A 30-Minute Yoga Routine to Fight Stress and Build Strength

Think you’ve got to hit the gym to build muscle and then make time for sun salutations to keep your stress levels in check? With this strength-building yoga style, you can roll out your mat for just half an hour and get it all in at once.

Superstar yogi (and graduate of The Nutrition School!) Danielle Diamond created Xen Strength Yoga to combine yoga and meditation with muscle building for major mind-body benefits. (Including the ability to carry that luxe, heavy yoga mat all over the city without breaking a sweat?)

The method involves both weights and warrior poses and is now super popular. Diamond even launched a free teacher training program for current yoga, fitness, and other wellness pros that you can participate in from home.

RELATED: How Yoga Star Caley Alyssa Follows an “Awareness Diet”

Ready to try strength-building yoga at home?

She shared a 30-minute sequence you can do anytime, anywhere, below. Work it into your weekly routine for maximum benefits.

Strength-Building Yoga


How Yoga Star Caley Alyssa Follows an “Awareness Diet”

You may be surprised to learn that Caley Alyssa hates the gym or loves face massages.

But this is something that probably won’t shock you about the influential yoga teacher, who inspires women all over the world on a daily basis during her classes, on Instagram, and via the monthly speaker series Women Catalysts.

When we asked her to describe the habits that make up her Nutritious Life, a major theme emerged: mindfulness.

Living consciously, she said, means being constantly mindful of “where the products you’re using come from and where they will go when you’re done, AND not just to know, but to care.” And that ethos seeps into all of her habits—from yoga and meditation to eating with awareness.

Find out how, plus other fun facts about the superstar yogi, below.

How does Caley Alyssa Live a Nutritious Life?

If you had to name your healthy diet, what would you call it? The awareness diet! It’s simple. Be aware of what you’re eating, how it was grown, how it makes you feel when you eat it, when you’re actually full and satisfied, anticipate thirst, prepare for performance, and recovery….I could go on!

What’s the one thing you always have in your fridge? Kombucha.

The one food you’d never buy? Meat.

The snack you always have with you when traveling? Nut butter packets.

Your favorite food indulgence? Honey Mama’s raw vegan chocolate. It’s basically healthy fudge. I’m obsessed.

RELATED: 5 Healthy Reasons to Eat Chocolate

Caley Alyssa

How often do you exercise, and what’s your workout of choice? Every day! Other than yoga, rock climbing is getting to be on top of my list. I also really enjoy Pilates and hiking.

How do you stay active outside of the gym? I never go to the gym! It’s my least favorite place in the world.

What’s your go-to tool for managing stress? Meditation.

RELATED: A 2-Minute Calming Meditation to Manage Stress

How do you pamper yourself when you need it? I go to the Olympic Spa and get a massage and scrub down! It’s amazing.

Do you have a favorite health gadget? I use meditation apps like Getting into the Vortex and One Giant Mind.

How do you express and spread love? Touch, clear communication, inspiring confidence!

What’s your weirdest healthy habit? Face massage! It’s changed my life. I get the massages from an amazing woman, Natalia Armonik. She’s trained in a very special method. Basically you never need Botox. It relaxes the tense muscles of your face and reduces wrinkles. It also tightens your skin and boosts collagen production.

Which healthy habit do you wish you had more time for? Massages. I really need one a week.

Lightning Round

Meditation or massage? Both.

A hot shower or a soothing bath? Bath.

Almond butter or peanut butter? Almond butter.

Coffee or tea? Tea.

A long run outside or a dark spin class? Long run.

“How Do You Live a Nutritious Life?” is a recurring column. Featured guests complete a questionnaire and select answers are then chosen and edited to share, here. Are you a wellness pro interested in sharing how you live a Nutritious Life? Email lisa@nutritiouslife.com to be considered.

5 Ways to Find Workout Motivation When It Feels Impossible

By Jane Hanisch, NLC

Workout motivation is often tough to tap.

Maybe the days have gotten shorter and the winter chill is making you want to stay snuggled underneath a fuzzy blanket, or your work and social schedule has gotten so crazy you barely have time to slip on sneakers.

Whatever the reason, there are specific tactics that can help you continue or even start exercising when it feels impossible.

Try these 5 workout motivation boosters, now.

  1. Schedule it. Setting and maintaining a consistent exercise schedule turns it into part of your day. In other words, prioritize working out as if it were a doctor’s appointment, no skipping allowed. Just remember that it’s important to make a schedule that’s realistic and can be maintained. Some weeks require morning workouts, others midday. Over time, an extra day can always be added to your schedule, but don’t start out with goals you can’t reach and end up discouraged (i.e. are you really going to get up at 5:00 a.m. for spin class the morning after your weekly work happy hour?).
  1. Invest money. Paying for a gym membership or buying classes at a boutique fitness studio is not always cheap, and not everyone has this option. But if you do have some disposable income (hey, how many nice bottles of red wine did you pick up last week?), maybe paying for a personal trainer is what you need. Money has a way of changing your perspective because no one wants to waste it. Think of it as the best kind of investment—in your health.
  1. Switch things up. If you dread your sweat sessions, get creative and try something new. It could be that you just haven’t found your workout motivation sweet spot yet. Love cardio? Look into spinning or boxing. Want to tone and tighten? Try a barre class. Hot yoga might be what your body needs on a cold, winter day; lifting heavy at a CrossFit box might feel better during summer.
  1. Find a workout partner. Working out with a friend creates accountability—it’s harder to bail when you know you’ll be letting someone else down by not showing up. Bonus: research has shown that exercising with a partner can push you to work harder during the sweat session, and it’s bound to be way more fun, too.
  1. Treat yourself (post-workout). Choose something to serve as a reward after working out (no, not a gallon of ice cream). Think along the lines of a warm shower followed by a great face mask, or bigger treats for hitting specific goals. At the end of a really successful week, for example, you could buy yourself those pumps you’ve been coveting or a bold new lipstick.Think of something that really resonates with you, personally, that makes you proud of breaking a sweat and working towards those bigger health and fitness goals.

About Jane:

workout motivationJane Hanisch is a Nutritious Life Certified personal trainer and yoga instructor based in Charlotte, NC. She holds a degree in Exercise Science and is an exercise physiologist through ACSM. As a former professional ballet dancer, she witnessed the dangers of resorting to unhealthy diet tricks in order to maintain a certain weight. The experience showed her that food could not be the enemy, and after stepping away from the dance world, she began a career in fitness and nutrition to help other women live healthy lives. Follow Jane on Instagram @janehanisch or on her website www.corefitactive.com.

How Does Mandy Ingber Live a Nutritious Life?

Mandy Ingber, may be famous for being the “it” yoga guru among A-listers (her clients include hotties such as Jennifer Aniston, Kate Beckinsale and Jennifer Lawrence) but lucky for you, this fellow Capricorn (we bond over Cap traits) whom I’m lucky enough to call my friend, just released her latest book Yogalosophy for Inner Strength: 12 Weeks to Heal Your Heart and Embrace Joy (Seal Press) so you too can learn and  benefit from yoga directly from this yoga star.

mandy ingber 2Mandy is also The New York Times best-selling author of Yogalosophy: 28 Days to the Ultimate Mind-Body Makeover and is the creator of the yoga-hybrid DVD Yogalosophy. Mandy’s class has been awarded “Best of LA” in LA Weekly and Los Angeles Magazine. For more about this beauty, learn how she lives her most Nutritious Life:

How do you DRINK UP?

I love Mountain Valley Water in glass bottles. I drink at least 2 liters a day. If I workout or drink tea/coffee (I have coffee 2-3 times a week), I add 8 ounces of water per each treat beverage or 30 min work out. I also love probiotic beverages as a treat.


I stay away from processed foods. I begin my day with a protein shake that includes my multivitamins. I alternate the base—sometimes almond milk, sometimes coconut water, or just plain water—then I add greens like kale or spinach, plus frozen mango. I also add Omega 3 fish oil. Lunch is my largest meal. I usually have a large salad with clean protein, or something like chili or soup with tons of veggies. I snack on nuts and apples with cinnamon and pink salt. Dinner is flex. Sometimes a piece of salmon and a simple vegetables. Sometimes I will do breakfast for dinner and snack on greek yogurt, fruit and nuts or scrambled eggs with rice and vegetables. It depends on how the rest of the day went down.


Each day I meditate in the morning. I find that centering myself and clearing my mind makes the difference in my day and my ability to handle myself in a way that I can be proud of. I also write a list of things I did well, things I am grateful for and things I have no control over.

mandy ingber

How do you LOVE MORE?

I try to be present with the people I encounter on a daily basis. The people at my tea place, the people on the street as I walk by. The best way that I can be in love is to be completely present. That means breathing and staying in my body.


I love to take a walk on the bluff near my house and watch the sunset over the ocean as often as I possibly can. I soak in a hot bath daily. I allow myself to fully feel my feelings. If I am having a bad day, I allow that. If I am not feeling up to speed, I take something off my plate. I try to be my own mom.

How do you SLEEP DEEP?

I turn off my electronics at least an hour prior to bedtime. I take magnesium and melatonin. I have found that I need 8 hours for sure. No exceptions. When I have trouble sleeping I listen to serene meditation music to lull me. My very favorite unwinding song is Storm of Prayers by Shaman’s Dream.

How do you STRESS LESS?

The phrase “How important is it?” reminds me that there are no big deals. When my behavior and actions are aligned with my own moral compass, I can handle life’s twists and turns. Although a learned skill, relaxing into what comes is the discipline I practice. Everything is as it should be, and I can trust that my life is unfolding before me in perfect order. All I need to do is stay out of the way.

How do you SWEAT OFTEN?

Every since I was a girl, I loved to be physical. It gets me into my body and is my dedication of gratitude for my most amazing instrument, my body! I love to spin. I actually made my mark as the original spinning teacher to sold out classes in Los Angeles, back in 1996 and through 2008. I love intensity and bringing myself through, finding my edge and getting intimate with that process. I love me some hot yoga or barre class. I go into the infrared sauna several times a week. I also love to take a fun dance class. Sweating is my life. I will trade out good hair days for sweating my a$$ off any time.


Pilates vs Yoga: 4 Ways They Are Different

by Cassie Piasecki, NLC

“Pilates vs yoga…how are they different?” As a Pilates instructor, I get asked this all the time.  There are a lot of reasons, but these are my most common answers:

Pilates vs Yoga: 4 Ways They Differ


1. One is Ancient, and the Other is Modern

According to yoga historians, yoga goes back 5,000 years, and some even document longer. 

Joseph Pilates started developing his exercises during World War I, but it wasn’t until he came to New York City in 1926 that Pilates was taught in what we now call a Pilates studio.  

While yoga poses remain deeply rooted in those ancient traditions, Pilates continues to evolve.  Joseph Pilates died in 1967, but the lineage of Pilates instructors continued to modify the exercises and the equipment.  

The new exercises and equipment take into consideration the way our bodies live and move today.  

While many instructors adhere to the classical exercises, there is little doubt that if Joseph Pilates were alive today, he would have developed exercises to combat the effects of sitting at a computer all day and looking at tiny cellphone screens.  

Finding an instructor that combines both the classical repertoire with contemporary exercises is the new ideal.  


2. Inhale and Exhale

Don’t worry, you’ll be breathing in both yoga and Pilates.  Your yoga instructor will ask you to focus your breathing in your belly.  It becomes rhythmic and can be meditative.  

Since every exercise in Pilates starts with activating your “powerhouse” or your core and abdominal muscles, your instructor will ask you to breathe into your back or ribs.  This style of breath is called “lateral breathing.”  

Lateral breathing will allow you to keep the abdominal muscles activated while still being able to breathe deeply.  

One way to learn lateral breathing is to pull your belly button in towards your spine and then as you inhale, visualize your ribcage expanding.  Release your belly button and do one deep inhale and exhale from the low belly.  

You will easily be able to distinguish the difference.


3. That Machine and The Muscles

Yoga focuses on flexibility, flow of movement and large muscles groups, while using a mat and props like blocks and straps.  

Pilates focuses on strength, muscle toning, and flexibility, while using larger equipment or apparatuses.  

The Reformer is the most common apparatus found in Pilates studios.  It uses springs to create resistance while performing the exercises.  

In yoga, the mat and your body provide resistance to flow through the exercises.  The resistance cannot be changed.  Your workout will be structured around what your body can do that day.  

When you work on the Reformer, or any of the Pilates apparatuses, your instructor can play with the resistance to assist you on days when you need it or to push you on days when you feel stronger.  


  4. Mind and Body Without Chanting

There is no doubt that spirituality is the biggest difference between yoga and Pilates.

Many people choose to do yoga to help calm the mind and relieve stress.  

Pilates can offer many of the same benefits without the “om” or getting spiritual.  You’ll be focusing on lateral breathing, activating the muscles, and maintaining balance while working on the Reformer.  

This gives the mind a 60-minute reprieve from the stressors of the day.  You will leave physically worked and mentally refreshed.

As with yoga, the quality of the class will depend on the training of the instructor.  

You should look for certified “instructors” who have completed a 400+-hour training program to ensure that not only will your session be effective, but also safe.  The Pilates Method Alliance is a fantastic resource for locating highly-trained Pilates instructors.  

Always check with your health practitioner before starting any new exercise routine.  

About Cassie:

villa sqCassie Piasecki, NLC is a Pilates Method Alliance, Certified Pilates Teacher, personal trainer, and Nutritious Life Certified Nutritionist based in Newport Beach, California. With over 24 years of experience, Cassie has taught fitness to over 10,000 people! She now connects with clients both in the studio and online via her website.  Her favorite quote comes from Joseph Pilates, “Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness.”

How Does Candice Kumai Live a Nutritious Life?

CANDICE KUMAI is a classically trained chef, wellness journalist and best-selling author of Clean Green Drinks, Pretty Delicious, Cook Yourself Sexy and Cook Yourself Thin. She is a regular contributor on E! News and The Dr. Oz Show and has appeared as a regular judge on Iron Chef America and Beat Bobby Flay.

She contributes to food and lifestyle publications such as Cosmopolitan, Shape, Men’s Health, Clean Eating and Prevention and volunteers at dozens of charitable organizations. She is a Top Chef alumni, and is obsessed with avocados, coconut and her cat, Sisi.

One funny thing you may not know about her, “I do a killer impression of my Japanese mom. I’ve been told, if all else fails, stand up comedy is right around the corner. Hell yeah!”

Her latest book  Clean Green Eats is filled with recipes I promise you are going to want to chow down on! I recently had the chance to do just that cooked by the lady herself (the benefits of healthy friends!) When Candice and I chat health, we usually can’t stop.  Read on to learn what she told me about how she lives her most Nutritious Life.

How do you DRINK UP?

With my Clean Green Drinks, of course! 😉



Clean Clean Clean & Green. Donnatella Arpia coined me as the “queen of clean green”, so I’ll have to live by that line.



Meditation, yoga, I dig green beauty products only, I clean with safe, green household cleaners and I love my DIY recipes for beauty, cleaning and life! No need to over-consume! I try to be as mindful as ever of others and their lifestyle. I respect differences and keep my heart open to change.


How do you LOVE MORE?

With my sweet man, we love making delish dinners together, spending time together reading mags, relaxing in the park or the beach in the summer, traveling all over, opening our hearts and minds to new cultures and foods all over New York and the world. We are obsessed with watching Mister Wonderful on Shark Tank. Sharing, being mindful & laughter together are key!

CleanGreenEats hc c


I’m a big fan of long-time friends (I’m still friends with all of my girls from elementary school, high school, and college in California!). I love them all to pieces and would not have the depth of life I possess now, had it not been for these life-long girlfriends. They are incredible women and they accept me for me, and I do the same for them.

I love laughter and a lot of phone calls with Mom. My Mom (back home in San Diego) is one of my favorite people in the whole world, we chat about food, recipes, Japan, Japanese food, how the cats are doing, Dad and my Sis. She truly feeds my soul!


How do you SLEEP DEEP?

No electronic devices in our bedroom, no tv in the house, only reading, art, vision boards and photography on our walls. Lots of plants in the house for oxygen. Lavender tea, yoga class, valerian root drops can help naturally on those long, stressful work nights, and I try to meditate as much as possible!


How do you STRESS LESS?

I love my Young Living essential oils, my diffuser with lavender oil, yoga with a girlfriend and green matcha tea.  I am totally cool with aging, and who I have become today. I feel we get calmer, more graceful and wiser with age… plus you stop giving a damn about what everyone else thinks!!


How do you SWEAT OFTEN?

Lots of workouts! I am constantly at Bar Method, Soul Cycle, yoga and doing long runs with my man! Anything to get my ass moving 30 minutes a day, minimum.

Check out Candice’s new book, Clean Green Eats available to purchase now!


How to Cleanse with Food and Yoga

By Danielle Diamond, NLC

If you’ve spent these last few weeks of winter hiding under thick wool sweaters and  indulging in your favorite foods, then you aren’t alone in feeling warm…and, well, maybe a little heavier than you’d like to be.

And if you overdid it to the point of messing with your digestion, and are dreading the fact that spring break is right around the corner, then I have a great video that will help you get back on track- a brand new twisting video. Yep! I’m going to show you how you can cleanse with food and yoga!

Iyengar (that famous yoga guy), likened twisting your body in yoga poses to what you do when you’re wringing out a sponge- it releases all the bad stuff like toxins in the organs and stale breath in the lungs,  then when you unwind you replenish those stores with a fresh supply.

Of course it’s much more scientific than that, but I prefer to just go with the metaphor.

When twisting you want to really pay attention to keeping the hips square and not letting them get involved in the rotation- you want the twist to occur between the hips and shoulders for the best result.

When you twist, start from the ground up; so first rotating the navel, then the ribcage, then the shoulders, and lastly the head if that movement is available to you- if not, it’s cool to keep your chin in line with your sternum.

Once you feel like you’ve “wrung out” winter, get back on track with healthy eating habits. You can start by adding certain cleansing foods that help you detox in order to clear your system of those last peppermint hot chocolates.

Cleansing foods generally are full of fiber, antioxidants, and other nutrients that will help to free your body of impurities and maintain liver health (your liver is the main detoxifying organ, so it pays to keep it healthy).

When I was studying for my Nutritious Life certification with Keri I learned that some of the most nutrient dense cleansing foods are:

Brussel Sprouts
Greens such as Spinach, Kale, Romaine
Green Tea
Green Apples

There are many more foods than can assist in detoxing and cleansing, but this list is a great place to start. Start by adding one of these foods at each meal, and if you really want to boost your cleansing efforts, try to only eat these foods for a few days.

The upside to eating all of these nutritious, cleansing foods? You’ll notice increased energy, decreased bloating, and a loss of those unwanted pounds that are keeping you from feeling spring break ready.


 Danielle DiamondAbout Danielle: Danielle Diamond is a yoga expert and Nutritious Life certified coach. She’s passionate about sharing her love of living a yogic lifestyle with her clients through her Xen Strength Wellness method which incorporates meditation, yoga, and clean eating.
Danielle was featured in Bobbi Brown’s Pretty Powerful campaign and book, and is a wellness contributor for Yahoo Beauty. She’s appeared on the Today Show, Dr. Oz, Shape, and Self Online; and on YogaVibes, YogaJournal, and YogaDownload. She’s sold thousands of her Xen Strength Yoga videos, and is currently training teachers globally in her Xen Strength Yoga with Weights method.