Some days, life can feel like one endless to-do list, and with distractions everywhere you turn, it can be a struggle to find a few moments to slow down and breathe. Which is where everyday rituals, such as a cup of tea, can really help you to elevate your everyday and savour the moment.
For centuries, tea has been a source of comfort, a calming ritual woven into the fabric of the day. So why not squeeze the most out every last drop by turning it into a mindful moment?
There is something infinitely soothing about returning to old traditions and practices, and that’s exactly what a tea meditation invites us to do. Here at Twinings, we’re all for embracing mindfulness techniques, especially those that include tea, and fitting them around our busy days. So we’re sharing how a simple tea meditation can help you restore some calm and order to your day.
What Is Tea Meditation?
Rooted in Zen Buddhism, tea meditation works to ground you in the moment by inviting you to bring all your senses, so from the moment you make your tea, you become aware of your mind and body and use the tea as a guide.
“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the whole earth revolves—slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future. Live the actual moment. Only this actual moment is life.”
- Thich Nhat Hanh
Benefits of Tea Meditation
Let’s face it; meditation can be hard, so a tea meditation is a great place to start. But how do you turn a simple act, like making a cup of tea, into a more mindful practice?
Mindfulness has been practised in various ways for thousands of years. We spend so much of our lives running on autopilot, which negatively affects our nervous system. As we flood our body with stress hormones, it can leave us drained and depleted, so small and simple acts that help to slow us down enable us to restore balance.
Tea meditation is rooted in gratitude, and research has shown that the very act of gratitude can change your mood and enhance your wellbeing. So a tea meditation is a great way to start your day. Plus, a study in 2008 found that physical warmth increased feelings of interpersonal warmth, with those holding a hot cup of tea actually perceiving others as having a warmer personality.
Savouring a Mindful Cup of Tea
Here’s how to enjoy a mindful cup of tea with your own tea meditation.
1. Match Your Mood
Choose your cup and select your brew. Part of this meditation is about considering your current mood. Green tea works well for tea meditation as it enhances focus and concentration. Maybe you need a tea for balance, energise, focus, or even to help you find some inner calm, take a moment to think about what you need right now. Or maybe you’re drawn to the smell of a particular tea.
2. Tune in
Next, pop the kettle on and tune into the sounds as the water begins to boil. Notice the steam, the shake of the kettle. Take a moment to watch as the bubbles begin to form and the water reaches its peak temperature.
3. Begin to Brew
Gently pour the water into your cup and notice it as it changes colour. If your mind wanders, bring it back to the water in your cup as your chosen blend begins to brew.
Add milk and sugar or honey to taste and slowly stir your tea. Notice the colours in your cup change and watch as everything gently mixes.
5. Breathe Deeply
Bring your cup to your lips and take a moment to feel the warmth of the mug against your hands. Notice the scent of your tea blend and breathe in the steam; how does it feel to breathe in the warm steam?
6. Sip Slowly
Take a sip and savour it for a moment. How does the tea feel as it passes your lips? How do you feel at this moment? Does the tea taste sweet, floral, spicy or cooling?
7. Take Your Time
Take your time over your tea and sip it slowly and steadily. Enjoy the way it awakens all your senses and become aware of how you feel. Notice when your mind drifts and how your awareness comes back to your tea meditation.
8. Mindful Movement
Finally, start to bring some movement back into your body. Reawaken with a few cleansing breaths (deep inhale and exhale with a sigh), wiggle your fingers and toes or enjoy a deep stretch.
Once you’ve finished your cup of tea, allow yourself to savour the feeling. Take note of any changes within your body and how different you feel from before you began your tea meditation. And remember, you can enjoy a mindful cuppa at any time you choose! A cup of calm is always there.