Why Not Quit?
Even without the support of highly publicized, conclusive studies, experienced medical practitioners, especially those who take a holistic approach, know that there are many medical problems and symptoms that may be aggravated by caffeine and that a trial period of several weeks without the stuff might well be warranted to see if symptoms subside. Hypertension, irregularities in heart rhythm, sleep disorders, anxiety, panic attacks, irritable bowel syndrome, and migraine and tension headaches might abate if people reduced or even eliminated their coffee intake. Even people with chronic musculosketetal pain syndrome — in the form of head-aches, low back pain, joint pain, and so forth — paradoxically often find relief when they avoid caffeine, which is sometimes used in pain medications prescribed for those very symptoms.
Another reason for eliminating caffeine is that doing so will reduce our stress and toll it takes on our lives. We all know that adrenaline is one of the key hormones responsible for the body’s stress response. Caffeine is essentially an adrenaline equivalent — it acts in the body to block the enzyme responsible for deactivating adrenaline’s effects, thus accentuating and prolonging the action of circulating adrenaline. Avoiding coffee and other beverages that contain caffeine is a biochemical means of reducing your internal stress level.
For those interested in yoga, there is another reason to find substitutes for dietary stimulants — the challenge of tapping into the vast energies that lie within rather than depending on a drug. Overcoming periodic dips in energy through exercise, relaxation, postures, breathing practices, and meditation will revitalize and replenish the body. Caffeine only depletes the body further by masking the symptoms of fatigue and thereby sustaining a pace that the body and mind are protesting against. Lack of energy is a signal that rest and revitalization are needed, not a weakness to be overridden by chemical stimulants.