Trying a New Experience: No Caffeine


My favorite yoga teacher, Marifer, has a saying she repeats during yoga class. “In yoga, it’s all experiences. No judgment if you can’t do it. It’s just an experience,” she says in her lilting gentle voice. It reframes my perspective on whether or not I do the pose right. She adds that we really could do yoga with our eyes closed because we shouldn’t be looking at other people. Yoga is an INTERNAL experience.

I have been over a month without coffee, and I feel so much better that I’m attempting to give up caffeine. I don’t plan on giving it up altogether – although I might have to if I can’t do it in moderation – but I want to get off the daily caffeine roller coaster that is my life. Even without the coffee, I’ve increased my tea intake enough to meet the same caffeine level, and on some days, exceed it. Tea doesn’t provide the hammer, and there are times when my energy feels really low. Yesterday I was reading about caffeine because I honestly didn’t feel so good this weekend. I ate too much junk, and I had too much caffeine. The junk is easy for me to stop because I normally eat pretty healthy, but I think it’s time I look at what drugs I’m addicted to, and caffeine is my current drug of choice.

Monday, I had cut back from the weekend indulgence, and I had a bad headache. I was also irritable and on an emotional roller coaster. I found it unacceptable to feel that way. So, yesterday, I allowed myself one tea bag in the morning and one in the afternoon. My muscles felt really fatigued. I used Peppermint essential oil to perk up my flagging energy, but, honestly, it didn’t help a lot. It might have made sense to just have some caffeine, but if I feel that bad without out it, I’m obviously addicted. Without it, I start out with a significant energy deficit. What if I got off it and had a normal energy level? Caffeine has a great high followed up by a low. It’s up and down every few hours. If I could get off the roller coaster, I might feel better. Then, if I needed caffeine on an occasional basis, I wouldn’t have to have so much to keep me going.

I have been caffeine-free before. I’ve done it for years. I remember that I felt good. I was sleepy sometimes, but it wasn’t often. It was usually a real sign of lack of sleep or over-exercise or some other “true” reason to be fatigued. I didn’t have the early morning issues getting out of bed, late morning energy lag or after lunch battle to stay awake. The caffeine dip makes everything worse, and I end up trying to perk up my flagging energy with sugar or more caffeine. Plus, it’s costly. I’m tired of spending the money on something EVERYDAY. A friend of mine and I were talking about smoking. He has quit now, but he remembers counting cigarettes before he went to bed to make sure he had enough for the morning. If he didn’t, he’d have to go out and get some. Addictions are really just one more thing you have to keep up. I’ve got enough to keep up. I’d like to spend my $5 a day or even $3 a day – depending on the caffeine fix – on something else. Maybe an Athleta tank top would be nice.

So, today will be my first day WITHOUT. I ran for 45 minutes this morning. I slept so well last night, and I had these amazing vivid dreams. I woke up energized. I’m missing the hit a little right now, but I don’t have a headache or fatigue yet. Maybe I won’t get it today. Anyway, I’m using this post as my commitment not to hit on caffeine today. Like Marifer says, it’s just an experience. If I take the one day at a time approach – and that’s all I can handle anyway – I can experience one day without caffeine just to see what I learn. Everything … everything is yoga.

P.S. I wouldn’t try to resolve any conflicts with me today, though. It might not go well. I’m just sayin’.

3 Comments on “Trying a New Experience: No Caffeine

  1. I gave up caffeine last fall. On the second day of my caffeine-free existence my wife hid all of the sharp objects in our house! It took about 10 days for the headaches to stop. There really ought to be a 12-step program for caffeine withdrawal.

      • Yes, it is worth it. One great benefit: I am an endurance athlete (long distance cyclist) and now on those rare occasions when I do have caffeine during a long bike ride I call really tell the difference!

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