Practitioners of yoga seek a union of the mind, body and soul, dedicating their practice to intention and introspection. After blissing out in savasana, returning to the chaos of reality can be jarring. Tea can help bridge the gap between a state of relaxation and the necessary focus that the rest of the day demands.
Similar to drinking tea, yoga is a relaxing and energizing experience. Just as the yogi chooses which type of yoga to practice, how much zing one desires in his or her Zen, can be determined by the kind of tea that is selected.
Some herbal varieties contain anywhere from zero to 30 mg. of caffeine, while others, such as a strong pu’erh, can have as much as a shot of espresso. What makes the caffeine from tea unique is L-Theanine. This amino acid has a synergistic effect with caffeine that provides a sustained alertness. While a strong cup of coffee may offer a jolt of energy, it is typically accompanied by a miserable “crash” later. Tea lets you ride an energy high for hours on end, before gently dropping you off on Cloud 9.
Hydration & Replenishment
Whether your practice is restorative, Kundalini or a sweat-filled Bikram class, rehydrating is important. Reaching for a sugar-laced sports drink will undo the detox that was worked hard for on the mat.
This is where a refreshing cuppa tea comes in.
Water replaces lost fluids, but according to study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, a cup of tea is just as hydrating. Also, tea packs powerful antioxidants, specifically flavonoids, into its leaves, and it provides a flavorful, aromatic experience to rehydrating.
Pulling out your favorite mug, pouring the hot water and steeping the leaves is a process-oriented, meditative progression. Simple activities like preparing and drinking tea offer mindfulness by training us to direct our attention to the impending task.
Bonus: Tea also contains naturally occurring compounds that will lead you to the vitality you are craving.
All tea blends contain L-Theanine, which is a water-soluble amino acid. Being that it has the power to break the blood-brain barrier, (sounds much scarier than it is), studies have shown that it positively affects brain chemistry. The seemingly magical qualities of L-Theanine have lead to extensive research. Lucky for us tea drinkers, those studies have concluded that this active-ingredient can improve speed, accuracy and performance; while providing a calm and focused burst of energy – basically turning you into a bad ass, head-space guru.
Listen to Your Heart
Even if you have only been to a single yoga session, I bet you are familiar with Anjali Mudra - or hands at heart center. It embodies the significance of heart in your practice. Mind-body practices, such as yoga, have been shown to have a profound and lasting effect on the nervous system and brain. Similarly, tea consumption leads to a healthier heart by improving vascular function, even in healthy individuals.
The American Heart Association also partakes in offering a "Namaste," by promoting yoga and tea's positive effects on the vascular system – a match made in heaven.
A Sense of Community
The practice of yoga is an energizing and meditative art form. After the practice has ended, a cup of tea creates the perfect atmosphere to propagate that energy and share it with others. Yoga is more than a series of movements; it is a platform where individuals can focus their energy on physical and contemplative growth. The best way to continue that progress is to share those experiences with like-minded friends. Along with the abundant health benefits of yoga and tea, socialization can encourage a stronger immune system and a higher quality of life.
"Tea is a social lubricant," said by Maria Uspenski, author of Cancer Hates Tea. Drink up, and share those good vibes with the people you love.