Carol Alt

5 Reasons Tea and Yoga are the Perfect Pair

By Carol Alt / Post / January 30, 2017
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Drinking tea can complement the yoga practice by relieving physical discomfort and stimulating brain waves that ease the drinker into a relaxed state. The yoga practice has many different facets and layers, from the physical to the philosophical. Life is a complex and multidimensional experience that we can navigate by developing control over our reactions and cultivating a mindful relationship with the external world and our own bodies. The practice of yoga involves an awareness of our internal workings. The path is one in which we examine ourselves, spectators of our own actions. Refining our thoughts to reach contentment, or “santosha.” As we begin to tap into our bodies through asana, we realize subtle shifts and refine our diet in order to facilitate ease and steadiness in the practice. As we begin to investigate ourselves, we realize the effects of what we consume.

1. Practice “wind-relieving poses” with confidence

Asana is best practiced on an empty stomach, free of gas, so that the core can be comfortably engaged. Drinking a ginger tea can prevent bloating and gas retention, assuaging the belly. A strong core is the key to inversions, arm balancing postures, and forward folds. Twisting postures also place pressure on the digestive system. By relieving flatulence beforehand, you can be more confident that you won’t have to do so during class!

2. Purification of the digestive system

The postures are but one aspect of the yoga practice, as described in the Sutras. According to the text written by Patanjali, the second limb is niyama, the five observances. Saucha (purification and cleanliness) is one of the niyamas. We observe saucha through clean diet and digestive purification techniques. Tea can help to cleanse and detoxify the digestive system. Aged pu-erh tea contains beneficial bacteria for the gut due to its unique processing, which involves anaerobic fermentation. This delicious brew can help with digestion and elimination of food, and can help relieve constipation! A classic ayurvedic blend of cardamom, black peppercorn, and other warming spices can further stimulate digestive fire.

3. Breath Easier

Breathing is the practice. We use our breath as our focus. Whether enjoying hot vinyasa or relaxing into a yin class, the lengthening and relaxation of the spine is essential. Congestion and tightness of breath can make it difficult to inhale and exhale fully. Luckily, herbal teas that contain peppermint or eucalyptus provide natural relief! By soothing the respiratory system, opening up the sinus and windpipe, pranayama because a much more pleasurable experience.

4. Mindfulness: Slow Down to Enjoy Tea

Brewing a proper cup of tea takes care and attention to detail. The preparation of tea is a practice steeped in mindfulness for many cultures. Ritual and focus set the tone of tea time. It is not a grab-and-go beverage, but rather one that cultivates a calmness and delicacy. Tea contains calming properties and antioxidants that stimulate mental and physical health. However, the very act of slowing down to enjoy tea is a healthy exercise in itself, especially in this fast-paced world. Tea traditions from Japan, Morocco, India, and England all share the common thread of setting aside the time and space to treat oneself to tea or enjoy it with company.

5. Teas to Enhance Meditation

Ultimately, the physical practice and discipline of yoga prepares us to sit in meditation. Science has now proved what the yogi always knew, that meditation is healing. Sitting in meditation, a relaxed state free from distraction, releases alpha brain waves. These brain waves can help individuals to alleviate depression, cultivate creativity, and become more content! Unfortunately, when the distractions come back, it can be difficult to remember the lessons we learned. Researchers have found that matcha tea helps release these same brain waves! Sipping on a cup of this Japanese powdered green tea offers L-theanine amino acid for alertness, focus, patience, and creative. It is meditation in a cup!

So, if you’re looking to improve your yoga experience naturally, consider adding the practice of drinking tea to your routine. Whether your goal is enlightenment or headstand, there is a tea to prepare your body and mind for the experience. From matcha to pu-erh to herbal teas, there’s a variety of brews that can enhance your experience! To your health!

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Edited by Jake Layton

Carol Alt

Learn more about Carol here.

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