Tea and Mindfullness
The existence of tea as a comfort drink has proven itself across generations and cultures. From the flavourful cup of masala chai of the Indian sub-continent to the subtle aromatic brew of Asian pacific region tea has been synonymical as a warm positive gesture.
While the origin of tea can be traced across several culture and dynasties used for medicinal purpose, the preparation process denotes a meditative or a mindful symphony.
Chado which in Japanese means “The way of tea” which you might commonly know as “Japanese Tea Ceremony” has a very well woven ethos of “Zen Buddhism”, which led to the genesis of Mindfulness or Mindful practices. For anyone who isn’t familiar with mindfulness it can all sound a little airy-fairy. But research in the relatively new scientific field of neuroplasticity has shown us that practising mindfulness – i.e. by giving a single activity your full, undivided attention without any judgement – can retrain your brain to be more calm, present, content, creative, focused, productive and less stressed.
The preparation and consumption of tea is a very sensory affair that can be transitioned easily as a mindful practice. And here is how you can do it in 6 easy steps.
1) When you open the packet close your eyes and breathe the scent of the tea leaves in through your nose. Notice the aromas. Can you name them?
2) Look the tea leaves on your spoon. Are they black or light brown? Green or white? Rolled into balls, twisted or broken into small fragments?
3) Notice how the colourless water slowly seeps in to the orange tone and then to a much deeper tone can you name the colour?
4) While you pour the tea in your cup notice those vapours and the aromas, hold your cup in your hands. Does it feel smooth or rough? Warm or hot?
5) Hold your cup under your nose (I like to close my eyes here). What notes can you smell? Are they the same or different to the dry and wet leaves?
6) Breathe in when you sip the tea, hold it in your mouth, and then breathe out your nose as you swallow.
What flavour notes can you detect? How does it feel in your mouth? Is there a lingering aftertaste? Taking five minutes to fully appreciate your tea will not only give you a better appreciation of the flavour and quality of your tea, the mindful act will help to bring your brain into a state of calm.
The more you repeat this, the more natural this process will become. What a perfect way to start the morning.