saucha: is eating this cinnamon roll an action of self-care?

I absolutely love cinnamon rolls. My mom’s are the best because they are covered in homemade caramel sauce and walnuts. McLain’s Bakery wins a close second and third place goes to Happy Valley Retreat Center in Santa Cruz, California. (Where I have the privilege to teach at the Awakened Heart Spiritual Development Retreat this weekend!  And I will undoubtedly eat WAY too many cinnamon rolls.)

As I introduced in my previous post, the study of the niyama saucha, invites us to continually ask the question: “Is this an action of self-care?”  

Traditionally, saucha translates as ‘cleanliness or purity.’ That may sound restrictive at first, but I believe saucha is actually about indulging in quality self-care. Saucha is meant to help us cultivate self-care by examining what we are actually putting in and on our bodies to then make conscious, loving decisions.

For example: a huge cinnamon roll slathered in decadent, tantalizing icing? Um, probably not the cleanest lunch choice. I probably won’t feel super energized and self-loving after scarfing it down. But an herbal-cinnamon hot tea and a nooner yoga class? Yes, thank you very much, I would feel very well cared-for after indulging in that choice.

I practice saucha not as a list of things I shouldn’t do (that sounds like a morality issue and makes my inner rebel want to rebel) but as a list of things I CAN DO to show my body, mind and Spirit greater tenderness and self-care. I CAN decide to avoid dairy to keep my skin glowing and my allergies under control. I CAN decide to use only paraben-free and fragrance-free products to keep my hormones balanced. I CAN decide to eat a kale salad to keep my energy up. I CAN decide to keep my office, my yoga studio and my yoga mat clean to keep me feeling healthy, energized and focused.

Again, I choose these actions not because they are inherently ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ or ‘shoulds’ or ‘shouldn’ts,’ but because they invite me into greater self-care and tenderness.

As you move throughout your day, challenge yourself to pause, take a breath and ask: “Is this an action of self-care?” then proceed with tenderness.

Happy Self-Care Day,


saucha: the one-minute rule of tidiness

I truly cannot work if my bed is not made. It the first thing I do when I come home from teaching and prepare to sit down at my computer. My ‘office’ is in my bedroom, which is great for Russell Clive because he can snuggle on my pillow and watch me type from across the room. But it’s also not great, because if my bed isn’t made, my work space feels messy, untidy and overwhelming.

I recently read Gretchen Rubin’The Happiness Project; I highly recommend it. In her experiment to generate more happiness in her life, Rubin adopted the “one-minute rule.” Which means: if it takes one minute or less to do it– do it now. File the paper, put the plate in the dishwasher, make the bed, wipe up the salt your snow boots tracked in. She found that this “one-minute rule” significantly decreased clutter, increased her sense of ease and helped her focus when it was time to work. I adopted this “one-minute rule” in January and found that it truly helped me appreciate and practice saucha (cleanliness and self-care), which is the first niyama (personal consideration) of the Yoga Philosophy.

I also adopted her “ten-minute tidy rule” (that’s the cutest name for cleaning ever invented). I often experience a moment of anxiety when I come home and my house is cluttered– instead of actually working during the workday, I feel like I’m just walking around my house putting things away. The “ten-minute tidy rule” means I take ten minutes to put the house to bed before I go to bed myself. I’m not up at midnight deep cleaning, I’m just turning off Netflix ten minutes earlier each night to tidy up my living space and practice saucha as a way of caring for myself and my belongings with greater tenderness.

Saucha asks us to look at all our little “one-minute” actions throughout the day and ask: is this an action of self-care? Does it contribute to my health and happiness?

Cleanliness is a perfect entry point to this: do you feel happier and healthier when your home is dirty and cluttered? Or do you feel happier and healthier when your home is tidy, clean and fresh? What contributes to a greater sense of ease?

This month as we study saucha, ask yourself: “How can I make this one-minute action an action of self-care?” And whatever you are doing in that one minute– showering, trimming your fingernails, cleaning the oven, organizing papers, wiping snow and sleet off dogpaws, eating a snack or rolling up your yoga mat– do it with greater tenderness and self-care.

Happy One Minute,


“When the body is cleansed, the mind purified and the senses controlled, joyful awareness needed to realize the inner self, also comes.” -Yoga Sutras

yummy vegan celery-pear-jicama slaw recipe

vegan celery-pear-jicama slaw recipe. (easy! healthy! yummy!)





photo 2 (3)

celery-pear-jicama slaw with sesame seeds and raisins.. yum!


Raise your hand if this has happened to you:  you grab the Tupperware of celery from the fridge and throw it in your bag for a quick and easy ‘between yoga class’ snack… only to discover hours later that your celery has been in the fridge too long!  It’s bitter and wimpy and not at all worth munching on.  <hands up!>

This seemed to happen to me almost every Saturday. The fix?  Shred that stuff up!  I’m a huge fan of ‘Root to Stalk Cooking,’ where the entirety of the food item is used.  Nothing to waste!  I’m always saving the colorless ends of the celery root when I cut up celery sticks for snacking.  I usually throw them in the next batch of quinoa or soup in the crock pot (even this soup could always use more fiber), but now I’ve got a new favorite way to honor the entire vegetable.  Introducing my newest recipe:  vegan celery-pear- jicama slaw recipe. (easy! healthy! yummy!)  

photo 1 (3)Ingredients:

  • 1 pear
  • 4 or 5 celery stalks
  • left over ends of celery root
  • 1/2 jicama
  • 1/2 C raisins
  • sesame seeds (for garnish)
  • 2 small clementines (juice and fruit)
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • optional salt and pepper to taste




1.  Peel the jicama, and shred it, the pear and celery (salad shooter or food processor recommended). Combine with raisins in a medium bowl.

2.  Squeeze clementine juice into celery-pear mixture.  Add slices of clementine fruit (optional).

3.  Whisk dressing in a separate bowl:  grapeseed oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt + pepper.

4. Pour dressing over the celery-pear mixture.  Stir.  Sprinkle sesame seeds on top.  Chill to allow the flavors to blend.

5.  Pack your snack and head out the door.  You are ready to go!

It’s super delicious!  Let me know what other variations you try: carrots? apple?

Happy shredding!