In 1969, Yogi Bhajan, an inspired and inspiring spiritual leader, began teaching Kundalini Yoga in America. He shared the knowledge of Ayurveda and healthy living that he had mastered in India. After each class he would serve a special spice tea to his students, which they affectionately named “Yogi Tea.” The recipe contained five traditional Ayurvedic spices: cardamom seed, cinnamon bark, clove bud, ginger root and black pepper. Given the unique, healthful properties of these delicious spices, they are still included in many Yogi Tea formulas as an added boost for overall well-being.
Ayurveda (science of life) is a comprehensive philosophy and health system developed 5,000 years ago in India. Ayurvedic medicine combines natural therapies with a balanced approach to treatment of disease. Ayurvedic philosophy places equal emphasis on body, mind and spirit as it strives to restore the innate harmony of the individual.
In the 1970s, small businesses began to take root under the inspiration and dedication of a number of Yogi Bhajan’s students. Golden Temple Vegetarian Restaurants opened in the United States, Canada and Europe. The rich and spicy aroma of Yogi Tea brewing permeated the environment, and soon customers wanted to brew their own at home. Through these restaurants, the first batches of Yogi Tea were sold to the public.
In 1984, this grassroots endeavor blossomed into the Yogi Tea Company. Packages of the dried spices began to appear in natural foods stores throughout Southern California. Soon, the spices were more finely ground and sold in tea bags, and by 1986, Yogi Tea was distributed nationwide in three flavors. In 1988, Yogi Bhajan and his team of master herbalists expanded the line to address specific health needs by creating highly specialized herbal formulas.
In 1991, the company decided it would use organic ingredients. Obstacles immediately arose, as there simply weren’t enough organic herbs and spices available. But following a four-year-long effort, a partnership was formed with ForesTrade to source organic Indonesian cinnamon, the most-used ingredient at the time, and several other spices.
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