One cup of coffee in the morning isn’t so bad, or is it? A recent report claims drinking your coffee first thing in the morning actually reduces the boost you think you’re getting and leads you to build a tolerance, lowering its lasting power and probably causing you to drink more to get the same buzz.

At the center of it all is a hormone called cortisol, known as the “stress hormone,” which makes us feel awake, or alert. If elevated chronically, you might experience adrenal fatigue due to chronic stress. However, there’s a natural rhythm to cortisol, needed to function, and that morning cup of coffee interferes with that rhythm.

So, what do you do first thing in the morning?  Yoga offers a pranayama (breathing technique) that gets oxygen flowing and wakes you up the natural way. When oxygen flows in Bhastrika (Sanskrit for “bellows breath”), you increase your energy and counteract sluggishness. You breathe with power and focus, as if you were pumping a bellow, to warm up the body, boost your metabolism, and invigorate your mind by clearing it.

Since the Sanskrit name is rather hard to remember, I call it “Sunshine Coffee,” Right away, you remember when to do it, and how it can make you feel.

Here are the abbreviated instructions for Sunshine Coffee:

  1. Take one full, deep cleansing breath, expanding your belly, midsection, and chest.
  2. For the next breath, inhale fully through your nose (as you did in step one), but swiftly and with more vigor. Exhale through your nose and expel as much air as possible, compressing your abdomen into your body as possible to push the air out.
  3. Repeat, and keep the full, swift quality of your breath.

Try a short, light practice, and make sure you eat in the morning or you could feel lightheaded, rather than energized. Don’t do this Sunshine Coffee at bedtime. Pregnant women and people with high blood pressure should stick with deep and smooth breathing, which also gets the oxygen flowing.

Honor your own ability to wake up the natural way, and it might even help reduce coffee (and caffeine) consumption, too.