Relax, Breathe and Enjoy a Cup of Tea

My grandmother had a long history with tea.  When I was ill, it was the first recommendation that she would offer.  Whether it is a cup of black tea with honey for a sore throat, chamomile to ease a sore stomach, or peppermint to alleviate dizziness and nausea.  My grandmother’s solution was always a cup of tea.

My grandmother was not the only one that was aware of the health benefits of tea.  Yoga students worldwide recognize the myriad of ways that tea can aid with their practice.  Tea helps build the connection to ourselves and to those around us. Tea aids in relaxation, brings us harmony and helps us connect with each other as a family.

Although I am not a direct student of Yogi Bhajan, I believe in the Kundalini practice of drinking tea. Tea not only enhances your overall health, but there it helps connect to your yoga community.  One of my favourite recipes to brew, is Yogi Bhajan Yogi tea.

There are times where I am unable to commit the time to practice yoga.  I know as a yoga instructor, I shouldn’t admit it.  But as a working mother of two, sometimes the chaos of the world takes over and I just can’t get down on the ground with a mat.   Today was one of those days.  I had four articles to write and a dinner party to plan for. The thing I needed the most was a beautiful hour where I stretched, strengthened my body and stilled my mind.

So what did I do instead?  I committed to a mini yoga session and brewed myself a relaxing cup of tea.    I have an entire tea cupboard.  I don’t favor a particular brand or brew.  In fact, I think almost every tea has its time and place.  But what I think is most amazing is how tea enhances my yoga practice. The two elements work beautifully together.    For a bit of a change, I thought I would share my own tea/yoga love.

Relaxation: De-stress

My Tea Recommendation: a beautiful relaxing beverage of chamomile, lavender and rose petals.

I either blend my own brew or buy a prepackaged one such as Starbucks Tazo Calm or Numi’s Chamomile Lemon

Yoga Posture:  Savasana (of course), Child’s Pose and Deep Yogic Breathing

Concentration: Focus

Lately, finding perfect brews for this has been fairly simple and fun. There is even a company who targets your emotions with their Be Well teas.  The Republic of Tea created a “Get Smart” tea whose main objective is enhancing memory and focus.  This tea includes lots of memory enhancing properties including Gotu Kola and Gingko.

In a May 2011 article by Dr. David Blyweiss, he emphasized the health properties of all tea, but in particular green and white tea for focus and concentration among other benefits. L theanine is an amino acid, which can directly improve concentration and focus.

Other examples of tea blends for concentration:  Teas that have Ginkgo biloba, rosemary or sage.  Personally, I also find that a nice fresh mint tea also helps enhance focus and increase awareness.

Yoga Postures: Salutation Seal  (Anjali Mudra), almost all inversions and balancing poses

Breathing: Lung Capacity

Deep breathing is probably the most essential tool for relaxation and to enhance the overall benefits from your yoga practice.   I was so happy to find that there were tea brews that could also help enhance your lung capacity.

Recommended herbs:  Mullein, Ginger, Inula, Fennel, Thyme.  My personal favorite blend is Yogi’s Tea  Breathe Deep blend.

Yoga Postures:  Upward Facing Dog, Camel

Please feel free to share your own brews and tea stories, I believe that tea and yoga is an amazing, natural relationship.  So much so that I’m currently researching and writing an article on this exact topic of Tea Magazine. I look forward to hearing your own personal journeys with tea and yoga.

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