – living what they love with authenticity. I am impressed by their courage, passion and success.
Connecting & supporting each other is a theme close to my heart and through this space I will share their beauty and creativity with all of you.
Get mesmerized, empowered and inspired – Time for girl crushes & intriguing details!
Clarity & wisdom is what comes to my mind when I think of the following beautiful lady: Claire Ragozzino, creator of Vidya Living. This girl is after my heart! She is a yoga instructor and holistic nutrition educator, a.k.a. A modern medicine woman full of light, love & ancient wisdom. And I knew from the beginning of my interview-series that I had to include this talented goddess.
Vidya actually means clarity, knowledge, and inner wisdom. Ever since I stumbled upon her blog, I was hooked on her sensuality and pure way of writing, photography + balanced way of living. Just take a look at one of her sexy Seasonal Kitchen Videos and you will know what I mean. In January I shared a recipe for her “Seasonal Recipe Share” series – So friggin’ cool, I know.
I believe the energetics of food and how you bless each experience is just as important as the type of food you eat.
Her journey & passion is fascinating and truly inspirational. Uplifting & grounding at the same time. She offers Cleanses, Coaching, Retreats + Workshops ( Oh how I wish I would live a little closer). Recently she teamed up with Free People for a seasonal Ayurveda Retreat, just one part of her pretty impressive life.
Without taking too much away, read more about her, self-healing, Vidya Living, Ayurveda, sacred nourishment & fall in love with Claire. Let her show you a way to find your inner wisdom for radiant health. You shine inside + out – Thank you Claire for joining!
I’m Claire! A certified yoga instructor, holistic nutrition educator and plant-based chef.
PATH OF SERVICE…
I work with women around the globe to inspire transformational changes in their health and wellbeing. Whether this means cleansing with the seasons or aligning our daily rhythms in harmony with the moon cycles, my blog/business Vidya Living, provides a resource for women looking to reconnect with their roots and the ancient wisdom of self-healing through food, breath and conscious movement.
My mission is to empower and inspire a deeper connection with our food in all aspects, looking at eating as a sacred act of nourishment for our bodies, minds, spirits and communities.
WHAT LED YOU TO HERE…
This could be a whole dinner conversation! But let’s start here…
In my early teens, I suffered from chronic digestive problems. I wasn’t raised with the healthy eating lifestyle I’ve adopted now, in fact, hamburger helper and fast food was a pretty standard part of my childhood diet. By 15, I was fed up – so to speak – and began to explore food as medicine. I received my first raw foods book when I was 16, then spent an entire summer experimenting with raw cuisine and reading every alternative medicine book I could get my hands on. I got a juicer for my birthday and began to dabbling in cleansing. Over the years of learning more about my body, the connection of food as medicine, and the even deeper importance of healing internal emotional conflicts, I found my way into the world of Ayurveda and women’s health.
A TYPICAL DAY…
Routine is not something that comes easy to me, but creating a grounding structure in my life has been so vital for me! These days, I like to wake up slowly, spending my time in bed visualizing my day and reflecting on what I’m feeling with a short journaling practice before I get up. Then, I get to my Ayurvedic morning rituals of self-care, Dinacharya, starting with oil pulling, tongue scraping and dry skin brushing before I shower. After I’m clean and covered in a copious amount of sesame oil, I’ll head to the kitchen and make a digestion-boosting drink of warm water with lime and aloe vera juice. In an ideal morning, I spend 30 minutes meditating and doing pranayama. But some mornings, it’s a condensed version of this and get right to work in the kitchen or meeting with clients. My work days are a changing combination of private yoga clients, coaching clients and recipe testing/photographing for the blog, print magazines and other collaborations. In the evening, I teach a public yoga class, go rock climbing or to a dance class for more movement. Dinner is light and my favorite days end with a hot herbal bath and abhyanga.
PHILOSOPHY ON FOOD & WELLNESS?
There are many paths to the table of health. I’ve been raw vegan, vegetarian, pescetarian, and flexitarian…you name it. I’ve tried it. In all my years of trying to fit into the confines of the “ideal nutrition” theory, I realized that while I may have felt really great for a period of time, strictly living in someone else’s definition of perfect health only fit me for so long.
Our health is not static. Just like the seasons and the cycles of the moon, our needs are fluid and ever-changing. What may work for you one month, might not the next. No single food, diet, or belief system is meant for everyone. When we cling to what we think we need or what others think we need, we miss out the power of truly listening to our intuition and tapping into a source of health that’s aligned with the ebb and flow of nature. This is the beauty of Ayurveda. It empowers you to listen and tune into your needs each day.
HOW DO YOU CONNECT NATURALISM & THE MODERN WORLD?
Because I live in an urban area, I have to prioritize time each day to take my shoes off and put my feet in the grass. The practice of earthing and connecting into the ground is so vital, especially when I have longer days on the computer or feel ungrounded. I also have a lunar practice to connect in with the cycles of the moon. For me, this means consciously scheduling slower days around the new moon to give myself time for introspection and rest, and enjoying my more social days around the full moon when the energy is naturally higher. On waxing/full moon times, I spend a few minutes each night lunar bathing – literally gazing at the moons glow to connect in with her energy. Lunar gazing is a really powerful way for a woman to begin to align her cycles with the rhyhtms of the move, it’s also soothing and cooling when you’re feeling overheated or aggravated by life’s stressors – great for balancing pitta of body and mind!
WHO/WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Maya Tiwari has been an incredible influence on me and has helped shaped my awareness around food, energy and yoga. Her books “Living Ahimsa Diet” and “Women’s Power to Heal” are phenomenal, go pick yourself up a copy and dive in!
Personal growth? Lesson learned?
Goodness! This is a tough question to answer. These past few years have been a spiraling path of profound life lessons learned. From when to say no and how to define personal boundaries, to what it means to be a woman in this modern world and the kinds of relationships I want to have. Ultimately, all these lessons came from slowing down and listening to my heart.
Advice for women?
LISTEN – to your body, to your heart, to the whispering of the world around you. In the listening, honor the natural cycles of life. Just like the moon, there’s a waxing and waning that correlates with our own inner cycles, a time to expand and a time to contract. Follow the moments of moving outward and moving inward. In order to listen, the inward time matters greatly.
Advice for success?
Dreams don’t work unless you do!
Advice for your younger self?
Value your work, hold your space, speak your truth.
Thing you always carry in your bag?
Rosewater for spritzing, a small piece of black tourmaline for protection, and herbal tea bags for when I’m stranded in an airport or on the open road with nothing to eat/drink.
I’ve adopted this daily dinacharya practice, though it doesn’t always happen in this order at the same time each morning, I always work them into the course of my day no matter what.
I am a guilty late night worker, my most productive hours come between 11-2am (so bad!). But now I’m a rehabbing that habit. I’ve been making a real effort to unwind 9pm with a hot bath followed by an oil massage, then reading or journaling until I fall asleep. It makes such a difference to sleep by 10pm and wake with the sun.
If you can’t eat, don’t put it on your skin! This has been my beauty mantra for years. I use plant-based oils (like sesame, almond or coconut depending on the season) for body and a light rose-based serum for my face from Living Libations. I make it a habit to dry skin brush most mornings and follow it up with a good abhyanga practice after. I’ve always been paying attention to the language I use around my body. Dr. Masuru Emoto’s water crystal study always reminds me that if words have such a profound effect on water, how do they affect your cellular makeup? I am really practicing speaking kindly to and about myself, avoiding harsh words of self-criticism and opting for affirmations instead.
Herbal infusions like nettle, raspberry leaf, oatstraw and dandelion are my go-to for staying strong and energized. I also make a morning elixir of hot water mixed with triphala powder and chyawanprash for aiding digestion. Good elimination is everything!
…for your soul?
A quiet morning meditation…
…for your heart?
Uplifting conversations with friends, family,..and perfect strangers! And raw chocolate…that’s essential.
…for the mind?
This yoga nidra meditation.
…for your body?
This yogi bowl.
…for your spirit?
The open road…
This maca maple amaranth porridge
This lentil salad with roasted butternut squash or red beets
This Moroccan vegetable tagine
Banana tahini ice cream! Blend 1 frozen banana with a splash of almond milk, 1 tbsp of tahini and a pinch of cinnamon and cardamom. Add a chopped date or two on top.
These giant sticky early grey chocolate cinnamon buns.
This herbal chai on cold days or on sunny summer day occasions, a lovely chilled glass of rosé!
I’m a sucker for Cafe Gratitude in Venice, CA – mostly because it’s all the food I love to make at home and rarely have someone to make it for me. Their I AM WHOLE macrobiotic bowl hits the spot every time! There’s also this sweet little restaurant in Tulum called Hartwood that has the most incredible pan roasted fresh caught fish. If I’m going to eat a whole roasted fish, it’s either home where I grew up in Alaska or at Hartwood.
Vitamix, hands down.
Wild Feminine by Tami Lynn Kent – it’ll change your relationship to your body and tap into your creative potential as a woman.
Mulatu Esteke (Ethiopian jazz)
Deva Premal (Vedic mantras)
Maya Jane Coles (I used to work in the electronic music industry!)
Since I often need a soundtrack for each moment of my life, I’ve curated a series of Kitchen Mixtapes on Spotify for those times in the kitchen, around the table and beyond…
Motorcycle Diaries, it forever speaks to my wanderlust heart.
“Living in the sacred is a choice, the chance to create every moment is an opportunity for awakening.” –Matthew Engelhart
Taos, New Mexico
Way to move?
Rock climbing, hiking, dancing and asana
Ashwagandha, an Ayurvedic adaptogenic herb that helps our bodies and minds cope with stress of a modern day life. Banyan Botanicals and Sun Potion carry both powder and tablet form this herb.
Tulsi Holy Basil…I even name my cat after this sacred plant!