Drink or Not to drink Coffee before teaching or practicing Yoga

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What are you thoughts on Caffeine before Teaching or Practicing Yoga?

Drink or Not to Drink Coffee before teaching or practicing Yoga?

Who doesn’t drink coffee these days? It’s morning pick-me-up ( after breakfast, not before ) for me. So if, you are like me a bit addicted to caffeine than this post is definitely relevant.

On the train to London right now and, enjoying my first morning coffee. And, I am sure there must be many of us do the same. But, what about a coffee before practicing or teaching yoga?

Reading a few other posts from yoga teachers on coffee and yoga and, it is certainly interesting subject to talk about.

No Coffee, No Prana!

As Pattabhi Jois, who established Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga said: No Coffee No Prana! He believed that coffee is a part of a lifestyle for yogis. But, as you might know, Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is a style of; dynamic and physically demanding poses synchronising breath and and movement to produce internal heat to purify your body. Usually, sequences are fast and strong. Coffee could potentially give you a kick before hand and strength during so I do understand the need for people who practice ashtanga.

No Coffee, thank you!

So lets’ compare another style of Yoga. Yin or Restorative style. Yin is slow-paced style yoga with postures, asanas held longer periods of time. Some advanced practitioners can stay in poses up to 5 mins in each pose with clean, consistent steady breathing without any stimulating substances to help. Restorative yoga is simply – Restorative. It’s practicing stillness in a pose for extended periods of time. Throughout the Restorative poses, you want to feel calm and being aware of your calm breath throughout with slow-paced poses. Drinking coffee before the class could increase your heart rate and for some can give heart palpitations. And, you might find yourself fidgeting during. So why not enjoy a cuppa cafeeina’ afterwards.

Coffee intake as young girl. Well, my coffee intake began in my home birth town, Humenne in Slovakia. It began in a small dosage when I was around 8 or 9 years old. Every time, my parents had close friends over, there have always been served a lots of coffee. Kids were in different rooms playing but, some how I always managed to come where ‘adults were’ to sip a couple of coffee spoons of fresh brewed coffee. It was a such tempting scent so how could I resist?

My mum was eating coffee beans while pregnant with me. As my mum shared with me not too long ago, she was eating coffee beans when she was pregnant with me. I was like: “What?” Apparently, its true. So there you have it. All makes a sense now. When in Costa Rica in March this year, my first purchased before anything else was – COFFEE! It was so pure, so organic, tasted so clean. It’s difficult to give up something so tasteful and a full of antioxidants. I haven’t found coffee like that. If anyone has a recommendation on a good quality coffee beans, I would appreciate.

Few years ago, I had few episodes where I was unwell because of too much caffeine in my system especially when mixed with cow’s milk. So since, I am more careful on how much I drink per day and my last coffee usually would be by 3.30pm. and, switched to Oat or Coconut milk if, is a flat white.

Coffee before teaching yoga?

Never really thought about how addictive I am to coffee until recently, unitl I started teaching yoga. So what did I observe? Last month, I had 7 teachings in one week and, on my first one with two classes ( 1 hour of each teaching ), I decided to experiment a little. The little voice inside talked to me; Julia why don’t you wait for your coffee after teachings. I felt it will be a reward. Just try! I said to myself; ok what have I got to loose, right? So I did. I did not drink any coffee, not even sniffed any coffee beans before ( yes, it is became my drug and only drug ) but, instead I meditated in my yoga room. What a difference that made on myself and I believe on students too. I was calm, I felt composed, I was able to enjoy my yoga class with all without feeling scared or shy in front of the student. I felt I can do this! And, I did teach both classes wihout a caffeine and I felt so energized teaching it and, felt great that I could do the teaching without it. It made me definitely think.

In two days time, I had to teach again, only 1 session this time. In the morning, as the class was for 11am. quite late, I said to myself, I can handlle a cup of coffee and teach. I could not believe how that small cuppa of caffeine effected me. I talked faster, my voice was shaking, I felt dry in my throat, despite I drunk water before, I needed more lubrication in my throat. And, it wasn’t only that I felt my throat suffered => my voice was shaking. I wanted the class to finish quick.

Not Drinking Coffee before Teaching

So my observation on not drinking coffee before yoga teaching is; I feel more relaxed. I experienced breathing as steady and much calmer, my nervous system is more relaxed and, equally voice gets clearer with much clearer directions to poses and, I feel more present for my students. Its a win win situation. And, that’s just works for me. It might be different for you. Find your “What feels good, what works the best for you!”

On the other hand, I understand younger yogis who practice stronger practice Ashtanga which is faster and more challenging or Mandala Vinyasa Flow, coffee will definitely gets you going.

If you are like me, drinking coffee – every day for over twenty years or more, you might want to slow down a little – with yoga style and a coffee. Maybe want to try Hatha, Yin, Restorative and concentration on clear, deep breathing techniques which will benefit you better.

Depends what style of yoga you choose to practice – you can incorporate intake of caffeine or not. As we are all different with different needs, some might experience increase of energy level during the practice, some might stay away for being calmer throughout. See what works for you!

Till next time. Enjoy practice and a coffee!

Julia xx