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Ayurveda and Caffeine


Article by Magnolia Zuniga

Photography by Nathan Dumlao

You know me, if you're here then you know I don't shy away from unpopular opinions. So here goes...

Caffeine is a socially acceptable addiction, from memes to throw pillows to yoga practices, it's everywhere. While there are some health benefits to caffeine we mostly benefit from moderate consumption. But that's usually not the American way. We're an all or nothing culture with a "Don't tell us what to do" 'tude. 

Caffeine is one of the main causes of symptoms and disease among clients. Even among yoga practitioners coffee is a normalized addiction. For example "No coffee, no prana" (Prana, Sanskrit for vitality, life force) is a charming trope parroted by Ashtanga yoga practitioners around the world. Basically wake up early, drink caffeine, deregulate the nervous system, practice an intense form of yoga for a couple of hours to try to regulate the nervous system, hope for the best, repeat. Now that I'm four years out I can giggle at the absurdity but that was my reality for two decades too long. 

Most clients present with complaints of inflammation (often times chronic), anxiety, depression, sleeping disorders, constipation, ulcers, irregular periods, hormonal imbalances, the list goes on. Many of these symptoms are alleviated by eliminating caffeine. Simple. 

But wait! "I thought caffeine was good for Kapha types?" Yes and no. 

Ayurveda honors bio-individuality to find optimal diet, lifestyle and herbal protocols. So while stimulants are recommended for Kapha it is really only in moderation (2 or 3, 8 oz cups per week). Moderation does not mean Venti triple shot, extra glitter coffee, ya know? 

Coffee, black tea, and chocolate are highly acidic. The average American diet is also highly acidic. This combination creates a highly acidic environment and creates unhealthy microbes and chronic inflammation. This creates a breeding ground for disease. Ayurveda provides excellent stimulating remedies for Kapha folks without increasing acidity.

But wait! Without caffeine I'm a miserable turd!

While this may be the case, and I do empathize, withdrawing from caffeine is not as painful as it may seem. There are many ways to find joy in life and being hopped up on caffeine doesn't have to be one of them. Also, and I'll end it here, eventually it may be the pharmaceutical industry that benefits from your choices. While western medicine is necessary at times, prevention is the key to health and happiness.

Bottoms up!

If you'd like to know more about Ayurveda check out this adorable explainer video. For consultations go here. To learn more about Magnolia go here for writing, videos/interviews, and photos.

Magnolia sees client in person in her Albuquerque, New Mexico office or online via Zoom. For questions, curiosities or for any other reason please email Magnolia at

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