When I was growing up in Sweden as a child and a teenager, it was very popular to escape the long, dark Swedish winters by taking a chartered flight to Mallorca. All my friends went on holidays there with their families and came back with envious suntans and souvenirs from what seemed an exotic and faraway land.
As a young woman I no longer thought of Mallorca as an exotic destination. I felt it was a typical and ordinary tourist destination! My dream was to discover the world off the beaten track…
A few years ago, I started to suddenly dream of Mallorca! It felt like a deep, mysterious longing. I felt so called to go there but my travels always took me elsewhere…often in close vicinity. I came as close as a transit there on the way to Sicily. As I looked out over the mountains from the aeroplane window, I vowed to get there properly one day.
It was not only the beauty of Mallorca and the Mediterranean Sea that drew me to this magical island, I was also attracted to what seemed to me to be a very vibrant conscious community.
The longing was so strong that I joined the FB group Mallorca Conscious Community! I wanted to get a feel of this magical island and the people who were interested in similar things as myself. I dreamt of living there for at least half a year.
One day I commented on a post by Raiza Red Yoga in the FB group and got a very friendly response from the yoga instructor Raiza. Turns out Raiza had lived in Australia with her Australian husband before they moved to Mallorca. During the first months of Covid, I joined Raiza’s online yoga offerings.
Raiza’s joy and love for a conscious and vibrant life and her in- depth knowledge of many healing modalities perfectly matched my own interests and passions. I was thrilled when Raiza said yes to an interview for Devi Living!
Let me introduce you to the very lovely, energy filled and knowledgeable Raiza Rodriguez. Raiza is originally from Galicia in north west Spain but now lives in the capital Palma on the beautiful island of Mallorca, off the coast of Spain.
Raiza is a Yogini, Yoga instructor and owner at Raiza Red Yoga (studio and online), Conscious Movement Facilitator, Herbalist, Aromatherapist, Creator of Om-Licious Botanicals (handcrafted essential oils and skincare products), Plant based slow food Chef and speaker of five languages! Are you inspired already? Enjoy the interview!
Devi Living -Raiza, how would you describe Mallorca? Is it a happening place?
Raiza – Since the first millennia, Mallorca has been a sacred island imbibed with mystical power. There are several Bronze age temple ruins and sites that mark its magical lure. The Phoenicians and Carthaginians considered many places in the Balearic Islands to be magical, holy and a doorway to other worlds.
The Yoga community and holistic living consciousness is evolving more each day, and I’m looking forward to growing a stronger sangha of healers and yogis here! Hopefully, I will begin hosting my own Yoga retreats soon.
There is quite a bit to see and do. The island offers lovely beaches, mountains, walks, hiking, and water sports.
Devi Living -What do you love most about Mallorca?
Raiza – It’s natural, majestic beauty and ancient rich history enveloped in myth, legend and mysticism… plus it’s an island! What’s not to love when you’re surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea?
Devi Living -How did your journey begin towards natural therapies and yoga?
Raiza – I have always felt very connected to nature and the elusive greater consciousness. I would spend hours outdoors, laying under starry skies dreaming and getting lost in nature. My mother passed unexpectedly when I was 4 years old, creating a deep emptiness and disconnection for me. This fuelled my curiosity of life, death, and our own purpose here on the planet. I grew up surrounded by a lot of shamanism, herbalists, and healers. I am Celtic and this sort of magical mysticism is interwoven into our culture.
I took up Yoga at the tender age of 8 years old, after a friend’s mum had tried Yoga for weight loss. Unsuccessful at her attempt, she offered me her yoga books. I was an information addict and spent hours with my nose in books, so I started thumbing through with Sivananda’s yoga guide and Iyengar’s Light on Yoga.
I was taken by the challenging asana postures on the pages. My friend’s hippie aunt then took me for a lesson at the local Hari Krishna temple and I was hooked!
In my teens, I was mesmerized by the Hatha Yoga Pradipika and its mention of physical transcendence. I was a lonely child and longing to connect to my mother on the other side. I guess the whole idea of transcendence meant connection. I got lost in stories about the Siddhis and Sages astral projected and moved between spiritual realms. Secretly this gave me hope of connecting to her, so it evolved from there. A quest for spiritual connection.
A quest for wholeness led me to further studies as to what yoga really was, beyond the asanas. I practiced on and off through my teens not knowing what a powerful tool it would become in my own survival. I enrolled in the first of several Yoga Teacher trainings.
At age 21, I was diagnosed with a devastating case of Ovarian Cancer. Western medicine, surgeries and treatments took their toll and began to fail me. A dear friend suggested Ayurveda. Ayurveda and Yoga became my lifeline, then and now, and so critical to my wellbeing. My study of Ayurveda, Herbalism and Yoga as a healing modality was born and continues to grow to this day.
Devi Living – Was there anything in your childhood that whispered of your future passion for wholistic healing modalities?
Raiza – Yes! My grandfather was a very compassionate animal healer, rescuer, and horse whisperer. He was a huge influence on me. He showed me how to work with plants and heal with handcrafted Botanical medicine. He taught me how to preserve nature and care for the planet by living sustainably. Helping him rescue and heal injured animals and wildlife helped me to cultivate compassion and be a voice for the voiceless. He taught me the yogic principle of “seva” or service to others. I instinctively knew I wanted to help beings on this planet heal and live in wholeness.
As far as a Yoga practice, I was naturally limber and flexible and started with gymnastics, so Asana was a natural progression for me. As a childhood trauma survivor, I would eventually seek healing in yoga and use meditation as medicine to heal my emotional and mental scars.
Devi Living – Who are/were your most inspiring teachers and what do/did they inspire in you?
Raiza – Wow, I’m so blessed to have so many! Where do I start? In my herbalism, I would say David Crow and Dr.Vasant Lad. Their extensive knowledge, foresight and experience make them great healers and teachers. Dr. Lad helped introduce me to Ayurveda and helped me heal from the first bout of Cancer, while 20 years later, David would help me heal from breast cancer and teach me how to make plant medicines.
David has extensively trained in the source of Chinese medicine and Ayurveda in the East, working as a barefoot Doctor up in the Himalayas. For David, this meant hours of trekking to remote villages high up in the mountains on treacherous passages with sometimes little to no sleep, no supplies, food or water; picking herbs and plants for medicine and having to crudely process them with no proper equipment.
He spent entire days in extreme conditions diligently healing patients, sometimes hordes of sick people with rare or unknown diseases. David Crow became one of the first pioneers in Traditional Chinese Medicine in the U.S. He personally consulted,mentored me and remains a huge inspiration for me today.
Dr. Lad, with his many years of vast wisdom, founded the Ayurvedic institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the forefront of any healing centre of its kind in the West. Their system of holistic healing weaves together Herbs, Yoga, Meditation and Ritual to create and sustain wellness. They are an inspiration of generosity, kindness, and unfathomable knowledge of botanical medicine.
Yogically speaking, my greatest teachers and influencers have been Anodea Judith, Tias Little, Janet Stone and Meg McCraken. Learning and being guided by them has been a great privilege and immeasurable source of wisdom.
Tias pulls his teachings from many traditions.He is an innovator in the evolution of Yoga itself. His wisdom is vast and varied including, Bodywork, Sacral Cranial therapy, Tibetan buddhism, Sanskrit and Yoga for the Subtle Energy Body.
He has created several in depth Yoga Teacher trainings focusing on Somatic movement, Meditation and Trauma healing. His regular Yoga classes, lectures and books have been a wealth of wisdom during my healing processes. He is an integral influence on how I treat my own clients both as a Yoga teacher and Herbalist. His books are invaluable.
Janet’s creativity and passion of Bhakti yoga have inspired my own Mantra practice and Yoga sequencing. Meg McCraken has been a huge influence in my Yoga Nidra personal practice and in my teaching. She literally helped me navigate through the most intense physical pain, temporary disability, and crippling anxiety during my journey with Cancer.
I also studied the Chakra system intensively as a path to healing with Anodea Judith. Her invaluable teachings about how our Chakras literally create our physical and mental state have been a huge influence on the way I teach my classes.
Devi Living- Did you face an obstacle in your journey that was particularly challenging? How did you get through it?
Raiza – I am a 2 time Cancer survivor and trauma survivor, so my journey has definitely been challenging so far but full of valuable lessons! I’ve moved through illness, physical and mental trauma, poverty, depression and anxiety. I think Necessity is the mother of invention.
I have had to alter my Yoga practice due to several surgeries and limited mobility due to a mastectomy. This in turn has helped me to be able to modify classes for others who are moving through illness or physically impaired. I have had to reinvent myself just to survive a few times!
I think if we live in gratitude for what we already have, other doors of abundance will open for us, providing what we need, when we need it. Money was sometimes a factor for me, but I learned ways to trade my time and skills for trainings, Yoga and Herbalism classes. Life is “lila”, like Govinda’s dance, an ebb and flow. If we understand it as that and flow with it, then we can navigate anything!
Devi Living – What gifts do these healing modalities have to offer women at this time on the planet?
Raiza – Yoga offers so many precious gifts! It is an amazing way to stay holistically healthy. Movement is medicine! Yoga as a whole; Meditation, Asana and Pranayama are wonderful for lymphatic flow, circulation, digestion, synovial fluid production and lubrication of joints, building bone and muscle density, mental health, better sleep, greater lung capacity and overall well being. It is a lifestyle and positive life choice.
I believe it’s time to take our health into our own hands. Intuitively we are programmed to heal ourselves and somehow, we have stepped away from that. It’s time we start trusting ourselves again and how we manage our bodies. We are the front line for our own healing! There is medicine and healing all around us! It is in our heart, our mind and even growing in our own back gardens! Connecting back to nature helps the body, mind and spirit maintain homeostasis.
Women are definitely doing so much more in the modern world than they were say 70 years ago. With the rise of Women’s rights and it’s evolution also comes high expectations. Aside from being Mothers, wives, partners, sisters, and lovers, we are also expected to surpass the social media standards of success and beauty. So much pressure!
Ayurveda and Yoga are excellent modalities to support Women’s health in so many ways. Ayurveda can empower women by helping balance hormones, stay physically fit, provide whole body nourishment, skin care, etc. It helps us create simple, easy self care routines that make us thrive!
Yoga, it’s sister science, is also a wonderful form of expression, movement and balance. It helps to maintain a supple spine, healthy lungs, strong body, and strong bones. It creates a total body awareness that cultivates self love and gratitude. Meditation graces us with tranquility, mental balance and emotional stability. It is a deep form of nourishment for the psyche and soul. We need to make time to nurture ourselves more as women and honour the divine feminine in our nature.
Devi Living – If you could offer women around the world a bundle of magical tools that would connect them deeper with themselves, the earth and the divine – what would you offer?
Raiza – My bundle of magical tools would include;
Be genuine! Be yourself, love yourself as is! Get to know who you are and what you really want, rather than what is expected from you through programming or social expectations. Come home to yourself and get comfortable with all aspects of who you are. Appreciate what you have right now and start where you are. Thats the first step to personal freedom.
‘He who conquers himself is the mightiest warrior’ – Confucius. ‘Energy flows where attention goes’ – Tony Robbins. How do we do this? Meditate. By exploring and monitoring your thoughts, you conquer your mind and shape your own destiny.
Be mindful of what you consume! By “consume” I mean what you intake daily. Such as what you do for a living and who you spend time with. It also includes your dwelling space, where you go, what you eat, drink, watch, hear, listen to, smell, etc. What you indulge your senses in. Your senses are a conduit of energy and this energy enters your conscious and auric field, body, and emotional self. Ultimately, it shapes your life and who you are.
Yoga (that includes mudras, mantra, and meditation). The vibration of movement is magical. Or try walking, running, or a sport that takes your fancy! Movement keeps the lymph and blood circulating, sustains proper cell production and supports organ health. Yoga is particularly effective for maintaining good posture too! As Joseph Pilates once said, “You are only as old as your spine feels!”
Breathe!! Learn to breathe deeply, utilizing your whole lung capacity. Did you know that stress and other daily modern life factors have impaired the way we breathe? This lack of proper oxygen exchange drastically affects our heart, major organs, muscles, plus our mental and emotional health. It also imperative for good posture and spinal health. Observe your breath, without judgment, become familiar with it. Take a pranayama or a breathwork class. Better breathing helps us combat free radicals and maintain youthful skin also!
Connect with the Universe and Nature! The Earth has a healing vibrational frequency that keeps us healthy. Walk barefoot in the grass, swim in the sea or a river, go for a hike, sit in the sunshine or star gaze under the full moon. Nearly all the elements in the human body were formed in a star and many have come through Supernovas! We share about 97% of the same atoms with stars!
Be grateful! If you are grateful for what you already have, more abundance will come into your life! Being grateful is being present!
Don’t sweat the small stuff! Life’s too short! This leads to a calmer mind, happier outlook, and a more fulfilling life.
Chant! Singing and chanting, even just in the shower have many benefits! Singing or playing an instrument is proven to uplift and refresh the mind, body, and emotions! It is shown to improve proper cell function and could improve brain function too!
Smile! Even if you don’t mean it! Smiling is scientifically proven to uplift your mood and also uplift others around you! It stimulates a parasympathetic response in the body and helps digestion. Practice cultivating joy and before you know it, it will radiate from within you! We can’t help our circumstances, but we can choose how we deal with them. Choose joy!
Devi Living – What pearl of wisdom would you offer women who would like to offer their gifts to the world but are too afraid to do so?
Raiza – Create a daily ritual in your life. Humans are creatures of habit, this keeps us calm and comfortable. Creating a daily ritual, whether it’s a 10-minute tea break, Yoga class, lighting candles and indulging in a warm bath or Ayurvedic self-massage, can calm and centre the mind. These little acts work to reduce anxiety and clear our vision of how we truly wish to live.
I can’t tell you how valuable this has been in my life! My Dinacharya ( Ayurvedic daily ritual) is non-negotiable and includes, waking early, journaling, dry brushing my body, tongue scraping and abyhanga (oiled self-massage) followed by a cold shower. This get my lymph system activated and makes me feel awake and refreshed. I seed my intention for the day, with a short asana and meditation practice.
Daily rituals also create order and inspire organisation. Keeping a Journal is a great way to do this! Carve out some time in the morning to write down your dreams, goals, obstacles, thoughts, and visions. Observe them all constructively and objectively.
Create small, achievable daily goals and log your progress, slowly moving on to the bigger goals you wish to accomplish. Start where you are! These little rituals are a precious self-investment for your dreams! When we give importance and acknowledgement to our passion, others soon will too!
Devi Living – Devi Living’s tagline is – ‘Living on the planet In Love, With Purpose and In Joy’ – which is not always easy! How do you find your way back to Love, Purpose and Joy?
For Love – Touch, there’s nothing more powerful than that! Hugs work wonders. Go hug someone, make contact! If I’m alone or on the road, I take a moment to place my hand on my heart and just breathe deeply. I tune into my own heartbeat, noticing the quality, the feel, the sound. I’m reminded of all the beautiful, vibrant hearts beating around the world in unison with mine! That’s like a little self-hug in the heart.
For purpose – I speak the affirmation, ‘I have the right to be here’, or chant the mantra “So Hum”. We all have a purpose and right to be here on the planet. This empowers me!
For Joy – I observe nature, such as my cats in play. Carefree, joyful, just living the present moment as nature intended.
Thank you so much Raiza! It’s an honour to hear you share about your journey so intimately. You are an inspiration and such an advocate of the healing power that lies within all of us and nature itself!
You can contact Raiza here;