Written by the wonderful Victoria Adams a yoga teacher and health coach 🧘🏼♀️
I am not a big coffee drinker. I only ever remember to drink the herbal tea I’d made by the time it’s gone cold. For most of my adult life, I’ve stuck to water, freshly-extracted juice and – in my broker days – wodkaor wine. But then there was OMGTea: the Matcha that tastes amazing and has improved my health and happiness tenfold. It has been good enough for Zen Buddhist Monks for over 800 years, and fancy enough to grace the drinks menus of countless coffee shops and even cocktail bars. Drinking Matcha will mirror the benefits your Yoga practice offers, as well as enhance them. Here’s why I am drinking it, and how OMGTea has shown me how to love Matcha…
How Matcha will help you if you’re stressed and overworked
My former job left me wired enough from stress. I didn’t need coffee to give me that get up and go in the mornings; my adrenal glands were already pumping out adrenaline and cortisol on overdrive. I stayed away from caffeine and other stimulants as much as possible because they stress the adrenal glands, and used yoga and meditation to ground me. This is where Matcha comes in – it is fantastic to drink for those who are over-stressed, tired, and quite likely adrenally-fatigued.
How Matcha can enhance your Meditation and Yoga practice
Buddhist Monks drank Matcha because it actually enhanced meditation, allowing them to relax the mind but remain energised. It offers the body a boost of energy without jitters, anxiety or that inevitable crash – call it a “clean pick-me-up” if you wish. It does not cause disruption to my stress hormones or the mind chatter that I am working to quieten during yoga practice.
I’ve noticed a huge difference since incorporating good-quality Matcha into my own diet and wellness menus on the retreats I run. My sleep has improved and the way I practice yoga has changed. I relax more quickly in both body and mind, my entire practice feels more grounded and even my flexibility has improved.
Guests who have enjoyed Matcha on the retreats are reporting: “I now have a delicious ritual where I drink Matcha before practice – I am practising more frequently and enjoying it even more”
Katherine Swift, OMGTea’s founder calls it “liquid meditation”. Why does Matcha aid meditation and yoga? Read on…
The Science behind Matcha’s benefits on Stress and the Nervous System
The components in Matcha work synergistically with the small amount of caffeine it contains to reduce physiological and psychological stresses. Matcha is rich in the amino acid L-Theanine. It boosts alpha brain waves to promote a more alert state of relaxation, which keeps you calm, focused, and energised for hours. L-Theanine enhances yoga and meditation because it creates an effect similar to that which meditation itself can produce – calming the nervous system (rather than over-stimulating it, like caffeine does) and regulating our blood sugar levels – good enough for Tibetan monks and modern-day yogis alike.
So, in a nutshell, whether you are practising yoga or meditation, working like a Trojan or go fishing at the weekends, your body and mind will be more grounded and better able to handle whatever is thrown your way, with more ease and efficiency. Enlightenment and levitation have not yet been scientifically proven, but watch this space 😉
Yoga Asana for Busy People
There are a few very simple postures you can enjoy at home to either calm or energise you. Give these a go:
Supported Supta Buddha Konasana– this is a gentle hip opener that relieves stress and is a fantastic posture to help reconnect to your breath. Also helps relieve symptoms of PMS and menopause.
Urdhva Dhanurasana– backbends are energising for your body and can also lift your mood!
CRIB SHEET – How Matcha mirrors the benefits of Meditation and Yoga
1. Promotes a new state of mind as L-Theanine boosts alpha-wave production.
2. Energises and reinvigorates without over-stimulating the adrenals.
3. Calms and relaxes, promoting the efficiency of thoughts and a more alert mental state.
4. Relaxes muscles and helps burn fat thanks to its high antioxidant content.
Looking for something healthy but sweet to complement your next cuppa? Instagram @victoriaadams
As I’m sure you know, matcha has many uses and benefits. One you may not have thought of is for your skin. Just as matcha can be beneficial inside, it can also be beneficial on the outside. Here are some tips for using our AA grade matcha to help your skin look its best:
1. Reverse and prevent signs of ageing
You better believe it! What on earth makes this possible, you ask? Catechins, that’s what. Catechins are very powerful antioxidants, mainly made up of EGCg. This antioxidant found in matcha can slow down cell degeneration helping you achieve smoother skin (fewer wrinkles and lines!!)
Top tip: mix 1 tsp of matcha with a few drops of water in a bowl (matcha has all the essential nutrients to protect your skin from ageing). Evenly apply to face, avoiding eyes. Leave for 8-10 minutes and wash off with warm water.
2. Reverse signs of sun damage
Matcha has the potential to reverse sun damage due to, again, its catechin content. No matter the weather, your skin can be damaged, even if you don’t feel or see it.
Top tip: mix 1 tsp of matcha with 1 tsp of aloe vera gel (aloe vera has healing properties which can protect skin from discomfort and further damage). Evenly apply to face, avoiding eyes. Leave for 8-10 minutes and wash off with warm water.
3. Reduce puffiness
Late night? Intense gym session? Crying after watching a sad movie? Not to worry, matcha has you covered with its high concentration of vitamin K which can reduce inflammation both inside and out.
Top tip: mix 1 tsp of matcha with a couple of drops of chamomile essential oil (chamomile contains active anti-inflammatory compounds). Evenly apply to face, avoiding eyes. Leave for 8-10 minutes and wash off with warm water.
There are many skin products on the market which claim the ability to ‘fight off impurities’. Why not choose the organic, healthy and natural option though? The chlorophyll and antioxidants found in matcha make it the perfect toner.
Top tip: mix 1 tsp of matcha with a couple of drops of lavender essential oil before bed (lavender has relaxing and calming effects). Evenly apply to face, avoiding eyes. Leave for 8-10 minutes and wash off with warm water.
5. Clears and evens out your complexion
We all love being complimented on our glowing skin. What if we told you that the way matcha is grown may help you achieve a clear and even complexion. Would you believe us? Of course you would. The green tea plant is shaded before harvest so it’s in 90% darkness, no wonder it’s so high in chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is great for skin by detoxifying and protecting it against impurities and chemicals.
Top tip: mix 1 tsp of matcha with 1/2 tsp of coconut oil (coconut oil is revitalising and soothing). Evenly apply to face, avoiding eyes. Leave for 8-10 minutes and wash off with warm water.
6. Treat acne
Last but by no means least, matcha can help treat acne. Not only is it completely natural and organic but It has EGCg which can fight against the build-up of bacteria, reducing signs of blemishes.
Top tip: mix 1 tsp of matcha and a couple of drops of lemongrass oil (lemongrass is antibacterial). Evenly apply to face, avoiding eyes. Leave for 8-10 minutes and wash off with warm water.
As you probably know OMGTea’s organic matcha green tea has 15x the nutritional value of normal green tea. It also contains 3x as much L-theanine as normal green tea. Why is this so important? And what in the world is L-theanine?
L-theanine is an amino acid which promotes alpha brain wave production. It has a similar effect on the brain to that of meditation, you know, that relaxed but focused feeling you get. This is why the Buddhist monks have been drinking matcha for 800 years, it enhances meditation and yoga. You want some matcha now, don’t you!
Well, there’s more:
- You will notice a boost in your memory and focus (who doesn’t need that!)
- Several studies have shown that it may improve mood, by boosting serotonin and dopamine
Also, some studies have shown it reduces cognitive decline, so L-theanine can prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease
Why does matcha contain more L-theanine than normal green tea?
Matcha comes from the same green tea plant as normal green tea. However, before it’s harvested the plant is covered in 90% darkness, which encourages the plant to produce more chlorophyll to make up for the lack of sunlight. This, therefore, makes the leaves rich in amino acids, such as L-theanine, making the chlorophyll rise to the top and turning the leave a beautiful emerald green, like our matcha powder!
This is why we love it so matcha 💚
We know you love matcha as much as we do, but we wanted to tell you why we should ALL drink the emerald green elixir:
1. Improves Concentration, Memory & Focus
As we all know Zen Buddhist monks have been drinking matcha green tea for over 800 years, 800 years!! This is because it enhances meditation allowing them to relax their mind but remain energised. This is all down to L-theanine, a little amino acid contained in the emerald leaves. Now, for alert relaxation, you need L-theanine to boost alpha brain waves. Even better L-theanine increases the production of dopamine and serotonin, the chemicals which enhance mood, focus, concentration and memory!
Tip: Drink before a Yoga session for ultimate concentration
2. High in Antioxidants
You’ve heard about these, they are the ones who fight off all the bad stuff in your body, like viruses and diseases, detoxifying your body. These antioxidants are rich in polyphenols, most of which are catechins, EGCG is one of the most important of all, and guess what, matcha is super rich in EGCG!
Tip: matcha can have 200x the amount of EGCG as regular green tea.
3. Easy to Make
We cannot stress this enough!
You can use the lovely bamboo whisk, but really all you need is an electric whisk – which you already have – a teaspoon and a tea strainer or sieve!
1: Heat up some water to 80°C
2: Put 1tsp of OMGTea matcha green tea in a bowl
3: Pour a small amount of water and whisk into a paste, top it up with some more water and you’re done!
Tip: Add some Oat Milk and a drop of Vanilla essence for ultimate goodness
4. Aids Weightloss
Matcha is able to increase the body’s ability to burn fat. But don’t take our word for it, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition ran a study which showed that green tea increases the rate at which your body burns calories. Useful right?
Tip: Another study found that matcha can increase your metabolism, so if you drink it before exercise, you can burn 25% more fat!
Buy now at OMGTea
Shake your shamrocks, it’s St Patrick’s Day! ☘
Did you know that St Patrick’s Day is celebrated in more countries around the world than any other festival? And lucky us it’s customary to wear green too! On that note, do you know why our matcha is so green? Because of the intense production of chlorophyll, which makes the leaves rich in amino acids; we harvest the most tender, emerald green leaves from the top third of the plant, that’s why we’re best! It’s not easy being green.
So, you see why we are extra keen to celebrate it. Of course, we know that this festival is associated with alcohol, parades and Irish music. However, we’re going to tweak tradition slightly and ‘wet the shamrock’ in our matcha. If unlike us you are going to follow tradition and drink your heart out in Guinness, always remember that your lucky charm, matcha will be your helping hand in the morning. If you want to make full use of this nutrient-packed pot of gold, then follow us to see how to make the greatest hangover cure ever! Don’t worry there’s vodka in it. Phew.
How will matcha help your hangover you ask? Well because matcha has the most powerful antioxidants known to occur naturally. Antioxidants are those extraordinary little miracle workers which fight viruses and diseases and protect your body from toxins. This, together with caffeine and chlorophyll will support the detoxification of your liver.
So, have fun, be safe and may the luck be with you.
P.S We hope you loved our puns ☘
Spring into spring with matcha!
Do the right spring and nourish your body with the detoxing dream that is matcha green tea and you will flourish. Spring is the most delightful season, its time for daffodils and hope in the air or in most places, snow. But have no fear, the ice will soon start melting and make the ground warmer, the wind kinder, and the sky brighter.
Today we are making a life of 3 things we can do with the new found, extra hours of daylight. Skipping in the park to up the heart rate, walking the dog the long way round for the view, painting in the garden until sunset (we might have to wear gloves around the paintbrush, but its the though that counts), making a homemade broth out of the vegetables grown in the garden (or from the local supermarket, not all of us have award winning veggie patches), walking to a friend or relatives house after work instead of driving and taking in the sights, even just reading a book by the window for a few extra hours. Whatever you can think of, adopt it, make it yours, and flourish in the rays of more sunlight. And hey, maybe we’ll catch a bit of a glow in the process.
Why is spring so good?
🌻 Exposure to sunlight triggers your body to produce the vitamin D3 and serotonin which keeps your bones strong and makes you happier.
🌻Spring equinox means our little Earth is perfectly aligned with the sun. That means more day to do things and fewer nights to be cold in.
🌻All the animals return. After fleeing south for a warmer winter the wildlife makes a jolly return. So there will be more birds chirping outside your window, and more squirrel to steal your sandwiches in the park.
🌻 Trees are no longer naked. Spring sparks growth in plants and leaves making trees, parks and woodland areas leafy and blooming with life! And we all know that plants allow us to breathe easier and cleaner. So it’s a win-win.
🌻 Fruit and veggies are sprouting. The soil is now succulent enough for plant-based foods to shoot up through the ground and into our kitchens. Hoorah for fresh fruit and veg.
🌻 Spring cleaning! There’s no better time to pick up the broom and put on a long floaty dress and pretend you’re Cinderella. De-dust, de-clutter and de-home any items that you know you defiantly didn’t wear throughout the winter. If it hasn’t seen the winter winds, donate it to charity so it can feel the spring sun on another lucky person’s back. Donating clothes is good for beating the fast fashion industry, giving to those who are in need, and promoting a sense of a new beginning in your own life.
Happy Spring matcha lovers, we hope that however, you start your spring, that its filled with light and laughter.
This photo is a credit of @koko_secretrainbowpath on Instagram.
Stay up to date with our spring social stream on our OMGTEA Instagram.
You’re probably thinking: why am I reading this? I know how to breathe, I do it every day and don’t even think about it, it’s not even conscious. Hold up. That, right there is the problem. “It’s not even conscious”. Without delving wildly into the minefield that is the mindfulness taboo (don’t be scared, it really is very easy) we are here to teach you how to breathe. Consciously.
Try it now. Breathe normally. How does that feel? You tried a bit harder, didn’t you? Now this time, really think about sucking the air into your lungs. Better? Breathing properly helps with sleep, digestion, energy, sport, your heart, nervous system and your brain. So all the good bits!
Types of breathing
Ujjayi breathing activates the first and second chakras and used regularly in yoga practice. It has also been referred to as the ‘ocean breathe’. It’s a diaphragmatic breathing that fills the lower stomach, then flows up to the rib cage and ends in the upper throat. Inhale & exhale both through the nose, whilst making a constricted sound in the throat (imagine your breathing onto a mirror to steam it) Measure the breathes equally in time to suit your rhythm, so as not to cause stress to the body or mind. Ujjayi breathing activates the first and second chakras.
Deep hold breathing:
Find a place where you can preferably sit or lie silently to 5-20 minutes for maximum results.
- 1. Inhale, to the count of 5
- 2. Hold breath, to the count of 7
- 3. Exhale, to the count of 9
Repeat 10 times until you feel a sense of deep relaxation.
- Find a comfortable meditative pose.
- Hold one hand on your chest and one the other place on your stomach.
- Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose and feel your diaphragm expand, drawing in air and inflating your lungs. Your chest should not be rising.
- Take 10 deep, calming breaths a day to notice restoration in your sense of wellbeing.
In order to breathe mindfully, you need to attempt to begin tuning into your body natural rhythm, this may be hard at first, but eventually should be calming and not feel forced or stressful on the lungs or diaphragm. The aim is to not be practising shallow breathing, which has been linked to anxiety. All natural forces have rhythm, become one!
Congratulations. You can now breathe your way into good health.
“I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.”
― Sylvia Plath,