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. 


Yoga During Pregnancy and After Giving Birth – Part II: Postnatal

Mum and Bub graphic

How Can a Woman Support Her Body and Mind After Pregnancy and How Much Is Too Much?

In my previous post I was writing about the benefits of yoga during pregnancy, before giving birth. Now I would like to share the benefits and beauty of a yoga class postnatally.

I haven’t experienced becoming a mother yet, but I am very grateful and excited to support new born mamas in their postpartum time with my knowledge and empathy.

Yoga After Pregnancy - Postnatal

After labour the body of a woman is changing and as Ina May Gaskin beautifully said: her emotions, mind and spirit also change for the rest of her life. These changes are wonderful, if the woman is able to accept them and adapt her practice and her life accordingly to them.

The postpartum period, which starts right after labour, is the time when the hormone levels and the uterus size are returning back to a non-pregnant stage. The time a woman needs to recover from birth, depends on how the baby has been delivered (vaginal birth, c-section…) and on the physical and mental condition of the woman before. In any case, the puerperium time is the most important time to rest. The puerperium or puerperal period describes the first six weeks after childbirth, where the mother should mainly stay in bed or around the bed to give her body the best conditions to heal, to recharge her energy levels in order to give energy to her newborn. 

During this time a woman can start bringing tone back to the muscles of the abdominal region and the pelvic floor, only with gentle awareness breaths. As soon as all the wounds are healed, she can start with gentle exercises of the deeper inner muscles. How the woman treats her body in the first month after birth is crucial for a long-lasting recovery.

Whenever and however you give birth, your experience will impact your emotions, your mind, your body, and your spirit for the rest of your life!  Ina May Gaskin

How Yoga Can Help With a Various List of Benefits 

Yoga is not only asanas, physical postures, yoga is so much more. Meditation, breathing exercises, relaxation, practice of devotion and surrender. There are so many new challenges a mum has to face. Yoga can be a wonderful tool to support and help to manage them with more ease and joy.

  1. Helps to relax, to find peace and calmness in body and mind.
    Especially in the early time postpartum the new mum is struggling a lot with her energy. Long nights with only a few hours of sleep and an overwhelming feeling are very natural. 

Yoga helps to: 

  • to decrease anxiety, fear and stress.
  • to relax, to calm down the mind.
  • to boost Serotonin and Dopamine.
  • to recharge the energy levels.

Tools: restorative poses, guided meditations and breathing exercises.

  1. Helps on a physical level

After labour the pelvic floor and the abdominal muscles are experiencing a lack of strength and muscle tone. This can increase the possibility for incontinence and pelvic floor prolapse (even months later).  It is very normal that the new mum is feeling stiff in the neck and experiencing shoulder pain or lower back pain due to the long hours of breastfeeding. 

Yoga can help: 

  • to find the tone of the muscles again. 
  • to decrease common pains of shoulder, neck and lower back.
  • to get back to the well-being weight in a gentle and mindful way.
  • to improve posture, balance and coordination.
  • to promote better circulation and can reduce high blood pressure.
Tools: stretching and strenghening poses and exercises.

  1. Empowers a woman in her new role as a mum

When a woman becomes a mum, her role changes. Change can be very uncomfortable a lot of times. Facing new challenges, dealing with a rollercoaster of emotions and an overwhelming feeling. 

Yoga can help: 

  • to be able to adapt to these changes in a respectful way towards yourself.
  • to release certain emotions and feelings rather than let them be stuck in the body 
  • to honour this sacred time, her body and to cultivate self-love during this whole process.
  • to learn to listen to your own intuition – what’s good for the mother is good for the baby.
  • to learn to surrender and to adjust in the best way you can in any challenges you are facing, without the need of judging.

“Compassion towards ourselves is the foundation for any compassion towards others. If we let ourselves become tired and run-down caring for others we have less to give everyone. We need to look after our own health too by making time for quietness and rest. In practising compassion we speak kindly to ourselves and notice whether our inner voices are supportive and friendly or judgmental and demanding. We are patient when we falter, for parenting makes amateurs of us all as we confront its never-ending new stages. It helps us cultivate self-awareness, not guilt.”

Sarah Napthali, “Buddhism for Mothers”.

Often the Question Arises: How Much Is Too Much? And Safety Guidlines

Golden rules of postnatal yoga and safety guidelines

1. Listen to your own intuition – you know best, what’s best for you. If something doesn’t feel right, leave it – if it feels good, go for it.

2. Listen to your body. I’m not in your body, I can’t feel it as you do. What I can do is to give you guidelines, instructions of the poses and share my knowledge, but whenever you feel you want to adjust a pose to make it more comfortable for your body, feel free to do it. Whenever you can’t find a pose, just rest in a child pose or on your side body, or back.

3. Challenge yourself in a respectful way. Do not force yourself in any position, but always keep in mind that you are stronger than you think. The body only gets stronger in challenging situations.

4. Breathe – there’s nothing more to add ;).

5. Allow and accept interruptions – there will be times, when you have the baby next to you while practicing. There will even be times when you will practice together with the baby. And the baby will get hungry at some point and the baby will cry… Don’t see these moments as a destruction of your practice – see it as a new part of your practice. You can always pause a video and go back in again. And during the live calls you can still be part of the class, even though you are feeding your baby – this is all part of the course.

Be careful with deep stretching/ overstretching:

The hormone ‘relaxin’ which is very important in the prenatal stage, in order to make the tissues, ligaments and muscles soft to create space for the baby, needs around six months after giving birth to decrease its level. Because of that it is important in the postpartum period to not overstretch the muscles but to find a nice balance. Stretching can help a lot to relieve stress in the body and mind and can decrease pain of the body due to long hours of sitting, laying and breastfeeding poses. 

Be careful with over strengthening:

After birth the body needs rest. No matter how the baby has been delivered, labour leaves wounds and they need time to heal. If a woman is forcing her body in this time to workout, she can damage a lot in the deeper tissues. 

It is important to start slow. To get the muscle tone back in the pelvic muscles and abdominal muscles needs time. Focusing on strengthening the deep tissues of the muscles can prevent and decrease incontinence and pelvic floor prolapse. The same counts for running, which depends if running has always been in the routine or not. 

When it comes to strengthening the abdominal muscles, it is important to clarify first if and how big the rectus diastasis is. When the belly grows during pregnancy, the abdominal muscles have to seperate in the middle to create space. After labour they need time to close again before starting work on strengthening them.

Thanks for taking the time to read – let me know in the comments your thoughts and experiences. 

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

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.


What Does Yoga Have To Do With Veganism? Interview With Rahel

Rahel Lutz drinking tea and eating a cookie

The Vegan Lifestyle and Yoga
Interview with Rahel

In the last interview special Rahel from “Don’t Waste Your Taste” asked me questions about Ahimsa, Veganism and Yoga. In today’s post Rahel will answer the questions I asked her and she will explain what the vegan lifestyle and yoga have in common.

A few months ago, I asked Rahel if she would like to cook for my group during the Women Retreat, which will take place in Ibiza from May 14-20, 2022. Happliy she said yes, because there is really hardly anything she enjoys more than cooking delicious vegan food for other people. In combination with the daily yoga practice, the group process and the sea in front of the door, the whole thing is of course even more beautiful.

So that the readers of my blog can get to know Rahel better and her readers can get to know me better, we thought we would just interview each other. 

Rahel Lutz vegan foodblogger auf dem Hof Ring mit Grace

Since When Do You Live Vegan?

“In the spring of 2016, I decided to go vegan. At that time, primarily for ethical reasons. I could no longer justify to myself my contribution to the suffering of animals that the consumption of animal products entails. Especially not after I realized that I could live a perfectly healthy life even if I lived vegan.
Since making the switch, I’ve realized that I live a fulfilling life BECAUSE I live vegan.
This life-changing decision triggered a wave of self-empowerment for me and led me onto the path of mindfulness. An incredible number of doors have opened since then, inside and out.”

What Made You Want To Do What You're Doing Now?

“My enthusiasm and joy for vegan cooking and baking has been huge since the beginning of my vegan journey. I just love to spend hours trying out different dishes, inventing new recipes and bringing smiles to others’ faces with my creations. In 2019, the desire to share my enthusiasm with my fellow humans became unmistakably loud and I founded my blog “dontwasteyourtaste.com”. Since then, I have been able to learn a lot as co-host of the vegan YouTube cooking show of the channel “Zentrum der Gesundheit” and have achieved my first small successes as an independent food blogger. After more than two years as a food blogger, I still do what I do because I love it and it always inspires me. There’s really little that makes my heart delight and dance more than when someone tries one of my recipes and reports back that it tasted really good.”

Rahel Lutz doing the prayer pose. Interview with Ligaya

What Does Ahimsa Mean To You?

“Ahimsa for me means not causing suffering to sentient beings, both humans and animals. If I want to live Ahimsa, it is an empathic and also logical conclusion for me to live vegan. I came to this conclusion before I found myself on the path of yoga in 2017. So it was all the more beautiful for me to realize then that my vegan way of life in this respect is in line with what I consider to be a very basic tenet of yogic teachings.”

What Does Health Mean To You?

“When I feel physically exhausted or ill, or perceive my mind as very unbalanced, I lack the resources to truly enjoy my existence. I believe we are here on this earth not to be free of disease, but to learn to love life in its fullness and infinite, inexhaustible generosity.”

Rahel Lutz doing a crow pose at the riverside.

What Do You Think Man Should Change/Should Change About Mankind and for What Reason?

“In a Vipassana meditation course I learned to observe my inner world with a meditative attitude. What I learned in the course of the very intensive ten-day course is that everything changes. Everything comes into being and also passes away.
My time on this planet is finite. So what do I do with the very limited time I have here? Do I want to contribute to more suffering, or do I want to do my best to act more and more out of compassion every day?
When we ourselves get to the point where we understand that we have a choice about how to answer this question, new perspectives open up. The vegan movement, in my opinion, is a result of us becoming more aware on a collective level that the suffering we do to others always comes back to us in one way or another. That more and more people are choosing the vegan lifestyle and making a strong case gives me confidence that we want to end this cycle and we’re ready to make compassion-based choices.”

What is your motto/phiosophy of life?

Don’t Waste Your Taste” – Don’t waste your taste! This saying can be applied not only to food. Life may be tasted and enjoyed in its versatility and boundless abundance.”

Don’t Waste Your Taste

Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed. 
Let me know in the comments – What does Ahimsa means to you? 

What Does Yoga Have To Do With Veganism? Interview With Nini

What does yoga have to do with veganism?

Interview With Vegan Foodblogger Rahel

In this interview special with Rahel from “Don’t waste your taste” you can get to know me better and find an answer to the question “What does yoga have to do with veganism?”.

I asked Rahel a few months ago if she would like to cook for my group during the Woman Retreat in Ibiza I’m organizing from May 14-20, 2022 – and she said yes.
So we are looking forward to a week together doing yoga enjoying the sun and delicious vegan food.

With this interview I would like to give you the opportunity to get to know me a little better. In the following lines I talk about my personal path, my vision, what Ahimsa means and also about what yoga has to do with veganism. Have fun reading through.

Health Coach Ligaya Yoga and Fitness

Who Are You and What Do You Do?

“Hi, I’m Nini and I’m a health coach. The areas I work with are yoga, fitness and nutrition. On the one hand I teach group classes, private classes, workshops and retreats on the other hand I coach people who are looking for a lifestyle change in 1:1 coachings.
My coachees come to me for different reasons, some want to get fitter, lose weight or build muscle mass, others long for more peace and tranquility in their lives and still others come because they want to change their eating habits or are struggling with an eating disorder.”

How Did It Come About?

“I had a lot of problems myself years ago in terms of my diet. I was fighting bulimia and myself at the same time. I couldn’t accept myself as I am, was never good enough and had no peace when it came to eating right and exercising. I started therapy, yoga and worked a lot on my mindset and was able to turn my views on many areas 180 degrees. I got to know myself, my triggers better and learned how to deal with them. So I found back to self-love and more joy in my life. I know that many women (as well as men) feel the same way. Many feel trapped in this mindset and can’t find a way out. I have made it my mission to help others who feel the same way to make the change.”

What Is Your View of People? What Do You Understand by Health?

“Under health, or a healthy person I understand not only the freedom from disease, but a person who feels physically and mentally completely well. Whether a person is healthy I recognize above all by the charisma of the person. It is therefore not only about the physical condition, but much more about the mental, because in many cases this is the origin of complaints. Only when a person has “cleaned up” mentally and emotionally, the body has the possibility to unfold in a healthy way. That is why I like to work in all areas. Fitness, to strengthen the body, explore the limits and grow beyond them. Yoga and mediation, to strengthen the mind, become mentally fit, get to know yourself better and change certain perspectives and nutrition, to learn what the body needs to function at its best, to learn to listen to the body and feel what foods are good for us, in what quantity and when.”

Ligaya Yoga and Veganism

What Is Your Vision?

“My vision is my why and my why is what drives me, what gives me joy in my work. I inspire and support women to find self-love and joy, to tap into their power and live to their full potential.”

Ahimsa - What Does It Mean in General, How Do You Integrate It Into Your Life?

“Ahimsa is the second point of the Niyamas, the 8-limbed path of Yoga (described by Patanjali) and means “no violence, harm no one”. It is moral values of us towards the environment, towards other people, animals, nature. 

To be able to fully integrate Ahimsa in life, it requires a vegan lifestyle. But also that we do not harm any living being, no matter how small and seemingly insignificant to us, such as mosquitoes or lice. 

Ahimsa in my life: I have been a vegetarian for a few years now and have also started vegan a few times. However, never with the really strong intention of Ahimsa. Recently, I’ve been feeling the call of Ahimsa very intensely, and so I dedicated myself to a vegan lifestyle at the beginning of March.” 

If you hear the calling of Ahimsa – Follow 

In my next post you will find out more about Rahel and her story. 

Let me know in the comments – What does Ahimsa means to you? 

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.

What Is Mindful Eating and Why Is It So Important?

Stefanie Grace is eating mindful

What Is Mindful Eating and Why Is It So Important?

Mindful eating is a way to nourish your body consiously by paying attention to all of the senses, to the feelings in your body. Mindful eating is not a diet, it doesn’t count calories, fat, protein or carbonhydrates, it’s not judgemental, there’s no guilt included. The purpose of mindful eating is not to lose weight or gain muscles – the purpose is to become more aware again of what we eat, when we eat, how we eat, the amount we eat. Mindful eating is not only eating slowly and without distraction, it is eating with the right intentsion, giving the body what it deserves, what it needs, and enjoying and appreciating the food we take in and the effects it has on the body. (1,2) 

Stefanie Grace Ligaya is eating while texting and reading

Mindless Eating Habits and the Problems Which Comes Along With It...

We live in a world, where food is always available in abundance  (if we’re lucky). Our society is more and more cultivating a love-hate relationship with food, some are consuming whatever comes in their way, without even thinking about the outcome and the effects in the body and others are dividing the food in good or bad, in a sometimes very judmental way. In both cases, guilt always comes along with it. We take more attention on the latest diet-trends, than on the food and its value itself. We get distraceted by so many things. (2)  

Do you find yourself in one of these situations of eating habits? 

– TV and mobile phone: I prepare myself something to eat, take my time and sit down still thinking: “I’m very mindful today”. I take the first bite and during I’m chewing, I grab my phone and check my insta feed or answer some whatsapp messages, because they are so improtant, that they cannot wait till later. Another classic situation: Pizza and a movie – no more words needed.

– Reading a book, newspaper, or magazin: I enjoy my breakfast in the morning, with a nice cup of coffee and the newspaper – getting all emotional because of the latest covid-19 regulation news. 

– Talking: We have friends over for dinner, very interesting conversations, a lot of laughers, somtimes even emotional conversations. I have a coffee date with my friend, we are enjoying coffee, tea and cookies – and without even noticing one cookie has become four, plus a cake. 

– Snacking, eating in standing or while walking: I walk through the kitchen, not even hungry, but oh, there’s an apple, I could eat an apple?! While eating the apple I walk through the house. Another classic: the curious look into the fridge, deep in the inside I now, that the fridge will look the same like two hours ago, but who knows, maybe there is something more interesting now?

– Eating stressed: I wake up in the morning, super motivated for my morning run – I get home and realize, there is only little time left before I have to leave the house. So now breakfast has to be a quick bite, or even a breakfast to go. 


The outcome of mindless eating habits are showing their effects: 
For some people these eating habits doesn’t look so bad – what’s wrong with reading a book while eating? Or having conversations? 
Well, the most common outcome of all of this mindless eating habits is overeating. We miss the point, where the hunger (if there even has been hunger) is stilled. We don’t listen to the body and it’s signs that we had enough. The focus is somewhere else and suddenly we don’t even realize how much we ate. The outcome of overeating is obviously overweight up to obesety.
When it comes to stressful eating situations, we start to chew really fast and little – no wonder that so many people complain about digestive problems, like feeling bloaded.

But one major effect, which a lot of us don’t even recognize: we cultivate emotional eating by getting emotional of the conversations we are having, by the news we are reading, by bringing stress and feelings on the table. This is why it is so important to be more mindful about our eating habits, to be more in the moment, to be more focused on the actual act of nourishing the body. 

Whenever you are wandering around in the kitchen “surching for something” ask yourself first: how are you feeling, what are you really searching for? Is there a deeper feeling behind it? Dig into it.
Whenever you catch yourself having dinner, while watching the news about all the bad things happening in the world – check how you are changeing your eating behaviour regarding to the emotions (some of us lose the apetite, others might start binging chocolate). 

If we like to eat mindful, the process of eating, of nourishing the body, needs to get our full attention, all of our focus – like in meditation. As long as there is something else around, we will never be able to provide this full attention. Who ever did a Vipassana or any other silent retreat already, problably knows the beauty of eating mindful. I remember the first meal in my first silent retreat. I first thought – this is so weird, we are all sitting so close to each other, but its so silent. But by time I experienced the beauty of it, the beauty of giving my food and my body the attention and the appreciation it needs. I’m not saying we should always be alone while eating. I also do appreciate the company and the social part of enjoying a meal together, but I invite you to give it a try  – maybe take 2 meals out of 3, where you practice mindful eating. 

Easy Ways To Practice Mindful Eating

Here are some easy tips and tricks to cultivate mindful eating in life.

1. Ask yoursefl before: Am I hungry right now? Why do I want to eat now? 
2. Do I have time to eat? I sit down and I take the time. 
3. I focus on my food and I put away the phone, the laptop, the book and I turn off the TV.
4. I prepare one beautiful plate, I look at my food and I see all the beautiful colours.
5. I smell my food and I notice all the different smells.
6. I chew and I notice all the different tastes of the food in my mouth.
7. I put down the forc or the spoon when my mouth is full and I only take it up again, when my mouth is empty.
8. I eat until I’m full and statisfied.
9. I notice the effects of the food in my body. I notice the feeling, the emotions in my body. 
10. I am grateful for my food, I honor and appreciate my food. 

Eat with all of your senses and in consciousness – Enjoy your meal.

(1): Minduful Eating: The Art Of Presence While You Eat, Joseph B. Nelson,  Diabetes Spectr. 2017 Aug; 30(3): 171–174.
(2): https://amihungry.com/how-can-mindful-eating-help-me, 24.02.2021

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)