Tea and mindfulness: relaxation in five minutes
Growing up in England, tea has always been plentiful; a staple ingredient present in every household. It wasn't until I discovered loose leaf tea that I started to fully appreciate the rich and diverse qualities this wonderful plant has to offer.
Seeing the leaves in their more natural form shifted my perspective of tea as a commodity beverage to an experience. An experience to be enjoyed, savoured and used as a chance to refresh and rejuvenate the mind – a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Over time, these thoughts evolved into a series of small, mindful moments that now accompany me each time I have a cup of tea.
Practised daily, I find that the following small gestures help greatly in achieving calm, presence of mind and an increased sense of wellbeing:
1. Be present
For me this starts with the loose leaf tea. As you open the pouch, take a second to enjoy the aroma that meets you and appreciate the pleasure of such simple moments.
Instead of thinking about where you have to be in the next hour, or your plans for the weekend, feel present in this very moment, carefully placing the infuser in your cup and adding water.
Spend a moment taking in your surroundings – without judgement, simply observing and paying attention to all of your senses. How many different streams of sounds can you hear? How does the texture of your clothes feel on your skin?
2. Breathe. Really breathe.
I find it fascinating that for something we do constantly, from the moment we come into this world until the time we depart, we rarely consciously think about breathing. Why not? For me it's akin to waves and coastal tides sweeping in and out along a serene coastline – there's something calming and tranquil in it's inevitability.
While the short time needed to brew your loose leaf tea passes, just concentrate on deep breaths in and out. I often like to imagine a coin resting on my navel, and simply focus on the sensation of it moving up and down with my breathing.
3. Enjoy your mindful moment
Savour the taste and enjoy the moment. Think of something you're grateful for, even if it's something that seems trivial or silly.
These small moments will help to keep you centred through the noise of everyday life. If you've tried these steps or practise something similar, we would love to hear your technique in the comments section below.