For thousands of years, humans have sought comfort to warm their bodies, remedy illness and restore balance when deplete. Tea has been used in both modern and ancient cultures with ceremony and tradition. I am thrilled to share my family’s recipe of Chai, an ancient Indian recipe of tea brewed with warming spices and milk. Though large commercial entities have tried to bottle and sell this healing concoction, it falls short of the decadence and health benefits of our home brewed version. A quick clarification is that many entities name this “Chai Tea”.  Chai actually means “tea” so we simply call it Chai!

Many health enthusiasts have praised the benefit of tea and coffee to start their engines but the true value of warming up your metabolic fires comes primarily from warm hydration. Ayurveda (yoga’s sister in the healing arts) recommends warm fluids to start your digestive fires and activate your metabolism, without the need for caffeine! Quite candidly, when we restore balance to our lives by taking out caffeine, we tend to sleep better and awaken refreshed without needing a caffeine stimulant. It’s ok to limit caffeine to the morning if you require it for your balance.

I have drank this recipe for years and share this with my children so they start off their day with both healthy benefits and a family tradition. You are welcome to share this delicious morning tradition with your loved ones as well, but you might need to make extra!

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YOGI CHAI (2 cups)

For equipment, you will need a small sieve (fine mesh metal filter) and saucepan to brew tea

• 1 cup 2% organic milk (may substitute with any non-dairy milk. I use unsweetened almond)
• 1 cup filtered water
• 3-4 Cardamom seeds (open 1 -2 pods of cardamom)
• 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger root (peeled)
• 1/2 inch piece of cinnamon stick
• 2 black tea bags caffeinated or decaffeinated (We use PG tips Decaf)
• *Optional for dairy free* 1 TBS of Almond Creamer
• Sweetener of choice: Jaggery Sugar, Stevia, Monkfruit  (I like Whole Earth), local honey

Combine milk, water, cardamom, ginger and cinnamon in a small saucepan.
Bring mixture to boil and allow milk to foam until it reaches the top (take care to not boil over).
Reduce heat to simmer and add 2 tea bags. Brew for 2-5 minutes till tan brown color is achieved.
Pour carefully into pre-warmed mug over small sieve to keep whole spices from transferring into cup. If Dairy free, add additional Almond creamer to thicken tea (creates a richer dairy like version). Add sweetener of choice and enjoy!

* There are variations to Masala Chai with using other whole spices such as Cloves, Whole Black Pepper, Lemongrass, Feel free to add to your liking and have fun!

Priya Verma is the founder of Sandalwood Yoga. She is a Certified Professional Yoga Therapist (C-IAYT) and has been a Certified Physician Assistant for over 20 years. Her experience includes Integrated Yoga Therapy with Orthopedic Surgery, Sports Medicine, Asthma, Immunology, Allergy Medicine, and Integrative Medicine. She has pioneered integration of Yoga into a traditional medical model of care, specializing in non-pharmacologic pain management. She offers the scientific lens of utilizing Mind-Body practices with Best Practices in Medicine. She is the creator of the Clinical Resiliency Program, utilizing evidence-based assessments and developing Self-Care practices and Self-regulation for Clinicians, and Healthcare workers across the spectrum. She opened her private yoga therapy practice, Sandalwood Yoga, in 2017 to offer patients and providers an authentic source for therapeutic practices of yoga to complement their medical care and enrich them with self-care. She has successfully worked with Olympic, College, Professional and Amateur Athletes, patient referrals from local providers, physicians, nurses, children, teens and adults. Her unique experience in Orthopedics and Yoga Therapy allows her to interface with the healthcare team of patients providing safe yoga practices. She has taught therapeutic classes since 2009 in the greater Atlanta area. Learn more about Priya at
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