10 Tips How To Integrate a Yoga and Fitness Routine During Lockdown

Stefanie Grace plank pose in front of the laptop during lockdown

Building Healthy Habits During Lockdown

It’s been more than one year now, since we have experienced the first lockdown. Since then we had multiple ones, and had to adapt to these circumstances. We started with home offices and had to move the yoga studio and gyms into our homes. Some of us really enjoyed these changes a lot – others less.
What’s common on both sides is a struggle of building and integrating a home routine for yoga and fitness.

10 Steps to build healthy habits during lockdown:

1. Create your sacred space. 

One reason why it seems easier to do a yoga class or a workout in the studio or gym is the environment you are in. Everything around you is helping you to get into the right mood. When doing the classes in your own four walls it’s different and everything around you is a distraction. Suddenly you have to think about cleaning the floor, bringing the garbage out or simply relaxing on the couch to not miss your Netflix series.
To avoid all this, it’s crucial to create your own sacred space for your routines. A place where you have your mat, your equipment, speakers and maybe a candle, preferable in a room where you can be alone.

2. Plan ahead and fix a time – make it an appointment.

Only saying “tomorrow evening I will do a workout” is too unspecific. The time tomorrow evening arrives you realize that the grocery shopping took longer than expected and there is too little time left now for anything and in the end you just postpone it to “tomorrow evening”.
By planning ahead and fixing a time you create an appointment as you would, when going to the gym or to the yoga studio. So instead of “tomorrow evening” say “Tuesday evening at 19:00 I have a fitness class in my home gym”.

3. Do not question your time – question your priority!

Point 2 leads me to the question of time and priority. Who can relate to that: “I don’t have any time left for this half an hour training. I will do it tomorrow.” – 1,5 hour later: you find yourself on the couch scrolling on Instagram for 30 minutes. In most cases the question is not about your time, but about your priority. If your priority is given and high enough you will also find the time.

4. Do not question your motivation – just do it.

As the brand Nike already said: Just do it.
Whenever you start questioning whether you should or should not start your workout, just stop it and just do it. The more you question it, the more unsure you’ll get, especially if you have already set an appointment and a room.

5. Show up on the mat.

Of course there will be days where you don’t feel like giving 100 percent – that’s totally normal. All days are different or maybe you as a woman even have your days of the month. Don’t quit before you have even started – show up on your mat and see how much you can give. Maybe in the end it’s a restorative yoga class instead of a power yoga class or maybe it’s an easy mobility session instead of a HIT workout. Maybe it’s only gonna be 15 minutes instead of 30 minutes. In any case: it’s time you dedicated yourself to take care of your body and mind.

6. Create a challenge board or calendar.

As you have your calendar you can create a challenge board for your routines. If you like challenges you can create a challenge with a starting and ending time. “Starting Monday, the *date* I am doing a 15 minutes morning yoga session every day at 7:30 pm after drinking my coffee for the next four weeks.” Every day after you do it, you can tick the box and mark it as done. 

7. Set small goals and phrase your reward.

Whenever there is a reward involved it’s more likely you reach your goals. Important is to set your goals small enough to reach them and the reward big enough to stay motivated. Best is if your goals are matching your rewards. For example, if your goal is to get fitter the reward would be a great feeling in your body. If your goal is to be able to touch your feet the reward could be less back pain. If your goal is to meditate for 10 minutes your goal could be less headache.

8. Small steps – one after another.

You probably have heard this already ten times – never mind – I’ll tell you one more. Take small steps! Imagine you start a routine of meditating for 20 minutes each day. The first day you manage it somehow. The second day you break up after 10 minutes. The third day you question yourself in the beginning already if you should do it or not. And the following day, you just go back to your usual morning routine without meditation.
How about starting with 2 minutes!? Then you add 1 minute after a couple of days, and another 1 minute after a week and another 1 minute after a couple of days…. First build up your routine before you start expanding it. 

9. The “never miss twice and four out of seven” roule

There will be days where you just can’t do your routine. Maybe because you have to catch an early flight or because of a meeting. Maybe you are visiting your family and you already have plans… Whenever something comes your way, which hinders you to follow your routines, be ok with missing out and just give your best to not miss the following day. Aim to manage to do your routine more than 50 % a week which would be 4 days. Make it a habit to do your routine more often than not doing it, but always stay respectful towards your body. Theres no sense in doing a hard workout if you have a flue for example. 

10. Find a workout buddy

Everything is easier in community – together we are stronger. If you still find it too hard to build up a lockdown workout or yoga routine – reach out to your friends, family and partner to find someone who is joining or find an online yoga or fitness class where you have a commitment (like a live (paid) class). 

You are not weak if you need an external motivation kick!

You are just human!

Home yoga, all fours position in the living room
Downdog facing dog pose in the living room.

With these 10 steps I wish you all the best and lots of motivation in your home gym. Let me know in the comments which steps could work for you and which ones you would like to try. I’m also looking forward to getting feedback on the ones that worked for you. 


Thanks for reading. Share it with your friends, if you feel like they should read about it as well. 


How To Turn Self-Hatred Into Self-Love & Bodypositivity

Ligaya practicing self-love

Do you love yourself?

Are you able to look into your reflection in the mirror – into your own eyes – while saying: “You are beautiful!
Or is this something you would never believe? Is it easier for you to say the opposite, because you believe it more? Telling oneself “I’m not good enough”, “I don’t like my body”, “I am too fat”, often seems easier, than doing the opposite.

There was a time, where I only could tell myself, how much I am disgusted by this body. I told myself all the things I don’t like about this body. I spoke it out loud, while looking into my own eyes – “I hate this belly, I don’t like this body”.

I am not enough. Picture infront of the mirror.

Consequence of Negative Self-Talk

Many times we don’t realize, that we nourish our inner critic while doing this, so it grows bigger and bigger and without even knowing we cultivate self-hatred by telling oneself over and over again, that this body is not good enough, that we are not okay as we are – and in the end – we manifest self-hatred and self-hatred becomes our reality.

My body is not good the way it is.

In consequence of this depression and anxiety arise. Our self-value, self-love and self-esteem are diminished or gone and the frustration grows bigger. We find ourselves in a negative spiral without a way back out.
It sometimes seems impossible. 

But, let me tell you, there is a way out! It can be a long and sometimes hard journey – but it’s definitely worth it going.

Self-Love First. You Are Enough.

Selflove Picture of Ligaya, Stefanie Grace

Tools To Change Negative Self-Talk And Self-Hatred Into Positivity and Self-Love

Here are some tools to change your negative self-talk into positivity.

Start a journal
Reflect on your day, your feelings, your actions and thoughts. What are your triggers and how do you react to them? Why do you feel how you feel?

Be kind with yourself and practice self-compassion
Start talking to yourself like you were talking to a child or a beloved person. You would never be so hard on someone else like you are with you. Practice being kind towards yourself as well, show compassion and always remember to be more patient.

Practice meditation
Meditation helps to get your mind clear. Find calmness in meditation and start with positive affirmations while combining them with your breath, e.g.: breath in “I am” breath out “enough”. Meditation is a great tool to bring yourself back to this present moment – out of the past and back from the future. Notice the sensations in your body, the feelings and emotions which arise – what are the thoughts, the actions which led to those emotions?

Find your ways of self-care
Take care of yourself and find your tools of self-care. Some people need to go to a yoga class or a run, others feel the need of a bubble bath in the candle light. Maybe you need a long walk in the forest or a dip in the sea? 
Self-care can mean to enjoy a cup of tea while reading a book, crafting something or painting a mandala. 
Everyone has a different way – try some and find your way.

Feel your body
It’s really important to rebuild a healthy connection towards the body again. Best way to do this, is to feel the body. Close your eyes and touch your body very gentle. Like you would caress the body of a beloved person. Feel the silhouette of your body and the touch on your skin. Appreciate it and respect it. It is your home, your only one and it’s a good one, just the way it is. Give yourself a hug.

Start with positive affirmations
Tell your reflection in the mirror that you are beautiful the way you are, that you are enough, that you love yourself. And always remember: it needs time to overwrite a manifestation, it needs time to manifest a certain believe. And most important, it needs you to believe this new believes!

After many years of telling yourself one thing, its not done by simply telling yourself ONCE the opposite. You need to say it over and over again. You need to hear it over and over again. You need to say the words, hear the words in your voice in all your confidence!

Let me know if you have experienced negative self-talk and self-hatred and how you are/were handeling it?

Thanks for taking the time to read,
Love & Light, Namasté yours Nini

My Opinion to the COVID-19 Vacciantion – Two Different Fronts

Stefanie Grace thinking about vaccinations

Vaccination Yes Please! vs. No at All! ​​

When it comes to the COVID-19 vaccination the opinions are split in half. While some are despreately waiting to get their appointment – screaming out Yes Please! – others are convinced to not get a vaccination at all! Usually I don’t like to take positions on political topics or topics like these, but I would like to share my opinion on the topic of vaccinations – not to convince anyone of my opinion and not to judge anyone for their choices, but much more to illustrate how one feels on the side of the pro-vaccinators or on the side of the contra-vaccinators. And after I have decided to get vaccinated after a long time of refusal, I would like to share my thoughts with you here, especially because a lot of friends will probably be confused on my change of choice.

women's vaccinated arm

Fear and a Different Perspective​

From the beginning when the vaccinations were released, it was very clear to me that I will not be vaccinated. I did not want to have anything injected into my body and found the whole hype slightly exaggerated. 

More and more it became noticeable how the two fronts were formed in society and more and more I realized how the judgement started. On one side I noticed the subliminal judgement in the reaction when I told someone, especially friends and family from Austria, that I decided against a vaccination and on the other side I noticed how I wanted to distract from the topic, when I was asked in a very rhetorical way whether I already had a vaccination appointment or my full vaccination. 

I questioned my decision and got to the bottom of the reason why I was so hesitant to vaccinate. In conversation with good friends, it became clear to me that the leading emotion was fear! The same emotion that drives many people to get vaccinated, drove me further away from it. In my case, it may be the fear of the unknown. The fear of letting something into my system that I don’t know and where I don’t know if I will get side effects and if so which ones. This fear is also underwritten with a lack of trust against the manufacturers of the vaccines, since there are no long-term studies, which would not be possible at all at this moment. While on the side of the pro-vaccinatiors many young people may have the fear of not being able to get back to a normal life, older people fear the disease  itself.  

Another reason why I was against was (and please don’t misunderstand me here) that I didn’t see so much importance in it. Just as many people cry out and hope to get back to normality by receiving the vaccination, I did not have the feeling of living in abnormality, because of my journey and life on the islands in the last months, where things went differently than on the mainlands. And here I get back to the point that everyone has their own reasons, their own perspective and reality, which leads to personal choices! 

However, after a long conversation with a good friend and genetic scientist my fear decreased and after long talks with friends in Austria and Switzerland I was more able to see things from their perspective…

Fear Can Be a Hidden Guiding Force until the Point Where We See It.

Arguments and Reasons That Made Me Change My Opinion

– Super detailed explanation and understanding about the mRNA-Vaccination for clarification. 

– Awareness of the fact that no other vaccination I have chosen so far (e.g. for a journey to asia), I have questioned how long the vaccine has been tested. I just trusted, because there was no other option – get vaccinated or do not go on your asia trip – was enough reason for me.

– Discussions about the necessity of vaccinations in case of childhood diseases and the high child mortality rate before many vaccinations came on the market. 

– The, for me, incomprehensible, subliminal vaccination compulsion in Austria. 

– The more difficult travel without vaccination.


No Judgment

I was very confident in my decision of not getting vaccinated, but realized how much I tried to justify myself when someone asked me about getting it. I felt attacked in my decision but at the same time realized that my arguments were not rock solid but fear driven. No one should feel he/she has to justify such a choice and in my opinion no one has the right to judge others for their decisions. 

This article is written from my own perspective and shows my own opinion and experience and is not intended to take a position or side. Everyone has his/her own point of view and his/her reasons for the choices and they should be respected without giving someone the feeling that he/she has to justify for them. Feel free to share your opinion in a respectful way in the comments.

Thanks for reading, Love & Light, yours Nini

How Does the Menstrual Cycle Affects a Women’s Body and the Training. What Is PMS and How To Deal With It?

PMS is affecting the training, body and energy level of a women.

Understand Yourself by Understanding the Menstrual Cycle, Premenstrual Syndrome and How This Affects Your Training.

<< I wake up in the morning like any other day, I go to the bathroom for a shower and dress up. I realize that my pants are much tighter than usual and after a look into the mirror I wonder what I ate for dinner yesterday that I’m so bloated. However, I continue with my morning routine – yoga, workout and meditation. After the first movements I feel a pain in my lower back, so I take it easier and continue with my workout – but after the first block of exercises I feel exhausted and tired. My body feels heavy and weak.
And so I take a rest – notice my feelings, my emotions – I could cry immediately, I feel vulnerable. After finishing my morning routine more or less I’m craving for food, a big desire for something sweet. After breakfast the craving lasts and I feel like eating the whole day.
In the evening I have another training on the program – Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. The slightest contact feels very painful and I hesitate rolling. On the way home I reflect my day, start counting on my  calendar in my head and suddenly I realize – I must be quite in the end of my monthly cycle. >>

PMS sends its regards. 

Even though I’m tracking my cycle pretty good by checking my temperature, my cervical mucus and my calendar, I sometimes get surprised by PMS the week or days before my period starts again. 
To understand a little bit more what’s going on in the female body during this time of the month and how it’s affecting the energy levels and trainings, I wrote this blog post which I want to share with you. 

PMS is affecting the training and energy level of a women.

The Menstrual Cycle

Before talking about PMS, it´s necessary to understand the complex cycle of the female body which continues every month – from puberty until menopause. I start with a little overview of the two phases of the cycle, important hormones, where they come from and what their main jobs are. If you want to know more about the phases read on below.

GnRH – Gonadotrophin releasing hormone – releases from the hypothalamus – triggers the release of FSH and LH from the anterior pituitary gland 
FSH – Follicle stimulating hormone – releases from the anterior pituitary gland –  stimulates the growth of the egg in the follicles
LH – Luteinizing hormone – releases from the anterior pituitary gland – triggers the ovulation, the exit of the egg out of the follicle
Estrogen – secrets by the granulosa cells (cells of the follicles) in the first phase of the cycle and by the Corpus Luteum in the second phase of the cycle –  triggers the development of breast tissues, the lining of the uterus and the expression of female sexual characteristics
Progesterone – secrets by the Corpus Luteum (the cells of the follicle AFTER ovulation) –  thickens and maintains the endometrium (the lining of the uterus) as a preparation for implantation of a fertilized egg

2 Phases of the Cycle

I.                 Follicular Phase –the phase where the egg is developing in a follicle in the ovaries. This phase starts with the first day of the cycle  the first day of the menstruation  and can vary in the duration, mostly around 14 days.

II.               Luteal Phase – the phase starts with ovulation when the egg exits the follicle, ready to get fertilized. In case of no pregnancy  the body starts preparing again for a new cycle. The luteal phase always remains 14 days. 

Drawing of the hormones of the menstrual cycle.

The Follicular Phase

The follicular phase starts with the first day of menstruation, which is the beginning of the cycle.
Characteristics of this phase:

  • Basal body temperature lower
  • Estrogene level low and starts to rise
  • Progesterone level is low
  • FSH and LH start to rise
  • Cervical mucus is thick and untransparent

The menstruation bleeding is the break-down of the endometrium (the lining of the uterus) and takes place, when there is no fertilized egg to implant in the lining. To renew the lining for the next attempt, it has to break down first.
The hypothalamus releases a hormone called ‘gonadotrophin releasing hormone’ (GnRH), this hormone triggers the release of FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) & LH (luteinizing hormone) from the anterior pituitary gland.
The main job of FSH is to stimulates around 5 to 20 follicles in the ovaries, which means they start to grow an egg inside. The cells of the stimulated follicles (called ‘granulosa cells’) secrets estrogen, which is important for the development of breast tissues and the endometrium (the lining of the uterus) and causes the cervical mucus to become thinner and more transparent.

The body prepares for the possible fertilization. The endometrium starts to become thicker and enriched in blood and nutrients, so a fertilized egg could implant.
At the same time, the follicles grow and the concentration of estrogen rises, this gives a negative feedback to the hypothalamus and the release of GnRH stops and so does the release of FSH & LH. Because of the drop of FSH smaller stimulated follicles die (only one remains).
Shortly before the ovulation LH reaches its peak (around day 14 in the cycle) and since the main job of LH (luteinizing hormone) is to trigger the release of the egg out of the follicle – the ovulation begins.

How does this affect the training?
During the follicular phase women experience higher pain tolerance and the average energy level seems higher. At this time the female body can easily perform high-intensity workouts.
Since the estrogen levels increases during the late follicular phase, strength training can be beneficial.   

With the Ovulation the second phase of the cycle starts – the Luteal Phase.

The Luteal Phase

As mentioned already this is the phase where LH (Luteinizing hormone) triggers the egg to exit the follicle and ovary to get fertilized in the fallopian tubes. In case of a fertilization the egg gets implanted in the endometrium in case of no pregnancy, the endometrium breaks down to renew itself.
Characteristics of this time:

  • Oestrogen level is high
  • Progesterone starts to rise
  • The basal body temperature changes and rises (because of progesterone)
  • Cervical mucus is thin and untransparent which allows the sperms to travel (only at the time of the ovulation – after it gets thicker again)
  • FSH & LH level decrease

The follicle which releases the egg collapse and transform to the ‘Corpus Luteum’ – a mass of cells – which secrets the hormones progesterone and estrogen.
The job of progesterone is, together with estrogen, to thicken and maintain the endometrium (the lining of the uterus) as a preparation for implantation of a fertilized egg. In addition, estrogen is working on the breast tissues as well.
When the egg has been fertilized it implants in the lining and the embryo secrets the hormone ‘human chorionic gonadotrophin’ (hCG), which gets detected by a pregnancy test. The hCG keeps the Corpus Luteum alive in order to keep the progesterone concentration high and the lining of the uterus thick. (In case of a pregnancy the placenta takes over the progesterone secretion after around week 5-10).
When the egg hasn’t been fertilize the Corpus Luteum breaks down, because there is no secretion of hCG,
which would keep it thick. In further consequence the concentration of progesterone and estrogen drops and the endometrium breaks down, because the womb doesn’t need the lining, since there is no egg to implant -> menstruation occurs -> GnRH triggers the release of FSH and LH and the cycle starts from the beginning.

How does this affect the training?

After ovulation the change of the hormones, the higher concentration of progesterone and estrogen the metabolism gets a boost and the body temperature gets higher than before, which is remarkable throughout daily life as in a training. High intensity trainings seem to be harder than in other phases of the cycle. 
Because of an increased fluid retention, the body mass might be higher and women feel bloated and heavier. In high estrogen levels the body stores more glycogen and utilizes more fat as fuel, since estrogen can reduce carbohydrate oxidation. This can make it more challenging to reach higher intensities in training and the body feels in need of a few extra carbohydrates which leads again to carbs cravings after ovulation so the energy intake of a woman is rising naturally (up to 300 kcal). At the time prior before the next period, as the progesterone level decreases, a lot of women facing PMS (Premenstrual syndrome).

A drawing of the stages of the female cycle.

What Is PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome)?

PMS is not a mythos, but it’s not a diagnosed disease either*. PMS is a combination of physical and emotional symptoms that affect many women (up to 80%) due to the huge hormonal changes. Some women may feel the symptoms more, some less.
*However, PMDD is a recognised disease and is one of the most intense types of PMS.
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder can cause deep depressions, panic attacks, anxieties plus the known PMS symptoms in the second half of the cycle. Compared to PMS only up to 5 % of women can be affected by PMDD. It is diagnosed by doctors and requires treatment under the supervision of professional help.

Physical symptoms can be:

  • Swollen and/or tender breasts
  • Constipation, feeling bloated and heavy
  • Cramps, headache and backache
  • Lower tolerance for pain, noise and light
  • and lot more…

Emotional symptoms can be:

  • Appetite changes and food cravings
  • Tension, anxiety, feelings of sadness and vulnerability
  • Mood swings
  • Sleeping problems
  • and a lot more…
PMS is affecting the training and energy level of a women.

What Can We Do To Lower the Symptoms of PMS and How To Deal With It?

First of all, it is important to accept the sensations and needs of the body as they are, to work WITH them and not against them. Otherwise, we will always find ourselves in situations, where we judge our body and feelings as failures, because we’re not performing like we used to, like we think we should.
As in so many times in life the main factors, which cures the symptoms are first of all:

  • Exercise regularly throughout the whole month
  • Choose healthy foods all of the time
  • Get enough sleep and recovery
  • Find your ways to keep yourself calm and to reduce stress

Even though, women have a higher craving of sweets and sugars in this time, it’s important to find healthy ways to satisfy the desire, rather than eating high processed products with refined sugars (e.g.: bake your own sweet potato brownies, rather than buying donuts). Do not drink alcohol or smoke and reduce caffeine intake. A balanced nutrition with high intake of minerals and vitamins is crucial – so eat your veggies and fruits.

Regular exercises, in combination with enough sleep, rest and recovery, can help to keep the energy level and the mood higher. A lot of times the question pops up – what kind of exercises are good for me at this time? This is something very subjectively – some women can do HII trainings during PMS, while others find it to hard to go for an easy run. Some women find release in Yoga poses and some in massages. In any case, most important is to listen to YOUR body. If your body feels weak give it some rest, you don’t have to give 120%, just give as much as you can.

<< Only You Know Best, What’s Best For You >>

Some women may already do all this and still not find an ease of PMS. In this case, it might be an option to make a hormone profile to check if there is a lack or a peak in any hormone and/or try natural supplements like chasteberry (get in in the pharmacy) and special teas for cramp release.

Thanks for reading. I’m happy if you share your opinion and experience with me by commenting below. If you have any other tips and tricks let us know and in case you have noticed any points that I should add – please drop me a message.


Social Media vs. Reality – Do You See What I See?

Full body picture Stefanie Grace

"A Picture Tells More Than 1000 Words..." Does It?

There is this saying “a picture tells more than 1000 words” – this may be true in some cases, but when it comes to the topic “‘social media vs. reality” I can’t fully agree with it. I feel more like: “one single picture hides more than 1000 details” – you don’t see the whole reality. 

With all the different filters, lightings and angles our reality gets deceived. Only with the right pose, you can already hide a lot of what you don’t feel like sharing on your social media account. Because of that, it is getting harder to tell, if a picture of a body we see, corresponds to reality.
With this post I want to bring a bit more reality and authenticity to social media, by showing you some details you don’t see. 

Full body picture Stefanie Grace

Some Insights and Details of My Body Which You Don't See on One Single Picture...

The picture above was taken in a great lighting, with a good camera. Afterwards I changed the contrast and the highlights. While the picture was taken, I exhaled, contracted my abs and of course, positioned my pants a little bit higher, to highlight my waist.

Here is my reality and insights of other angles and poses.

The view over the body from above.

...my view of my body from above

The image of the body is changing a lot, depending on the angle you look at it. (I used to hate looking down to body like this).

Spare Tyres of Ligaya Stefanie Grace

...my spare tyres when I sit relaxed

When i sit relaxed on the ground, I'm not showing my abs, I'm showing my spare tyres (they have been with my all my life).

Cellulite of Stefanie Grace

...my cellulite on my thighs

You wouldn't see them, when I'm standing. But when I sit down and sqeeze my thights they pop up!

Stretch marks on the butt of Stefanie Grace Ligaya

...my stretch marks on my butt

A nice pattern on my skin (as my partner use to say) Kind of body art.

Scars and bruses on the shins of Ligaya Stefanie Grace

...my scars and bruses on my shins

The side effect of training jiu-jitsu, jumping around like a monkey the whole day and the habit of not being able to leave wounds like they are (I can't help myself, I really like to scratch).

Don’t let social media deceive your reality.

See YOUR Reality. Appreciate and Respect Your Body as It Is.

I had a time in my life, where I hated the reality as it is. I didn’t like my body at all. I edited every picture I took and deleted every picture, where I wasn’t happy about the reality. Due to my eating disorder I was struggleing with, I didn’t see myself the way others would see me. I was comparing myself with everyone else and everytime I did, I lost the competition. My body never was good enough.. 
I worked a lot on my mindset, with my body and my self image. With all the appreciation and all the gratitude I was cultivating towards my body – for everything it can accomplish – I cultivated respect and love towards my body. 

Now I am able to see and feel the reality and actully like it. And of course there are days, on which I don’t feel 100 percent happy with my appereance, but I also always know why I feel this way – may it be because I had pizza the night before, may it be because I am bloated, because I have my period, or antything else – and this is Ok too, because I see and accept the reality, rather than deniying and hating  it. 

Why It Is the Perfect Time?

Stefanie Grace sitting and gazing at the ocean.

Why It Is the Perfect Time for a Retreat and How Fear Is Holding Us Back...

The last year has been challenging for all of us in different ways, we had to face a lot of difficulties and had to cut back with leisure activities and vacations. 
Especially the long lockdown during the grey and cold winter has drained on our energy reserves. There is no better time to recharge the body battery than with the arrival of spring. For this reason, I would like to dedicate this blog post to the next up-coming Retreat in Gran Canaria in an interview with performance coach Renato Montañés, from Toa-Toa, who is hosting this retreat together with me.

Picture of Renato and Nini (Stefanie Grace)

Interview With Performance Coach and Retreat Host Rentao Montañés

“Why do you think, it’s the perfect moment for a retreat?”

“I feel we all are in a form of retreat since the pandemic started. But sharing this isolation and being guided through practices that help us develop, especially in times like these, just seems like what many looking for, whenever tired of their homes and circumstances.”

“What’s your opinion regarding the current, global situation? Is it safe to travel?”

My own experience travelling right now, as well as all safety measures that are
in place, are minimizing risks to an extend where I feel completely relaxed
traveling. I perceive eventual PCR test requirements and masks rather as something
like extra visa regulations than something that actually hinders me.”

“Where do you see fear holding people back from such experiences?”

“Since the current circumstances are quite uncertain and changing from day to day, many of us feel like walking on eggshells in terms of decision making. Should I do this? What if everything changes again and I lose?
Fear of loss, making mistakes and/or having to deal with uncertain developments are very normal nowadays. The danger however comes from being impaired of this fear to a point where we don’t move at all and stay paralyzed with decreasing hope that one day we might move freely and without these fears. But there is always something to fear if we succumb to it. 
We can practice fear or courage. The more we feed one, the weaker the other gets.”

“What does personal development/ personal growth mean to you?”

“2 Things. Digging up and resolving restraints and patterns that keep me from flow. And the commitment to play with what I love to do to an extend where I am getting better at it with every time I invest into it lovingly.”

“How this retreat can provide personal transformation and change?”

“I feel It is the perfect playground where I can learn, work and connect dots around my topics and immerse fully into clean routines and healthy living in a safe and knowledgeable environment, at least for the time of the retreat.
This way I have the chance to practice what can sustain me when I am back home.” 


Investing into Personal Growth is like watering a plant! 

Information Regarding the Retreat and the Current Situation in Spain...

The Growth Retreat – from the 3rd to the 11th of April – will take place in the north of Gran Canaria in a beautiful villa with the view over the ocean. These 7 full days of practice are the perfect kickstart into new routines and into a healthy lifestyle to keep yourself mentally and physically fit.

Spain has been removed from the quarantine list for many different countries and to enter you just need to provide a PCR-Test. Restaurants, shops and public outdoor spots are open under the restrictions of a mask.


For more information and booking contact me via E-Mail connect.ligaya@gmail.com

Or use the sign up from below.


What Previous Retreat Participants Have To Say

It was a great opportunity to learn from others, share thoughts, eat delicious meals. There was enough time to relax and explore beautiful places around. Sometimes it was challenging but it was so worth it. All in all it was very inspiring and it feels like it opend doors to myself.
More than expected. All my stress was gone, I haven’t felt that great in a long time. Additionally, I made a lot of new experiences regarding my meditation practice. Amazing.
It was challenging, but I got a kickstart for my own Routine! Really nice Group and Renato & Nini gave ther best and opened a playground of opportunities to grow.»
I have immensely enjoyed this well structured space to take time for myself and at the same time sharing this experience with a group of lovely people.

Is Yoga Enough or Do We Need an Additional Workout?

Lunge Pose Ligaya Is Yoga Enough

Is Yoga Enough or Do We Need an Additional Workout?

I love doing yoga – since around 10 years now – but at the same time I always loved / and still love to workout, to go to the gym, for a run or do any other exercises. It’s not the first time, that I faced the question, if yoga is enough. I already had plenty of conversations with people of different movement backgrounds, so here I want to discuss the topic again.  

Stefanie Grace Ligaya is doing Yoga oudoor

What Do We Need for a Healthy Body and Mind?

Before answering the question if yoga is enough, let’s have a look first on what the body and mind needs to be healthy and balanced. There are 7 primary movements or fundamental human movements, natural motions of the body, on which we should pay attention to stay fit. 
1. Pulling motion: to pull an object towards the body or the body towards the hands, e.g., you hang on a tree and pull yourself up.
2. Pushing motion: to push an object away from our body or our body away from our hands, e.g., you fall down and you need to push yourself up again.  
3. Squatting motion: to bring the hips closer to the heels and away again, e.g., you jump up or down an object.
4. Lunging motion: to step one leg far to the front and bring it back in again, e.g., you catch something need to make a step to the front/back/side. 
5. Bending motion/ Hip-hinging: to bend down forward and coming back to standing, e.g., you pick something up. 
6. Rotating/ Twisting motion: to rotate or twist the body, e.g., you throw something, also walking/running requires a twist in the torso.
7. Gaiting motion/ locomotion of the body:  to walk or run, to spring, to crawl, e.g., you move long distance/ endurance.

Now we know, what’s important to balance out the body in a physical way, just to mention, besides of the usage of the primary movements it becomes more and more important in our society to also train the mind, to learn to calm down the mind, to reduce stress and anxiety. 

Where Do We Find the Primary Fundamental Movements in Yoga?

Most of the fundamental movements are easy to find in a yoga practice. We have Chaturangas when we push ourself away from the ground – pushing motion, squatting motions in a Utkatasana, chair pose as in Malasana, deep squat and other poses. There are a lot of lunging motions in a yoga class in different varieties, Virabhadrasana, warrior poses, crescent lunge… and depending on the class and the teacher, they vary between dynamic repetitions or static holding. Of course, we always find twisting movements in different poses and in each sun salutation we do the hip- hinging/ bending motion, when you get up from Utthanasana, a full forward fold into a half forward fold and all the way up.

But now there are two movements missing, the pulling motion and the gaiting motion. 

In a pulling motion we need the muscles on our back, like the latissimus, trapezius, the rhomboids, as well as the posterior deltoids and the biceps to pull oneself up. And even though we control the back muscles in Shalabasana, in the superman pose on the ground, there is not pulling motion in yoga, except you practice aerial yoga. 

What we miss as well is the gaiting motion. Walking/running long distance to train your endurance/cardio is an essential tool to keep the cardiovascular system healthy. 

Picture of Stefanie Grace while running


Let’s put it all together and get back to the main question: Is yoga enough or do we need an additional workout?

Even though, yoga offers a huge range of benefits for the body and the mind, there are some things missing. Best way to go is to find a balance between yoga & fitness to keep the body and mind healthy all around. Here’s my personal experience: both sides benefit from each other. My yoga practice gives me mobility and flexibility which is beneficial for me in a lot of other sports and exercises. And of course, it plays a huge role in my recovery with the meditation and the stretching. My fitness practice is providing the strength and the endurance, which again is beneficial in my yoga practice. 

Since I took care to give both of them the same importance, I was able to improve so much in both of them.

It’s the balance between yoga & fitness that keeps us in balance.

(1) https://www.asirecreation.org/recreport/ask-trainer/63-ask-a-trainer-archive/302-the-fundamental-human-movements#:~:text=There%20are%20seven%20basic%20movements,muscle%20groups%20in%20your%20body. (19.02.2021)
(2) https://www.builtlean.com/primal-movement-patterns/ (19.02.2021)

Realize Your Full Power, Your Full Potential and Find Joy and Selflove in Being You.

Stefanie Grace in a yoga pose laughing

Realize Your Full Power, Your Full Potential and Find Joy and Selflove in Being You.

I was thinking for a long time what my first blog post should be about… Yoga? Fitness? Nutrition?… they are all equally important to me and after starting and deleting a text again and again for a couple of times I decided that my first blog post should be about my big WHY – the big question what gives me the drive, what motivates me, what I want to share with you in my work as a health coach…

Stefanie Grace Ligaya is doing Yoga oudoor

"I Support and Inspire Women To Realize Their Full Power, Their Full Potential - To Find Joy and Selflove in Being Themselves".

I know there are many women, perhaps too many women, who haven’t reached yet their full power, who haven’t  realized their full potential. 

But what is holding us back? 
I think there are many reasons and we all have different dominating ones, but a lot of times the feeling of not being good enough is the one, which occurs with all of us in some way. We feel we are not enough in what we do, in how we are, in our appearance. We always find something that diminishes our value, even if others see it in a different way. We put ourselves second, not first. It’s hard for us to say no, to stand up for ourselves. We only see the things on our bodies, we don’t like instead of complimenting ourselves for the things we do appreciate about ourselves. 
And because of that its hard for us to accept compliments and even to accept love.

I invite you, to look at you and to ask yourself – “Do I like, what I see”? 
I invite you, to touch your body and to ask yourself – “Do I like what I feel? 
Ask yourself in what kind of relationship are you with your body, with you? 
And then remind yourself, that you are enough, just the way you are.

Change is Growth
Years ago, I was hunted by the feeling of not being enough. My body never was good enough, everything I did, was not good enough. I struggled with my self-image, the way I see me and with an eating disorder. I reached a point in my life, where I thought that I would never be able to change the relationship towards myself. Change felt impossible…

But after working a lot on my mindset I’ve learned, that change is possible. Even tho, change is never comfortable, because it means you have to go out of your comfortzone, the zone where you feel at home, where you feel save, because its familiar. But after you did this step you will discover a new comfortzone and step by step you are growing – and this is a beautiful process. 

I dedicate this post to all the beautiful women out there who can relate to those feelings – have faith in the process and look forward to discovering yourself in a new way. Get to know yourself better, and learn to love yourself exactly as you are, in your full potential, in your full power. 

Get out of your comfort zone and grow.