Yoga is much like any other sport or exercise, as it requires you to warm up and work your body and has many health benefits. A good yoga class will help you to increase flexibility and muscle strength, maintain a balanced metabolism, and improve cardio and overall strength. Staying hydrated with water can be a key aspect of achieving these goals, but how about tea?
You can do yoga after drinking tea, depending on the type and quantity. Like with any physical activity, it is vital you stay hydrated. Drinking half your body weight a day in water can be difficult, but tea is a great option to give you some nutrients and hydrate before and after a session.
Let’s take a look at what happens to you during a yoga class, and why it is so important to stay hydrated. We will also discuss the signs of dehydration, the different types of tea, and how they will react differently in our bodies.
During any exercise, the blood flow in your body increases, oxygenating your muscles and tissue. The more oxygen and essential nutrients in your muscles, the stronger they will become. With regular exercise, muscles become more flexible and less susceptible to injury.
There are many different types of yoga, but in general, the focus is on stretching to promote strength, increased blood flow, and balance. By holding static stretches and flowing between poses, many find they are using far more muscles in a yoga class than other types of work out.
At the start of your class, you will usually sit on your mat and find your presence in the room. A warm-up will follow with a series of poses designed to slowly warm you up without putting a strain on your joints and muscles. Depending on the level of experience, the class will proceed into more difficult poses and postures before ending with a cool down and relaxation on your mat.
Water is critical for us all. It helps to regulate your body temperature, lubricates joints, and transports nutrients that give your body energy. Whether you are exercising or not, staying hydrated is good for your health.
For a person who is active, staying hydrated is even more important. If you are dehydrated, you will not perform at your highest level. Although yoga is not a cardiovascular workout, it does raise the heart level. The more hydrated you are, the stronger you will feel during a class, and the less muscle fatigue you should feel.
Dehydration happens when you are not taking in enough fluids, and there are a few ways your body will tell you it’s dehydrated:
- Low energy
When you do yoga or any form of exercise, you will begin to sweat. This fluid loss will affect your performance if you are not properly hydrated. This can lead to health problems, such as muscle cramps and even a fever.
Being hydrated in general means ensuring you are drinking enough water on a daily basis.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that adequate daily fluid intake is:
- About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men
- About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women.”
Before doing yoga, it is recommended to come to a class well hydrated. Drinking a glass of water about half an hour before you start will give yourself time to hydrate, digest, and not feel too full. Choosing a tea with the right minerals can actually boost your electrolytes and improve your performance. But it is not recommended to drink more than a glass, as this will likely cause you to feel discomfort in certain poses.
When suggesting drinking tea before doing yoga, it is important to note that it depends on the type of tea and how much you drink. Three cups would be far too much and would lead to discomfort, and probably difficulty, in your practice. But a single cup would provide you the hydration you need in order to workout.
Having a morning coffee can actually have some impressive health benefits, and coffee and yoga can both exist together. However, drinking something with a high level of caffeine right before a yoga class can inhibit your practice.
A standard cup of coffee has about 95 to 200 milligrams per eight-ounce (237-ml) serving, and once that shot of energy reaches your bloodstream, you might find it difficult to focus. In addition, caffeine can be dehydrating. With that in mind, it is best to avoid the following before you practice:
- Black Tea – 40 to 70 milligrams of caffeine per eight-ounce (237-ml) serving
- Green Tea – 35 to 45 milligrams per eight-ounce (237-ml) serving
- White Tea – 15 to 30 milligrams per eight-ounce (237-ml) serving
- Oolong Tea – 37 to 55 milligrams per eight-ounce (237-ml) serving
Of course, these options do have significantly less caffeine than a cup of coffee and would not have the same effect on you. Drinking one of the above would be a better option than a coffee or sugary drink. However, there are alternatives that have no caffeine at all.
Herbal teas are usually made from dried fruits, seeds, and leaves, and have no caffeine content at all. In addition, they have a mild flavor that makes them easy to consume. For a person who is looking to hydrate but struggles with lots of water, herbal teas are a great alternative. Not only are they hydrating, but they contain antioxidants and vitamins that are beneficial to your health.
Herbal teas that are 100% natural can provide everything from detoxification, aid with digestion, a boost in your immune system, and stress relief. During your class, as your blood flow increases, these health benefits will be released into your body.
In many countries, it is customary to have black tea with milk. Although the amount of milk is not that of a latte, it is not recommended to consume dairy before a workout. This is due to the levels of protein, carbohydrates, and fat in the milk, which take longer to digest.
Just like it is recommended to drink before your practice, it is just as important to hydrate after your workout. Consuming water or herbal tea post-yoga class will help to replenish any fluid lost during the workout, and help to boost your electrolytes.
Unlike before class, consuming tea with caffeine, such as black tea or green tea, can actually be beneficial. The caffeine will enhance circulation and prevent you from getting lightheaded after a hard workout.
Green tea, especially, is a great choice for a post-yoga drink. Along with enhancing blood circulation, it is full of antioxidants that will be circulated around the body, reducing inflammation and helping the mind to stay relaxed.
The key to staying healthy and a good yoga session and practice is hydration. Whether from water, coconut water, or tea, it is important to give your body fluids.
Before doing yoga, it is especially necessary to be hydrated in order to perform at your highest level. Drinking a cup of tea before you do yoga, preferably with little to no caffeine, can have a number of health benefits. Choosing to drink tea will not only help to hydrate but will provide antioxidants and vitamins.
- Yoga Tribe: Blog
- Osteopathic.org: The Benefits of Yoga
- Medium: What Happens Inside Your Body During Yoga Practice
- Do You: How Is Yoga Different From Regular Stretching
- Men’s Health: The 5 Worst Things to Drink Before a Workout
- Yoga With Suzanne: What Happens in a Yoga Session
- Mayo Clinic: Water: How much should you drink every day?
- Active: How to Hydrate Before, During, and After a Workout
- Wikipedia: Circulatory System
- NHS: Dehydration
- Anytime Fitness: What to Eat Before and After Yoga
- Garfield Medical Centre: Different Types of Tea and Caffeine Content
- Wikipedia: Electrolyte
- Yoga Journal: 4 Healing Teas to Pair with Your Yoga Practice
- Metta Yoga: 5 Reasons to have a cup of green tea after yoga
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